seven quick takes.

Dropping in for some super quick shares and updates before the weekend crazies hit!

  1. Homeschooling has been going great. Actually  better than I was even expecting.  But seeing as it’s only kindergarten for Joe, we’re keeping it SUPER light, and expectations pretty low, and it’s made for a pretty nice, chill start to a year. Like, guys, there has been only one crying jag since we started. About school, that is. I call that a success. See? Low expectations. Although I do think I need to find a more structured math program, because what we’ve been doing is fiiiiine, but not great. Suggestions? I’m all ears.
  2. I recently discovered this app/program thingy (Technology is the new math, guys. It’s hard.) called Honey. Saves so much money! I was skeptical, but it seriously works. One of my favorite parts is that a sidebar pops up when you’re shopping (like on Amazon) and shows you how much it costs other places, or tells you that you’re getting the best price. And when you go to check out after any online shopping, it automatically tries to apply any coupons that might apply.  It. Is. Awesome. Total no-brainer.
  3. Speaking of Amazon, have you heard of these dresses that look like miniBoden but are way cheaper?  I haven’t even ordered them yet, but I’m kind of excited to get a couple for the girls for the winter.                                            
  4. I’ve been on a streak of reading some great books lately.  Ordinary Grace was one of the better works of fiction I’ve read this year. I loved how it was sort of a mystery, but so well-written and poignant. I’d highly recommend it.  I’ve also been reading Life of the Beloved, which was just wonderful, Life is So Good, which I thought was really uplifting, and I’m finally reading the Anne of Green Gables series and wondering where it’s been all my life.  It’s been a great book month for me.  Don’t you love it when that happens?!
  5. I’ve been loving working on bread-baking so much lately, but am finding that it’s hard to practice and get any better only making a loaf or two a day. And even then, we can’t keep up with eating all that bread, despite our most valiant efforts. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a little micro-bakery and taking subscriptions, but can’t commit to it.  I love the idea, but am totally overwhelmed by the idea of starting a business, however small.  Anyone with tips will be paid in hugs and loaves.
  6. It’s the first day of fall and is 90 degrees and humid as all get out.  I am displeased. So I’m hiding in the air conditioning and drinking tea and pretending that the air is nippy out there… while it’s decidedly NOT. How am I supposed to get my apple-picking game on when I can’t even take out the trash without breaking into a steady, dripping sweat?
  7. I think I need to gear up for another Buy Nothing month. Last year I did it in November and it was perfect, but October might be good, too.  Last year I miss out on Black Friday deals for Christmas, which was hard. But in hindsight, I can see that it was probably a good thing. Who’s joining me this year? You know you want to!

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a little update… shall we?

So, turns out that I should have given up blogging for Lent, because guys?  I’m KILLIN’ that. Whoops.  I wish I could say we’ve just been super busy, but in reality, it’s just all the regular old life stuff that’s kept me distracted and not clacking away at my keyboard these days.  I know you’ve been positively aching to know what’s happening over here, so I’ll put you guys out of your misery immediately.  Here’s some updates. Continue reading

the end of buy nothing november

img_7247 And just like that, November is drawing to a close.  When I decided that I wouldn’t buy anything for the entire month of November, I admit it was mostly just a reaction to the plethora of stuff in my house, and the overwhelming commercialism of the upcoming holiday season.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, or how I would feel about it when it was all said and done. Some of the results of a month-long kibosh on spending were as you’d expect, while others really surprised me.  In a nutshell, here are my takeaways from Buy Nothing November: Continue reading

7 things i’ll miss in november

Since I’ve decided to commit to doing a #buynothingnovember (read more about that here), I decided it would be wholly appropriate for me to sit here and whine about the stuff I’ll miss.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  But I did sit and think about the stuff I’ll have to say no to, so I can be prepared.  Here it is:

  1. Target. Just Target in general.  I know I can’t go there, even for food. Because seriously, have you ever gone to Target just for food and actually walked out with just food? No. So it’s probably best we just part ways for a while.
  2. Amazon.  Kind of for the same reason as Target- it’s just way too easy to buy stuff.  There are things that I would consider needs that I purchase through Amazon, but if I’m being honest, there are a lot of purchases that I justify as needs that might not actually be needs.  That “Add to Cart” button is just too tempting.  I’ll be hitting Amazon pretty hard in December for Christmas presents, so I feel ok taking a little break for the month of November. I’ll just use that prime subscription for endless episodes of Daniel Tiger and Man in the High Castle, thank you very much.img_5364{library books will be my friend.}
  3. Fancy beverages. This is one of those things that I say I don’t really care about but somehow I keep buying them.  So it should be easy to pass on these next month.  Not stopping at the coffee shop will probably be pretty easy, because I don’t do it too often. But not scooping up some delicious artisan soda or kombucha at the grocery store might prove to be harder.  We’ll see.img_4877{goodbye, fancy soda.}
  4. Clicking through to shops on Instagram.  I am SO bad about this.  I scroll through my friend’s instagram photos and the cute sweater they’re wearing catches my eye. Or the blanket on their couch.  Lucky for me, they tagged it!  Woo hoo!  I tap through, and before I know it, I’m the proud new owner of a fair-trade, organic alpaca blanket that costs as much as a years’ worth of Starbucks.  Ok, not really, but close to that.  I’m not giving up Instagram, but I’m going to work on reminding myself NOT to click through to shops, even if they’re incredibly tempting.  Self-control, guys.  Not my strong suit, but I’m gonna give it a go.
  5. Buying kids’ clothes. My kids don’t need any more clothes. Period.  They don’t have huge wardrobes, but they don’t need huge wardrobes.  And they don’t care, at all.  So at this point, if I buy something for them to wear, it’s more for me than for them, even though I sometimes tell myself otherwise.  If we’re really in need of something, I’ll bust out the sewing machine and attempt to make it with what I have on hand.img_5250{hope you like this sweater, joe.}
  6. MLM Parties.  Online or otherwise.  Because here is how it goes: I get invited to one of these parties and I say, “I’ll just do it to support my friend, but I’m not buying anything  because I don’t need anything.” And then… the rest is history.  I adore my friends who are entrepreneurs and truly do like to support them in any way I can.  But I’ll have to find other ways to support their endeavors in November, because leggings, no matter how soft and comfy they are, are a want and not a need for me at the moment.  But I’ll miss the snacks and wine.
  7. And here’s one thing I won’t miss: targeted ads.  I’m going to clear all the cookies and caches and whatnot on my computer so that I won’t get so many of those targeted ads that always seem to know exactly what I want.  I can’t even tell you how many times I shopped for something online, decided that I didn’t need it, then one of those Facebook ads popped up and I then decided that I did want it.  This is exactly the point of these kinds of ads, I get it, but I don’t need anything convincing me that I need anything during the month of November, so I’m going to do my best to steer clear.

