Monday, December 31, 2012

Finding Peace in the Chaos

I wasn't going to do a word or phrase for 2013 until I saw this ad in a window as we ate our fondue dinner tonight. It resonated instantly, and I knew it would be my motto for 2013. Or maybe for the next decade.

Until next year...

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Daybook 12.17.12

Outside my window... dark, and I imagine, cold. I love the cold, but really only because it is a good excuse to stay inside. I'm not so fond of cold when I have to be or want to be outside. Cool weather is great. Cold, no.

I am thinking... that it has been so long since I've been in this space. An entire month. There was just too much going on in my life and in my mind. Hoping that as we approach the holidays, I'll feel like being here again.

I am thankful for... all the little creatures that share our home and life.

From the kitchen... a warm chai this morning. I made crepes for breakfast yesterday. There are a few leftover in the fridge for the kids this morning. I don't like leftover crepes so much, but the kids love them. For dinner tonight I might make a beef stew recipe that my friend Nona told me about.

I am wearing... tee shirt and legging PJs, fisherman sweater, and my trusty slippers.

I am creating... I found some time in my sewing room over the weekend. Got a few last minute gifts done. Always more I want to make. Finishing up the binding on a couple quilts. Starting to think about what I want to make in 2012.

I am going... to take a nap this afternoon. I woke up too early!

I am reading... a lot lately. It feels good. I'm about half way through Shantaram - love me a good, long novel! Also working through How Children Succeed. Reading it will probably affect some of our homeschooling.

I am hoping... that the world doesn't end in 5 days. There is a lot I would like to do in 2013.

I am hearing...
the furnace kicking on and off and the tick of the kitchen clock

Around the house... my dining room is a disaster of Christmas crafts and packing supplies. I only have 1-2 more boxes to pack up and ship, so hopefully it will return semi-normal state again soon. We put up some bedroom bookshelves on my side of the bed last weekend. I love them! Literally, I wake up at night and smile at all my books in the dark. So much better than having them piled around my nightstand!

One of my favorite things... Christmas baking!!

A few plans for the rest of the week... kinda a quiet week (thank goodness!) - all the normal activities plus tennis matches today and tomorrow until after the holidays, the kids' swimming is being filmed underwater at the Olympic Training Center (kinda cool, huh? and definitely overkill for a certain little boy!), holiday program a the kids' homeschool "school," furnace check, my dad is having a minor surgery, and my mom comes on Saturday.

Here is a picture I am sharing: 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Well, Hello

I feel like it has been a long time since I've actually *written* anything on my blog (photos and to do lists and daybook posts don't count!). The kids and I arrived yesterday at my parents' home in Dallas for a long Thanksgiving visit. Kate and Jack basking in the grandparent attention, and I'm enjoying a little down time.

The drive here is always fairly enjoyable to me. We usually split it into two 6 hour days leaving one afternoon and arriving by the next afternoon. I mostly let the kids zone out with their iPods while I listen to podcasts or a book on tape. I finished listening to Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter which, despite being rather gory, was a fun book with an interesting premise. I like the interplay of history and fantasy. After finishing, I started right in on Talent is Overrated which my sister recommended to me. When I get on a subject kick, I usually read all I can. My last interest was happiness, but now I'm on to talent/practice. Look for a lot of related book reads.

All this reading on talent (and a bit on success) has me rethinking some of our homeschool focus. I don't think I'll make any drastic changes, just tweaks. The homeschooling is going really well overall. I should do a big blog post on what we've done so far this year and the adjustments we've made as we go. And about how much I have learned/re-learned.

It is also getting to that time of year when I really start looking forward to the next year. I love everything about goal setting - planning, setting, reviewing, achieving, adjusting. I need to do a review of my 40 for 40 list. I haven't blogged about it since last June. There is no way I'll get everything on the list done in 2012. Not even close. I've decided to give myself my entire 40th year (so until my 41st birthday next Sept) to complete the list. Shoot, maybe I'll even give myself the entire decade! Even though I'll continue with my 40 list, I've also been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in 2013. Have a bit of a brainstorming list started, but I need to organize and prioritize over the next few weeks.

