Golden Dinosuars and A “can’t-live-without” app for an Unfocused, Procrastinating, Unorganized Homemaker (Yes, that’s a long title)

photo 1 (11)It’s no secret I am a procrastinator and a bit on the unorganized side. I guess I am what you call “disorganized creative” and although I may want certain things in my life just “perfect” and can have anxiety if not achieved, the “home work”  is not one of those areas.

I’ve talked of my randomness here before and I think part the issue comes down to me not using my time well, well that and an official attention deficit diagnosis, ha. I am easily distracted and can spend way too much time reading wikipedia articles about some random 18th century scientist or artist or work on calligraphy practice or watercolor or spray paint gold dinosaurs when I should have taken five minutes to do the dishes in the sink. I fully accept I am this way, my mind takes giant leaps a million times a second and I do believe there was a reason I was created this way, and am happy for it. But I’m trying to make my life more functional, so I’ve slowly made leaps and bounds over the years because of general frustration at my nature and I continue to look for anything that will aide in my attempt at managing a household as well as the many other mom and life duties I am responsible for.

I recently found and was previously unaware of the 30/30 app. I’ve used it for a few days so far and it has really, really helped (more really’s for emphasis) Here’s my run down:

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-Free – The app is free, there are some unnecessary in-app icons you can purchase but the price is my kind of price.

- Lists & Timers -I like lists and list making out of pure necessity, the problem is that I don’t always accomplish the items on the list and can get lost in the list making process altogether. In this app you not only can make lists and there is options to make different lists for your various needs but what’s really amazing is the ability to set individual timers for each listed item. This is a tremendous help for staying on track. I can look at the time allotted and push through till I hear that satisfying buzz. It’s helping to compartmentalize my daily tasks a bit so I don’t get overwhelmed trying to swallow a whole elephant. There is also the ability to add or take away time in 5 minute increments also pause time or bump an item to lower on the list.

-Clean Design- I’m an Aesthetic snob and I like my apps like I like my mid century modern tastes, the app is clean and beautiful.

-Gestures & Ease of Use- There is a bit of a learning curve with the gestures required to work the app but they are clearly explained and it only took me a few attempts to get them down, once mastered the ease of use is quite nice.

-Getting stuff done- Remarkably I finished my entire list for the day yesterday with the help of this app. I just started using it so time will be the judge. I have to spend a few minutes in morning making my list but its worth it at the end of the day.

All in all, my test week is going great and I just wanted to mention this app to blog friends as it may be of some use to you, let me know how it goes. I imagine it will be very useful in the fall with our homeschool load as well especially since we keep lessons short and not over a certain time limit. If you use it or have used it and love it or hate it, let me know as well. So, in conclusion use the 30/30 app if you want to get more done in your day so you have time to for the important things like painting gold dinosaurs.

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aren’t they cute?

 

 

 

1 Comment // Categories: busyness, getting organized, Intentional Living, Technology, time management

Posted on July 29, 2014 by Ellie

Slow it down

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There has been a lot going on here (I’ve wrote on busyness before), and I am trying to refocus, think on Him, slow our home and focus on moments like this, above. Just a quick thought from a tired mind.

No Comments // Categories: busyness, Intentional Living

Posted on July 22, 2014 by Ellie

friday listening 7.4.14

 

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Happy 4th y’all!ac33a7e5

The Wish I Was Here soundtrack already sounds like it’s going to be amazing, seriously. We loved Garden State and are excited to see a new film from Zach Braff, the trailer made me a little weepie and it’s refreshing to see something that seems to follow the spirit of his earlier film. Anyways this is just about the music on the soundtrack, we’re talking about The Shins, Bon Iver, Cat Power, Gary Jules, Paul Simon, The Weepies. It’s like someone compiled this playlist from my heart. I won’t give a review or whatever but I’m excited to see a good list like this. Anyways take a peek the new The Shins song and the new Bon Iver song have been released as of now. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wish-i-was-here-music-from/id889189368.  NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2014/06/30/326213324/song-premiere-bon-iver-writes-a-tune-for-zach-braffhttp://www.npr.org/artists/14837976/the-shins

On another note, I would feel remiss If I didn’t share this Sam Smith Whitney Houston Cover. Too good, man, too good. Listen with squinched up face and closed eyes. http://hypem.com/track/254w0/Sam+Smith+-+How+Will+I+Know+(Whitney+Houston+Cover)

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Here’s what I’ll be listening today for this fourth, 90′s rock nostalgia Denim Dreams Spotify Playlist Happy Listening!

