101 things in 1001 days

I heard about the 101 things in 1001 days concept from Kendra Adachi of The Lazy Genius Collective (new discovery that I really enjoy). She chatted with the gals of Around The Table Podcast (long-time listener to this fun podcast) about a new version of goal setting that focuses on joy not productivity.

She created a list of 101 things she wanted to do in 1001 days. The idea is not unique to Kendra, but I loved her spin on it and immediately started thinking of my 101 things. As someone who tends to idolize productivity and have unrealistic expectations of myself, I resonated with her idea that goals/lists should be life-giving not soul-sucking.

Kendra does a much better job (and is much more inspiring) explaining her take on 101 things in 1001 days, so if this appeals to you at all, listen to this podcast (discussion starts at 11:15 ) and read this blog post.

In the meantime, here’s my list!

101 things in 1001 days

Guidelines: 

  • Realistic.
  • Something that would truly bring me joy.
  • Not a to-do list item.
  • Something I would look forward to accomplishing.
  • No habits. (Not make my bed/floss everyday)
  • Specific. There had to be a measurable amount.

Start Date: February 3rd, 2016

End Date: October 31st, 2018

  1. Compile a month of dinners we love for each season. This would make meal planning so much easier.
  2. Create and wear a capsule wardrobe for at least one season. I’ve been intrigued by this concept for a while. I especially like Lindsay’s take on it.
  3. Ask 10 friends what their favorite book is and read it. Bookish friends, I’m coming for you…
  4. Go wine tasting with Tim. There’s several wineries practically in our backyard that we want to check out.
  5. Take a train ride with the family. Either Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway or the Hawk Mountain Line (or both).
  6. Submit three pieces to Hello, Dearest. I don’t care if they are chosen for publication (well, that would be lovely…), I just want to be better about putting myself out there as a writer. Since I’m involved in MOPs, their magazine seemed like a good place to start.
  7. Run a race that gets a medal. I just want a medal, dangit.
  8. Learn and perfect choreography to one Zumba routine. You know the “would you rather have an amazing voice or be a fantastic dancer” question? I’d rather be a fantastic dancer. I made Tim steal a Zumba DVD during a white elephant exchange and I will work on my moves in the privacy of my own home.
  9. Finish a quilt. I have several half-finished projects that need to be completed.
  10. Do 10 push ups.
  11. Take Cozy Minimalist and Cozy Minimalist Mom courses. A Christmas gift from Tim that I am so excited about.
  12. Buy a house. Our lease is up at the end of 2016 and we’d like to buy a place.
  13. Create a gallery wall.
  14. Make a Hyder/Jensen favorites cookbook. It’s good to have all the family favorites in one place. Plus, this fulfills one of my college career dreams of being a cookbook editor.
  15. Finish my Italy semester Blurb book. I have a lovely coffee table book made for my semester in Oxford, but the book for my semester in Italy has been half done for years.
  16. Make a wedding photo album. It’s only been four years…
  17. Pick and arrange wildflowers.
  18. Go on a bike tour with Tim. I’ve been on two of these with my mom and I know Tim and I would really enjoy doing this together.
  19. Speak somewhere? Question mark because this scares the heck out of me, but I find that oddly thrilling. I’m guessing I could wrangle Tim into letting me be a guest speaker at youth group.
  20. Go to NY city. Haven’t been since our honeymoon and now we live so close.
  21. Can something. 
  22. Grow something edible. Definitely herbs this summer and raised beds when we buy a house.
  23. Sew more cloth napkins. My mom sewed me a bunch of cloth napkins and I’d like to add to the collection.
  24. Touch my toes. Tall girl problems.
  25. Family road trip. Snack breaks and potty stops included :)
  26. Read 5 books about prayer. My list so far includes: A Year of Living Prayerfully by Jared Brock, Prayer: Finding the Hearts True Home by Richard FosterThe Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen
  27. Memorize 10 verses about trust/fear.
  28. Create an anti-anxiety playlist. I’m not one of those people who listen to music all the time, but certain music has a way of pointing me to the true source of peace..
  29. Make homemade pizza and make it a weekly thing. An inexpensive and fun tradition.
  30. Find natural makeup that doesn’t make me itch. I’ve inherited sensitive skin that seems to get worse with age. Most drugstore makeup either makes me itch or gives me a rash. I don’t wear much makeup, but I’d like the stuff I do wear not to make me look like a lizard.
  31. Wear red lipstick out in public. Something I’ve wanted to try, but am nervous that if I do, people will just stare at me and think, “oh my goodness she has red lips.” One of my favorite podcasts is sponsoring a #LeapIntoLipstick challenge this month (February 2016), so I may cross this one off quickly.
  32. Go on a midnight kayak. My parents live on a lake and I love to kayak when we visit. I’ve never been at night and I hear it’s magical.
  33. Float in the middle of the lake. Another to do at my parents. I’m taking a book with me!
  34. Swim in the lake with the fam. Confession: Underwater plants freak me out. The lake we go to is filled with things that will touch you and heretofore that has kept me from actually swimming in the lake. However, I know the kiddos will enjoy splashing around and I don’t want to miss out on the fun.
  35. Visit my brother and sister-in-law (wherever they are living). My brother is getting married in 2016!!!! We’ve lived in different states for the past 5 years. I want to visit he and his wife wherever they settle down, which is currently Nashville.
  36. Go cross country skiing. The thought of hurtling down a mountain on two pieces of wood is utterly terrifying, but I think I’d love sliding through silent woods.
  37. Knit a blanket. Not specifying a size…
  38. Make a throw-pillow cover. Like this or this.
