Life can be crazy and so very full. Focusing on what is making life more lovely is a great habit! Here is what is making our lives easier, tastier, prettier, and funner.
(doesn’t this picture make you excited about fall??!!)
I LOVE to write these posts, but it’s been so long since my last one. (I checked, and the last “What I’m Loving” post was published at Christmastime last year. After reading it, I feel I have no choice but to work on this post while listening to holiday music).
These posts are the perfect opportunity to take the time to reflect on what is bringing us joy right now, what is working well, and well, what we are loving. In the busyness of life, taking the time to practice gratitude and intentionally look for the good things in your days is so important!
I hope that you will also take a moment to consider what you and your family are currently loving, and, if you’d be so kind, I would love to hear about your list in the comments. I could add “meeting new people” and “reading blog comments” to my list of things I love, and I would love to hear from you.
What I’m Loving :: Edition 9 :: Making Life Easier, Tastier, Prettier, & Funner
Waking Up Early
This simple thing has made my list before, but there are always seasons where waking up before my kids isn’t an option, and so when I get back into the habit I relish it even more. I’m in one of those seasons now where I can regularly wake up an hour or two before any of my kids, and it is amazing.
The entire rest of the day is spent with my children and husband, so these hours to myself are precious. They seriously fill my tank and I LOVE the quiet of my house in the early morning.
My early morning routine is simple. Start with a banana and a small glass of milk. Add a cookie or treat if available. Read from our Psalter (which is something both my husband and myself are loving!) and from the Bible. Pray. Then typically I will do some writing and/or other blog work.
If I oversleep, which sometimes I just need to do, I miss this time in the morning. As an introvert, I have come to realize that I need time where no one is needing my attention. But, I have also come to realize that what I need even more is grace and strength from the Lord, and He can provide both those things whether or not I get the quiet moments I so desire in a day. This is always a very good lesson to remember throughout a newborn season when alone time is very hard to come by.
What I’m Wearing
I shared recently about my first experience with Stitch Fix, (an online service that personally selected clothes for you and sends them to your door neatly packaged for you to try on). Even though I was unsure about how I would like my fix, I ended up being very happy with what my stylist sent. You can see exactly what I received and why I was won over in this video.
My biggest motivation for trying Stitch Fix was needing clothes to wear out of the house, to church, on dates, to Target…you know. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that every time I have worn something they sent, I have received so many complements. I don’t hate it.
I have another fix coming in a little over a week and I am super excited. This time I have requested a couple of specific items that I desperately need in my wardrobe. Well, as desperately as you can need a perfect gray cardigan and a great pair of leggings. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they send, and I will be sure to share it with you.
Besides loving my new clothes, my new house slippers are truly bringing me joy right now. Is that weird to admit? I wear slippers all day when I’m at home, which is most of the time, in all seasons.
And, I feel like I can include this because I wore one this week and it’s currently chilly outside, IT IS SCARF SEASON!! Almost. Basically.
Once it’s cool enough consistently, you will forever see me in scarves in all my live videos. Honestly, scarves and good slippers have become part of the secret to me enjoying the colder months. That and fires. Because, warmth.
Infinity scarves are my favorite. They are so snuggly and warm, like a permanent hug around your neck. I have them in several colors and I’m not really exaggerating when I say I will wear them all the time. You can find a tutorial to make an infinity scarf in just ten minutes, or watch the video. I plan to update that video soon, though, since it was my very first Facebook Live video. Hence it being sideways.
You’re probably familiar with Erin Odom, aka The Humbled Homemaker, but did you know she wrote a book? I have been reading it this summer and it is really, really good.
Erin knows all about trusting God through difficult financial circumstances, and has learned “the hard way” about how to live frugally and earn/save money where you can. Her book is part memoir and part helpful advice. It is easy to read, not because it’s simplistic, but because it is well-written and engaging.
Reading her book this summer has also been rather providential for me as we are (happily) awaiting the arrival of an unexpected baby, and are facing a lot of expenses we did not plan for. Of course, we trust that God will provide for our needs, but hearing from someone who has been there is always helpful. Not to mention, Erin is a gifted encourager and has such a kind heart that comes through the pages of her book.
I need to tell you that the window to preorder her book is quickly closing, but you don’t want to miss it! Everyone who preorders the book receives bonus gifts worth over $220. Pretty amazing considering the preorder price of the book is just $10! (The price will go up after the release date).
For My Kids ::
Bedtime Reading Time
Three of our children currently share a room, and we were needing a better way to help them settle down before bed. We instituted a quiet reading time before bed to help make the going-to-sleep process easier. The kids love it, and it never fails to make me smile to see them in the dim light quietly reading.
Confession: any time they are all simultaneously quiet typically warms my heart.
Our Menagerie of Pets
Second confession: We have a ton of pets.
Okay, maybe not a ton, but it feels like it at times. We have fifteen chickens, a dog, a rat, a snake, and a beta fish. And we love them all.
There are stories behind each new pet, of course. We have had our dog longer than we have been parents. My oldest son bought the fish with his money. (Actually, this is fish number two, since fish number one went belly up). The whole family enjoys the snake, which we named Severus in honor of one of our favorite literary characters. I could say that we got the snake to fulfill my husband’s childhood dream of owning a corn snake, but truly all the kids have always enjoyed holding snakes and they really enjoy Severus.
The rat is our newest acquisition. I can’t remember how my middle son got the idea of a pet snake in his head, but he did and we went for it. The rat may seem like the most unusual pet, but a quick Google search described how intelligent and friendly they could be, and after all, lots of people have hamsters and other small rodents, right? Besides, my toddler looooooves Lily.
The chickens are obvious. We can easily eat a dozen eggs in a day.
All in all, even though I occasionally wonder if we are a crazy animal family, our little menagerie of pets brings us all joy and affords us lots of learning opportunities. Now just to figure out where to put a pet bird…
In Our Home ::
I usually share a little about what I’m loving in our home, but there isn’t anything that really stands out at the moment. Give me another month after I’ve decorated for Fall…
On Our Table ::
Instant Pot Desserts, Healthified
After weeks of testing recipes for healthier Instant Pot desserts, I am currently feeling the lack of cheesecake, creme brûlée, and peach cake in my refrigerator! I love that I can make these amazing desserts a lot more easily in the Instant Pot with healthier ingredients. They have all also come in handy for sharing at baby showers and with friends!
Making a cheesecake is definitely on my agenda today.
Before it was time to cook dinner one day this week, I had the bright idea to relax for a moment before starting dinner. We were supposed to have bean and cheese burritos…
Instead, we watched an episode of Cooks’ Country on Amazon Prime called “Prairie Dinners” or something like that. As soon as the screen showed the corn, red potatoes, cabbage, and sausage, I knew that burritos were out the window.
We had almost everything we needed on hand. Everything except the cabbage, which my husband deemed important enough to warrant a quick run to the store. And since he was already going to store… I decided to do a test of which method would yield the better dinner– Instant Pot or dutch oven???
The verdict was that this dinner is DELICIOUS and you should definitely add it to your next meal plan. Or do like I did and just throw out tonight’s plan.
The other verdict is that both methods are equally easy and tasty, though the Instant Pot does shave off some of the time. But not much. Either way, you have a crowd-pleasing meal to enjoy.
Bonus, the leftovers can be turned into a yummy potato corn chowder.
What We’re Reading ::
Audiobook: Most recently finished The Moffats (loved it!) by Eleanor Estes; also making our way through the Little House Series– we are currently listening to By The Shores of Silver Lakes (the whole family is thoroughly enjoying listening to these books!)
More in the What I’m Loving Series: