Friday, October 30, 2009

La familia

While we were in Michigan this past summer with Eric's whole family, we had a photographer come to the lake to take photos. I wanted to share some favorites:

Eric and his siblings

Nathan with Uncle Ryan
Grandma and Grandpa with all their grandkids!

the whole crew

Monday, October 26, 2009

Soundtrack

Since pheasant hunting season is just around the corner, Eric gave me his blessing to get away for awhile by myself this past Saturday. He didn't have to ask me twice! =) I ventured to the "big city" to run some errands and do some early Christmas shopping. I had a wonderful time out and about, but one of the highlights of the morning was listening to music on the 90-minute drive (round-trip).

For my Saturday drive, I brought along the CDs we put together for our wedding reception. (Thanks, Ryan!) I had so much fun listening to this fabulous and eclectic collection of old and new favorites. I love singing along especially when I'm by myself!

Here are some of the songs and their "categories" from the compilation, which we titled "After the Chapel"--just click to listen. (Note: these may not be accurate "categories" to music experts, but this is how I would classify them.)

Classic
Country (#3)
Alternative
Contemporary Christian
Oldies
High School (#7)
The winner of the day for the song most put on repeat (#12--love it!)

I think you can learn a lot about a person by the music they listen to. If you listen to and like any of the songs above, please leave me a comment--it would be fun to hear from you!

This post is dedicated to the two men I love most: my dad, for instilling in me an appreciation for a wide variety of music; and Eric, for inspiring this collection of songs in the first place.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simplify Your Time: Part 1

A few months ago, my friend Rebecca recommended this book. My mom loaned me her copy, and I've just read the first week of the 30-day challenge. What an inspiration!

In the introduction, author Marcia Ramsland says that we run out of time "Because life happens to us. Because we get fuzzy and unfocused. Because we get tired of the 'have-tos' and prefer the 'want-tos' but get trapped in the 'never-get-around-tos.'" I get that!

Here are some of the tips I took away from the first section of the book:

*Plan to arrive 5 minutes early for every meeting/app't. Give yourself ample "transition time" to get ready to leave. (Easier said than done with a baby and a toddler, but I'll keep working at it!)

*"Learn not to put things down but to put them away all day to simplify your life." (Yikes--any other pile people out there?!)

*Bring to-do items to closure quickly--if it takes two minutes or less, do it immediately instead of adding it to a task list. (Ironically, sometimes the jobs I put off the longest take the least amount of time!)

*Interesting e-mail tips the author suggests: don't check e-mail in the morning; improve sorting by dealing with e-mails systematically and trying to keep your in-box empty. (I could definitely use improvement in this area--I just checked and I have 99 messages in my inbox!)

*Prepare for tomorrow the night before. (This is something I really want to work on to make mornings go more smoothly. Specifically, I want to start setting out my clothes the night before, and also make sure all dishes are cleaned up in the kitchen before I go to bed.)

I needed the advice on planning ahead more than I realized: earlier this week, we hosted a few people for dessert. I'd decided in advance what I was going to make, but the morning of the event, I suddenly remembered that one of our guests is diabetic. Nothing I'd planned to serve would be suitable for him, and I had to figure something else out, which required extra time and energy and an additional trip to the grocery store. While this example is certainly not extreme, I'm learning that I need to prepare more things in advance to lessen stress and hurry!
This book is organized into chapters that can be read daily for a month--I'm only a week into it, and you can see I'm already learning a lot! Now I just have to stick with it. As the author writes in the book, "You will change when your desire to change is greater than your desire to stay the same."


Do any of the tips above "speak" to you? I'd love to know I'm not alone in all this!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So long, farewell

(This post reminds me of when I confessed that I was finally getting rid of this magazine collection.)

