Tuesday, November 30, 2010

from the pages…



“Do you live near the river? I hope so, because people who live near running water are much nicer than those who don’t.  I’d be mean as a scorpion if I lived inland.”
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I just finished reading this month’s book club suggestion and I must say, I loved it so much more than The English Patient, which I didn’t love at all (AT ALL).  I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages and I was not disappointed.
It’s written completely in letters, which I just adore and it’s full of charming characters and captivating stories.
I highly recommend you light a fire, make a cup of cocoa and start reading it right away.
What great books have you been reading?
{Liv

Monday, November 29, 2010

on marveling.

Did you read Eat Pray Love?  I have to confess that I read most of it on various Barnes & Noble trips with a tasty latte in hand.  Sometimes, I don’t want to buy books, because I’d rather buy coffee, so on occasion, I read books that way.   Am I the only one?
I really enjoyed the book and how it inspired so many people.   I find great value in a piece of writing that moves the reader from getting lost in the pages to action.  When I heard that the book was being turned into a movie, I was excited, because I do love Julia Roberts, but I was also skeptical, because most of the time movies tend to lack the true qualities of the book.  In my opinion, Eat Pray Love was another example of this.
I watched it over the holiday weekend and while I enjoyed Julia and the beautiful scenes from all her travels,  it felt flat to me.  It was like icing on cake.  Icing is delicious, but you don’t really get the full potential of icing unless it’s on a  cake.  It’s the combination of the cake & icing that makes each part taste the best.  Occasionally, a spoonful of icing is just the ticket, but an entire story or movie of just icing is less than ideal, missing the substance of the cake.
In the entire film, there was only one line that stuck with me past the rolling credits.   Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts) finds herself feeling empty and uninspired in her life.  She stands in her friend’s office and declares,
“I want to go somewhere where I can marvel at something. I don’t have anything to marvel at here.” 
I mean, yes,  I want to travel, like you wouldn’t believe.  I want to see the wonders of the world, but what is it that makes us think we have to go somewhere else to marvel at something?  What beauty is all around us that we are missing, because we have our eyes closed, thinking that beauty is only found elsewhere.  If you live your life just waiting for the right moment to marvel, you’ll miss an entire existence of things worthy of awe.
On the screen I saw someone whose life has fallen apart and become unrecognizable.  She evaluated her world and found nothing worthy of marveling.  My heart broke knowing that so many people would relate.  But, rather than feeling empty and a great desire to pack my suitcase, I felt a rich contentment as images flashed through my mind, one after another. 
Because, I marvel everyday.
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at this…
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and this…
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and this too…
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and especially this.
While that is enough goodness for one’s heart to burst open, there’s more marveling in…
The way the colors splash across the sky at sunset| the first taste of coffee every morning and afternoon| feeling my sweet baby moving inside of me | the glory that overwhelms as you stand before the ocean | dear friends | holiday cheer | laughing with my brothers and sisters | a perfectly written sentence | the magical sound of a violin | thunderstorms | softly falling snowflakes | mountains | inspiring people | garden fresh tomatoes | knowing that we don’t need to have all the answers | reveling in the mystery and wonder of God… and so much more.
To many people, my life would be simply and ordinary.  I don’t even have a passport to fill with stamps from my inspiring travels.  But truthfully, I’d rather have an everyday life full of marveling  than the occasional bit of wonder.
Maybe you need to board a plane to find what your missing or perhaps, what you’re looking for is right in front of you.  I hope you find it.
Have you marveled lately?
{Liv

the giveaway revealed

A while ago, I had a little giveaway on the blog, just for fun, to say thank you for reading all my ramblings and tales.  The winner actually lives nearby and so I was able to give it to her in person when she came over for coffee and scones last week.  It was a wonderful.  I miss so very much having friends over for coffee, it’s definitely one of my favorite things in all the world.  Moving to a new city and making new friends is a bit complicated, which is a certain negative of adulthood.  However, I was so happy to have Lori over for honest-to-goodness conversation.    I could use more of that in my life.
Here is a snapshot of the giveaway package.
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It included some vintage jewelry, a small jar of vintage buttons, an 8 x 10 print of Silent Song, 2 of each postcard in my shop, Porch Swing and Coffee Love, and a handful of random thank-you notes from my very large box of cards.
I had so much fun putting the package together, I just might do it again soon.
{Liv

P.S.  DOn't forget use the code 'BuyHandmade' and receive 20 percent off your order in my shop!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a quick and easy sewing project

Oh, hi.  Remember me? I have a bunch of projects and posts to share.  Our Thanksgiving was perfect and somehow I didn’t take a single picture, probably because I was too stuffed full of delicious food.  But, you know, there was feasting, family, football, fun games, and more feasting… and on top of all of that goodness, I found something cute in  my closet that still fit… a true Thanksgiving miracle.  And that was our holiday.  How was yours?

