Thursday, October 19, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

Vinalhaven, Main Part 1

Steve's sister Katie and her husband Drew invited our family out to Maine this summer for an amazing, unforgettable week.  Ferry ride, sunset point, on the water all day, hikes, family time, small town, penny candy store, ice cream shop every night, boats docked, and adventures to be found around every corner.  Such a lovely place to visit.  Thanks Drew for sharing your childhood vacation place with all of us.  We absolutely loved this magical place.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Laconia, New Hampshire



 After Boston we headed to Laconia, New Hampshire.  This was a city that Steve served his mission in and it was so fun to take our kids here.  It is where the famous Lake Winnipesaukee resides and also holds the annual Laconia bike rally each year.  As luck would have it, the days that we stopped in Laconia were the days of the bike rally.  We fulfilled a bucket list dream for Steve and rented a Harley that he rode around Laconia during bike week.  Gorgeous weather, beautiful beaches, and a good time for all of us.  We were also able to visit with an amazing couple, Tim and Gale, that Steve got to know on his mission.  They were so gracious to take our family out to dinner and love on us for a few hours.  Gale has worked at the Public Library for years and gave us an evening tour.  She also sent us home with a box of books, a woman who speaks my love language.  A great stop, great friends, and beautiful weather in an amazing place.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Monthly Reads June through August 2017

So here are all of my summer reads, all together in one spot.  Since we were traveling half of the summer, I listened to a lot of these books on the Overdrive app while I was driving, editing photos, or just chilling and playing Candy Crush.  I've never played Candy Crush but downloaded the app promising to take it off my phone when I came home, which I have done.  It really was such a fun way to unwind and get a lot of reading in.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  So, So

What's It About ||  Mystery/Thriller.  One of Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Picks.  A journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Loved It

What's It About ||  The haunting tale of a widower that loses his wife and remarries shortly after.  The story is told through the eyes of his young bride as she enters the world of his first wife Rebecca and navigates the mystery that unfolds.  

How Did You Read It || Kindle

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  So, So

What's It About ||  The story of a girl who refuses to eat, reported she hasn't eaten for months, and the mystery that surrounds it.  I was very interested in the outcome, but it did have some disturbing moments.   

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

The Dry by Jane Harper 
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About ||   Mystery/Thriller.  Another of Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Picks.  This was a story of Federal Agent Aaron Falk who arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. The story unravels as Aaron is asked to look into Luke's death and the past begins to reveal itself as the story unfolds.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

I See You by Clare Mackintosh
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  So, So

What's It About ||   Mystery/Thriller.  Yes, another of Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Picks.  The story of a woman who discovers a advertisement in the classifies is leading to the disappearance and death of the women advertised there.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About ||  Prudencia Prim is a young woman of intelligence and achievement, with a deep knowledge of literature and several letters after her name. But when she accepts the post of private librarian in the village of San Ireneo de Arnois, she is unprepared for what she encounters there.  Such a fun read.  The writing style is enchanting and feels like it could have been written in Jane Austen's time.  

How Did You Read It || Hard Copy, Library

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About || Geobiologist Hope Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility, and passion that drive every scientist.  This was a memoir of sorts and I enjoyed how Hope Jahren made science, trees, and flowers come to life through its pages.  

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About ||   In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.  It is a heartbreaking story as Cora and Caeser attempt to escape from their white slaveholders and hope for a better life.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  So, So

What's It About ||  The story of time travel, Jane Austen, and love.  

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About ||  A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About ||  Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides.  Brette has the ability to see ghost and the story unfolds as it takes you from present day to the past.  

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick 
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About ||  My first Jane Kirkpatrick's novel.  In 1896 Norwegian American Helga Estby accepted a wager from the fashion industry to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City within seven months in an effort to earn $10,000. Bringing along her nineteen year-old daughter Clara, the two made their way on the 3500-mile trek by following the railroad tracks and motivated by the money they needed to save the family farm. Historical fiction writer Jane Kirkpatrick picks up where the fact of the Estbys’ walk leaves off to explore Clara's continued journey.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

Bossypants by Tina Fey
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  So, So

What's It About ||  Her memoir, funny stories of her life and success.

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

Among the Mad (Maisie Dobbs #6) by Jacqueline Winspear
Loved It, Liked It, So So, Not For Me ||  Liked It

What's It About || Another Maisie Dobbs book.  In this novel we find Maisie Dobbs trying to locate a person that is truly disturbed and seeking revenge against society at large.  He is using deadly gas to kill his victims.  Maisie must use her intelligence and compassion to find this killer.  I'm so enjoying this series, so well written and I love that it is set between World War I and World War II in England.  

How Did You Read It || Audiobook, Overdrive

Friday, September 15, 2017

Autumn Revisited

As we are headed for October here in a couple weeks, I thought I would share a couple past favorite posts talking about all things fall, which is 100% my favorite season of the year.  Here are some of my past posts from my archives.

Here is a post where I share our favorite Autumn picture books.  

