Coffee & Banana Bread

Awwww. A fresh pot of coffee brewing and a big ‘ol loaf of banana bread rising in the oven. Glorious.

Can you just IMAGINE the ambiance – a snowy January day, wrapped in my coziest sweater, and the coffee warming every bone in my body after enjoying some time in the snow with my littles. ❤

BUT that is most certainly NOT the scene happening here. I am drinking a fresh cup of coffee (YUM) because I’ve been up since 3am and neither of my kids wanted a nap today (YAWN). Banana Bread IS rising in the oven, but it is 70 degrees outside on this not-so-blustery January day.

So in case you’re like me and DREAMING of change (life-giving change), all things cozy, or just some winter whimsy, you’re in the right place. 🙂

Whether you are enjoying this “winter whimsy” from a warm place (like Arizona) or from a cold place (like Canada – and are counting down the days until spring), we can all agree that snow does have a certain beauty about it. ❤

*The images on this post are NOT my own. All credit goes to the original (and extremely talented) photographers of these beautiful pictures that I lovingly borrowed from pinterest! *

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New Beginnings

I love all things seasonal. Every holiday, tradition, full moon has a place in my heart because it marks the passage of time. I love thinking back about where I was on this day years ago and where I will be years from now. There is so much hope and insight in the passage of time, which is why I am a sucker for New Year’s.

We don’t do the midnights at this stage of our lives (kids wake up too early and I like my sleep!), but we do celebrate with an assortment of appetizers, talk of our favorite moments of the year, and make plans & resolutions for the year to come.

We’ve had a very blessed year. We were blessed with health, joy, financial stability, and lots of laughter. Of course, there were tough moments in our year (the worst being PPD this fall – I’ll do a post on that another time), but overall I look back on this year with a full heart. I know that I will not always look back so fondly on years to come. We will have heartbreak, loss, and trials – BUT my hope is that we can always find our best moments of the year and reminisce on the good times.

This “New Year’s” post would be incomplete without resolutions and a collage of our holiday photos (plus Julia’s first birthday!), so….

Resolutions (ahem.. more like GOALS)

  1. Run a 5k (I started going to the gym regularly in October, and I am finding a lot of joy in running! I’m hoping to work my way up to a 5k and sign up for a race!)
  2. Spend more time PLAYING with my kids (I often find myself trying to tackle too much – cleaning/organizing when I should just be playing. Obviously, there needs to be a balance, but I want to spend more time just enjoying my kiddos.)
  3. Read more, Netflix less. (I even made a list of books I want to read here)
  4. Budget wisely & Work Hard (I recently got an at-home job that is allowing us to make some extra money. We have some BIG goals for the extra money, so we’re planning to be very money-wise to reach those goals!)
  5. Spend more time in my Bible (I am not making the “read the Bible in a year” vow, but I do need to be much more consistent about my time spent in the Word.)

 

2018: The Year of Reading

Since having kids, I have really dropped the ball on my love of reading. I’ve probably read 3 books from start to finish, and part of 10 other books! Yikes. As an English teacher (and general bookworm), this breaks my heart! SO, I’m bringing reading back (Cue: Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” – You’re Welcome).

I’m making a list of some that I DEFINITELY want to read, but I am hoping to add more as the year goes on. It will be a mixture of fiction, books on parenthood, and non-fiction.

 

 

F   I   C   T   I   O   N

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Alright, this book isn’t even on SHELVES yet, but I have seen it advertised everywhere and it looks amazing! It seems a little reminiscent of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train – give me all of the unreliable narrators & crazy characters!

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I read about this one on a blog (here!) and it sounds right up my alley. Anything with crazy twists and turns is my kind of book!

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I’ve heard amazing things about this author (this is her first of two novels out!). I recently started teaching Chinese students online and have become quite intrigued by the Chinese culture. Ng’s novels center around Chinese-American families AND this one has a mystery-flare to it!

 

 

 

S   E   L   F         C   A   R   E

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This book has been on my “list” for YEARS. It has unbelievable reviews (even amazing reviews from people I love), so I need to stop putting this one off!

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Another one that I probably should have picked up a long time ago. This book challenges the church’s view on gender – a topic that has been near to my heart since becoming a mom to my sweet Julia. ❤ I’m excited to dive in; I’ve heard wonderful things about Bessey’s writing style.

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For the days when I need a reminder of God’s big plan in regards to being a parent and raising children – this is the one I have been recommended!