Last week, on a snowy Sunday afternoon, I made a nursing cover following this tutorial from Prudent Baby.  I’m quite certain nothing could be easier to make and I finally used my Hanging Cages fabric that I bought months ago.

IMG_5786IMG_5787         It took less than an hour to complete and cost about $9, mostly for the fabric.  In stores, nursing covers can cost around $30, which is a little bit on the crazy side of things.

If you’re even decent on a sewing machine, this would make a great gift for any of the new mamas that you might know.

 

Ok, more fun things coming up soon…

{Liv

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shop news

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1. These two scarves are available in the shop, ready to ship.

2.  From now until December 1st, use the coupon code ‘BuyHandmade’ at the checkout and receive 20% off your order, of items in shop.  *This does not apply to custom orders.

3. I only have 6 more openings for custom scarf orders, so contact me soon, if you are interested.

4.   Happy Thanksgiving Eve Eve.

{Liv

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lavell’s Cheesecake Pie

This morning, I’m thankful for a husband who ventures out in the treacherous cold to work long hours, so that the rest of us can stay inside, all warm and cozy.  He also made oatmeal raisin cookies yesterday while watching his football games, because he’s the best.

Thanksgiving week is here and I think it’s one of the best weeks ever, because high on the list of all the things I love in my life, is Thanksgiving dinner.  Man, am I glad those pilgrims and Indians got together to eat.

After college, my friends and I created Friends’ Thanksgiving, we’d all travel to one location and spend the whole weekend together feasting, drinking and discussing coffee, and laughing.  One of my lovely (OCD)  friends, her name  is similar to Erica, would make menus and place cards for the table  and long before November there would be e-mails about planning committees for the event. I’m not lying.  Sadly, this couldn’t last forever, we  started getting married, having kids, no money, and those silly families of ours got greedy feeling like we were supposed to spend holidays with them… how absurd.  Truth be told, if I had my way, I’d spend all my Thanksgivings with them… and now there would be five husbands (three named Matt) and four little boys, age 3 and under, running around… I think it would be marvelous.

Also,  Thanksgiving reminds me of the few years we spent in Tennessee.  We couldn’t travel far for the weekend, because Matt worked in retail and I guess there’s a big shopping day, which required him to be there.  So, we spent those Thanksgivings with our Tennessee family at Lavell’s.   Lavell owns the barn where we got married and I dare say, she is one of the most amazing people in all of the world.  I could probably write a novel about how much we love her and so could everyone she knows.  It’s also quite possible that she is one of the best cooks on the face of this earth.

She’s the kind of person who upon entering her home, you feel like you belong there and you never want to leave.  Her hugs are magic and she is really the warmest person I know.  I mean, literally, her hands are ALWAYS warm.  And now after writing this, I miss her.  Anyways, she would feed anyone who walked through her door, as long as you called her first, to let her know you were coming… and Thanksgiving was no exception.

Among all the masterpiece dishes she would make, she also whipped up a couple simple things, one of them being, what she called Cheesecake pie.  I don’t know if she actually made up the recipe or not, but as far as I’m concerned, she did.  Last year, Matt’s sister and her family came to spend Thanksgiving with us and I made it for them.  They loved it.  They have since asked me for the recipe about four times and I think I’ve given it to them about four times, but that’s ok, they have lots of kids, making it hard to remember things.  Now with Thanksgiving only days away, taunting us with its merriment, she asked me to send the recipe and I just thought I’d share it with anyone who wanted to enjoy it.

If you are the type of person who likes exact measurements, I’m sorry, because I’ve never seen this recipe written down. Deal with it.  It’s so easy and delicious.  It’s the cheesecake for people who don’t want to spend the time making cheesecake.

