Y’all now I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like because of sheer pregnancy exhaustion. I’ve also been somewhat of a hermit except for doctors appointments, ballet runs and occasional playdates. So, it was so nice to get out of the house for the weekend for a sweet shower for me in honor, thrown by my dear friends Elisa and Gracie. I am really blessed by the people on my life, and so grateful for the love they show me. The food was amazing, as well as the company and we got some much needed things for baby Alice. So Thankful.
Take a look:
We also took a quick overnight trip to Atlanta to do something special with Emma before the baby comes and get some things from Atlanta we needed for the girls room. We took Emma to the zoo because she loves animals so much. I’d never been to the Atlanta Zoo and it was a lovely experience. Emma said it was the best day ever, so I guess we did good on that front. She was really excited for the Pandas, who wouldn’t be? All in all it was a great weekend and I was super thankful we had time with family and friends this last weekend. It really lifted my spirits.
Also, some Instagrams from the zoo and our trip.
I love technology…I do. Even though I feel like we as a society may over do it with our technology addiction at times, it is a wonderful tool and I am amazed to live in a time where good technology is so accesible. When I was in middle school, we begged our parents for pagers and nintendos and that was the coolest technology we could imagine. A lot has changed since then and we couldn’t have imagined some of the amazing things we have now. Touch screens, wi-fi, smart phones, etc. I personally have an iPhone that has been an amazing tool for helping my procrastination and distraction filled self to get more organized, and also have a little enjoyment on the side. We plan in the near future to save for an ipad to help with homeschooling and general things, but I wanted to share some of my favorite apps in this new calendar year for an iphone.
Fantastical is a calendar app that is simply, beautiful. It is smart enough to use natural language to register all that you input into a New Event and translate it into all the details of your event. This is such a time saving app and is a great app for moms who have to quickly jot down the details of something, like a doctor’s appointment, without wasting time entering each field of details. It syncs with your ical and google calendars, so you don’t have to start from scratch. I access my husbands icalendar as well through Fantastical so I know what his work schedule will look like that week. It is always different week to week, so this has been extremely helpful. There is a cost for this app, but it has been worth the money.
I’ve said it before friends, Wunderlist is wonderful. It really is. Wunderlist is a great app for your to do lists and staying on task. Send reminders to yourself or schedule when the task must be completed by. It is simple, clean and easy to use. I don’t need a lot of messy apps for staying on task, all I need is this.
This is a given, dropbox fans, you are probably aware of this app, but if you are not, if you aren’t familiar with dropbox, get familiar. It is a great way to archive and share information straight from your phone or computer and being able to access and send files while on the go is priceless, so it’s nice to know this is a free app, as well.
Google Drive is a stand alone app for your google docs. Access your documents, spreadsheets, images etc. You can create new documents within this app for whatever you need it for. I haven’t used a wordprocessing program since I fell for google docs because of the ability to create documents, spreadsheets, etc. in Google Docs and save as a word document or pdf or what have you. I love being able to access my documents from anywhere, I don’t know why more people don’t use google docs/drive instead of expensive and wonky word processing software, plus this app keeps all my documents at my fingertips and I love it.
I have a lot of camera apps and I have finally settled on Afterglow. Being a retired photographer, I love being able to adjust exposure, temperature, brightness etc. right in my phone. It is an all in one camera app, a beautiful and seamless app which makes the powerful little camera in your iphone incredibly useful. I am able to send my edited images straight to Instagram or whatever social media app I choose from this app.
Instagram is an obvious pick. Everyone loves Instagram. It is photo microblogging done right. Share images with friends and family of what is going on throughout your day, or just keep it to yourself for memories in the future. It’s quick, easy and fun, I do wonder how new apps like Vine will affect apps like Instagram, if at all, only the future will see.
Flipboard is like a selective newspaper filled with only the stuff you want to read. You input what feeds and sites you want to stay on top of and can do it here without ever opening a reader. I browse every morning from current big news events but also the funniest things that come across the web to balance it out. They are only so many boxes for content so it makes me have to be selective in what I include and I like that, because information overload is a real thing, at least for me.
If TocaBoca makes it, there is a guarantee that we will most likely love it. There are a variety of apps, both free and paid, by this developer and we love everything we’ve tried. There’s Toca Tailor Fairy Tale, Toca Hair Salon, Toca Band, Toca Doctor, and much more. These are well designed, kid smart apps, that parents will get a kick out of too. Emma loves to shave Santa bald and play dress up with her Fairy Tale girl, but most of all making music with the Toca Band. I highly recommend anything made by TocaBoca.
