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Showing posts from 2016

Book Review: Home Sewn

Home Sewn is a B-E-A-utiful book about sewing things for your home- everything from tea towels, to lamp shades, to large floor cushions.... And these are items that are made with high quality materials which makes for a high-end style final product. This isn't your "I know how to sew, so I am going to download some instructions online and use my stash of scraps" type of book. This book is for the artist who finds interest in the detail of textures, fabrics, and simple homemade goods. The author, Cassandra Ellis, gives plenty of detailed instructions, but she does seem to assume the reader already has a decent knowledge of sewing.

While reading this book, I learned that linen has some amazing super powers. Did you know that it can absorb more water than cotton, has antibacterial properties, nonallergenic and is stronger wet than dry? Also, whereas cotton comes from the cotton plant, linen comes from the flax plant.

The only downside I found with this book is that the reco…

Book Review: Home Cooked: Essential recipes for a new way to cook

I love a book with good pictures and a nice storyline- cookbooks included. This cookbook is beautiful enough to be a coffee table book...and Anya's blue and white apron is on my wish-list now. Home Cooked by Anya Fernald starts with the chef's back story and how she arrived at learning her great skills of cooking. She shares instructions on how to make stocks, can tomatoes and other building blocks for her other recipes. Then, she moves to the parts of a good meal- the starters, main courses and desserts.

So far, I have made 4 of these wonderful recipes: the pound cake (YUMMMMM), the buttermilk biscuits, the cornmeal spoon bread and the blackened carrots. Her recipes are basic and call for minimal, high quality, hearty ingredients. Anya isn't afraid of butter, spices, lard, and old ways of preparing and storing her food.

I am super picky about keeping cookbooks around. I have such limited storage space for cookbooks and often rely on a quick google search for something unk…

Book Review: 40 Days of Decrease

I pretend that Alicia and I are on first name basis because her real life BFF is a good friend of mine. I have heard her speak numerous times and always walk away amazed and full, like after a truly wonderful Thanksgiving meal. 
40 Days of Decrease is no different from any of her other books, as far as quality of content. It is packed full of wise words, beautiful word pictures and deeply rooted thoughts. She is a heavy hitter with a gentle heart. I am reading 40 Days for the second time and finding it as helpful and insightful as I did the first time. This will be on my repeated-readings shelf. 
40 Days of Decrease, a different kind of hunger, a different kind of fast is a meaningful experience with a Lenten fast, although it can be used at any point in our calendar year. Instead of fasting our favorite drinks, tv shows, or tasty chocolates, Alicia asks us to fast different kinds of things like neat and tidy faith, artificial light, regret and other things that cause blockages to our…

Book Review; The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde

I snagged a copy of a book on Theodore Roosevelt because I thought my husband would enjoy reading it. But, I started reading it one sunny afternoon- prior to all these late April, chilly, rainy days- and found it highly interesting. 
The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History by Darrin Lunde is about the boyhood explorations of Roosevelt and how they highly impacted his career. Everything from his desire to please his outdoorsy-type father, to his issues with asthma and his interest in cataloguing small animals and birds all intertwined to become his life passions. He devoted his adult life to proving naturalists were true biologists, protecting animals that were on the verge of extinction and providing lasting specimens for which could Americans learn. The Naturalist gives a great account of his life and how he accomplished the many goals he dreamed of meeting. 
As someone who isn’t too political, I enjoyed the bit of in…

handmade

I never thought I'd enjoy sewing clothes for myself. I am usually a "quick project" type person, but lately I have been changing it up a bit. I am finding that I can make things that fit better and look nicer with less money than if I found the same item in a store. As they've worn out, it's been a fun challenge to replace my store bought items with handmade things. It takes a bit of forethought, but I am slowly (read: only once or twice) beginning to think ahead on what I'll need in the upcoming weeks or months (a professional looking outfit for a work/ministry meeting or a dress for Easter Sunday, for example) and attempting to making it myself.