Lavell’s Cheesecake Pie

1- store bought graham cracker crust or make your own

2- 8 0z packages of cream cheese, room temperature.

1- 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (or as my sister calls it, confederate sugar)

1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1 can of fruit filling (I use blueberry or cherry, but you can use whatever.)

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar, starting with 1 cup and little by little,  add  more, until the mix is to your sweetness liking. (This means, stick your finger in and taste it).  Add vanilla extract. 

Spread the mixture into your pie crust and pour can of fruit filling on top.  Cover and chill for about an hour.  You could leave the filling on the side and let people add it themselves, if they don’t all like the toppings, but I prefer to add it. 

Done.

 

It’s so easy and people will marvel and wonder how you made this.  You’re welcome.

P.S.  This year, I’m trying this new recipe for Cranberry Cheesecake.

What are you making?  What is the one dish you wouldn’t want to miss on Thanksgiving?

{Liv

Friday, November 19, 2010

Baby growing diaries #8 Bad vs. Good Questions

This morning, I wrote a long, extremely sarcastic post about silly questions to ask pregnant ladies.  I didn’t post it, but I felt better.  I do that often, writing helps me feel better and let’s me whine a little bit, even if I don’t share it with the entire modern world.  I’m still feeling rather uncomfortable today, but I just took a nap and I feel a little more like sunshine than earlier.   Now, I  think it would be funny to share a milder version of those same thoughts. 

During my baby growing posts, I often write about the things people feel compelled to say to those who are with child.  Maybe, I hope that by sharing my feelings I can change the world or maybe I just want to make you laugh.  I think it’s both.  I never want to complain much other than to a select number of people, because I know there are many people who wish they had the chance to complain about being pregnant, and I never want to take this gift for granted…  I just want to put my spin on it all, because I write, that’s what I do. So, with that being said…

Here are a few bad questions to ask your local pregnant mama.

1.  How are you feeling?  Chances are if you’re asked this in your third trimester, what you want to say is, “Pretty much, pick any part of my body and assume that it is sore and uncomfortable.”  But, I think the people really just want to hear is this, “Oh, me, I’m glowing and radiant.”  Go ahead, give them them one of those answers and report back to me.

2. Are you excited?  This one is beyond me.  I mean, OF COURSE. YES. HELLO.  You’ve been thinking about meeting this little baby for months and months, maybe even years.  Excited doesn’t even cut it.  Pick a better question.

3.  Are you ready?  Well, at this point, that’s irrelevant.  That’s a question to ask prior to…you know, procreating.   I mean, one of these days… that baby is coming out and you’re going to be ready or you’re going to have do a really good job of pretending that you are.  I tend to believe most people do the pretending bit, but isn’t most of parenting a learn as you go sort of gig?  Ready or not… here they come.

4.  Are you getting plenty of rest?  If this is your first child, maybe you can answer yes, maybe.  BUT, if you’re growing #2 or #3 or more… this is the silliest question of all time.  I mean, do people think that just because you are pregnant your other children automatically become the low maintenance types, who only need watering once a day, like chia pets?  Really.  And furthermore, whoever writes those chapters in the pregnancy books about not lifting anything heavy must have had feathers for children.

 

See, terrible questions.  Now, let me share some questions that would be much better to ask.

  1. When would you like to take a nap?
  2. When can I come over and clean your bathroom?
  3. What can I make you for dinner?
  4. When can I come play with your toddler, so that you can rest or run errands or shower or sleep?
  5. Can I wash your dishes?
  6. Can I scrub your fridge or discover where that putrid smell is coming from in your kitchen?
  7. Can I bring you some tiramisu?
  8. What kind of cookies does your husband like?
  9. What kind of latte can I pick up for you?
  10. How often would you like a massage?

Those are good questions, very good ones.  They are magical, life-altering, beautiful questions that would make anyone’s day.

And now I’m finished.

31 weeks today.  Glowing and radiant.  Excited. Ready.  Getting loads and loads of rest… in case you wondered.

Happy weekend.