I have a secret, we aren’t a TV free household, (you’d definitely know that if you follow me on any social media platform, I love good television) but all good things in moderation is a definite goal for us, especially when it comes to keeping tabs of Emma’s TV intake. No TV before homeschool and none until school and chores are done, and even then we are trying to keep these shows to educational shows and at a minimum, with the occasional super hero show thrown in (because what child doesn’t need an education in Kicking Butt Awesomeness?). I really like the PBS kids app on the iPhone and can only assume how much better it is on iPad. You can watch a large variety of clips and shows from quality PBS, also you can customize tv times and know what your kids are watching.
Game Apps for Grown ups
I’m a little obsessed with this game. I like puzzle games mainly, I am not your typical iPhone gamer, and it has to be a challenge or I bore easily of it. Vubu is a great challenging puzzle game and the first that I have found that I haven’t gotten bored with. It’s not that easy and that’s why I like it. I’ve moved through the standard stages at this point and am in the advanced ones, I play a little at a time, when I can. It is true leisure play for when I’m waiting at the Doctor’s office or just trying to pass some time. I won’t explain how it works and let you figure it out for yourself, but this is my favorite game on iPhone.
These are some of my favorite apps right this moment, I may share some more I really like in the future. The world of apps is always changing and getting better which is exciting for nerds like me. Do you agree with my list? What are some of your favorite apps?
The New Year has begun and as I watched the Golden Globes Sunday night in my finally clean house after a beautiful time with friends at our belated housewarming, I couldn’t help but look around and be extremely thankful. He is so good to us. In comparison to the celebrities across the screen fancily dressed and awaiting the adoring press, my life may seem sub par, but it is far from that. Everything I desire,need is here with me, in my home, in my life. There is nothing material that can make me happier than what I have here.
My wonderful little family that is growing plus one in a matter of months, is an overflowing blessing. The way my Husband understands me and loves me, the way that we’ve spent these years just getting to know each other better than I know anyone on this planet, all of it is blessing. The way my daughter is a mirror of me in nature and in showing me what resides underneath even though she does not even know she is doing so, beautiful. She is lovely and healthy and blesses me daily, teaches me to love better, be better. Never forgetting, the way He has always provided for us when we thought we couldn’t make it through the day or week or year, yet we did. Yes, there are material things we bookmark and put aside for later but those things of the least importance, the fillers that are nice but not necessary for living right where we are with joy and gratitude. I always love hearing Ann Voskamp’s reminder to live fully right where you are. The last few years in our life has been an unraveling of sorts. The thread unraveled and we didn’t know what to do, but we didn’t truly understand that all things we’re working together for good. So the thread begins to wind the way it should have in the first place and we are blessed because of it.
This is my first post of the New Year, I took a much needed break to focus on the important parts of my life and it was really good. I don’t really believe in resolutions per se, I believe in refocusing on what is important. For more than a year I have been doing C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening and was struck by the simple request to make continuing in prayer our resolutions or focus. It’s so simple, yet we often forget. I never want to forget to bear all things to the One who has taken us through all we’ve faced so far in life. The other part of that resolution/non resolution is to simply love God and love others. I want to love all the people that come into my life, and the ones that have been here since the beginning. Most importantly let me never forget to love God for all the blessings above and below, for the gifts He gives, for everything I see He is doing and because simply, He is God. 2013 could be a very revealing year for us if we hold to these truths, which I believe it will be. Kenny painted this old bulletin board he got from the library and it is blank for us to add all the beautiful reminders of love and thankfulness in our lives. We just started filling it and I am excited to see what is made from the collage of our lives this year, while we create and love and abide.
Posted on January 15, 2013 by Ellie
So, we went to the doctor a few weeks ago for our ultrasound and received a wobbly answer of girl for the gender of the Baby. The sonographer told us she was pretty certain, girl…so, if that does not change we have our name…
Alice Jane Elizabeth Benson, very literary and perfect in my opinion. We went again with a nod to Jane Austen, Emma was named after the novel of the same name and this time a middle name in homage of the beloved Author. Alice, well, of course cannot be mistaken for any other than the curious little darling who goes through the looking glass. Emma loves the name Alice, she is going to be Alice (Alice in Wonderland) in the Christmas Parade this weekend again for the second year and she thinks it is pretty special that the baby would be named after the book character. Emma and Alice does sound pretty darn cute together.