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Another book that empowers women to be who God has called us to be. Sign me up.

 

Happy reading, friends! I’ll let you know how I like these, and PLEASE share with me your favorite books! I am always looking for a good read! 

Closing the Books on 2017

Welp… it looks like I have neglected this little blog yet again. At least I’m consistently neglecting it? 😉

The past few months have been unbelievably busy and unbelievably blessed. My kiddos still manage to put a smile on my face every single day, and they are growing SO fast. My hubby is still working hard to help us achieve our goals and provide for our little family. And I am spending my days kissing boo boos, dancing to Moana, and living life the best way I can with my littles AND spending my nights teaching English to kiddos in China (this new job has been AMAZING).

My little “premie” baby Julia will be ONE in a few short days, and it has me both excited and devastated to leave the cuddly newborn/baby phase behind us. But I know that this next stage of raising two crazy kiddos to love each other, love themselves, and love our Savior will be one for the books.

In case you were wondering if I am still obsessed with the Carolinas, I am. E and I even talked about them this week and I *think* we’re on the same page as far as a plan to get out there. SO EXCITED. It will still be awhile, which is fine by me (this is the time of year that I actually don’t mind living in Southern Arizona – the weather is currently BEAUTIFUL). I’m excited to see how God leads us in 2018 and where we land. ❤

Below you’ll find our last few months in picture form. We’ve really enjoyed this holiday season so far, and we are excited to spend Christmas in California with my family and ring in the New Year with our first kid-less night AWAY since Isaac was born. What?!? Pretty excited for the next few weeks. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! ❤

Fuzzy Socks and Cloudy Mornings

Ooooh, blogging world. It’s been awhile.

Life got a little crazy on us over here, which led me to spend most of my “me time” sleeping or binge watching “Stranger Things”. But here we are in NOVEMBER with all of the holidays right around the corner, and I am giddy with excitement.

Last year, the holidays were put on the back burner because I was uncomfortably pregnant, finishing up my full-time job, and moving all at the same time when BAM I had a baby a month early! Needless to say, we are taking full advantage of the holidays this year – I’ve even started playing Christmas music (… I know, I know) and wrapping gifts!

This year we’re doing Christmas a little different than years past. There will be less emphasis on gifts (a BIG step for me and my love language of gifts!) and more focus on family, starting traditions, and enjoying the season.

Obviously, we’ll still be getting gifts for our little loves, but we’re not going overboard. A few meaningful gifts is all we need. 🙂

A little recap (in photos!) of our last holiday – Halloween! Isaac rocked his first “real” Trick or Treating experience, and Ethan had a blast holding his hand all night. ❤

A Saturday of Solitude (Kinda)

For the first time in… I actually don’t know how long, I spent the last two hours (basically) home alone. E took our son out for a “boys only” park trip and left me home alone with our sleeping princess. I was a little overwhelmed with all of the opportunities I had with time alone in a quiet house, so I made the most of it by fitting in ALL the activities.

First, I re-planted my garden. I technically planted last week, but we ended up leaving on a last-minute vacation so I re-planted today! I think I need to get a few gardening books from the library because I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong. Honestly, I don’t know how people with big gardens do it. Those seeds are so small and planting them was tedious work!

As you can see, my “balcony garden” isn’t the most pinterest-approved garden, but it works for us now (and our budget!). I’ll keep you updated on how the seeds do (hopefully we WILL see some kind of growth!).

My next activity (and probably my favorite) was taking a morning bath and reading a book I picked up yesterday. The book is adorable and witty – Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far it is darling. I’m excited to try out some of the recipes too – yum.

Last, but certainly not least, is this little blog post. Any kind of writing for me is therapeutic, which is why I have a million journals that document my life consistently since 5th grade.

Here’s to quiet mornings, growing gardens, and books that make you smile. Happy weekend indeed. ❤

The Potager Prologue

Oh my goodness, you guys, I have discovered the beauty of potagers! They are unbelievably gorgeous!

Potager – a French grand kitchen garden that combines vegetables and ornamental plants.

If you’ve been following along with this little blog at all, you know that I am in the process of planting my first ever balcony garden (aka the prologue to my future potager!). I literally have NO idea what I am doing, but my heart longs for all things garden and beauty. So, my pots are filled and my seeds are soaking today! I am planting this evening! I’ll post a picture update this weekend. ❤

As for today, I will introduce you to the grandeur and beauty of potagers! Unfortunately, none of the pictures in this post are mine, but a girl can dream!