{Liv

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I decided. I ordered. It has arrived.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that shortly after finding out we were having a baby girl, as in that afternoon... I started my search for the perfect fabric for her bedding.  With H, we bought a set that we fell in love with from one of those major chain stores that sells children’s bedding, its initials are PB.  Anyways, no regrets in that decision, but this time around, there just wasn’t a new set that captured my heart in quite the same way and I decided that I would just have to make my own. 
Have I ever done this before? No.  But sometimes, you have to knit your first scarf, paint your first painting, and sew your first crib bedding… you know what I mean?
So, I began the search and a great dilemma lurked over my life.  I couldn’t decide.  I fell in love with too many prints, to the point of frustration.  Then I remembered one of the mottos  I know to be true in my life.  When you see it, you’ll know.   I mean, it worked for my husband, why not fabric? 
I narrowed down my options, which I shared with you here.  I loved all your comments, but truthfully, my heart and mind has already decided before finishing  that post.  I remember using the following words to describe one particular set, “the colors and patterns delight my artistic soul.”    This should have been a major clue, because when something truly delights my soul… it’s a keeper.  Did you guess that?
Well, it’s here.  Le tissu est arrivĂ©. I chose fabrics from the new line Matisse,  by Alexander Henry, but it has arrived and I’m confident that I have made the right decision.IMG_5754
the fabric
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(L to R) Still Life in Dove, Amelie in Dove, Anja in Dove, Color Stripes in Dove
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This little cutie is always around, for some reason.  We’ve decided to keep him… and we’re collecting H’s.
Back to the fabric, I’m so excited to start. I hope to gather the rest of my supplies soon and I will keep you updated on this super project.  Any tips are welcome.  My goal is to finish in the next nine weeks, because after that I suspect that most of the creative energy will be sucked out of me by that whole newborn-waking-up-all-night-long gig.  Yikes.  Are we really doing that whole bit over again?
{Liv

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

today.

 

An unedited stream of consciousness post.  On purpose.

It has not particularly been a horrible day, but I can tell that I did not prepare my soul for a morning with a needy two year old.  I am certain that I have not had my fill of the Lord’s strength and his blessings of love and patience.  And my little boy, he could tell also, which is no doubt part of the cause for his moodiness.

He’s good at sensing things and when I feel frustrated and overwhelmed, he knows and he doesn’t like that, so he’s extra clingy which in return pushes me further over the edge.  Because, I just want space and peace and quiet and I don’t want him jumping all over me and wanting attention.  I want to be selfish, because that is how I’m feeling.  He wants his mommy to be happy and present and fun.

It was a bad combination.

Plus, I thought it would be possible to balance the checkbook and pay bills while he was awake, which I obviously knew better… but I thought why not.  And then the bank statement just never seems to match completely to my register and that frustrates me.  I realize math is not my strong point, so I recalculate and still the numbers don’t match.  It’s one of my biggest pet peeves.  I sure didn’t need to add that to my already exhausted self, but I had a few bills to pay today and it had to be done.  No one likes paying bills, but I’m so thankful that we can pay ours and on time, and for a husband who works two jobs, so I don’t complain. 

The bills were paid and the checkbook was balanced to the best of my ability, still why don’t the numbers match.  The bank statement says we have a little more, my register says less.  I tend to go on the safe side and say less… but just for once… I’d really like those numbers to match.  And then I’m again thankful that there are positive numbers in the checkbook and I’m not wondering how will the bills get paid.  But in my humanity,  in a moment of weakness, the little boy wants juice and not milk and throws his cup.  There’s no reason for my overly irritated response, because no response would be better. But out of me pours shortness and less than patience.

He willingly goes to his room for a nap, but wants to play and stand on the bed.  He doesn’t respond well to spanking, because he doesn’t like tension and harshness.  He’s a sensitive spirit and I’m sure that he will be a tool used for me to be aware of my own attitude and actions.   

And now he naps or at least is playing very quietly in his bed and my hunger screams because I waited too long to eat and I just want to pull my hair out, not because everything is wrong, but because I hate the way I feel inside.  I’m empty and tired and selfish and grumpy.  I feel irritated and consider a rare thought, that maybe today I would prefer to not be a stay at home mom.  Maybe today, I would prefer to be surrounded with adults who have hopefully a greater sense of reason than  2 year old.  But I know those thoughts are just the frustration and I don’t dwell on them. 

