Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hello, Fall! {Bucket List}

Our Fall Bucket List 2017

Hanging out at the apple orchard this year!

I've really enjoyed creating bucket lists for the past few seasons (you can see my summer one here!). It helps me enjoy the uniqueness of each one and think outside the daily grind. I've definitely learned to keep them simple and realistic in this season of life, but sometimes the little moments are even more precious than the wild and crazy things! Here's what we'll be up to this fall (I may have already gotten excited early about the fall and crossed off a few things we've done the past week or two):

Burn a fall-scented candle
Go to a pumpkin patch
Visit an apple orchard
Make applesauce
Make turkey-pumpkin chili
Decorate pumpkins
Host a bonfire
Have a popcorn and movie night
Decorate our porch
Buy a mum or two
Go to a fall festival
Wear a cozy sweater
Crunch in the leaves
Drink apple cider
Take a family photo

What are you looking forward to in this new season?

Monday, September 18, 2017

What I've Been Reading

This was such a neat, unique book. It's somewhat of a 'prayer guide' for your daughter. Each chapter has a specific topic (her identity, her heart, her mind, her sanctification) and then subcategories within that (that she be pure, kept, content, undivided). Within the chapter, the author shares some thoughts on the particular issues or needs, a prayer for the mom's heart, and then several prayers for the daughter, with a blank to insert your daughter's name and make the prayer your own. It may seem silly or unnecessary, but the prayers are so beautifully written and I found myself thinking of all sorts of things that I want to pray for my daughter that I would not have otherwise thought of. This book reminds you that the spiritual part of parenting is even more important than the practical side, yet it's so easy for us to get lazy in that area or to be satisfied with 'the basics.' The only thing I'd add or improve would be adding women saints to inspire the girls or intercede for them (especially Mary as a spiritual mother and role model!), but the book is not Catholic. 3.5 out of 5. :)

[Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts.]

This book pretty much rocked my world. I found myself reading it the same pace as a fiction book rather than a nonfiction. Katie's story is incredibly fascinating to me. I was deeply impacted by my own mission trip to Haiti several years ago, but I'm in awe of how her one mission trip inspired her to return to Uganda and live there (over ten years now!) and adopt 13 children as a single mother (although she has recently married and had a bio baby too!!). It's so radical, I couldn't help but want to read more about this girl. I have not read her first book but now I want to. I have a feeling I'd like this one better anyway, though, because she shares a lot about how she and her faith have changed and matured in the ten years. Her message transcends time and place and I had tears several times with the way she inspired me in my own relationship with Jesus, to go deeper in relationship, to trust in the hard, to be patient with His plan. The subtitle really sums it up well: "Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful." 5 out of 5. 

[Thank you to Blogging for Books for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts.]

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Salsa of all Salsas

And this picture is exactly why I'm not a food blogger, y'all.

Ok, so not really about the "salsa of all salsas." When it comes to salsa, different strokes for different folks, you know? But this particular recipe is my favorite, so I'll share it with you anyway. It's a thicker style rather than watery and it has a rich, tomato-y taste as well as a kick of black pepper. You can modify the peppers to use more or less banana peppers or jalapeno peppers (swapping with green peppers) to change the heat. I would say it's medium as is, although if you leave the seeds in the jalapenos that might take it up to hot. Enjoy!

Amy's Mom's Salsa (gotta give credit where credit is due, haha!)

12 cups diced tomatoes
4 cups diced peppers (1 cup banana,1 cup jalapeno, & 2 cup green pepper)
2 cups diced onions
2 tsp red pepper seasoning (crushed red peppers)
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
6 tsp salt
3 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 tsp cumin
3 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients and boil 5 min.

This is how many containers it filled for me-- the smallest container is a 2 cup bowl
so you can see it makes quite a bit! The 'measuring cup' is actually a large mixing bowl (8 cups, maybe?)

