Simple Woman’s Daybook {August 2014}

Outside my window… it’s sunny and warm. David’s mowing with Aaron watching closely. (He’s anxiously waiting for when he’s old enough to mow.)

I am wondering… How long my youngest will nap, and if I’ll actually finish a blog post in one sitting :-)

I am appreciating… quietness. It’s rare in my house, but always, always noticed and appreciated.

I am thinking… about this week’s menu, and if I’ll be able to fit in time to make any bulk meals.

I am going… a hot yoga class this afternoon. My friend introduced me to bikram yoga and I’m loving it.

I am looking forward to… a week in North Carolina and our book club weekend retreat (both this Fall) I haven’t been to the beach since before my 3rd was born. #toolongwaytoolong

I am reading… Dinner, A Love Story (it’s a kindle read… these usually take me awhile b/c it’s not may favorite way to read, but I’m enjoying it.), Living Balance: Healthy Mind & Body Reference Guide, The Invention of Wings (need to hurry up with this one… library book.) and I need to start A Tree Grows in Brooklyn!! (Our August book club book, which meets next week!)

In the kitchen… chili is simmering for dinner. I know. Chili in summer. We live on the edge.

I’m wearing… my new tunic and leggings from LuLaRoe. My new cloths from my LuLaRoe are my new favorites! Seriously! SO comfortable. I mean, really, it’s gotta be comfortable or I’m not going to wear it. #momwithlittles

I’m creating… a more organized homeour homeschool year loose schedule. I know not to write one in pen, we are flexible around here. But I like to have an outline written to know where we’re headed.

In my Bible journal/study time… I’m still working on my year of inductively going through the New Testament. I’m a bit behind our Bold Year Challenge schedule, but I’m on track to catch up…. eventually.

I am listening… Talk Like Ted (audiobook -taking this one slow. It’s a good book, but not interested in big chunks at a time. Might have been better to read it, so many things I’d highlight!), I just finished the latest Read Aloud Revival podcast (Love this one!), The Art of Simple Podcast (I’m 1.5 behind on this one… maybe that means I’m also behind on cleaning), Eiffle’s Tower (one of our book club retreat book flights), Just So Stories (audibook with the kids), The Invisible Man (audiobook)

I’m learning… (still learning) my plans are always for more than 168 hour weeks. Sights set too high? Good possibility.

One of my favorite things… our August schedule. It’s 3/4 LESS full than June and July!

I am studying… the book of Luke and the Essential Oils Desk Reference. It’s fascinating how God created plants with such healing “life-blood” oils inside of them and what research has proven the pure form of that oil can do for our bodies. #mindblowing

A few plans for this week… Nature Club, an essential oil team meeting, and our first full week of school! (we’ve been going 2-3 days a week)

A couple pictures to share…


1.) Lydia and me (People say we look alike. I take photos like this so I can try to see it.)
2.) Rushing out to meet daddy. Everyone’s always anxiously waiting for him to get home (especially on day’s he bikes!)
3.) Silly faces before read aloud time
4.) Much of the summer has been spent right there on the back patio. #outdoorliving

Simple Woman’s Daybook blog

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Spring Reading {2014} and some deep thoughts

Life is full and we are zipping right through Spring!

We are enjoying outdoor life in every pocket of time we can find so I only have a tiny stack of reading to show. (Where do I move so I can have Spring’s perfect weather last a full 3 months?!)

I’m keeping my average of 7-8 books in my “currently reading” stack. I submit this is a good thing showing that I have many interests and moods… and possibly cannot always find the current book I’m reading so I just grab another one that’s close. Not that I have trouble focusing… sounds good, right?

Read Alouds:
Problems in Plymouth (Imagination Station #6)
My oldest is still enjoying these books but I think his interest is fading. #wouldratherplayoutside

Book Club:
see “re-reads” below

The Night Circus
SO good! I have a feeling this will be showing up on our book club list in the very near future. I don’t even want to say a word about it. #nospoilers

The Shadow of the Wind
3 stars, came highly recommend my many, but for me… meh. #toopredictable

Ramona and her Mother
We often listen to books during lunch or afternoons with the kids. Kids say: #Ramonaishilarious

The Secret Keeper
April’s book club tea party. A good one to read twice. I caught #allthethings the second time around. 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
May’s book club “children’s meeting” = bring your little reader month #raisingreaders

Crossing to Safety
June’s upcoming book club meeting. On a previous year’s free Summer Reading Guide.  #classic

I’m very close to finishing 4 books, but we have some family things planned this weekend. Not to mention my youngest sisters wedding coming up! (!!!) So I’m reading pile is getting pushed aside.