In this post I share some of my favorite books to read during the Autumn months.  

I should add Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier to this list.  Such a good fall read.

Look up some fun projects to work on this fall. 

 Especially loved the Junk Bow Wreath you can find here.  

Also, my most recent post on little ways to celebrate fall.  Find the post here.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Natural Bug Spray


Natural Bug Spray

If you want to make a quick and easy non toxic bug repellant spray use this easy recipe below.

4 ounce amber glass spray bottle
2 tsp lemon witch hazel
10 drops citronella essential oil
10 drops tea tree essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil

Fill bottle 3/4 the way full of water, add two teaspoons witch hazel, add 10 drops each of the essential oils.  Shake and spray.  

Citronella is such a great outdoor oil.  To add in sprays or to diffuse to keep those pesky bugs away and when you use these awesome oils you don't get any of those toxins found in many bug sprays.  It costs $25.66 retail or $19.50 wholesale for a 15 ml bottle.  Let me know if your interested in ordering! 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Simple Homemaking | | Homemaking During Transition

So we moved into our new home a year and a half ago.  Though all the boxes are unpacked and we have been here awhile, I feel like we are still in this transitional period, and we have been here for awhile.  We are getting so very close to starting the remodel on this home.  Our remodel plans are into the engineer and when we get those back, (we started the process of working up these plans in January) we will finally be ready to start.  So while I wait for this remodel to actually happen, I thought I would share what I have learned from all of this unstable transition.

It Is Always Worth It to Make any Living Situation a Home
It is always worth it to make a house a home.  I have lived in situations where I held off on really settling in because I knew it was temporary and I have regretted it.  Living out of boxes because you are moving in a couple months can make those couple months feel chaotic and out of sorts.  Even if you are living in a room in your parent's home it is worth it to unpack what you need.  We even did this on our summer travels.  When we arrived in our hotel or guest room with my husband and four kids, we found spots for luggage, toiletries, shoes, and all of our items.  It took a little time, but it kept things in check and made traveling so much easier.

Give All Your Items A Home
Give everything a place, set up little stations, and come up with daily routines.  I have seen people do this when they camp for the week.  They have a place for everything, their campground has little areas for the kitchen, dining, and lounging.  Their tent is set up neat and tidy.  It is fascinating to watch and really doesn't take much time.  Though we will be packing up our main floor for our remodel here soon, I'm all set up for what works now.  I'm planning a floor to ceiling pantry in our remodel (there is no pantry in our home now), so right now I have food placed in a variety of areas, including shelves in the garage and a small linen closet off the kitchen, but they have a set place and it is working.  It is much better then living out of boxes.

Take Time To Think Things Through
I don't know about you, but it takes me awhile to settle in.  When a home is temporary, sometimes you skip the step of thinking things through and just do what needs to be done.  The knives end up in a drawer that just doesn't work well for your cooking set up, and it bugs you, but what is the point in changin it because you will only be there a couple months.    Usually it only takes a few minutes to make those small changes that can make a huge difference to your day to day happenings, so take 2 to 5 minutes and move those knives.  Think if through and make it work.

See How Minimalistic You Can Live
Experiment with living with less.  What if you unpacked only what you need.  If you need something else, go and get that one thing out, and see if you can live with less for a few months.  The added bonus of this is that when you do unpack you may find quite a few items you no longer need.  Let go of those.  Less items equals less cleaning, clutter, and organizing.

Make It Work
My husband is a master of thinking outside the box.  He has taught me to throw all my ideas out there, even the crazy ones that I absolutely know we would never do.  It gets you to think outside the box and come up with some great solutions with this approach.  Can a linen closet be a food pantry?  Can you live with a 10 item wardrobe?  Would a baby's room work in your master closet?

Live Your Life
Invite guest into your home, decorate, do those projects you can do.  If you can't have people over, embrace the idea of going out with friends, or spending meaningful quiet days with just your family.  Feel inspired and do what you can in your living space.  Don't let the uncertainty of the future scare you from moving forward and getting things done.  Be smart, don't spend thousands of dollars fixing up a rental, but do what you can to make your space yours while you are there.

Stay Patient
Work hard, set goals, and keep your focus.  If it is a remodel, a job change, a tragedy or loss, or if your saving money to get out of debt or get an education that put you in a living situation that isn't ideal, know that you can move through this time with grace.  Not that I have always been graceful through these transitions, just ask my husband, but I have certainly had plenty of moments of taking some deep breaths and reminding myself of how very blessed we are in this crazy life we lead.  Goals will be met if we keep working towards them, the job will come, the time of loss will be traversed and hope will return.  Deep breaths and maybe a daily dose of chocolate and prayers.