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Currently // September

New month. Almost a new season. September days are lovely. A quiet, subtle ushering in of the fall. Our weather is slowly changing but cooling down sooner than usual. I'm starting to think of book clubs and bowls of soup and picking apples and all the plaid. Here's what else I'm up to currently:

celebrating: with gratitude that our baby had a healthy heartbeat and was measuring right on track for growth. I know pregnancy can seem so natural and simple and resilient for so many people, but for us having experienced a loss before, we just don't take anything for granted. Every milestone is a celebration! We loved seeing our little bean and his or her precious heartbeat!

watching: Nothing. I'm still in the first trimester exhaustion phase and I go to bed shortly after the toddler. I miss staying up with my husband and our Poldark episodes. Hopefully by the time season 3 airs, I'll have more energy to stay up.

welcoming: people into our home despite the lack of perfection. We hosted two college-age missionaries from the Culture Project for dinner and overnight on their way east for training. Tonight we're hosting a national speaker for a last-minute dinner before his talk in our town (quite the feat with my "all day" morning sickness and finding out he is on the paleo diet! ha!). It's been a blessing to me to learn how to open our home with a loving and welcoming spirit even if the food or the decor or the cleanliness isn't exactly how I'd like it to be.

preparing: for all things fall. Mentally I'm preparing, that is...I could really get a move on with the physical prep-- like switching out summer clothes for cooler weather ones, stocking the pantry for soups and comfort food, outdoor work. I'm also starting to look for a new orchard or pumpkin patch to visit! Can't wait!

photographing: the occasional moments. Nothing fancy. But it's good to catch the little moments to remember. I was off instagram for the month of August and it was interesting to see that I sometimes failed to capture the little moments like I do when I post on instagram. I've always liked the way that particular social media encourages appreciating the little things in an ordinary day.

Linking up with Anne and Lowanda. Would love to hear what you're up to currently!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Seven Quick Takes // Happy Fri-yay!

1. My sweet girl is down for her nap and went to sleep relatively quietly. I hope our next baby is a better sleeper, but I wouldn't trade our G for anything. Just now I had one of those heart-melt moments when I looked at her asleep in her crib. She's just so beautiful and I can't believe she's ours. Yeah, all the heart eyes. :)

2. It's been a stressful week with a lot of pregnancy symptoms and some bad lab results. I had low levels of progesterone with G but mine are currently even lower than they were with her despite me being on maximum treatment. That's always discouraging and I can only hope baby is still alive and well and safe in there. My ultrasound is next week and that will (hopefully) be an encouragement that all is well. I was telling my husband how I understand the reality (and beauty!) that our children are gifts from God and His first, that He loves them more than we do, and that the goal for all of them is to be with Him in heaven someday...but when the fear of miscarriage taps at my heart, I realize how desperately I want to meet and know our baby here on earth first.

3. We have two missionaries coming for dinner and staying overnight with us while they make their way out East to a conference. They are from the Culture Project (check them out if you've never heard of it! SO fabulous!) and it will be fun to meet them and talk with them tonight! It's also been awhile since we hosted people for either dinner or overnight, so even that sounds fun. I'm busy getting fresh towels and little chocolates to put on their beds. :) #bedandbreakfastwannabe

4. I went to the dentist today for the first time in 2.5 years! That is the LONGEST I think I've ever waited between appointments-- my poor hygienist!! ;) No excuses, but it just took me that long from getting married and moving to finding a new local dentist. They were so great, though! Being a nurse, I always have high expectations for healthcare workers and they did not disappoint!! From the receptionist to the dentist, everyone was SO nice and caring and thorough. I think that's somewhat rare these days so I was so delighted. Plus my teeth are squeaky clean...time to start taking better care of them. On that note, do you have a favorite toothpaste? I prefer the natural stuff, but I just think baking soda and coconut oil might be too hard on my teeth for daily use...

5. I'm in JEANS today!! It is September 1st and feeling like FALL!! We didn't even hit 70 degrees today and there's a brisk wind. It's kinda crazy! I'm ready to make all the soups and brew all the tea and light all the candles now! But a part of me is sentimental and not quite ready to say farewell to summer. I didn't even make it to the new community pool!

6. So I've been reading this book and it's been very inspirational!! It's occasionally intimidating (the authors lived abroad a lot and seem to have endless money for projects/hosting/etc.) but I LOVE their emphasis on creating a warm and inviting home for your family and guests, and creating memories and moments for your children that will nurture them into a healthy adulthood. Have you ever heard of Sally Clarkson? She reminds me of Emilie Barnes. Quaintly old-fashioned yet full of some good wisdom.

7. I've been invited to several book clubs this fall in addition to hosting my usual one. Two of them are moms' groups and it's SO tempting to join because you can never have enough fellowship (plus one has free childcare!), but they're also 30 minutes away and I'm afraid of overcommitment this fall, especially since I'll still be in the first trimester. I'd be part of a total of four book club/Bible studies. ha. How do you balance stepping out for opportunities without overcommitting to stuff? 

Have a happy weekend, friends, and enjoy the holiday!! Oh, and I haven't forgotten about that salsa recipe...coming soon! ;)