No Comments // Categories: friday listening

Posted on July 4, 2014 by Ellie

on being a bad friend

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Thank you everyone for bearing with me and still reading this after many blog issues. Hopefully I will be back at it on the reg.

So I have been thinking a lot recently about friendships. One of my most popular posts has been this one : “On Friends, it’s hard“, about how its hard to make friends, keep friends etc. especially in my season of life. I’ve been mulling on it a lot recently because of recent circumstances, and I realize that I am a horrible friend. I have always been a bad friend. Some might say “aww, not true” and some of you might shake your head vehemently in agreement. To both camps, I’m glad you are reading this. Looking The fact of the matter is I look back on my friend history and realize, yup, it’s no wonder. I have a history of being a bad friend. What I mean is that I’ve wanted the juicy parts of friendship with paving the groundwork. That means that I am a selfish person that fails at being selfless and of course that can make a give a little, get a little relationship difficult because friendship is a two-man or woman job. I honestly thought for years I was pretty decent in the friend department but I realize now, not so much. I am sinner in need of grace, and because I screw up so royally daily, can be the worst of the worst, and incredibly selfish as all get out I think I’ve screwed up a few relationships on the road.

I need Grace but also I need to learn to be a better friend. I am slowly being transformed and hopefully those meaningful relationships that I so desire will blossom out of these growing experiences. So, I say to all of you, I’m sorry, I’m sorry if I’ve sucked as a friend. I’m sorry if I’ve been lackadaisical or selfish. I’m sorry if I’ve caused distance or hurt, these are things that He is changing in me.

6 Comments // Categories: Words & Meditations

Posted on July 3, 2014 by Ellie

Nine Years + Friday Listening

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We celebrated Nine Years this week. I can’t believe nine years of marriage has passed before our blue and hazel gaze. Does it make sense that time moves so quickly and slow all at the same time. We are happy for this time and for our little family.

We spent the night of our anniversary at a nice, quiet and childless dinner with dessert to follow. It was quick and beautiful. The gift I gave Kenny is above a hand illustrated portrait I painted of us and Kenny gifted me with The Kinfolk Table and some Penguin dropcaps for our collection. Below a wedding picture of us as babies and it’s current counterpart. Thankful for him.
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Here’s a playlist for your Friday with some Warm Nostalgic, Americana, Indie Feelings Home Sweet Home -Spotify. 9 years of memories amounts to these sounds.

No Comments // Categories: friday listening, Happy Things

Posted on May 9, 2014 by Ellie

Real Life on Mondays 4/21

afterlight (1) I am attempting to show our real life, what it looks like in the real world without the social media facade. Occasionally on Mondays I’ll post an image of our real house and the way it looks in Real Time for transparency and honesty. Like this room which is my daughters’ shared room and is very messy because I have not been consistent with getting Emma to straighten up. The good thing is that it’s mostly toys and clothes and sleeping bag she insists sleeping on the couch with, so it only takes a few moments to clean it up, but we are in the stage were I have to actively monitor her while we learn “first time obedience” so Mom can be lazy about this too.

On another note, how was Easter Weekend? We had so much fun and spent time with friends, family and church. It was beautiful to hear the word and see it lived out through a baptism at our church. My Secret Sister gave me an sweet Easter Bunny that is in my freezer ready for me to pounce on once I recover from the Sugar coma from the last few days. Saturday we went to our friend and neighbors for a Surprise Birthday Party and there was a pinata as well as chocolate cake. Combine that with Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts and more candy than one person really needs in a lifetime, I think we’re good until Halloween.

We’ve talked with Emma prior Easter, during lent about why we celebrate Easter and even though we do the fun stuff like Easter baskets and egg hunts, this is not the reason we celebrate. We’ve been reading about  Passover and faithfulness and how that connects to the story of Christ’s Death and Resurrection and you can’t believe how encouraged I was to listen to her tell me Yesterday “Jesus died on the cross, to erase our sin.”

Here are some lovely pictures of my family this weekend, they are a true blessing and I couldn’t be more thankful even though sometimes I take for granted the blessing they are.

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I hope your Easter was wonderful and full of the redemption story. Also, feel free to show us your real Life on Mondays #reallifeonmondays on IG or social media.