Summer Plans
Lately I’ve been pondering how to take better care of myself… that sounds odd, but maybe you can relate. Now that I have three kids (SO different than 2 in my book) and we’ve completed our first full year of homeschool- taking care of myself is the last thing on my mind. 

It’s actually not that I don’t have time to shower or I never brush my hair. It’s more I’m running myself completely thin. I think I can do much more compared to the reality of what I can accomplish as a 33 yr old, with three young kids, homeschooling, running a home business, to only list a few. (Thank you Susan Wise Bauer for your lecture and wisdom at the homeschool convention. I am burnt. out.)

I say “yes” to things. Good things, but “yes” to more good things than I can really manage. (It’s just in my nature.) And who suffers? Me. I sleep less, I forget to eat, I schedule every minute leaving no margin.

All that to say is that self care is moving up my list of priorities. In some ways, it might need to come first after my relationship with God. (gasp!) Not that I’m going to drop everything to get my nails done instead of making dinner for my family, but that I need to feed my body and soul well, so I can serve my family best. 

This summer’s plan:
slow down & plan margin
rest & read
live more of life outside

Have you ever pondered anything like this?
What’s your summer plan?

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Bold Year {First Quarter glimpse}

This year I’ve been participating in and co-leading an online challenge: The Bold Year Challenge with MacKenzie and a few other online and in real life friends. (Jodi, Lauren, Kari, and ReneeButton-Bold-Year-ChallengeIn short it’s a year to be BOLD.

Now, I’m not already bold, I’m learning to be bold with all the participants.
Real life.
Bold living.
Imperfectness and all.

The challenge as several components. The main one is The Bold Year Visual Bible Study: reading, studying, and visual journaling through the New Testament inductively. <– Right there? All those words? So exactly me and what I wanted for my year anyway! (Also this type of study aligns exactly with my learning style.)

We are attending a church that’s a bit of a drive from us and in this current phase of life driving to church throughout the week for different activities and Bible study is more than we can commit to as a family right now. Enter the online world. YES. I know some of you might think community and relationships can’t happen and won’t grow though the computer, but it is possible! I wouldn’t say that is the only way or that you shouldn’t have face to face time and fellowship with others, but as a mom with three young ones, this is my reality right now.

I often meeting with friends on Google + hangouts or Facetime. The kids even join in sharing. Don’t knock the internet friendships ;-) that’s all I’m asking. Sooo all that rambling to say I’m loving the NT challenge with these lovely ladies online! I’m marking my Bible with the precept studies key word markings. (I even copied them ALL into a mini moleskin to use as a reference. A long project but worth it. I plan to continue marking my OT as I read those with our church and next year.)

Real life note: I’m behind in this portion of the challenge. I skipped James while we were traveling and on vacation. I’m studying and preparing to teach a bible study this summer and adding that on top of the NT challenge made my head swim.

Another component is Bold Fitness. Each month you can download a calendar of tips and exercises. I’ve picked up doing yoga again. It was one of my favorite prenatal exercises when I couldn’t get to the pool to swim. I have P90x so I use that yoga routine if I have a larger block of time. Or I find one on youtube. I’d love to get better at some of the more challenging poses…. so I know I have to get in a better routine of practicing regularly.

Real life note: I’m getting exercise in 3-4 times a week. Which isn’t bad, but I’d love for it to be 7 times. Current obstacle here: Isaac likes to get up at 5:30 am. (insert yawn.)

Each month also has a theme. April has been “The Ways of Old” – Looking at traditional homemaking tasks and hobbies to see how we can apply them today. May will be “Beautiful Spaces” – Making our houses into homes.

And the last (but not least!!) is the Bold Book Club the portion of the challenge where I contribute. The word challenge seems fitting here. I’ve had an in-real-life book club for six years next month so I know the blessings and joy of meeting face to face and discussing books. I’m still working on finding a way to have a good book club discussion on line. (Let me know if you have suggestions!)

