Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ode to a neglected blog

:: Ode to a neglected blog:: 

Oh, lovely neglected blog of mine,
how lovely you are sitting upon my browser bookmark bar.
You are collecting dust and languishing in obscurity, 
waiting for a glance, an update, perhaps even a post. 

Life has become so busy with raising tiny humans,
folding laundry, creating culinary delights for supper. 
Creative ventures taking over my life.

Your greatest ally and foe is Instagram as it has taken the place of purposeful writing. 
It has taken the words and turned them into quick snaps of life. 
Fear not, I shall return after the new year with a renewed sense of purpose. 

Until then, follow us on Instagram as we begin to banish sickness from our home and celebrate the holidays. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years! 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Our Advent Happenings

:: Our Advent Happenings :: 

It has been a long while since I last wrote a post. The beginning of Advent and Christmas coupled with the slow death of my laptop rendered me unplugged for a while. But thanks to my wonderful husband I now am the proud owner of the a new Apple desktop. An earlier Christmas gift which I absolutely love. I can actually see everything I type without too much trouble. I like a big screen and I have poor eyesight (which is an understatement). I have downloaded some new programs to help me start off the new year right. I am going to start putting some of my ideas onto paper or fabric and see where it takes me. 

We have been so busy with some big changes. James is now a reservist with the Navy. He finished out his active duty role at the beginning of the month. He is enjoying a little break between jobs before he starts his new job later this month. We have jumped right into Advent and Christmas with both feet. I tried to convince everyone to take it slow this year but with little children the tree must go up. It is looking quite lovely and it just brightens up everyday life. The children have Kindness Elves that are visiting them every day with new ideas and activities to help spread Christmas cheer. It is the first year doing this and I am really happy how the girls are really getting into the activities. The elves have recently helped up give secret happy notes to family, donate food to a local pantry, and learn more about the birth of Jesus through a nativity craft and story. We celebrated St. Nicholas Day again this year and next week we will learn more about St. Lucy's Day complete with a wreath of candles worn on heads. (fake candles, of course). We are also going to do some fun little things to celebrate the Winter Solstice this year. There is a place near us that does an evening of potluck supper, night hike, stories, and fellowship on their Organic Farm and Retreat Center. I am trying to decide if we can swing it with the children. It sounds like a lot of fun. 

I am in my new creative space and it feels fantastic. A little change in desk, some rearranging of things, and a new computer has got me excited about creative ventures again. I was feeling stalled for a while but this has seemed to help. I am keeping the homemade Christmas gifts easy this year since we are very busy with homeschool every day. But there is still much being done and so much to be done yet. It is has been a slow yet productive start to Advent and Christmas. Every year it is a little bit different than the last. I have ideas in my head of how it will go but it always turns out differently so this year I took the approach that we will go where the season takes us. I am letting the girls guide our path. I have to admit that taking a back seat is and letting them guide is nice for a change. Advent is the season of making space in our hearts for Jesus but also His plan for us. By opening my mind and heart to the moment it has allowed me to be in really engaged in my three foot world. It will be fun to see where it takes us. 

a bit messy but a new computer and desk make it okay....

lists and a little coloring for later

Renwick Gallery in Washington DC:
A simply amazing exhibition. 

these look like giant bird nests and they are my favorite. I want one in my yard now to sit in and think. 

real insects....REAL! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Five Great Things About Today

{ Five Great Things About Today}

#1 Early morning coffee in the french press of Pike's Place from Starbucks while listening to the rain gently hit the window. It is a slow start to the day but a good time. A friend not so long ago said that this process allowed her to stand and meditate on the day and spend a few quiet moments with God before the start of the day. I couldn't agree more with her thoughts. So, not only do I have hot coffee to enjoy but her friendship as well. And while we no longer live near each other (the downside to the military) we are able to share our lives through Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis. Good coffee and good friends. 

#2 Homeschooling my oldest girl. We finished the second part of the lesson from the Story of the World book. We learned about the ancient Egypt and the Nile River. She built a pop up map of the Nile River. It is such a blessing to able to teach her and spend this time with her. Every day doesn't always go swimmingly but for better or worse we are learning and enjoying this time together.  I am so proud how she jumped into the project today and made it her own. She continued to work long afternoon ended. That spark starts a fire for the love of learning. 