2 Comments // Categories: Faith, Intentional Living, Real Life on Mondays

Posted on April 21, 2014 by Ellie

Revisiting Plans & Priorities

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I have to remind myself of goals and priorities constantly so I don’t forget. In January, I set out to make a list of plans & priorities for the year. Now that it is spring and no longer winter, I thought I should revisit and see how things are going for me so far. This is not a checklist of things I have to mark to validate me as a person but a guide for the type of life I want to create this year.

My categories where Faith, Family, Home, Homeschool, Mother Culture, Art, Writing/Blogging and I just wanted to check in on these things for growth and accountability. Blog friends or Real Life friends I encourage you to ask me how these things are going, I am encouraged when others take interest and likewise take interest in the progress your friends that set priorities this year.

So I’ll go down the list (with excerpts from the Plans and Priorities Post):

Faith

“This is a primary priority because without Faith I am hopeless. 2013 was a year that God helped me begin to unravel from depression and hopelessness and show me to delight in my circumstances, so 2014 will be even more so a testament to what He is doing. I will continue to study and trust more. I want to be more thankful as well this year.”

I have been trying to study more and trust more and grow in contentment and joy. I can say it isn’t an easy battle when a history of depression rears it’s head and you forget truth, but it isn’t my fight really, I am trying to remember to give it up. I just pray I continue to do so. I have been reading a few things for personal study, I read “Keep a Quiet Heart” by Elisabeth Eliott which is helping me to examine my heart. I also stick with my old steady “Morning & Evening” by Charles Spurgeon. I learn so much from this beautiful and encouraging devotion and Spurgeon has a way of putting things to my brain that are equal parts inspiringly truthful, achingly beautiful, and simply revelatory.

We are also very happy to be in a church home for the past year after a very long church search that lasted almost a year prior to that. It is a sweet community of believers and biblical learning that we are happy to take part in.  I am very thankful for the teaching that is really good and encourages me in Faith, this is a recent sermon that blew my mind: Behold I see the Heavens Opened. I encourage you if you live in Augusta, Ga and do not have a church home to join us this Week for our Easter Series.

Family

“Instead of busy-ness, instead of this activity or that event, instead of every kind of distraction I want my family to be a priority and for us to find peacefulness in our home and with each other. This means we will continue in traditions like Sunday Radio Day, no media except music or talk radio. Also, we will make more intentional time together and less sitting around the tv.”

On the busy-ness front this is an ongoing battle that I am hitting with full force daily. It is so easy for our Yeses to become full schedules and stress inducing weeks. I’m not for that. I am not saying this is hermit time for us, -even though sometimes I think I’d like that- I mean that is time to be intentional with our time. Say maybe in your mind, evaluate and answer back with a definite “yes” or “no” when it comes to events that draw you from the home. We have succeeded in doing Sunday Radio Day and trying to reduce the media intake on school days, so I think we are getting somewhere. I can tell the difference between the character of my six year old that plays outside all day versus a little six year old that watches tv all day. We are definitely not an anti-tv house, just trying to reign it in.

We are also being more intentional with family devotions and going through this book together at night time storytime. I wrote a review this month and highly recommend it.

Home

“This is related to the care and cultivating of the home. I want my home to be simple, beautiful and help my family to thrive, so I am making an effort to make it so through the simplest of measures.”

Soooo…. this has been a big struggle for me, for like, always. I am learning to enjoy the day to day maintenance that comes with making a happy home, knowing that real life looks most days like this and it’s ok as long as I am helping my family to thrive and be happy…also coffee….coffee is my new friend.

Homeschool

“The past ten months we’ve had a new baby in the house and now that that new baby is somewhat an old baby we have gotten into better rhythms at home, especially in regards to school for Emma. As long as she’s learning truth, beauty, and goodness through her schooling we are doing something right.”

We are back on track with school and even though we are a bit behind on the schedule we are trucking through and happily making education a priority again. Emma ( our almost seven year old) is enjoying school time and I am loving this time together, sometimes school is interrupted by Alice’s (our 1 year old) needs  and that’s ok we resign to Mom’s bed to put Alice asleep while I read aloud from “Little House in the Big Woods”.

Mother Culture

“Mother Culture (Self Care and Interests ex. staying healthy-eating healthy, gym time and reading for pleasure and knowledge)- It is helping me to think of getting healthy as a thing I am doing to help myself and my children in the context of being a Mother opposed to some arbitrary goal I set for myself. My goal for this is more health, more wisdom.”