I have hope that this week will be a kick start for me to get back into two things again - blogging and running. Both have fallen to the wayside this fall. I'd like to be able to blame homeschooling, but I still could find the time if I really put in an effort. Hopefully I'll do both tomorrow?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

To Do List 11.11.12

Didn't do so well this week... overestimated how much I could get done with back to back house guests!
  1. Vote
  2. Get kids' photos taken for Canadian citizenship paperwork
  3. Clean the hedgehog cage
  4. Put out bird feeders
  5. Complete Gifts and Giving Week Checklist from Organized Christmas (some but not as much as I wanted...)
  6. Figure out holiday card photo
  7. Inventory my gift closet (and make a pile of unwanted gifts to give to Toys for Tots)
  8. Print holiday card address labels (I made a noble attempt but ran into some difficulty)
  9. Apologize to my sewing machine for abandoning it and finish an important gift
  10. Go for a run
Some things not on the list that I managed to get done

  1. Bring in rosemary plant (every year I forget and every year it dies in the cold - not this year!)
  2. Cleaned pantry cabinet
  3. Folded and put away LOTS of laundry
  4. Partially reorganized homeschool room and desk after big moves and new furniture

For this week... hopeful but already doubtful that I'll finish my list for this week

  1. Get kids' photos taken for Canadian citizenship paperwork
  2. Clean the hedgehog cage (poor, poor hedgehog!!)
  3. Put out bird feeders
  4. Complete Gifts and Giving Week Checklist from Organized Christmas
  5. Inventory my gift closet (and make a pile of unwanted gifts to give to Toys for Tots)
  6. Make changes to address book to prep for printing address labels
  7. Apologize to my sewing machine for abandoning it and finish an important gift
  8. Call to return new living room rug that I don't like
  9. Take a Zappos return to the UPS store
  10. Do exchange of dance wear for Kate
ps - it's my favorite date of the year 11/11

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Weekly To Do List 11.4.12

Got a little side tracked this last week with some rearranging of spaces, so I was actually surprised to see that I got so much crossed off on this list!
  1. Vote (at least I've finally decided!)
  2. Get kids' Canadian citizenship paperwork notarized (remembered that they need photos taken first)
  3. Complete Reality Checklist for Organized Christmas - a few things are rolling over to this week, but not many
  4. Clean fishbowl and hedgehog cage - poor Boots!
  5. Do fall cleaning of chicken coop
  6. Winterize garden
  7. Order new living room rug
  8. Clean office (it has fallen into a massive state of disarray - worse than usual!!)
  9. Put out bird feeders
  10. Update Mvelopes budget
This week's list. Trying to keep it easy by adding some of my "undones" from the last 2 weeks of Organized Christmas to my weekly list. I'm feeling like I have a bit too much on my plate right now.

  1. Vote
  2. Get kids' photos taken for Canadian citizenship paperwork
  3. Clean the hedgehog cage
  4. Put out bird feeders (I've directed Matt on where I want them... hoping he'll do the rest!)
  5. Complete Gifts and Giving Week Checklist from Organized Christmas
  6. Figure out holiday card photo (either choose one from earlier this year or take one)
  7. Inventory my gift closet (and make a pile of unwanted gifts to give to Toys for Tots)
  8. Print holiday card address labels
  9. Apologize to my sewing machine for abandoning it and finish an important gift
  10. Go for a run (I haven't been since I got back from Croatia! Yikes!)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

DayBook 11.1.12

Outside my window... dark. It is only 5:30am, although I've been up for over an hour. Not sure if it is insomnia or just enough sleep the last few nights.

I am thinking... about all my friends. I really like my friends.

I am thankful for... for quiet morning time to myself.

From the kitchen... fall always inspires me to cook. Dinner tonight will either be lasagna from the freezer or roasted chicken in the crockpot with acorn squash. Also want to make split pea soup soon. And roasted veggies. And white bean soup. I'm also going to freeze some garlic bread since Matt came home last night with two large loaves of bread which we didn't eat.

I am wearing... long tee shirt that has become a PJ top with black leggings, long sweater because our house is always cold and my fuzzy leopard print slippers

I am creating... Christmas presents! Everything is coming together nicely. Branching out a bit this year for one gift. Getting to know the guys in the hardware store pretty well.

I am going... to have a spa day today! Lucky me!