Part of me just wants to take a nap, to cry and sleep and that is all.  Part of me is just itching for the moment when my very tired husband comes home to say, I NEED A BREAK.  But even in the midst of my swarming thoughts and dramatic emotions I know the real problem.  I’ve neglected the source, my source of life, of strength, of hope, of power, of patience, of love, and without that source, all this junk that I’m feeling will never go away.    I know better than to neglect it and I don’t even have a good excuse.  I know that waiting for me in His ever-open arms is all the love and strength that I need.  I know that through Him I am capable of being a better mommy today and always.  I know that through Him, I can not just consider my own desires, but set aside my selfishness for a tired, hardworking husband… who more than anything doesn’t need to walk in the door to a wife who is empty and in need of rescue. 

I eat my lunch emotionally and sit in the silence trying to drink it in as fast as possible.  But I feel like I’m not really getting air.  I just need this.  Right now.  And I feel sorry and frustrated for myself. Me. Me. Me.  And then through the halls, I hear a door slam and another cruel and unloving argument from the downstairs neighbors.  I hear angry jests and brokenness all the way from downstairs into my own home.  The desperation in their voices and the malicious exchanges are not resolved and another door slams.

And in that moment, I close my eyes and actually begin to feel like the air is making its way in, filling me, calming me… and allowing the chaos to settle and a great assurance comes rushing into my soul.  I stop and a few tears trickle down my cheek and I release my shoulders and burdens to the heavens and softly say,

Thank you for my life.

In that brief moment, after I say a quick prayer for the broken and loud neighbors, clarity fills me once again. 

My life is beautiful.  My husband is amazing.  My little boy is a dream.  I love staying home with him.  I am so grateful that I have a checkbook to balance and can pay my bills on time.  I am so happy that my life is not filled with strife, anger, hurt, and pain.  I am beyond blessed that I have a marriage that honors God and a husband is who a kind, patient, and loving man of God.  I am so fortunate that our home is not filled with stress and tension and that our little boy can be raised in a safe, happy, home where perfect love casts out fear and because of that, he can be whole.  I may be tired, but I’m not the only one.  I knew better than to balance the checkbook while he was awake and would want my attention.  I know he prefers juice to milk, this is nothing new, why should it frustrate me.  And I know better than to wait too long to eat because I am an ever worse version of myself when hungry.  I know that all the frustrations, the building angst, the exhaustion can be released and I can trade them all in for love, peace, patience, and joy.  I know that all I have to do is ask, to bask in his presence, to shut off the rest of the world and just be.  I know I can find the strength I need in his truth and love, as his spirit washes over my own selfishness.  All I have to do is ask.

Because, he’s been here the whole time, watching me irrationally try to run on empty, waiting for me to remember that I don’t need to do it on my own and that I really just need him.

I stop again to breathe in the truth that I know and release the foolishness that I have created.  Then, I let these words bring life into my soul.

He loves us, oh how he loves us.  Oh, how he loves.

{Liv

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creativity is doing.

I have this friend.  I’ve seen her grow and become this amazing individual in the past few years, who is creating a wonderful, healthy, and meaningful life for her family.  It’s beautiful to watch this unfold and I’m honored to call her a friend.

The other day she wrote a short and simple blog post, that has stayed with me since reading…  I don’t think she’ll mind if I share.

Every time I find myself losing time browsing the endless number of crafty blogs out there I wind up coming back to this one thought:


Creativity is not discovered in reading about someone else’s creativity.

It is found by DOING.
So I’m going to go do.

I love this, because it’s so true.  I’ve been thinking more about why I share my projects and ideas on this blog and it is not to say, “Hey, look at me, look at me!”  There are plenty of talented folks out there.   I do so because I want you to believe that you are creative and that you are capable.  I want to inspire you to pursue your wildest whimsies and deepest dreams.  And I don’t really want it to have anything to do with me, because it’s not about me.  It’s about living and dreaming and doing and trying and discovering who you are and what you love.  It’s about realizing that you have something great within you to offer the world and it’s just waiting to be released.  Perhaps, it’s been quieted by responsibilities or criticism from others, but it’s still there…  Can you feel it?  Do you believe it?

It might be a miniscule flicker at the end of a long, dark tunnel or it could be roaring within you like a great howling wind. 

Whatever it is, I hope you find it.  I hope you cherish and nurture it.  And most of all… do something with it.  Something great.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

I love that you read my blog, I really, really do, but I hope that you go beyond just reading about creativity and immerse yourself in creating, because there is nothing that inspires me more than seeing someone begin to believe in their own creative potential. 

I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do.