This month we’re reading Home Comforts. It’s a really a reference guide, so definitely on the heavy/long side. But oh, so, handy! Visit Anne’s site for a great description of it here. Next month, Emily P. Freeman’s A Million Little Ways!

If you’re interested in joining the challenge the beginning of every month is a great time to start! Visit Bold Turquoise for all the details.

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March Reading {2014}

Screenshot 2014-03-30 21.08.43

19 down 41 to go

This month was full of a few other projects some things cooking on the back burner. (Not to mention I taught 3 classes on essential oils!) But I was able to still finish 5 new books:

Read Alouds:
Revenge of the Red Knight (Imagination Station #4)
Showdown with the Shepherd (Imagination Station #5)

Book Club:
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (March’s book club)

Daring Greatly (Loved this! I see why people say it’s one they’d read more than once!)

Continuing Education:
The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple (This puppy has taken me for.ever. I started it last May!! But I’ve been slowly savoring it. I was and still am not a math/science kind of girl, but Stewart does a great job of explaining the chemistry without making me gloss over in the least!)

2 re-reads:
Organized Simplicity (March’s Bold Book Club book)
Forgotten God (great book! highly recommend! Really. Stop reading here and go find a copy.)

I’m slowly working on me currently reading book pile.

I’m reading Crystal Paine’s book with a friend. We meet once a week to discuss a chapter at a time. She lives pretty far away so we have FaceTime meetings. Occasionally, small children join in to share their latest lego creations with their new friends across the country!

Emily Freeman’s book is our May book for the Bold Year book club so I’ve got that on hold so I can read it with everyone else then. And The Mystery of the Cross I’m reading for Lent. Fascinating book with 40 short chapters… I haven’t finished yet but I think I’ll be recommending this one for sure!

I’m also chipping away at the audible version of this month’s book club book: The Secret Keeper. April is our annual book club tea party (!!!!) and this was such a fun book with so much detail I want to listen to it again before our discussion! (Plus, now that I know what happens I think I’ll pick up on more of all the goings-on this time around.)

I’m super excited about those things I mentioned I’m cooking up. We’ll see how April shapes up in the reading department. We do have a roadtrip planned so it’s possible I can finally get around to a few audiobooks I’m been anxiously awaiting!

Check out my GoodReads page to see how I’ve rated my March reads.

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February Reading {2014}


14 down 46 to go

I surprised myself again this month reading another 7 new books, because I was also re-reading a few:
Pride and Prejudice (Motherhood & Jane Austen Book Club)
The Ministry of Motherhood (Bold Book Club)
The War of Art (March’s Book Club book)
I guess technically that means I read 10 books!

This month I wanted to work on finishing some of my “currently reading” books… and it didn’t quite happen as much as I wanted.

I finished reading:

2 books with the kids:
Peril in the Palace (Imagination Station #3)
The Children’s Book of Virtues

2 audio books:
Dad is Fat (so funny! *Jim Gaffigan reads it.) *twothumbsupemoji
The Secret Keeper (this will be our April’s book club book)

1 Classic:
The Three Musketeers (February’s book club)

1 giant cookbook:
Nourishing Traditions (Bold Year Challenge book club)

and 1 book on books (this one was fantastic!):
Lit: A Christian Guide to Reading Books (This is right in line with why I started Broadened Horizons Book Club. Highly recommend.)

I do think my reading will slow down a bit in the coming few months. We are gearing up for the homeschool convention so I’m about to start doing more research on curriculums and prepare for the upcoming First Grade, Preschool, and Tot School Year. Do you remember those grades??! I’m SO excited for the coming school year! SUCH fun ages!!!

I’m also reading some heavier books and working on some book club events coming up. So I may have a little less free reading time but homeschool research and book club planning?? Those are right up there with some of my favorite things!

Bring it on March! I’m ready. (*fistbumpemoji)

Check out my GoodReads page to see how I’ve rated my February reads.

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The Place of Essential Oils

Today I’m sharing a little more of my heart than I usually share publicly online. But I may have been mistaken not to share this a long time ago. (Heads up this definitely falls into the category of TLDR (too-long-didn’t-read) This might be a good reading material for your next rainy snowy day.)

