Little Gifts

When I hear Janey wake up after a long nap, I "spy" on her.  I can peek through the door and see her sitting in her crib looking around.  Sometimes she will play with one of the three little bunnies she has in her crib, but mostly she just wakes up slowly, and looks at things around the room.
It is just about the cutest thing ever.

And then I crack the door a little more, and she sees me spying and her whole face lights up into a huge grin.

My heart just fills with love and happiness.
I am grateful for every single day I spend with her.
I am grateful that I get to love her everyday, and be the first thing she sees when she wakes up.
I don't think there is anything in the world that can bring more joy than our own children, do you?

I made the mistake the other day of cruising the internet a little...you know, going to this link or that link and wound up off my strict course of my few favorite uplifting blogs.  I always regret it, darn it, I guess I just have to remind myself of that every once in awhile. When I stray I usually find something that just makes me feel so sad or like the whole darn society is going to pot. 

I hope I'm so wrong but it seems like it has become too common for parents to complain about their kids, or what a pain babies are, or think it's funny to have a misbehaving toddler or child. 

We parents reap what we sow, and much more often than naught, our children's behavior is the reflection of the time and love we put into our parental vocation.  

Babies are precious sweet little perfect creatures that need us, their moms and dads, to love them all day and night long.  So it's sometimes requires us to give a lot.  I just want to say to these parents-get over it!  Grow up!  


A Quick Beginner Furniture Painting Tutorial

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Cinnamon Sugar Muffins-An Easy and Delicious Recipe

This is our second favorite muffin, first being the lemon blueberry muffin.  Easy and quick, no tricky ingredients.  I bought new muffin "tins" and I LOVE them.  Why did it take me so long to switch over?  I hated cleaning the stainless ones, and I also always ran out of muffin liners.  All my problems solved!  These are so easy to use and to clean.  I'm adding these to my list of favorite kitchen supply purchases ever.


Daily Duties

The best things in life are nearest:
Breath in your nostrils,
light in your eyes,
flowers at your feet,
duties at your hand,
the path of right just before you.
Then do not grasp at the stars,
but do life's plain, common work
as it comes,
certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Isn't it so difficult to remember this these days?  I think it is.  I love that we women all have so many choices in our life's path, but have you ever either questioned yourself, or been questioned by others for choosing the ordinary? 

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This is such a quick easy budget friendly recipe, and so savory.   I serve this on fresh buns, and some kids choose to top with BBQ sauce.  It's good just the way it comes out of the slow cooker also!  The next day I freeze the leftovers or save some to add for a coleslaw salad for myself.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

3-4 pounds of boneless pork shoulder (I always have to remember the shoulder is the one that shreds the best)

1 tsp paprika

2 tsps garlic powder

2 tsps cumin

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp kosher salt

3 TBS brown sugar

1 onion, chopped

In a small bowl, mix together the seasonings.

Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and coat it with the seasonings and onion.  That's it!

Cook on low for 8 hours.  When time is up, shred the meat with two forks until it's all mixed up.  It's ready to serve!


Thinking, Playing, Reading

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I know I will never regret not watching the news, reading Facebook posts about current events or political opinions, or listening to talking, talking, talking, about nothing.  It has brought such peace and quiet to my life for years and the world keeps turning.  It's called cultivating a life where neighbors help neighbors, and communities come together and everyone stops wasting time on scrolling and getting angry and upset about things, but most then do nothing.  Talk is cheap.  Love thy neighbor.


First up, these affordable coats ($35!) I bought the kids for Christmas are a huge hit.  They are light, but warm (I'd say perfect for above 30°) and great for going to school, recess, and bus or car ride home.  They squish down to nothing (they come with a little bag that fits the coat) and are NOT bulky which was a big request from both my kids.  And they come in the cutest prints.  I bought ONE size up.  (Janey is wearing a Large (usually a size 8) and Patrick is wearing an XXL (usually a size 12). 

Patrick received this cool robot building kit from Santa :) and he loved putting it together.  I helped him a tiny bit - sometimes he gets intimidated by all the instructions, but I was basically there for moral support.  It is so cool, and has great reviews on Amazon.  Right now it's on sale $14 less than it was at Christmas so if you have any birthdays coming up I recommend this for the over 12 crowd. 


Still two of my favorites when I had little ones.  Always calmed me and motivated me to slow down to their pace and parent intentionally.  I highly recommend them both.


Simple Organization-Systems

 Last week I wrote about the basic questions that need to be answered if we need and want to make changes and head in the right direction.  

These were the simple questions I asked myself the last month.

Have you ever made a list of things that bring you joy?  Things that you enjoy doing?  Things that you hate doing?  What you want your day to look like?  A week?  A year?  Your life?  What is one or two feelings you want to have and others that you want to avoid?  What are your priorities?  What do you want to accomplish this year?  How do you want to feel?  How do you want to show up for others?  What do you worry about the most?  Who do you want to be? 

The next step after answering these questions is to figure out solutions or action steps that can apply to "real life".  Practical, calm, slow and steady steps forward.  Not freak out, I'll never be able to do this, this can never happen, one million excuses answers but tons of grace, and experimentation and willingness to find a way.


How I Organize Warranties, Manuals, and Receipts

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Soup of the Week: Tortilla Chili

Tortilla Chili

I am trying to make a soup for Sunday dinner, and then for me to have leftovers for lunch during the winter months.  This week I made my Tortilla Chili.  It's so easy and so good.  It's easiest to make in a large slow cooker like this, but I can fit it carefully in my regular sized slow cooker also.


Thinking, Playing, Reading

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About how much TIME solves any concerns we have with our children.  Spending time one-on-one and talking, whether they are old enough to have an adult conversation, or young enough for us to just listen to, whether at home, or on a special date, or at bedtime, helps me as much as it helps them connect, and communicate and puts worries at ease.  It's all kids really want.


A New Year-Simple Organization

I'm so ready for 2021!  New Year's I think is my favorite holiday.  The calm after the storm, everything feels peaceful and quiet outside, and warm and cozy inside, as we brave the few months until spring.  It's always been a time for me to get things in order, and this year more than ever.  The last four or so years I feel like I've lived in crisis mode.  I've taken my deep breath, and continue to do so this year, as I create a new life for myself and myself children, and navigate what makes me feel safe and secure and happy.


Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

This was a hit at my house last Sunday night, and I've saved the leftovers for lunch for me all week.  It hits the spot on a cold winter day!

Italian Sausage and Vegetable Soup

1 TBS olive oil

1 pound of Italian sweet sausage, removed from casings

1 cup diced celery

2 cups chopped onion