{Liv

an over indulgent post about coffee

A few weeks ago, we visited my husband’s family in Kansas.  One afternoon, our cousin Melissa, made a very true observation.

“All your favorite things have to do with coffee.”

Well, yes.  What a smart lady.

So, it is no wonder that coffee is also one of my favorite parts of kicking off the holiday season.Christmas Blend 09

Some people jump in the day after Halloween.  Some wait for the first snowfall. For others it’s the debut of the Starbuck’s red cups.

And for this girl, nothing sends my heart into the frenzy of warmth and joy of the holiday season like my very first cup of Christmas blend coffee.

                                                                                 picture from 2009.

{I try to use the word frenzy whenever possible.}

I don’t think you understand, I look forward to this day every year, almost as much as I anticipate my birthday or Christmas.  It’s my absolute favorite coffee blend in the universe, with toasted coconut being my second.  (any coconut coffee fans?)

Friends, Romans, Countrymen… that day is here.

The world is brighter.  The morning seemed more bearable.  The falling snow looks prettier… and my cold toes feel a bit warmer.

I told you I liked coffee.

Happy my first

cup of Christmas Blend  2010 day to all. 

Let the holiday jubilation begin.

What about you lovelies, what launches you into the holiday spirit like nothing else?

{Liv

Monday, November 15, 2010

dear Minnesota

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First snowfall of 2010, November 13, 2010

Hello, new state of residence.  This may be the first of many letters to you regarding your weather. I found your summer to be viciously sweltering, your autumn just divine, but winter, oh winter.   Let me begin by saying that growing up in Michigan, I experienced many a winter, so in theory I’m not brand new to this season, it’s just that since graduating high school, we’ve been separated and I’m terribly unsure about our reunion.

I opted for college in sunny and warm Florida, enjoying winter the best way, for three weeks around Christmas.  Post college, I spent a year in California, where life is beautiful and perfect, filled with In-N-Out burgers (but that is another story).  California introduced me to Matt and we settled near Nashville, where winter is short and cool, as in it only snows a handful of days each winter.  So, in the last eight years, winter and I have become acquaintances who’ve drifted apart, with no real desire to reconnect.  It’s not me… it’s you.

And now, for some reason, I find myself in Minnesota on November 15, 2010, looking out over a world of   cold, white snow.  From the safety and warmth of my living room, it’s a lovely, winter wonderland, but yesterday I left the house and my nose was cold and my socks got wet.  I have a feeling that your chilly winter oppression will long overstay its welcome. 

I keep telling myself that I must wait at least a few weeks to start declaring the inevitable, “WHY DID WE MOVE HERE??”  (Explicative optional).  However, I find this thought creeping into my head, every time I consider the reality that I WILL have to drive somewhere at some point in the upcoming months. 

Sure, I enjoy hot cocoa, scarves, sweaters, warm blankets, cozy fires, pretty Christmas lights, and all the pleasantries of the holidays, but I don’t see myself becoming a fan of darkness at 5pm and temperatures that make me feel as if my entire body has been dunked in ice water, repeatedly.  

With all that said,  I’m afraid you’re not offering me much of a choice, Minnesota.  I do not see your stone cold heart budging in the winter department. So,  I will try to  face this beast  of a villain named Jack Frost to the best of my abilities.  May the best man win.

Skeptical,

Liv

Thursday, November 11, 2010

All I really want… a little wish list.

For the past three years, I have been using these incredibly cheap pots and pans that came in one of those  apartment starter kits, because, that is what we could afford.  These pieces have served us well decently, but the non-stick is becoming just stick and I’m growing tired of trying to make a large batch of soup in a pot three times too small for such things. Forget trying to make pasta, sauce, and a vegetable.  I can’t even make all three at the same time. 

Since I’ve become all grown up with a family and I make almost all of our meals at home, my big Christmas wish is to upgrade my kitchen.

Yellow Nonstick Cookware Set

I would be giddy over this yellow cookware set.

Multi-Purpose Stockpot

I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to make a pot of soup  or pasta large enough for company with this… oh and did I mention, I do not currently own a colander.  This makes draining pasta and other items very, very tricky. Very tricky.

Zester Grater

This handheld grater would be so dreamy for grating all those lemons, oranges, nutmeg, and more.  (Which I actually do all the time.)