I have strong beliefs on why my family and I choose to use essential oils. I love learning about them and sharing about them with others if they ask. (I’m an introvert and definitely don’t share about oils with someone if they are not asking. So ask if you’re curious. I’m not going to come knocking on your door.) I believe essential oils fall in the category of health care. (You may disagree on that point, but I’m not here to argue. Just sharing my stance.) I also believe you are responsible for your own health care. I can’t take care of or be responsible for anyone else’s health. (Outside of my immediate family. I’m not talking about my children God has blessed David and I with.) In the same breath, I also thank God for doctors, nurses, and hospitals. I am in no way against them and so very grateful emergency medicine and their skills and training are there should my family or I need it. We integrate these oils into our life. We don’t ignore advice and council from medical professionals. But we do partner with medical professionals who are like minded in our beliefs about the place of essential oils, emergency medicine, and pursuing health and healing verses treating symptoms.

(All this is to preface where I’m going in this post. This topic can open so many different other conversations I couldn’t possibly fit them into this post and would much rather talk to you in person.)

Please forgive me if I haven’t made it clear before the place that the oils have in my life and our household. They are not above God. I’m a fallen human, thankful for the saving grace of God that I do not deserve. I would hate to think that I’ve given the impression to anyone, ever, even a glimpse of the impression, that I praise these oils above God. God in Heaven, the Creator of all plants that produce these essential oils, and Creator of me is Who I worship.

One of my favorite things about essential oils is where they come from. Many people are surprised to realize they are mentioned in the Bible. Genesis talks about oils used for burial and embalming (this is also mentioned in the Gospels), Exodus references oils related to worship, kings are anointed in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Matthew and Luke bring up oils as items to be tithed. In Esther and the Song of Solomon they are used as perfumes and they are used for healing in many many books! (Including Numbers, Leviticus, Isaiah, Mark, John, and James) I won’t even get into the places oils are used or alluded to for their spiritual and emotional effects.

Side stepping here for a moment for a few definitions:
Essential oils: This is the vital fluid of plants, their “life blood.”  Essential oils are tiny molecules. Different than fatty oils, like vegetable oils from your kitchen, that can’t be absorbed into your skin. EOs penetrate our skin down to the cell level. If you’re interested more I’d recommend learning about the botany of plants and essential oils and the biology of how they work with the biology of the human body. Beyond fascinating! Only God could have created something so detailed and finely tuned that works so fluidly (pardon the pun) to bring comfort and healing to our bodies.

Let me start back at the beginning. Genesis 3, the third day. OK, so not the very beginning but pretty close ;-) I believe the Bible and that on the third day God spoke vegetation into existence, “The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.”

I just love that God has given us these plants (and the oils inside of them) BEFORE He even created us. I believe prayer heals. I also believe the oils heal. I’ve seen both work many, many times. But the power when you combine the two? Now that’s the sweet spot! For me using oils is an act of worship. A thankful celebration I can take part in daily, praising Him for the gift of life.

I try to remember to pray each and every time I use or even smell an oil. (I’m sure I forget more than I realize, but I do try.) Ask my kids. They know, even if they just get a paper cut that lavender is the oil we use. And they also know we pray for whoever gets an owie. (They even ask to pray when they hear sirens because “someone might be in trouble.”)

One day we studied Exodus 12 and the Passover so we got out the bottle of hyssop essential oil. “Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.” Exodus 12:22. You might also remember hyssop from Psalms. “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean. Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow… Blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:7,9-10

(Did you know that hyssop is high in monoterpenes? Technically, monoterpenes are a compound found in essential oils with 2 isoprene units: 10 carbon atoms and 16 hydrogen atoms.) For me though, I focus on the fact that monoterpenes can reprogram mis-written information in our DNA. (cellular memory) To me this is show.stopping. As I mentioned, we avoid pharmaceuticals when we can. Just looking into the number of ill side effects and numbers of further health issues that can come about from the use of pharmaceuticals you better believe I’m going to research an oil that I can try first. (I’m not going to get into the area of the roots of medicine, but it’s an interesting study if you’d like to check it out. It’s also a jaw-dropping number study comparison if you look check out the number of deaths from proper essential oil use versus pharmaceuticals.)