#3 Sewing. I am getting things set up to sew some sleepy time pants for our boy. I bought some fun fabric with mustaches and sports fleece. I am looking forward to spending some much needed me time with my sewing machine 

#4 Baking bread. Salted bread knots. A big hit with the family. What more can you say about bread other than it is delicious! 

#5  This little guy just waiting so patiently for me to sit and knit a few rows. He has always been my knitting buddy. I think he just likes me for the warmth I provide but I'll take it as long as he tolerates my snuggles and hugs. 

A lovely day and so many things to be grateful as it comes to close. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Yarn Along

:: Yarn Along :: 

I am so exited that I finally have something to share with you all. I think the change of seasons and the time change has really spurred my creative side and my desire to read more. I finished The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichart. It was the perfect book to escape in these past few days since there has been so much anguish and tragedy. It would make the perfect romantic comedy movie. Two of my favorite things about this novel are that it is based around cooking and love. It is just a happy read (with a few sad moments). My next read is Little Woman in Blue by Jeannine Atkins. It intrigued me at the library because it is based loosely on the Alcott family. They were a very interesting family based on some nonfiction books I have read. 

I have finished a cowl (pattern: forest glade found on www.naturalsuburbia.com). I only had one skein of this lovely yarn from Blue Brick Crafts and I know isn't very wide but I do like that is almost like a piece of jewelry rather than an accessory to keep the cold out.  I have to say that my pictures do not do this yarn justice. The colors are just great. I also finished the last of winter hats for our boy. He was not having a modelling session to show it off, so maybe next week. I am starting the Isla Wrap for myself with Madeleine Tosh yarn (grey owl).  I am also working on a few gifts but I can't show them here because it will ruin the surprise.  

The days may be getting colder but my knitting needles are heating up! 

Joining Ginny of Small Things

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mindful Mondays

{ Mindful Mondays }

:: reading- The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Riechart. It is an indulgent read about love and food. I love it so far. A fun read. 

:: listening to - NPR morning news

:: watching-the rise from our kitchen table. We expect to have a warm day today which is unusual for November but I will take it because I know cold is just around the corner. 

:: studying- My husband is starting a new job soon and that means new healthcare. It is not fun to read or try and understand it must be done. I am also looking at homes and floor plans. We have some time before we build or buy but it is so fun to dream and plan.

:: creating- I made a new set of floor pillows (pictured below) which I am in love with and it is my pattern. I am starting to do some Christmas sewing and knitting. We have a whole free week next week and I am looking forward to doing some serious sewing. 

:: cooking- I am roasting a chicken today and the neighbors are coming over for dinner. Dinner with friends on a Monday. Why not! 

:: educating - a full week of homeschool lies before us but the goal of a free week next week is at the finish line. 

:: feeling- my heart is in France with those who have suffered so greatly from the horrific acts carried out by truly evil people. As always prayiing for peace in our world. 

:: thinking - of Christmas and Advent. I always feel ill-prepared for Advent. This year I want to take the time and really enjoy the season. It is the perfect time to slow down especially when the rest of the world is in a hurry. Any recommendations? Books? Projects?

Feel free to link up or leave a comment! 
Thank you for visiting! 

Sunday, November 08, 2015


{ Weekending } 

- Friday afternoon drive down into Northern Virginia search out little towns and ending up driving out to Shepardstown, WV and through Sharpsburg, MD. 

- enjoying the beautiful scenery of the mountains and the quaint towns 

- yummy pizza and movie night 

- Saturday morning of cleaning and hanging up new curtains and shelves

- afternoon of sewing and lesson plans 

- quiet dinner with my family 

- evening with a visit from our neighbors. Lots of laughing and kids playing happily together

- Go Navy! A Navy football win over a ranked team! Everyone went to sleep happy. 

- Morning Mass and Sunday school 

- lazy afternoon because little ones weren't feeling well and I had a headache

- dinner ordered in just because sometimes you just gotta kick up your feet and relax. 