Cheese Grater

And this box grater would make grating cheese  and veggies so much easier than tying to hold my broken handheld one.  And everyone knows that that freshly grated cheese tastes SO much better than pre-shredded, right?  If not, you’ll learn.

I also wouldn’t mind having a blender, food processor, or a waffle iron… but I don’t want to sound greedy.

So, there it is, my Christmas wish list.  Do you think Santa reads blogs?

What would you like to add to your kitchen?

{Liv

baby growing diaries #7

In the third trimester, conversations with strangers about your pregnancy are rather inevitable.  Most of the time, they are generic, kind, and quickly forgotten.  Often, they are annoying and intrusive, causing you to feel the need to punch someone in the face.  But, sometimes, they memorable for altogether different reasons.  The latter happened yesterday.

(Standing at the check-out of the fabric store.)

Cashier:  When are you due?

Me:  middle of January (I like to be mysterious).

Cashier:  Oh, not too long now.  Do you know what you’re having?

Me:  A girl, which is exciting because already have a little boy.

(Note a complete change in cashier’s demeanor)

Cashier:  Oh.  The second pregnancy is not nearly as exciting as the first.

(What the???)

Me:  Well, it is more challenging, because you have another little one to take care of, but that also makes it go faster. So, it’s ok.

Cashier:  Sure, but the first time you are so excited and everything is new, so you don’t really mind all the pain, but the second time, the labor starts and you think… why did I do this again? 

Me:  (slight pause and shrug)  well, the babies are pretty great, so it’s worth it.

Cashier:  (long pause- does she really have to think about that?)  Yeah, I guess it is fun to see the little people.  Good luck.

Le fin.  (The End)

I walked out the door thinking how strange and bizarre.  But honestly, as I write this, I actually feel more sadness for this lady.  Do you get that same feeling for her? 

I mean, I know challenges of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth, but like most people, those things quickly fade into jubilation with the first glimpse of that sweet little love.  I did not get this from our cashier.  I don’t know anything about her, but if I,  in sixty seconds, could notice these  sentiments, there must be a story… and whatever it is, my heart goes out to her today.

 

30 weeks tomorrow. 

{Liv

Monday, November 8, 2010

my creative hero.

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We had a fun weekend visiting family + friends and celebrating the husband’s birthday. It was definitely a short trip and the drive home felt a few hours too long, but I’m glad we were able to go.
Earlier during our drive to Kansas, I wondered what the whole point of a place like Iowa was. Personally, I find the Midwest and plain states to be a little, umm, lacking in the mountains and ocean department a.k.a. dull, so I don’t get too excited to drive the endless miles of farms and fields. 
But on the drive home, I found one good thing about the flat expanse.  In case you missed it, last night there was the most brilliant of sunsets.  First streaks of pink mixed with the soft blue of the evening sky, then the world became ablaze in oranges, yellows, and pinks.  Just as you thought, wow this is amazing, two seconds later, the colors were even more phenomenal, and this kept happening until the sun retired from our view.
We passed one particular farm that rested on the top of a “rolling hill,” during the most vivid moments of colors.   Around this farm were endless fields followed by more fields, but can you imagine the great shows they must get?  It’s as if their entire world of dusty creams and wheat tones just waits each day for this event when radiant colors take over the sky and surrounds them in  masterpiece, as far as they can see.  It’s like getting lifetime tickets to the best show in the universe… every single night. 
Of course, thanks to daylight savings time, this was at 5pm, but that means soon after came a dark  blanket of  midnight blue sprinkled with endless stars.
In these moments, I realized just how creative God is.  He begins each day with a glorious sunrise full of life, new beginnings, and beauty and completes the process with a marvelous masterpiece of a sunset exuding peace and awe.  Then, just for fun, because I think he’s the over-achieving type of artist,  he paints the dark sky with millions of bits of light and energy.
Three times a day, he turns the sky into a unique work of art.  He revels in creativity and the expression of light and color.   He  uses the world as his canvas  and the beauty He creates speaks a message louder than any words could ever be.
Be still and know that I am God.

He’s pretty much my creative hero.
{Liv

Friday, November 5, 2010

this guy.