Colossians 1:16-17 says “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Still to this day (if I’m not mistaken and there’s been a breakthrough I’ve missed) scientists don’t know how the atom is held together. They have not been able to identify what is in the (rather large) space between the electron and the nucleus of the atom. I believe Colossians. I believe that is is God holding it all together. In the beginning with His words He created and still today He is holding creation together.

I don’t believe the commentaries that say when oil is mentioned in the Bible it’s only talking about fatty oils, like olive oil. Just like the Bereans (Acts 17), study the Scriptures for yourself. Don’t believe everything you read or hear. Know for yourself why you believe what you believe. (Note: Including what you read here in this post. Please go research this yourself.)

This year I’m a part of the Bold Year Challenge and we are inductively reading through the New Testament. About a month ago one morning I was reading Mark 14. The woman breaks the alabaster flask of Spikenard on Jesus. Obviously, I found my bottle of Spikenard essential oil. I wanted to know what that room smelled like once she broke open her flask. I also grabbed my reference guide to read a bit about the plant it comes from and some of the properties it contains. My oldest two (6 and 4yrs) came downstairs while I was still studying and asked about the oil. Hello perfect teaching moment! I gladly shared what verses I had been reading and gave them a multi-sensory experience allowing them to smell the oil as well. I’m sure you all know from your own experience how close smell is related to memories in your brain. I pray that the story of the woman, the alabaster flask, and Jesus stick with them better through their experience of smelling the Spikenard along with the Bible story. (This is an interesting area (smells and your memory) to research if you want to know more.)

Please don’t be afraid of God’s creation. Yes, I believe people can use and twist essential oils for evil. But know that they were and are from God’s creation. “New age” use of essential oils are not how they originated. I am standing my ground, on The solid ground of Word of God and I’m claiming (or re-claiming if you feel it’s been taken) for God! For our family, I will not let Satan twist essential oils into something of him. I pray that that would be the same in your house as well.

The Bible doesn’t go into much detail on how the oils were used. I don’t know about you but I would have loved to be a fly on a wall in a house back then! Oils are mentioned hundreds and hundreds of times in the Bible, so that tells me it was common enough that there was no need for the authors of the Bible to explain how to use them.

The Hebrew for the word “anoint” is mä·shakh’ Now I’m not sure how to pronounce that, but the definition is: to smear, anoint, spread a liquid. Don’t let anyone convince or confuse you of the fact that when mä·shakh’ is used in the Bible it means something about just one drop of oil. We are talking about anointing with a fair amount of oil here. Psalm 133:2 says, “It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments.” That’s a lot of oil people. Am I right? Remember how the disciples “flipped out” a bit when the woman broke the flask of Spikenard and used ALL the oil it contained on Jesus. I understand that. Essential oils are not cheap. Depending on what part of the plant the oils are extracted from it can’t take a great quantity of leaves, stems, bark, root, or etc to get a small bottle of essential oils, let alone a big one! Straight essential oils without additives, that is are expensive. I’m not going to get into the purity of oils debate or places to purchase oils, but please be careful if an essential oil bottle is labeled with warnings about ingesting. Your skin is your largest organ, therefore putting that oil on your skin (or any body product (lotion, shampoo, etc) or oil you use on your skin) goes into your body.*

We know the story well. The wise men come from the East bringing gifts for Jesus: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. I believe Mary knew what those oils could be used for, and that she didn’t need a reference guide. Once I read about the healing properties found in just these two oils there’s no question in my mind about why 2 of the 3 gifts brought were essential oils.

As a mom, I could not be more grateful that God’s great green creation is all around me, and I have access to pure essential oils. (The times my family or I have used these to treat an illness or health issue and received complete healing, sometimes immediate healing, is too long to list here. These give me the option, for example, to treat a headache with peppermint, rather than a drugstore purchase with a long list of negative side effects. I would never not go to the doctor or hospital if there was a health emergency that needed doctor care. Please understand that. No matter what I will pray first, and if I have an oil I know has healing properties for the injury or illness that has come up you better believe I will try that first with prayer.