So that’s how I’ll be avoiding needless spending on November- any other tips for me?

*Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.  Head over and see what everyone else is up to!*

seven quick takes.

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  1. In years past, I’ve done lots of canning and preserving at the end of the summer.  This year, I’m trying not to expect too much of myself in that department, so I’ve really only gotten around to the essentials: applesauce and giardinara. Those are the two things that we not only enjoy the most, but they’re also the ones that I’ve found are worth it to can yourself instead of just buying them.  NOTHING beats homemade applesauce, and I get super annoyed that it’s basically impossible to find store-bought giardinara without food coloring in it.  Seriously. Annoying.  Canning with a newborn is a tricky proposition, so I’m going to go ahead and call it a win for this year and moving on. I also made this apple cake, which is a whole lot easier and it’s cake, so it’s better than anything I could possibly can.
  2. Do you guys read Lori Harris’ blog?  Everything she writes has me nodding and muttering emphatic YESes at my computer screen, and this piece that she wrote on mercy was really amazing, I thought.  I put this one in my “Re-read often” folder.rectangle-upside-down-podcast-words_1_orig
  3. Speaking of Lori, she and four other women (including my sweet friend Shannon Evans), have started a podcast that’s pretty flippin’ fantastic.  It’s call Upside Down and it’s worth a listen.  They deal honestly and lovingly with tough issues that come with being Christ-followers.  It’s inspiring, funny, and real all at the same time.  If you’re into podcasts (or even if you’re not), put this one on your list.
  4. Where are you on the whole “leggings as pants” spectrum? I’m vaguely on the anti-leggings-as-pants side, but not so much that I couldn’t be convinced with a decent argument.  However, I’ve extremely pro-leggings when it comes to turning summer dresses into fall and winter attire, or with tunics or long sweaters and stuff like that.  Since the weather has turned colder, a closer examination of my closet has revealed that almost all of my leggings are, indeed, maternity leggings.  Yeesh.  So I decided to try my luck and order a couple pairs from Pact.  I was nervous to order online because I’m realllll picky about leggings.  They have to be on the thicker side, but not so thick that they don’t bunch up behind the knees.  Smooth so they don’t bunch whatever top or dress I’m wearing, but not nylon shiny like tights.  Snug enough that they smooth everything out, but stretchy enough that I can wear them comfortably after I eat an entire burrito. And never, ever see-through.  But I was pleasantly surprised by these- they fit all my qualifications, PLUS they’re made from organic cotton, PLUS they’re ethically produced, PLUS they weren’t super expensive.  If you’re in the market for leggings, these are worth your time.
  5. My hubby was super sweet and went out and bought me Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new book, The Magnolia Story. It’s sweet because we loved watching all the Fixer Upper episodes together on Netflix, and he heard about their book on the radio and went out and got it.  This might not sound like a big deal, but he’d be the first one to admit, he’s not got the best track-record at gift-giving.  But that may be a different post.  Anywho, the book is sweet and fun to read, and I think my hubs is going to read it, too so we can talk about it.  How fun is that?
  6. In a true show of Grace-ness, Grace told me she wanted to be a duck for Halloween… literally an hour after I completed her black cat costume.  So I totally mean-mommed it and told her she had to be a black cat.  Do you think she’ll live? Too soon to tell. I’ll update you next week.img_9483{This was Grace last year. At least she’s consistent.}
  7. We’re going to see Apparition Hill on Sunday and I’m really looking forward to it.  Partly because I’ve heard it’s excellent (there’s even Oscar talk!) and partly because I think it’ll be the first time in almost 4 years that I’ve seen a movie in an actual theater.  Living the life here, guys.  But don’t worry, the babe will be with us, so it’s not tooooo  crazy.fullsizeoutput_c3

*Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum… head over and check out what everyone else is up to!*

instagram, social media, and keepin’ it real

If you’ve been around here long at all, you know I love Instagram.  I love the glimpses into people’s lives, I love the little snippets of what they have to say, I love the lack of links to political opinion pieces.

img_3930{these were really good, but that powdered sugar was everywhere about 20 seconds later}

But there’s kind of a weirdness going on with Instagram (and pretty much all social media) right now. There’s a definite tension between “keeping it real” and “keeping it pretty”.  A common complaint I hear over and over is that when we only see snippets of people’s day-to-day, or the “highlights”, our lives seem pretty lame by comparison. I know some people have sworn off the platform entirely because they can’t handle being confronted with other people’s “perfect” lives. Continue reading