The pictures below are of Antietam Battlefield 

Views from a lookout tower to survey the battlefield: 

Our little Miss sketching what the tower looked like

Finished a set of floor pillows for our home. My own pattern. I think I might sell another set of them. 

Joining Karen of Pumpkin Sunrise

Monday, November 02, 2015

Mindful Monday

{ Mindful Monday} 

:: reading- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was a recommendation by a friend and so far I like how it addresses our creative nature and how we can really tap into it.  

:: listening to - I have been listening to the comedian, Jim Gaffigan. He is so funny and I love his bits about raising children. 

:: watching- my children especially my youngest boy build with blocks and play quietly with such intent and concentration. It is amazing and I am always wondering what is going on in their minds as they play. 

:: studying- we have been studying the early people of the world and the nomadic peoples in home-school. It is so fun to re-learn about this part of history with my oldest girl. 

:: creating- knitting a cowl for myself and finished two over-sized pillow covers for our home. I am also finishing up a small wristlet to add to my collection that I will be putting on Etsy. 

:: cooking- we had penne in a homemade vodka with salad. The children ate every last bit of it so I will consider this meal a success. 

:: educating - I have started a list of books that I would like to read in this next year that we push my brain. A little self-educating. 

:: feeling- rested after a weekend of home time and visiting family. And accomplished on this Monday evening. So much done today and it was Monday! 

:: thinking - of Christmas and Advent. I always feel ill-prepared for Advent. This year I want to take the time and really enjoy the season. It is the perfect time to slow down especially when the rest of the world is in a hurry. Any recommendations? Books? Projects?

fun little photo from Halloween

Link up and join me if you feel so inclined...all are welcome. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

finding the new...

:: finding the new ::

It is probably abundantly obvious after skimming the dates on my blog posts that my writing has hit an all time low. If this blog is lucky there will be a smattering of words thrown together to make what used to resemble carefully planned and detailed logs of our days. Sadly, I have lost my daily rhythm.  This past summer, our life got thrown for a loop and all the plans of leaving the navy and moving gracefully from one place to next got tossed out the window. I lost my flow. I cannot seem to find a good rhythm for me. We moved in July to a temporary housing situation while my husband finished out his last months as an Naval Officer. The hope of short term housing at a military base is quickly turning into a 6 month or more stay. The hope of finding one last place to rent for a year or two while buy or more likely build a house is being pushed back into the new year. I am trying to be graceful about it but it is wearing on me. We are ready to transition but it seems the town we love so much is not ready for us. With little to no prospects of moving before the new year becoming a reality I am faced with the feelings annoyance and impatience. I am asking why? a lot. Why can't this go according to my plan? Why do we have to wait? Why do I feel so drained? Why have I lost my creative flow? I am beginning to understand that I am asking the wrong whys? I should be saying, "why has God placed this in front of me?" and "what is He trying to teach me?" 

We have undergone big changes in the past couple months. We have moved into a new and unknown area, we live in a smaller home, and we are now undertaking the huge responsibility of homeschooling our oldest through grade 1. I did not think they were big changes at the time but now I see the magnitude of these changes on my children. We have wonderful days of happy times and great learning. But we also have days of tears, frustrations, and whys. My days are now focused more squarely on my children and their learning journey. I am learning the lesson of selflessness. Right now in this moment, my children need me. And my husband needs me to be supportive as he takes on a new job and leaves behind a career that he started when he was only 17 years old. Much of the uncertainty of our future is becoming clear but we are not there yet. I see now that I am being asked to let the plan unfold and not try to control our future. God has a plan and I must allow him to work through me. I hear a small voice saying "patience, patience. It will happen when it is supposed to happen. Just enjoy what is in front of you." 

The other part of this is that God gave me a mind and gifts. I should not squander them. I am learning is that even though I am shouldered with great responsibilities I need to remember three things. The first is that bitter is not better. I should not let life's little bumps get me down or ruin my day. The second is that it does not help to compare my journey to anyone else's journey. The third that it is okay and actually preferred (my husband says this) that I take some time off to work on me. So, I am looking at this time as a hibernation period for me. A reset button has been pushed and I am slowing rebuilding my creative self. This new chapter is blank in front me and I need to start to figure out how I will fill it. 