Last week was a great week of family time and I am looking forward to some downtime as we get back into our home life schedule and anticipate the start of Advent. Our Advent Calendar starts this week and we are pretty excited about it, It is one of my favorite traditions. Hoping things are looking merry and bright where you are.
This week is a baking week, lots of caramel and really delicious recipes coming to the blog, but here is what I have baked recently.
Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Whoopie Pies
(modification for recipe link below: I used slightly less pumpkin than in the recipe, I would suggest you add to taste, too much can be overpowering for me, that loves pumpkin only in moderation and I also used Maple Syrup instead of Vanilla (which is an appropriate and yummy substitute because I had run out))
They were a little messy, but oh so delicious. You have few more days to get in all your pumpkin goodies.Recipe: Curvy Girl Kitchen
White Cake with Pink Ombre Buttercream Frosting
This Best White Cake Recipe I have ever had…..
You may remember this cake from Emma’s birthday. Well it is the same cake. I just made more layers for Emma’s Bday. This one I made for Kenny’s grandmother that turned 90 this month, which is amazing accomplishment. The only difference is the ombre effect made by mixing three different colors of pink icing and layering. This recipe is in my favorites and although being labor intensive is the best white cake I have ever eaten.Recipe: The Merry Gourmet
Enjoy! I have more food posts coming soon.
All the things that made me laugh quite recently…
Get it…Wolf Blitzer
Mindy Kaling killing it on the Mindy Project
Man Finds his old school Doppelganger
You can always count on Fox and Friends for a good hyperbolic laugh inducing statement…just in case you thought the SNL sketches were extreme.
Clever and Funny, Friend
The Vibrant Ron Swanson
This made me laugh, also my Husband’s favorite show.
Mending the lace on an vintage blouse for Emma
I think I know the reason they call get married and having a family “settling down”. Even though it may seem counter intuitive to the exciting busyness we try to thrust upon our younger selves, “settling down”, is a beautiful thing. I guess it would be called boring by some, or lonely by others, and it may be both at some times, but for the most part it is peaceful and happy. The world unraveling all around us it feels, but we choose how much of that we want to let into our nest.
Settling down, to me, is the act of making your family, your family, and your home, your home. I mean that it is a refining of the things you already have been given, family and home.As a wife and a mother, the task hat I have been slated with is just as grand as any others. I don’t long for high powered business suits and the respect that it garnishes. I think I did once, and felt guilt over what was weighing on my heart to aspire to, a wife and a mother. While there is nothing wrong with those aspirations, the world doesn’t always see eye to eye in these matters, but it doesn’t bother me anymore. I’ve owned my own business and worked my mind and body to insomnia, that was a season, and this is another one that I am very thankful for. As I transition from semi-domestic to full blown domestic, I am excited to see how it changes me. Being a good wife to my husband and mother to my daughter is my first and second priorities. During the day, I am preparing the home to be comfortable for a husband that work two jobs for us, and I am homeschooling my girl, learning with her the bible and about the wonders of life, and I truly love it.
You get to a point in your your life where you look at friends in different seasons that “do it all”, I am just thankful that my “doing it all” in regards to my family, my life, is just settling down with my family in our routines and traditions and loving each and every moment of joy it brings.
Posted on October 30, 2012 by Ellie
I don’t believe that heart ache and joy come independent of one another, at least in my life. Some of the biggest joy times are intermingled with things that hurt and break our hearts. I so wish it wasn’t the case at times but I see the beauty in the darkness while it blends and becomes light. That is why I am not afraid to talk about what I wrestle with and what I see in that struggle. I believe in transparency, I believe in showing our true selves over the facsimiles of perfect people we so easily pass ourselves off as in the arena of watching eyes. If that is too much for some, I do not apologize. I am imperfect and I don’t feign what I can never be in my own right, so I lift the veil that hides my bare face in hopes to see….