I’ve had a slow start and have started back working out and eating healthier. Thankful that one of my gifts recently was a Fitbit so I can track steps and progress. I am continuing to read and am always adding to my “to-read” list.

Art

“I never completed art school and I am down on myself a lot about it, in 2013 both Kenny started actively pursuing Art making more in our lives and this year I want that to ripen even more. Whether it’s photography or printmaking, I want to see more art making this year. I’ve started making plans based on this and am just praying for the occasional quiet times to work on these.”

I’m getting there, it’s hard to be motivated to make art after a long day of kid wrangling but I just need to be intentional with the time I do have.

Writing/Blogging

“I want to be more consistent with my writing and blogging without being overly ambitious. One plan that I am thinking of is setting a manageable schedule for me to work on this. Something easy-like twice a week, just to write out some of the things I have rolling around in my head.”

I haven’t done much writing lately but have been trying to post frequently and this is something I want to make a priority. It helps to sometimes get mangled thoughts on to “paper”.

I guess to some all of these things up the key word is Intentionality and just being mindful of the details.

So how are you doing with your plans & priorities this year?  Do you need encouragement for plans ahead? I hope to revisit this often and please share what you have going on in your lives.

No Comments // Categories: Faith, Intentional Living

Posted on April 17, 2014 by Ellie

Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson; A Review

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How important is it to learn about Grace at an early Age? It is of the utmost importance, in my opinion,  just as it is equally important to learn as an Adult as I am doing now. Grace colors the way we interact with others and even ourselves in all of life. Grace, simply put, the In Faith,Grace that is undeserved comes from God and is the antithesis to working to no avail to pay your for your own debts, for your own righteousness. It just doesn’t work that way. Grace is transforming and refining because it is difficult to extend Grace if you don’t understand Grace and once God’s grace is understood it can change everything that you think you know about Him and what that means for your faith.

Are we teaching our children about Grace? Are we learning about Grace? How do we bring up conversations about Grace in the everyday, ordinary moments of life? Sometimes you need a starting place. That’s what I feel Jessica Thompson’s book is, a tool for conversations about God, Grace, and remarkable Love.

It is no secret that we homeschool (Charlotte Mason style) and as a part of that we do daily bible studies, I love that time where we talk about scripture and what it means to us. We discuss Gospel things and what they mean in our day-to-day.  Emma who is six-almost-seven is not always interested to be truthful, but we do get a lot out of it and it is a great way to point to the Gospel then and later when things happen in life and she loves to listen to the stories. We also do something called Character Training, we learn about biblical character that we should embody.  Most people do more than one Character in a year and we started the year that way but since we were struggling with Obedience with the mini teenager (that’s what it’s felt like) in our home we decided to stick with Obedience as our  character for the entire year. If you ask Emma what Obedience is she will tell you that it is “doing what you are told with a happy, submissive heart”. The expectation in our home is “First-Time Obedience”, meaning that you do the previous the first time you are told. In this we are all learning about obedience al-together because I also tend toward the opposite. The apple does not fall far from the tree. We can see how teaching this way does work on hearts little by little with God’s help.

I say all of the above to say if those things are not learned along side Grace and Love then it completely defeats the purpose in my mind. Bible Stories and learning about how we should live can mean nothing if we aren’t connecting it to the Love Story we’ve been given. Without learning Grace, we will tend toward moralism or legalism. That’s why Grace is important. So, I was very excited to get the happy mail that contained my copy of “Exploring Grace Together” by Jessica Thompson. Thank you, Jessica! I treasure “Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus” written by Jessica and her Mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick. It has truly been a wonderful resource for our family. I was very excited to dive in this devotional with Emma and our family.

We have done a week’s worth of devotions from the book to date and we enjoy them very much so far. I of course have read ahead and am excited to discuss all the things inside with my daughter. My praise is that it brings to light everyday issues children and yes, adults struggle with and shines that Gospel light on them so we can see them with new eyes.

For example in Chapter 1 “The Good One” we discussed how all fall short and following the rules does not win you what is given freely. This is so important for us to discuss because Emma in most cases is a “follow the rules to the letter” and has what I like to call a high sense of justice when it comes to herself and others. She is the first to point out among friends that they aren’t following the rules so it was a really great discussion for us.