I love sharing with others what I’m learning, not because I feel like know enough to share, but because I’m excited with the experience I’ve seen first hand using oils. It’s fairly common knowledge now that I think most people know, but a prescription will not help a virus. Did you know there are anti-virus oils? Recently my youngest picked up a virus somewhere and I had an oil with high anti-viral properties that I used. It was already in my house; I didn’t have to make an extra trip to the drugstore or spend more money.

I’ve been using essential oils for 7 years now, and my collection of oils has grown. Some people will claim there is an oil for everything. I’m not sure if that’s true. I haven’t experienced “everything” and I don’t own all the oils. But I know we don’t buy over-the-counter medication anymore. We use an essential oil instead. I praise God that my family is very, very healthy. My children rarely get sick, and if they do it isn’t for long. I love that God has blessed the world with vegetation and that we can use the oils from that vegetation for healing. I love that as a mom I’m not helpless, relying only on a doctor and their office schedule to help my family should they need it. Yes, my children have regular check-ups. But each year our sweet doctor laughs with me as our appointments are so short it that does feel somewhat pointless. Again I say I’m so, so, very thankful God has blessed us with a healthy family. I’m doing what I can to keep it that way. (To name a few ways: Drinking clean water, (without chlorine, fluoride, impurities, etc. We love our Berkey water filter.) getting adequate sleep, and of course eat real food. As well as, when at all possible avoiding pharmaceuticals with negative side effects.)

As far as I can tell, from the reading I’ve done, there aren’t negative side effects of essential oils when used properly. They are cleansing by nature, so often we can experience a detox reaction and depending on the state of health of the person that detox can vary in intensity. Detox is a good thing in my mind. Who want’s to have toxins in their body, right? Some people might need to be extra cautious and use an even small amount of oil if they are experiencing a strong detox. But I’m not a doctor and could never give suggestions about anyone else’s health. Like I mentioned before, please see a qualified physician.

As you can hopefully see, essential oils in the Bible are a big passion of mine. I’d love to write pages and pages more. If you’re still reading this never-ending-post and actually want to hear more, I am having a class at the end of March and will be facilitating the Bible study God’s Forgotten Gift around the middle of the year. I’d love for you to join me!

*I’ve researched several oil companies promoting their oils as ones without additives. If you’d like to know more why I chose Young Living Essential Oils please ask me, I’d be happy to share why.

A few of my favorite resources if you’d like to do your own research, I’d recommend these. (Be careful doing research online, it isn’t always a trusted source.)

Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Connie and Alan Higley

Essential Oil Desk Reference by Life Science Publishing
Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: God’s Love Manifest in Molecules by David Stewart

Healing Oils of the Bible by David Stewart

Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern

I am not a doctor, and I would never try to diagnose or claim that essential oils will cure or heal what ails you. Please find a qualified health practitioner in your area of need. Never stop taking a medication without consulting your doctor.

Posted in More About Me, Natural Living, Young Living Essential Oil | 5 Comments

What I’m Into {January 2014}

umm… What I WAS into {January}

Looking back at January here’s a bit of what’s been going on around here:

My Life/Family Life:Random Things:
Wow. 2014. Seems like it can’t possibly be that year! For real. I think I really am turning “old” this year. Wasn’t it just 1999?

Me: I wrote a pretty long and details new set of goals -more life goals, not so much New Years resolutions. Then I divided them up into categories, then into steps to read those goals. (Yep, I was a little goal crazy.) January was spent working on trying those steps and experimenting what I can incorporate the bite size steps now and what needs to go on the back burner. Right now a big focus is finding margin. And then not immediately filling it.

I’m in a new phase now that Isaac is 11 months. (Much cheering was heard!) Buuuut, I am still adjusting to having THREE little people who need ever so much time and attention. (For those of you with more than three, you are my hero.) The amount of “free time” for me to do other activities beyond family, kids, and house care is tiny at this point. I’m a leader in the Bold Year Challenge heading up the book club portion of the challenge -I know. Right? Go figure. (There has been a book club intervention for me. And they were right. I was in too many book clubs. I’ve cut it back to 3….. maybe 4. But don’t tell!)

Also. I never spell challange, challenge? right the first time.

So all that to say, I’ve dropped back to not being involved in as many things as I hoped to take part in. It’s just not in this season of my life. (This also means I’m not going to the Young Living Convention. But I’m OK with that. Another time. I’m also experiment with not doing laundry. But my family keeps telling me that’s just not doing to work.)

