Friday Favorites–Brrr… Edition

Friday Favorites–Brrr… Edition

I know a lot of people get bummed out when they take down their Christmas decorations, but as much as I love getting them all out right after Thanksgiving I also kind of love putting them up. Everything feels clean and fresh, which seems just right after a month of Advent and celebrating the arrival of the One who would wash us white as snow.

January is a hard month for me because I like being outside and I like green things that grow. This past weekend I bought a fern and plopped it on my kitchen table and a big bowl of succulents and stuck it on my mantel. We’ll see how long they live, but right now the little verdant bursts are making me smile.

A few recent favorites. . .

Prodigal God by Timothy Keller: I have been on a big Tim Keller podcast kick when I run. Matt and I always give each other a book for Christmas, and since the prodigal son story is his favorite I got him this book. After he read it, I did too, and we both loved, loved, loved it. A must read.

My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl: Matt gave me this book for Christmas, and even though it’s a recipe book I read it cover to cover. Reichl is a gifted cook but also an exceptional writer. I thought of my dear friend Heather all the way through it. I’m a firm believer that the closest of friends have their own special language, a unique way they talk to each other. For Heather and me, it’s food. We have a thousand memories together and almost all of them have an accompanying taste–bright Florida citrus, earthy potato leek soup, and, of course, the infamous duck.

Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear: I read the first nine of this series on our anniversary trip and the final two when I got home. It’s a series of British mystery novels set in the time period between WWI and WWII. I love historical fiction and a good mystery, so this was a winning combo for me.

ESV Study Bible: For our anniversary Matt got me this study Bible, and I love it! The ESV is my favorite version. (For many reasons, but at the top of the list–it includes all the beholds–my word of the year for 2014.) This one has great study notes at the bottom of each page and a ton of maps and diagrams to help visual people connect the dots.

Iggy Peck, Architect & Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts: My mom got these for Lottie for Christmas, and they are so fun! We’ve read them about a billion times already. The illustrations are a welcome relief to a mom who needs a break from Disney princesses.

Rain for Roots: My friend Jess and I went to Ellie Holcomb’s Christmas concert. We are both huge Ellie fans, and at the concert she sang “Do Not Worry” from The Kingdom of Heaven is Like This CD.  I got home and ordered several of these Rain for Roots CDs for my girls, my nieces, and birthday gifts for some wee friends.

The Giving Keys: Matt got my word for 2016 on a key necklace for me. I wear it often, and I love the story behind The Giving Keys.

Live FashionABLE Mamuye tote: In case you have Christmas money, may I recommend this incredible tote? It is beautiful, and the story behind the women who make it is even more beautiful. Also, it’s made in Ethiopia. {Love.} I used to be a cheap clothes/wearables kind of girl until I realized that if a shirt costs $3 someone wasn’t paid fairly to make it. My clothing budget hasn’t increased so this means buying waaaaaaay less stuff, but when I do it’s quality and I try to support companies that are engaging in responsible and fair business practice. All that to say, this company is awesome. When my birthday came around in September, I put all my gift money together to get this bag. I love the size {because, hello, we can’t go anywhere without 246 snacks} and supporting the women of Ethiopia.

Krochet Kids beanie: My husband loves beanies, and I found this cool company helping women in Uganda and Peru be able to earn a fair wage with a hook and yarn. I got him The Reed, and he wears it all the time. Even in the house. {Because we keep it like an ice box in here in the winter.}

Stay warm, friends! It’s gray and cold here today, but my trusty fern is doing her job to add a little green in front of me.

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Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Thank goodness the sun is out today. My self-diagnosed seasonal affective disorder was in desperate need of some sunshine. I realized at the end of last Sunday that I just sort of let the weekend happen. I didn’t think about it or plan anything fun. I’m realizing more and more how much I set the pace for our family. If I’m rushing and burning at both ends, most likely my family is too. And if I’m relaxed and looking for ways to add a little fun to our day, then they will have a chance to breathe and laugh too–more on that topic next week.

But for today a few favorites as of recent…

Naked 2 eyeshadow palette: Trust me I’m not going to give you any makeup advice. Hello, I have to ask my bff Kimmie for makeup tutorials. But she recommended this palette a while ago, and I got it for Christmas a year ago. Even after using this same palette every day for a year, none of the colors is even showing the bottom of the tin yet. That’s how long these shadows last.

Smartwool socks: These are a must for running when it’s cold. I love, love, love these socks. They stay put and don’t give you blisters, and they keep your toes toasty.

Fixer Upper: After several friends recommended this show, I had to watch, and now I am a big Chip and Joanna fan. I’ve only seen two episodes, but my favorite part is watching Chip and Joanna mess with each other.

Experiencing God at Home: Our small group just started this study. We’re only one week in, so I’ll let you know how the rest goes. I find myself getting lost in the day to day survival of life with littles, and this is helping me think long term and big picture.