In Chapter 4 “Just Not Sure” Emma shared that sometimes she doesn’t understand Faith as well just like Sam in the story but that she still wanted to have Faith and thought it was very important. It was a great way to tell her that she is always welcome to talk with us about her thoughts and doubts and we will examine them together, because she isn’t alone in this. Then prompted from the questions we prayed for the special Gift of Faith.

Bullies are a new thing for us this year, I’m not sure if it’s because of the age of her peers or what but we had never experienced it. Emma is a very sensitive child and is really affected by “name calling” or unkindness but she also is not always aware when she is the one being unkind to others as well. Chapter 6 “I Can’t Be Nice” was a great devotion to discuss what we are to do in these scenarios, when we feel like we can’t be nice to others regardless the circumstance. We were able to bring out some situations that have happened to and by Emma and discuss what we can do about them. It is a great way for Mom as well to talk about how she struggles with this.

I really have enjoyed the devotions so far and we will continue with them with our family in hopes that the Gospel conversations continue. The only thing we have done differently in the devotions is that in our Charlotte Mason tradition Emma will narrate the story back to me before we discuss it. We do this for retention in our home and it seems to work for us. Anyone can do this as well but it isn’t necessary for the material. Here are some thoughts on Narration, if interested.

I completely recommend this book. It will become another invaluable resource for us as we raise young children’s hearts and also examine our own hearts. Do it with your families knowing both you and your children will benefit from it. I can’t wait to see what else Jessica has in store in the future, I am totally fangirling her on Instagram and Twitter and almost referred to her as @thejesslou in most of this post. Anyways, go and give her a follow https://twitter.com/Thejesslou and http://instagram.com/thejesslou.

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What are your thoughts on this book? Was this review helpful? I love posts to start a dialog for more conversation.

 

 

2 Comments // Categories: Faith, Homeschool- Charlotte Mason, Reviews

Posted on April 4, 2014 by Ellie

Real Life on Mondays

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“be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”
― Henry David Thoreau

This life is full of illusion. Our modern world tells us that everyone’s homes look like magazine homes and everyone’s lives look like magazine lives. How much farther from the truth can it be? I read a funny post from White House, Black Shutters last week that made me laugh, titled “How to have a Perfectly Clean House”. It was sarcastic to say the least because we know it is impossible to maintain a perfectly clean house every minute unless you sacrifice other things.

On this blog I have said I want to be transparent and real, so before I show any pretty pictures (possible virtual house tour, in the near future) of my home when it’s clean, I want to show real pictures of real life. We love our house it is small and compact and gets cluttered or messy very easily, but we love it and make attempts to keep it tidy for ourselves and for our visitors. Some days that all goes out the window, most days actually.

A friend called our home “bright and cozy”and that’s exactly what we want it to feel like. Our aim is “bright and cozy” and you know what it’s totally ok to see the above picture on the Dining Room table on a Monday after a long week of art and projects. It is also ok to have loads of clean laundry just sitting in baskets waiting to find a home. Seriously though, don’t worry what I think or others, I’ll try not to worry what you think and we’ll be the best of friends. Real life isn’t always pretty but it’s very rewarding. Let’s throw illusion out the door and just be real.

 

As I start this series, Matthew 11 (specifically 25-30) is a good read for Real Life Mondays

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I also wanted to do a quick tutorial for those wanting to stay in touch with this blog, I’ve had a few people say they can’t always see the links on facebook or twitter and would like to get notifications in other ways. There are a few things you can do.

1. The easiest is to get email notifications, there is a box title “Subscribe to Blog via Email” to sign up for email in the sidebar. ->

2. Use your own feed reader and subscribe to the Blog feed by clicking the FeedBurner Rss Feed button in the side bar or clicking here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ellieeugenia.

3. This is the one I do since Google Reader became a thing of the past. It’s called Feedly.com and it is a great alternative to Google Reader. There is also a smart app for Feedly so it’s great for waiting room reading or just anytime reading. You have to sign up and then enter in the blog address to subscribe but it’s a great way to stay in touch with blogging friends.

Let me know if you have any questions or need help at all, I’m happy to help walk anyone through the process.

<3 Ellie

2 Comments // Categories: Intentional Living

Posted on March 31, 2014 by Ellie

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The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.
Cicero

No Comments // Categories: Uncategorized

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Ellie

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