I am reading... nada, mostly. Still working my way through Suite Francaise. It is a good book, just not a page turner. And I feel like I can hardly call it reading when I only pick it up once a week or so!

I am hoping... that I'll get around to blogging about homeschool one of these days. Let's just say we are all still really enjoying it!

I am hearing... 
the space heater keeping the hedgehog warm and the kitten purring beside me.

Around the house... making fun changes! I finally got sick of homeschooling at the dining room table. I really don't use my office much anymore except as a dumping ground. Moved some furniture around, and the office has now become the homeschool room (and, if/when the kids go back to school, it will be a homework room). It is usable, but will need another week or two before it is complete as I shuffle things around. We moved my desk to the little alcove between the kitchen and the mudroom. There is an old built-in (the creative cabinet) that is barely functional, so we are going to take that out and officially make it a desk area for paying bills, filing, desktop use. My book collection has been displaced, but I think we'll move a bookcase next to my side of the bed to house them. I'll blog some pics when it comes together a bit more.

One of my favorite things... Halloween candy!! 

A few plans for the rest of the week: How is it Thursday already? And November?!? I mentioned my spa day, but also a program for the kids at the library, tennis make-up match, a birthday party, and my father-in-law is in town. Oh - and an extra hour this weekend!

Here is a picture I am sharing: Silly kitten stuck up in the tree... again! I admit that I wasn't really wild about this animal when we first got her, but she has really grown on me the last few months. Such a character!
(No Halloween photos of the kids to share... all pictures have friends in them, and I didn't get one of my kids together!)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

To Do - Week of Oct 27th

I want to get back to my weekly To Do lists. It really helps me feel like I've accomplished something through the week. I usually also give myself a short (3-ish things) daily to do list in addition to the weekly list. This is my list that I wrote on the plane for myself last week.

  1. Find Matt's Canadian passport & print renewal application - DONE! plus I got the kids' Canadian citizenship applications started
  2. Organize Christmas binder - DONE!
  3. RSVP parties x2 - DONE! yes to one, no to another
  4. Find babysitter - NA - rsvp'd no to that party...
  5. Kate's costume - DONE!
  6. Jack's costume - DONE!
  7. My costume - NA - rsvp'd no to that party...
  8. Decorate for Halloween - DONE! (mostly by the kids... we are not Martha...)
  9. Order birthday presents for cousins - DONE!
  10. Vote - not done... just. can't. decide... much to the dismay of my friends on both sides...
Here's my list for this week

  1. Vote
  2. Get kids' Canadian citizenship paperwork notarized
  3. Complete Reality Checklist for Organized Christmas
  4. Clean fishbowl and hedgehog cage
  5. Do fall cleaning of chicken coop
  6. Winterize garden
  7. Order new living room rug
  8. Clean office (it has fallen into a massive state of disarray - worse than usual!!)
  9. Put out bird feeders
  10. Update Mvelopes budget

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This Makes Me Happy

A little Halloween, Etsy gift came in the mail yesterday, but I don't know who it is from!

(I actually have it hanging in a window but it was difficult to get a decent photo in that spot)

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Organized Christmas

How convenient is it that the Organized Christmas Countdown starts on the day I get back from my trip? Pretty perfect timing for this wanna be organizer! I've used this the last couple years, and it has really made my holidays so much more enjoyable. Instead of running around like a crazy lady, I actually have found the time to enjoy what I love about the season - holiday lights, making cookies, giving to friends and family, etc.

So as I drag myself through this week and the awful jet lag, my only goal (other than getting back in our homeschool routine) is to get through the Week One Get Organized checklist.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Heading Home

It has been a lovely week and a wonderful trip with my friend Elizabeth, but I'm looking forward to being a home. A few photos from this week in Croatia...

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Right Now

Enjoying a new favorite - Croatian brand Franck black Indian tea. You'll have to trust me that the view of the sea from here is lovely.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lovely Day

Arrived in Dubrovnik. Did a bit of walking around Old Town. Had a nice rest in our sobe. Dinner at a vegetarian restaurant Nishta (yum!) during a torrential downpour. Look at the steps behind me in the photo below!

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

This Makes Me Happy

I bought these little Lotta Jansdotter zip bags YEARS (8? 10?) ago thinking they would make a nice little gift for someone. Well, they have sat in the gift closet all this time because I just couldn't bring myself to actually give them away.