The fam: Isaac is almost 1 and moments away from walking! I think he secretly knows how to walk but his red-hair stubbornness tells him to just go ahead and keep being carried. Lydia got a cat costume from the neighbors. She’s been a cat for days. Today she wanted whiskers. So, of course, my eyeliner pencil and I obliged. (She’s perfectly fine with my no laundry plan. Cat every day? She says OK!) Aaron continues to ever impress us with his creativity and building skills. Several times a day he drops everything and will go build something new out of Legos, or Zoobs, or Straws and Connecters. Can’t wait to see what he grows up to be! (He’s also getting too tall too fast!) David is still finding days to bike in to work. Even with this Polar Vortex!

TV & Movies:
I’ve really backed off watching much TV. But SHERLOCK. Go watch it if you don’t know what I’m talking about! BBC: You’re my favorite. We previously had been watching Downton Abby, but have been busy and haven’t started this season yet. Maybe I’ll catch it later, but from the little I’ve heard I’m not sure I want to even get into it. Sounds rough.

From The Bookshelf:
I’ve been busy previewing and skimming books for the Bold Book Club for the year. I’d like to get them all selected and matched up with each month’s theme soon so I can get down to the business of reading them. So thankful we live so close to the library.

My Audible app is queued up to The Three Musketeers for my book club for February, and when I get in the mood for something else I switch to Dad is Fat. Highly recommend them both!

Around The House:
PSA: Never put tile in a kitchen. Just don’t. I’ve sure I’ve said it before, but the moment, yes, the very moment I stepped into our now house while house-hunting I backed up a little and said “No.” The tile is not my taste and I KNOW that it would be too much of a headache to remove it. (Can you even imagine removing it?!) But here we are 2.5 years later of living with this tile… but so much closer to having saved up to fix this problem. Yep. It’s a problem. Do you even know how many times a dish or glass falls or gets dropped and SHATTERS in to BILLIONS of pieces, shooting from one end of the house to the other. I’m not kidding. Well, maybe, it’s millions not billions. Then it’s at least 40 min of clean up. And still, twice glass has gotten in someone’s foot. Let’s just say it’s been traumatic.

I’ve been scheming new plans and pinning like crazy gearing up for the next big step in our kitchen remodel. (technically I think the pantry and a few cabinet additions are next, but the resident contractor and husband is the boss of this part. Then the beloved new flooring will soon follow.)  It’s probably still months before the real work gets underway but I’ve keep myself busy drawing the changes and decorating in my head. I love figuring out new ways to make our space work for us. I’ve recently come up with a new idea! Maybe I’ll post about it later. Let’s just say after my 5 ideas for different pantry options I’ve moved onto the island… I mean continent.

In The Kitchen:
I met with some friends and had the first, of what I hope to be many, Kraut Club meetings! We gathered and made Kimchi together. I’ve made basic fermented things plenty of times but I can’t wait to glean more from these other ladies who are pro with ferments!

The Bold Challenge also has plenty of food portions. January was yogurt. David is king yogurt maker in this house, but we’ve cut way way back on dairy and it seems to suit everyone.

What Coming Up:
Much homeschool planning and research. The convention is at the end of April but a friend or two and I are re-looking in to our options and what will fit our families best.

I think we’ll have a small first birthday for a certain little boy. (Feb is also David’s and my birthday! Party month!)

Also some plans in are in the works to step up our book club! I’ve recently found some new inspiration for our monthly discussions!!

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January Reading {2014}

Screenshot 2014-02-05 20.46.40

7 down 53 to go.

I usually read quite a few books in January but not usually this many kids books!

Check out my GoodReads page to see how I’ve rated my January reads.

Raggedy Andy Stories
The Little Book of Talent
168 Hours
Voyage with the Vikings (Imagination Station #1)
The Margaret Wise Brown Treasury
Attack at the Arena (Imagination Station #2)
Freefall to Fly

I have a record-breaking (for me) current books that I’m reading right now! As well as Pride & Predjude that I’m re-reading. (Why won’t GoodReads let me add re-reads??) I actually have more books current in progress, but that just feels embarrassing to have THAT many listed. I think February’s theme might be “Finish some books, Sarah!”