When I saw a call for pattern testing for a knit cardigan, I got a little excited and applied. Surprisingly, I was accepted and sent the pattern to test and had a fun time making myself a cute cardigan. You can find the link to the pattern for sale here....and you MIGHT just see a little picture of your's truly!…

On kids and their worship

Being missionaries, Gil and I get the honor of traveling to many churches. Often, when we visit these churches, our kids are with us and attend the children's programming. We've seen a lot of kid’s ministries. 

Let me put it to you straight. When kids worship purely, they aren’t doing it to perform or show off- just as anyone else. It’s not a spectacle when kids worship. It isn’t cute and doesn’t need to be pointed at, smiled at, shown to the person sitting next to you. One quick way to get kids to “fake” worship or show off in our churchy culture settings is to make light of their actions. 
Acts 2:39 says that the Holy Spirit is for every believer. Not just the grown up believer. When a child believes in Jesus, he or she is a believer. 100%. Not a miniature adult with a portion of belief, but an actual, 100% believer. 
Do we point out when someone puts offering in the basket? Or reads Scripture aloud to the body? Do we think it’s cute when an adult prays for the group? These …

Living Life At Baby Pace

I like to start things. I like to make things. I like to brainstorm amazing ideas for books and writers retreats. I like to make lists of things to do with my bestie, amazing recipes, crafty things, building she-sheds and huge tree swings on remote farms in the countryside. I like to be busy. I like to go places, see people, explore little shops. I like decorating and making the ugly into pretty. But I have learned that I get so busy with my interests and activity, that I miss things.
I miss the details in the hurry. I focus on the destination and forget the journey, as the old adage advises. And one of the parts of life that is the most tiring taught me to slow down. 
When the littlest legs in the house can only go at a snail’s pace, the entire family slows down. Daily schedules revolve around nap time and bed times, shopping trips only last as long as the youngest, and meals are eaten faster than it took to just set the table. Despite the spent energy and never-ending to do lists, I …

A Paris Birthday

My littlest lady turned 8 recently and asked for a Paris birthday party. We kicked it up a notch and hosted a Posh Paris Petshop Party and invited a few girls to bring their (stuffed) pets to get glammed up. We loaded up on cute ribbons and scented sprays. The girls had fun. We served all sorts of paris style treats and had a fancy tea party. Her grandmother gave her a few Eiffel Tower decorations for her bedroom, so we used them to decorate for the party. It was all so sweet. 
To top off all the paris style details, I gave her a copy of Paris Street Style: A coloring book. She had been asking for a grown-up coloring book, so she was so excited to see one all about Paris. The book is super nice, with study pages and detailed drawings. I also like that it has an elastic strap which wraps around the entire book. It's so posh looking! I think, of all the grown-up coloring books I have seen, this is the nicest. 


Thanks BloggingforBooks for my copy of this book in exchange for an hones…

Pretty things

I have wanted a grown-up coloring book for awhile, but I never would spend the money to get one. I sent one to my sister in law and dear friend in Alaska, stashed away some for Valentine's Day for the girls (Shhh!...don't tell them!) But, thanks to BloggingforBooks, I was sent this one called Whatever is Lovely. It's perfect. The pages are thick and durable, the images are really pretty and I can't wait to get a little time to color. Now, I just have to figure out if I want to use the standard crayola colored pencils, or something else more grown-up.....and a hiding spot for it!







I was sent this copy for free from BloggingforBooks in exchange for a free review.


My secret indulgence

Interesting, lesser-known fact about me: I love stand-up comedy. 
However, I only love clean stand-up comedy. My take on the issue is, if you can’t be funny without slumping to the lowest common denominator, then you aren’t that talented. It takes major talent to be funny without slamming or shaming others, making light of completely inappropriate topics or employing every vulgar word in the book. 
During the first few winters here in New England, I found the best way for me to fight the blahhs was to give myself a double-whammie of endorphins.... this happened by listening to the PG comedy station on Pandora while working out at the gym. I am sure I made more than a few people wonder what I was doing as I laughed my way around the indoor track. It was loads of fun and worked well to combat the dark, wet months. 
One of the best mostly-clean comedians is Jeff Gaffigan. Even his last name sounds funny. His routines are hysterical. He has loads of kids, loves his wife, makes fun of hims…