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He’s my favorite, well both of them are, but right now I’m talking about the older one.  The one who I met on a dusty mountain in California.  The one who quickly stole my heart and made my great life even better.  The one who became my husband in front of a beautiful barn in Tennessee.  The one who is the best father ever to that cute little boy of ours.   The one who works so hard to provide and take care of our family.  The one who I’d rather spend all my time with even if we are just grocery shopping.  The one who I want to grow old with and make plans to tie a million balloons to the top of our house and travel through the air to our dream destination, like on Up. 

And in the words of Grey’s Anatomy, he makes my world stop. 

That’s the one I’m talking about here and today is his birthday. 

Happy Birthday husband.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

“Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”

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A simple centerpiece on the table, all the fall trimmings.  Please tell me you grate fresh nutmeg and cinnamon on top of your pumpkin coffee?  It’s amazing.

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Working on this scarf in the most lovely fig color.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

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A new art collage piece that I finished yesterday, it’s kind of a sister to this one that is in my bathroom.  I call it “Measurements and Metaphors.”

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We are taking a trip this weekend, so today I tidy up the house and pack for our little journey.  The last real road trip we took was moving up here from Tennessee in March, so these adventurers are really itching for a bit of travel.

It will most likely be the last trip we take as a family of three, because after this we’ll probably be staying close to home since little lady is expected in about 11 weeks.  That also means that this might be the last trip we take where the 2 year old is in diapers, because operation get this one potty trained before sister arrives commences when we get home.  We’re really aiming for the whole not having two kiddos in diapers concept, so pray for us because the Lord knows I was not created for such things at potty training. Gross.   And sadly, my husband told me that we cannot afford to pay someone else for this task.  Boring.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to a fun weekend  with my two favorite people in the world.  Hope your Thursday is a good one.

{Liv

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

life is a beautiful mix of good and bad.

Bad:  this pesky cold that isn’t bad enough to take over my life, but big enough to remind me of its presence at every turn.
Good: hot lemon tea with honey. orange juice with most pulp. lavender bubble baths. House Hunters marathons. chocolate peanut butter bars.  husbands who bring home more coffee and tea.  sunshine and clear blue skies.  short lines at the polling place.  the holiday season.  bon iver pandora station. two year olds who are still small enough to cuddle with mommy.
Bad:  the inevitable stage of pregnancy where sleep is illusive and replaced with tossing, turning, soreness, and discomfort.
Good: the cocoon of fluff that I make when my husband gets up for work, where I take over the whole bed and commandeer all of the pillows.  the fact that my little boy gets his sleeping skills from me, not his daddy and usually doesn’t wake up until nine. afternoon naps. lazy mornings of playing with toys and watching cartoons.  feeling each flip and kick from the baby girl who will be ready to meet us in nearly 11 weeks.
So yeah, I’m sore, really uncomfortable, tired, and my head may explode from the pressure… but I’d say that life is pretty great.
in fact, it’s beautiful.
{Liv.

Monday, November 1, 2010

For the little lady

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My very first dress for little miss h.  I am in love.   I  had to channel the attention to  detail portion of my creativity because making clothes is nothing like splashing paint across the canvas.
I didn’t follow any particular pattern, but used one of the 3-6 month dresses as a guide.   The back has a one button enclosure, which I saw used on a tutorial online, can’t tell you where.   I used buttons from my vintage collection (that belonged to my husband’s mom and grandmother) and this fabric, with a bit of (white with pink & blue polka dots) fabric I bought at the store, in one of those small pre-cut bits.
It’s far from perfect as far as the sewing goes, but perfect is boring and I’m not entering any contests.  Now that I have successfully finished one, I am confident that I can make more and chances are I’ll keep getting better in time.
And look, she already has a cute little jacket, loafers, and legwarmers for a complete outfit.   Excellent.
Oh what fun we will have, my baby.
{Liv

my little asher lev

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

-Picasso

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Handmade thank-you notes, an excellent activity for an afternoon too chilly for our noses.

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His first real painting session.  Of course, he had to taste it once and then never considered putting paint in his mouth again.  No harm done.  Of course, he tried to paint his high chair and the kitchen table, but it was nothing that some soap and water couldn’t handle.  And of course, he was a super duper mess and has some paint in his hair for maybe 2 days, but that’s not uncommon around here, art is messy.

It was so fun and we loved every second of it.  I let him paint on one of my small, flat canvas boards because this one is a keeper.  I may not be good at keeping up with a baby book, but art, I can handle.

My little Asher Lev, I’m so proud.

{Liv