Eric and I recently sorted through some clothes, and I was feeling more open to letting go of certain items I'd been holding on to for a looong time, such as this t-shirt I got my freshmen year, printed with the names of the women who lived in the same area of the dorm as me:
I've worn it many, many times, but the truth is that it's two sizes too big (remember when oversized tops were fashionable?!), and while that was nice during pregnancy, it's certainly not an item I'd ever wear in public. I've owned the shirt for twelve years, and I thought in saying goodbye, it would be fun to post a pic, especially since I'm sure Hayley and Erin will remember this lovely design (please tell me you don't still have yours!)
Feel free to leave me a comment if you've been similarly sentimental about an article of clothing. I'll understand. =)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall fun

I feel the need to post some pix that remind me the current season is AUTUMN since it's snowing as I write this!

*We're fortunate to have a fabulous pumpkin patch and petting zoo just a few miles away. This was taken a few weeks ago when it was actually warm outside. =)
*A friend invited us to join her family for making cider with an old-fashioned apple press. Yum!
*I love fall-ish recipes. This snack mix recommended by Mer is delicious. Also, I was glad to come across these instructions for freezing diced apples for later use in muffins, etc. since we were given a box of apples and I've already made a couple batches applesauce and pie filling.
What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Colorado, part 2: family

We got lots of cute pix of Grammie and Grandpa snuggling with Natalie:


I love my sister!

Yay--all smiles, no blinks:

(Happy birthday to the handsome man on the far left!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Noel Swap!


It’s time for a swap! We couldn't resist another Christmas swap, so our next theme word is Noel. Please keep this theme in mind when selecting items for your partner. As usual, please limit your gifts to what can fit in a shoebox.

Please read the following details carefully:

1. In order to participate, you must either have swapped successfully with us before, or you must be a regular commenter on one of our blogs (The Homespun Heart/with all that I’ve been given). You don't need to comment daily, or even weekly, but we need to recognize your name when you sign up.

Before you send us an e-mail, please consider if you have the time and resources to fulfill your swap. We usually have at least one person who writes to say they’ll be late in sending their box because they can’t afford the shipping. We want to respect your financial situation, and ask that you consider joining the next swap instead so no one is disappointed.

2. You need to fill out your questionnaire as part of the sign-up. In order to sign up for this swap, please e-mail sisterswaps@hotmail.com with the following info:

name
complete mailing address
e-mail address
blog site, if you have one

If you would be willing to ship internationally, please indicate that specifically. If you don't mention it, we'll assume it's your preference to ship within the U.S.

Also, please answer the following questions in your sign-up e-mail. The more thorough your answers, the better we can match you with someone complementary.

* When you think of Noel, or Christmas, what colors or images come to mind?
* What are your do's and don'ts of holiday decorating? (for example: Do you collect nowmen? How do you feel about Santa or religious decorations in your home?)
* What are your favorite ways to celebrate the Christmas season? Do you have a special holiday tradition?
* What is a favorite gift you've received?

Sign-up entries must be complete to be included. Even if you’ve swapped with us before, please send all of the information requested above.

Important dates to consider:
Sign-ups due by 8 a.m. (CST) Thursday, October 8, or when 40 people have signed up.
Partner info will be e-mailed to you by Monday, October 12.
Please send your shoebox by Friday, November 6.

If you have not received an e-mail with partner info from us by October 10, please check your “junk” folder first, and then contact us if needed.

Thanks, and happy swapping!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Colorado, part 1: friends

My priority in going to Colorado a couple weeks ago was definitely to spend time with family, but I was also blessed to see some friends while I was there:

I hadn't been out to breakfast in a looong time, and it was a special treat to do so with dear friends Mandi and Carmen. (Sorry the pic is so tiny!)
It was great to see my blog friend Mer again. She was very flexible with our "plans" that morning--the weather was terrible (freezing rain!) and Nathan wasn't always cooperative, but we still had a nice visit.
My friend Patricia joined us for dinner and was a great sport to play with Nathan, even though he kept calling her Melissa.
Two of my friends also had babies this spring/summer, so it was fun to get together. Here's Allison with Jackson and Jessica with James. Then our friend Olivia wanted to pose with all the kiddos--she sure had her hands full!
It was so good to see all of you--thanks for your friendship! (Maggie and Ruby, too!)