So, I started a list of nine things to help rebuild (goodness I love lists): 

1. Read Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, Big Magic. It was recommended to me. 

2. Start a subscription to Faerie Magazine. It is exactly what it sounds like. Different and unusual but filled with lovely stories and beautiful photography. A little escapism. 

3. Take an online course (via a very good friend). 

4. Buy a new planner for 2016. Something pretty. 

5.  Read an online literary magazine. 

6. Start the process of cleaning out and reorganizing my studio space. 

7. Relearn to meditate and pray 

8. Rethink graduate school in the next two years and by gosh, pick something that I enjoy doing!

9.  Kick the need for social media in my daily life. 

The results will come slowly. But even today, only two days into this change of attitude I sat down to write out my first children's story. I am not worrying about if it will ever come to publication just getting it out there in the universe. 

Maybe losing the rhythm is actually just the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. 

A just because picture....I love them fiercely. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oh these lovely weekends...

{Friday, Saturday, & Sunday are happy days...} 

Our days have been happy ones filled with so many fun fall activities that I am just getting around to writing about it today. This past weekend we set off with our neighbors and friends to pick pumpkins and apples at a local farm. We took all our children (5 in total) up to the creamery to see the cows and calves. We all headed back to our house for dinner and a movie then had hot apple cider and s'mores out by the fire. They girls played and we chatted about ghost stories. It was the quintessential fall day. The kids had a blast and it was nice to get to know neighbors a bit more. They are a great family. Our girls love playing together and are frequently found in princess dresses and tiaras running between our homes. It is a blessing to have moved to a place where there is a another family that we can get along with so easily. Those types of friends do not come along very often. 

my neighbor is not that tall but she is sitting her husband's shoulders. They are dedicated apple pickers. 

a very rare selfie....maybe even the first one...ever...

pumpkins with pumpkins


Saturday was relaxing and peaceful with a day at home. 

Sunday we headed out with my parents to see the fall foliage. We headed up the mountains to Gambrill State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park. While up there we saw snow flurries. It was very cold and windy but worth the trip because the views at the scenic overlooks were breathtaking. We had a nice family dinner and the boys watched football.

 It was nice to spend the weekend with family and friends. I try and savor these autumn days because they come and go so quickly. Life is just a bit sweeter with Octobers. 

Joining Karen of Pumpkin Sunrise

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hiking with small children

:: Hiking with small children:: 

A walk in the woods or up the side of a mountain is one of my favorite things to do out of doors. When my husband and I were dating we would frequently take walks in some of our favorite parks. We have hiked in state and national parks in eight different states. Our dream is to hike part if not all of the Appalachian Trial some day. We have even boated out to the Cumberland National Seashore/Island in Georgia with friends and hiked trails there. 

I cannot really explain what it is about being in the woods that makes us so at peace. I think it might be the removal of the modern world and its distractions that help us clear our minds and hearts. That in turn helps refresh our souls and we are able to go about our week with focus. It is a bit like the beauty of the Mass and it holds a sacred place in my heart. The untouched and unspoiled splendor of something celebrated by mankind for centuries. It is two of my most peaceful times. An added bonus is that I am not going alone. I get to take my family with me and we can experience this together. We always meet people who are astonished that we hike with small children and babies. They call us brave but I know they probably think we are a bit crazy with two young children and a now toddler. But the truth is that we were doing it when our youngest was just about 4 months old and even before then. Our oldest hiked a 2 mile trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains with us when she was 2 and half years old. They would be slipped into the carrier and off we would go. Walking is not a requirement with our family. Sometimes a child needs to be carried or we need to slow down even stop to let others catch up. It isn't really about the destination but about the journey itself. We know our limits and safety is always in my mind but mostly I let it all go. The children can run, jump, and explore without any rules. (Okay, a few rules because I am a cautious mama). We pack a backpack of water, first aid, food, and a fully charged cell phone. And into the woods we go. 

There are so many lessons that are learned while hiking. The natural world is a great tool for learning and it is formed a deep appreciation what is provided to us and how we should be good stewards of the earth. The greatest lesson we have learned is to cherish time together as a family without distraction. They are memories that are priceless. 

Anybody know what this is? We didn't touch...just in case....