Okay friends.  So wherever you find yourselves in this crazy homemaking journey, do your best to make your house a home.  It is always worth it.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Back To School 2017


These kids started school this week.  We had our back to school dinner a day late, on Tuesday, the day school started.  Steve gave them all beautiful father's blessings to kick off the new school year.  I always love hearing Steve bless them with the things the Lord wants for them.  Hearing his words and feeling the love and vision that our Heavenly Father has for my little ones is a lovely experience.
Now you can insert all the cliche things here, I'm feeling them all.  Yes, they are getting so big.  Yes, I'm so proud of them and excited for what is in store for them this year. Yes, I wonder how I have a high schooler, a middle schooler, one that only has a couple more years of elementary school, and my baby boy is turning 5 in a couple weeks.  My years of raising babies is coming to an end, they are now all big, and quite honestly I'm quite unprepared for this.  While my heart is quietly breaking as I navigate all these changes in this motherhood journey, I'm choosing to look forward with excitement and gratitude.  Excitement for the amazing human beings they are becoming and gratitude for being blessed to be a part of it.  Love being their mama. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Little Ways To Celebrate Fall

Thinking of little ways to celebrate Fall, my absolute favorite season of the year.  It is still so warm outside and like many of you I'm busy with back to school activities and to dos, so finding little ways to celebrate the season has made me so happy.  I'm holding off on decorating for Fall until the 15th, and I can't wait to get items out to celebrate this time of year, but for now I'm finding little ways to celebrate the season.

Diffusing Fall Scents -  Loving the combination of clovenutmegchristmas spirit, and orange essential oils.  I've also just ordered cinnamon essential oils, one I thought I already had, and I cannot wait to add that to this mix in my diffuser.  It smells like fall and you have all the benefits of the oils.  

Watch a Holiday Movie - Nothing says cozy fall, holiday season like a holiday movie.  One of my favorites that isn't Christmas is Dan in Real Life. It always gives me that cozy, fall, family, happy feeling. I also can't wait for This Is Us to come back on.  All the feelings, all of them.  Just the clips they are posting to promote season two get me all misty and teary eyed.

Bake Something Yummy - Apple Pie, Homemade Bread, Pumpkin cookies.  These all make great afterschool snacks so you can be the awesome mom while your filling your home and heart with the scents of fall.  Sadly my oven doesn't work.  We just won't talk about that, but all that to say that this kitchen remodel needs to happen soon.  I love Alicia blog for great recipes.

Outdoor Evening Fire - If you have an outdoor space with a firepit, gather around it on a cool evening.  We haven't had any of those this first week of September, but they are coming and we will be prepared to chill outside.

Plan Out Your Fall Activities - Grab your planner and start planning.  What is it you love to do in the fall?  Bonfires? Apple picking?  Pumpkin patch visiting?  A fall party or potluck with friends? Plan it out and make it happen.  You could even make a fall bucket list.

Read - Read something fallish.  Here are a few I have recommended in past years.  Right now I'm reading a few. (I always have a few books going.)  I'm reading Pioneer Girl and The Mapping of Love and Death, and hoping to start Anne of Green Gables here soon with my girl.  These are all great fall reads.

Make Something - If you are a crafter, hunker down and start a project.  Fall is a great time to work on something crafty.  Start a cross stitch, a quilt, or a painting or make a fall garland or wreath.  Finish it in time to add to your fall decor is just an added bonus. Margie runs Sparks the Event and has great ideas for all things crafty and does online classes.

Candles - Lighting a fall candle is magical.  It literally brings fall into our home, even if it is still summer weather outside.  My favorite place to buy candles right now is from Homegoods.  Great deal on Yankee candles.  My favorite Yankee candle is this yummy seasonal one.  

Okay, here are just a few ideas to get you into the fall season.  What are you doing to feel all the fall things?  

Summer 2017 Adventures | Boston

Boston was such a lovely way to start out on our summer adventure.  We flew out to Boston two days before school was out because tickets were less expensive and it was a nonstop flight, and when you are buying tickets for 6 people, that makes quite a difference.  We landed early evening, grabbed a shuttle to our hotel, left our bags in our room, and headed out to have some dinner.  I had my first lobster roll, so delicious.  Out hotel was amazing, perfectly located, with an awesome view of the Boston Harbor.  

The next day we headed out to conquer the Freedom Trail. It was so much fun, the kids did great exploring the city.  These eastern cities have so much history around every corner.  The buildings, parks, and architecture are beautiful and such an adventure to explore.  We only made it about 2/3 of the way through the Freedom Trail, we were about as far as Paul Revere's home when we were rained out.  As we were running in the pouring rain to catch the subway back to our hotel we found the yummiest bakery.  We grabbed dinner and individually chosen baked treats for each of us and dashed to the subway.  

Our subway stop let us out less then a block from our hotel.  Perfect.  It just shows you that sometimes things don't work out as planned but can lead to new adventures. The next day Steve ran (like literally went on a run across Boston) to the rental place to grab our rental van.  He found a great deal by renting a utility van.  It didn't have all the bells and whistles of a regular van, but it was clean and roomy and saved us a bunch of money.  Car rentals were definitely the most expensive part of our trip, so saving money with rentals was a big deal. We drove over to Harvard University and stopped  for pizza before we headed up to New Hampshire.  Such a great first couple days to start off our summer adventure.