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A book look at 2013

2013′s book number was 59

But still. 59 books in a year I had a new baby! I’m impressed! Granted quite a few were YA books or Kindergarten read alouds.

I counted the book if it was a chapter book. As much as the Sarah inside of me would love to count and keep recored of all the picture books we read, well, that isn’t a reality in the stage of my life.

2014 book covers

My 2014 favorites break down…

Kindergarten favorites (Aaron’s favorites)
The Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel
One Wintery Night by Ruth Graham Bell
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read this to him, his dad has now almost finished the series with him!
Elmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Book #2 in the series, book #1 we read and loved in 2012.
The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Book #3 in the series.
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Non-fiction favorites:
Introverts in the Church by Adam S. McHugh. I liked this more than Quiet by Susan Cain and I highly recommend that one!**
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. With all the books on books I’ve read I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to pick this one up. (see Resources for Inspiration for more of my favorites in this category)
It Starts with Food by Melissa Hartwig. My secret weapon for loosing weight. Seriously. this works and is good for you at the same time. Currently doing another Whole30 this month.**
Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Enjoying Well Fed 2, right now!
Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. But this is on everyone’s favorites list I think**

Fiction favorites
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. Listened to this on Audible. Excellent audiobook.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. This was for our tea party. Part of my 2014 goals include writing more letters.**
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Quick fun story. So glad there are more in this series. (This is on the line, and possibly a YA book.)

Young Adult favorites I’m don’t usually read in this category, but for my year with a newborn it hit the spot. 
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead**
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum. Not like I remember the movie, it was better than the movie. But I’m not sure I completely remember the movie.
Teddy’s Button by Amy Le Feuvre. A Lamplighter book. I had a goal to read I think 6 Lamplighters this year, I read 3. But this one was excellent!!**

The book break down for the year…

59 total books
19 favorites (books I rated with 5 stars*)
11 book club books (plus I re-read/skimmed Stepping Heavenward which isn’t counted in my total)
33 fiction
25 non-fiction
14 kindergarten read alouds
7 YA books
19 audiobooks
14 read on my kindle (or kindle phone app)

*I can’t really say I’m a “new reader” anymore. It’s been over 5 years that I’ve claimed reading as a favorite hobby. Lately, I’ve been working to find friends who’s tastes are so similar to mine so I’m unlikely to pick up a book that I don’t already know I will like. (My GoodReads friends have been good to me!) This year I must have hit a sweet spot. 19 sounds like a ton of favorites to me!

**These books I would recommend to anyone. Anyone.

Linking up with Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy

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2013 at a glance

It was a long and short year. You know how it is sometimes.

We rung in 2013 with both of our parents! Always a treat for the kids when all 4 grandparents are over at the same time! (We love it too!) It was also a month full of baby preparations and quality time with Aaron and Lydia.

I read quite a few books in February as I waited for baby #3 to arrive. David started a new job 7 days before Baby #3 = Isaac Matthew, joined us. (Arriving 6 days early (yay!!) at the end of the month, just after my birthday and David’s.)

family photos fall 20131

March, April, and May happened in the blink of an eye as we stayed around home and enjoyed our family of 5. Isaac spent and loved many, many (many!) hours in the sling.

June and July were spent at swimming lessons, camping, the library, a family reunion, and at home enjoying a new backyard swing set! (Also, we did the Whole30 food plan and loved it! Even the kids! SO yum!)

In August David started bicycling most days downtown to work, we made a few trips to the State Fair, Aaron started Kindergarten, I started teaching essential oil classes, and David and I celebrated 10 years!

family photos fall 2013

September began with a long weekend at Lake Erie with David’s family and in the middle we went camping (again! We love camping!) Aaron turned SIX and turned Lydia FOUR this month!

In October my book club and I celebrated 5 years and rented a house for a retreat weekend. Mid-month we made another trip to Ohio to meet a brand new nephew and cousin!

November and December? Might have been the fastest month’s of the year but we purposefully did not over crowd our calendar. No camping, no weekends traveling. Soaked up lots of family time.

We are thankful for SO much from 2013!

2014? Still sort of sounds like a space age time of the future! I officially feel grown up now. I guess it took longer than I thought. But my 30′s are shaping up to be my favorite decade yet!

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