I've been on the lookout for some new zipper pouches when I remembered these. I decided to give them to myself! They are currently holding my few little things as I travel across the ocean.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

This Makes Me Happy

I literally squealed with delight when I opened this little present!!

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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Glacier/Waterton Trip Days 4-6

From our trip this summer. Wish I could find more words to describe what a great trip it was. Photos will have to do.

After 3 nights on the west side of the park (Apgar campground), we moved to the east side of the park and camped at Many Glacier. This is a first come, first serve campground that fills up quickly. Matt gets lots of kudos as a great husband and dad for getting up early, driving over to find us a site, driving BACK to get us and the camper, and then BACK AGAIN to the new campsite. It was a lovely campground right on the river. The kids could have spent 3 days playing in the river, but we did manage to get in a boat ride and a few hikes. I loved that there was a camp restaurant not far away. Nothing like a big pancake breakfast cooked on a greasy griddle after a few nights of camping!

There was a huge rainstorm our first night in Many Glacier. That camper was well worth its price as the rain poured down!
River that runs by camp
River play
Suspension bridge
Can't remember what lake this is! St. Mary's?
Great spot for a picnic
Suspension bridge on the return trip
Hiking back to catch the boat
Another great picnic spot
Mama bear with 3 babies
See all 3?? Plus Mama behind the tree

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Daybook 10.6.12

Outside my window... it's SNOWING!! Okay, barely, but there is already a bit on the back furniture. It is so cloudy, you can't even tell there are mountains out there.

I am thinking... I love the mountains! I never thought I would live where I can see them every day. That being said, I think my ideal would be to split time between here and a tropical beach. Maybe Hawaii?

I am thankful for... a husband who goes out on cold mornings to get bagels for the herd of children I have in my house this morning.

From the kitchen... having a chai tea dusted with cinnamon right now, bagels (see above) for breakfast, and I'm thinking we'll make potato soup for dinner.

I am wearing... my Patagonia PJ pants (love these! got 'em on sale this summer and wish Patagonia carried them all the time) and a long sleeved white long hoodie and my Smartwool socks

I am creating... think it will be a good day to pull out some crafts for the kids. Maybe I'll get to my sewing machine as well.

I am going... back to Europe this week! Sorta a 40th birthday present to me. Going to fly into Geneva, pick up my dear friend Elizabeth, and let her take me off to Croatia for an adventure.

I am reading... not much lately.

I am hoping... to clean out the darn pantry today!

I am hearing...
kids watching TV in the other room.

Around the house... same old, same old... the more I clean and declutter, the messier it seems to get!

One of my favorite things... my deep freezer! Love having meals fro zen for when I don't feel like cooking.

A few plans for the rest of the week: normal homeschool activities, normal tennis, not normal packing. And my mom is flying in to help Matt with the kids while I am gone.

Here is a picture I am sharing: Jack Van Gogh. Somehow he hurt his ear on the banister while running down our front stairs. Has been wearing a bandaid over that ear for the last couple of days.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I really shouldn't title this "Works in Progress" since all I am going to show is a new start AND finish.
Hot out of the dryer at Miss D's house
I started this quilt last week for a friend having a baby girl.  The shower was Sunday, and I sadly had to give her an unfinished quilt (only the binding not complete, but still...). Managed to finish it up Monday night and wash it and gift it for good yesterday.
Quilting and Prairie Points
Really happy with the results.

I subscribe to Pink Chalk Fabric's Charming Solids Club (we won't talk about how far behind I am in using my charms but know that I have BIG plans), and used my Domestic Bliss charm packs to make this pattern. I backed it with a Children at Play print that I had in my stash, and I have no idea what the binding is - something else from my stash.
Like my little label?
Other than that, nothing has changed on my WIP list from last week...

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Right Now

Enjoying a few precious moments by myself. Just not ready to face the day yet...

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Right Now

Gosh, I love my chickens! And double yolk eggs are such a fun discovery!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Glacier/Waterton Trip Days 1-3

I never posted photos... going to try to keep the words to a minimum...

First 3 nights we spent on the west side of Glacier NP. Most of these photos are of our travels along the Going to the Sun Road.