Chronicles of Narnia Audio Book: We got this collection for the girls for Christmas. Lydia listens to a CD every day during rest time, and they both listen while they are going to sleep at night. It’s the full collection of books done by Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre, and the quality is excellent.

Halo Fleece Swaddle: With the frigid temps, our little Peach has basically lived in one of these. And there’s nothing so sweet as a little fleecy baby burrito.

Rock ‘n Play: Let’s imagine it’s 3 am, and you have pregnancy insomnia so there you are reading lists of favorite baby products. Everyone keeps talking about this Rock ‘n Play. You remember that the swing is barely hanging on because it was donated to you before your first baby four years ago, and the music now sounds like a dying cat. You also remember that your two-year-old was bouncing on the bouncer a few days ago and may have broken it. You find one of these “raved about” Rock ‘n Plays on sale for $40 on Amazon Prime and that one click button is so dangerous… yes, I bought it. And it was worth every penny. It even folds up so I was able to take it with us when we went to visit family for Christmas.

Well, I better go round up the littles so we can tackle our school stuff for the day. The weekend is near, the sun is out, and, unlike last week, I put a little thought towards our weekend. It’s Friday. My goals for the weekend… take a deep breath, laugh a lot, cook something yummy, and tell some people we love them.

A Letter to that Groundhog & Random Wintertime Favorites

A Letter to that Groundhog & Random Wintertime Favorites

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Dear Mr. Groundhog,

Perhaps it would have been better had you just lied to me. Because the sheer thought of six more weeks of cold and gray depresses me.

Love,

This sun-loving, flip-flop-wearing, green-grass-dreaming girl

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Random Wintertime Favorites

I love Christmas, but after that I’m ready for spring. I’m dreaming of all things warm and sunny, but in the meantime here are a few winter favorites getting me through…

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Apparel: Since most days I have been sporting the warmest outfit I own, my gymnastics sweat shirt from 7th grade and my fleece pants, until I quickly change into real clothes at 4:30 pm before Matt gets home (shh… don’t tell him!) my recommendations here are few. But my mom did give my sister and me a pair of fuzzy socks that go all the way up to my kneecaps, and those have been my lifesaver. If you don’t know the joy of fuzzy socks, you’re missing out. Oh, and plaid shirts and puffy vests. It’s like wearing flannel sheets and a down comforter out in public. My preferred outfit in the frigid temps.

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Recipes: We’ve been in a serious baking mood over here. I don’t know what it is about gray skies and freezing temperatures that make me want to bake, but Lydia and I have whipped up batches and batches of Shauna Niequist’s Breakfast Cookies and Gaia Cookies. The girls and I eat the breakfast cookies in the morning snuggled up in their tepee, and at nights Matt and I bundle up on the couch wrapping our hands around our mugs of tea munching Gaia cookies while we watch Sherlock.

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On the Telly: Apparently, we’re feeling the British vibe now drinking our tea and watching Sherlock and Downton Abbey. We love us some PBS, but the no commercial breaks are hard. When am I supposed to go take my Gaia cookies out of the oven?! And who is going to die this season on Downton Abbey?!

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For Fun: We love to be outside, but other than my runs–don’t you like my eyelash icicles–and the few and far between days with temps above 50, we have mostly been inside. Which means lots of baking, lots of books (new In Italics list coming next week) and some “creative” activities.

I so badly want to be one of these Pinteresty, crafty, whip-it-up moms, but I just don’t have it. My oldest loves crafts and asks all the time, “Can we do an activity, you know with glue?” Thankfully, a few months ago I learned about Kiwi Crate, and that little box has kept wee hands busy and Momma sane during these gray days. Basically, they send your child a box with everything you need to complete 2-3 activities each month. The instructions are simple and it’s delivered to your front door. Yes, yes and thank you. It costs $20 a month. If you’re the type who has a “craft closet,” this is probably not for you. But for those of us who don’t want three million popsicle sticks taking up residence in our home–because those things always seem to multiply like bunnies–this might be right up your alley.

My favorite part is that it gives us a starting point for our learning focus each month. In addition to the resources that come in the box, there are tons that Kiwi Crate provides online as well as some recommended books to go along with that month’s box. I go online to the Memphis Library website, find all the recommended books and have a big stack of books held for me at the front desk. Then I waltz in, tell them my name, hand over my library card and walk out with my books. I pat myself on the back and tell myself I’m awesome. (Then, my kid bonks her head getting in the car, starts screaming, everyone in the parking lot turns to stare at me and I’m suddenly back to reality.) If you want to check it out, you can get $10 off your first box. (And I get a $10 credit too. Hugs, thank you and a virtual cookie sent your way.)

What about you? Winter favorites? Netflix recommendations? Baking recipe ideas? Do you love fuzzy socks as much as me?

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