This year has been the one; the one where I cried the most, I felt the most, I called out the most, and felt like the vice of brokenness harm me the most. It seems (I know) as though God is teaching me through this and even though I don’t know the message on the other side of this yet, I am hopeful in the hurting. There is so much grace in the joys that we receive in the dark times, when we feel the furthest from any and everyone. We bought a house this year, thank God, and we are expecting another child, a blessing. All things that sprung forth in hurting and broken times, are beautiful. Some are easier to notice like a house and a baby, some will take some time for us to recognize. All things working together for good, and His good is beauty unending, a story in trans media. He tells it and it is beautiful, we listen and wait for the next chapter anticipating the next and the next. We know that He protects us and shows his grace and love when we feel we are at the end of what we can handle. We know it, it doesn’t make the hurting less hard but it gives hope to know I am not alone, we are not alone, He is with us, He has been with us and will be at the end and forever after that.
I have struggled with Clinical Depression for over a decade, sometimes it has gotten so deep that I truly felt I could not survive another day. Other times, it has been a soft, sad lapping over me that brings me down with its ebb a little, a little, a little at a time. Only those that have dealt with the horrors of the darkest points of depression can truly know what it feels like. The suffocating grip and soul wrenching, you can’t breathe, can’t see, can’t believe, and feel you can’t endure, all the while, putting on the joyful face of someone else’s happiness. Those that know will try and help with well meaning words, so be thankful for those that pray and grieve for you. I don’t know why some of us fight this conflict in mind and heart, but we do. If there is one thing I know for certain is that deep despair will never defeat me, even if I woke this morning crying for the loss felt of once present people in my life or the nights I cry over the circumstances that feel like the world, there is still victory because this is just the middle of the story working it’s through all of my being, the silver strings that connect this present, to that past, to what we all feel in our broken bodies is coming.
This Poem by Isaac Watts speaks to me :
Psalm 130:2 [From Deep Distress And Troubled Thoughts]
From deep distress and troubled thoughts,
To thee, my God, I rais’d my cries;
If thou severely mark our faults,
No flesh can stand before thine eyes.
But thou hast built thy throne of grace,
Free to dispense thy pardons there,
That sinners may approach thy face,
And hope and love, as well as fear.
As the benighted pilgrims wait,
And long, and wish for breaking day,
So waits my soul before thy gate;
When will my God his face display?
My trust is fix’d upon thy word,
Nor shall I trust thy word in vain:
Let mourning souls address the Lord,
And find relief from all their pain.
Great is his love, and large his grace,
Thro’ the redemption of his Son:
He turns our feet from sinful ways,
And pardons what our hands have done.
This past weekend was lovely, we spent time with family and enjoyed the weather and other wonderful activities. We love thrifting as a family and found some great things. I bought a super awesome gold studded planter from CSS and we also found an old wooden toy horse barn (not pictured) that we are going to fix up for christmas for christmas for her. Salvation Army and Goodwill we’re a bust, they are always a little more sparse.
We did also visit Mema Had One a wonderful antique shop in the old AWOL building. It was our first time, even though I have wanted to go since they opened. We found so many great things at very reasonable prices. Also there is so much to look at, just a great place overall. We bought Emma a band major’s hat for dress up and very cute vintage beret for the fall. The chest above, that was very affordably priced, has become our T.V. stand and goes great with the other pieces we have in the living room so far. We were searching for something that had this feel for awhile, because I didn’t want just any old fake wood stand. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to spend so much money on something that isn’t real wood and won’t even last five years. This was a way better option. We turned the chest on it’s side so it is still functional for storage and Kenny reinforced it so it will definitely hold our television.
Here’s a peek:
The Living Room is starting to come together but we still need to make the big purchase of a couch. We have found the one we want in a really great price range, so now it’s just a matter of saving. We also got an old garage mirror (above) that is a great addition to the Living Room wall. One special touch at a time, our house is feeling more like a home.
Some Instagrams Kenny and I took of our new place and park down the street, better pics to come when all is unpacked.
We bought a house!!! We are grown ups now, with a mortgage and everything. We are incredibly happy with our new home, even though life is in total chaos right now. I will all be o.k., I need to take lots of big cleansing breaths and think positive. Yay, but we have a house and I am so excited. We can decorate and diy as we please! I’ll just ignore the fact that the house is full of boxes to unpack and I am so tired. It’s a blessing to have this problem.
We also have a small yard that is a major bonus since it’s been some years since we had one. Hopefully it will produce a wonderful garden next Spring. We will be building some raised beds and it will be just lovely.
I want chickens! Perhaps just a few at first but we are definitely looking forward to being more self sustaining. We are looking at plans and think we have found something we really like.
Just thankful for this new season and everything that comes with it.