  39. Throw a birthday party. Tim’s 30th falls in this time frame, so he might be the recipient of this one :)
  40. Take a class at Barre3.
  41. Get a tattoo. Pretty sure my mom just threw up a little when she read this.
  42. Watch 5 musicals I’ve never seen. Suggestions welcome!
  43. Make a cocktail. I’m tempted by a Moscow mule because the mugs are so darn cool.
  44. Read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskall. Loved the BBC mini series. I can’t believe I haven’t read the book yet.
  45. Go to Longwood Gardens.
  46. Go sea glass hunting at Torrey Pines. Which would require a trip to California. I’m totally okay with that.
  47. Try my hand at faux mercury glass.
  48. Complete 12 dates. My sweet hubby planned out 12 dates to go on as a Christmas gift. I think 2.5 years is a more realistic time frame.
  49. Go to the Philadelphia Zoo.
  50. Get You Are Here Starbucks mugs from places we go. Tim came with a Starbucks cities mug collection and we’ve enjoyed growing it together. I particularly like the You Are Here collection. We have California, Disneyland, and Nashville. I’m eyeing Philadelphia, CA Adventure (not sure why we didn’t buy that one while we were there last year), San Diego, and New York.
  51. Do a jumping photo with Tim. They just make me happy.
  52. Finish Downton Abbey. We left off some where in Season 4.
  53. Find a way to preserve family photos. I want to be better about albums or prints or something.
  54. Attend a conference. One of my strengths is Input. I love everything about conferences – learning, taking notes, information packets, the cool name tag lanyards…
  55. Do something crafty with my embroidery hoops. Inspired by all the cuteness here. And all these pins.
  56. Read a marriage book with Tim. We started You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan last year. I’d like to finish.
  57. Read a parenting book. I’m thinking Boundaries with Kids.
  58. Make a side income. Whether it’s a one time thing or a part-time job. I’m in no hurry, but this is on my radar.
  59. Finish “tidying” our things. Loved The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up but didn’t get to everything before Kennedy came.
  60. Make freezer jam. Probably blueberry (see #81).
  61. Plant a cutting garden. Flowers give me joy. When we have a house where there’s room for a garden, I will fill it with flowers to pick and enjoy.
  62. Watch the sunrise somewhere. From the porch at my parent’s camp with a cup of coffee sounds pretty delightful.
  63. Run with Tim. When we were dating, Tim and I ran together often, but with kiddos the logistics of that is difficult. I miss it.
  64. Do a trail run. A winery near my parents hosts a trail run in the Fall. Gorgeous scenery and tasty post-run fuel is a win win.
  65. Repaint our table. I painted the top of a table I inherited from my Grandma with Annie Sloan chalk paint, but it needs a new coat.
  66. Go to HomeGoods by myself. I love HomeGoods, but it’s a wander around kind of store that is best enjoyed without kids.
  67. Have afternoon tea with my mom. One of my favorite things to do with my mom and we haven’t done it in ages.
  68. Get a facial. Maybe they can help me with #30.
  69. Have a picnic.
  70. Go hiking with the kids.
  71. Have a cavity free dentist appointment. All I want is to have the hygienist say, “well done, good and faithful brusher.”
  72. Do a Whole 30. We’ve gone sugar-free multiple times. I’d be interested to see how I felt after doing Whole 30.
  73. Finish The Chefs Table series. A fantastic documentary series on Netflix.
  74. Buy or build a fire pit. 
  75. Do some chalkboard art. I have a cool frame that I’d like to convert into a chalkboard. Gives me an excuse to practice some hand-lettering.
  76. Fix up James’ easel and have an art day. We bought James an play easel at a garage sale that needs some TLC. He’s not super crafty, but I think he’ll enjoy messing around with paints and such.
  77. Participate in #LoveLehighValley as a family of four. Our church shuts down one day a year and serves throughout the community. I wasn’t able to participate last year and am looking forward to doing this as a family of four.
  78. Make homemade ice cream. I have fond memories of doing this when I was a kid. Nothing beats the taste of homemade ice cream. Especially hand-cranked homemade ice cream.
  79. Acquire a birthstone ring for Kennedy. I have this birthstone ring for James and would like one for Kennedy to stack with it. Our fifth anniversary falls within this time frame, hint hint.
  80. Buy something at an auction. I love me some country auctions. Last year I accidentally bought two glass swans, among other goodies.
  81. Stock the freezer with blueberries. There’s such good blueberry picking up near my parents. James loves blueberry picking (so do Tim and I) and I’d like to have them available year ’round.
  82. Explore Healthy Alternatives. Healthy Alternatives is a health food store and cafe near our home that Tim and I want to check out.
  83. Visit the Farmers’ Museum. A living history museum In Cooperstown, NY.
  84. Put exterior Christmas lights up. We haven’t done this since we got married. Lights are one of my favorite things about the Christmas season.
  85. Successfully poach an egg.
  86. Decide on a go-to meal to take to new moms.
  87. Create and implement a schedule for Jimmy. I think James would thrive (and, therefore, I would thrive) if he had some activities he could count on doing at a certain time most days.
  88. Monthly James date. I love my little man and I want to be purposeful about having one on one time with him.
  89. Get together with the Bowers family. I met Katherine and her husband when we were all studying abroad in England. We’ve kept in touch over the years despite living in different states. We now each have two kids, very close in age, and she’s been an awesome momma friend. The last time I saw them, Kat and I were both pregnant with our daughters. I’d love for our families to meet up again.
  90. Figure out my Enneagram type. I’m a personality type junkie (I’m an INFJ), and would like to explore the Enneagram. It seems a little intimidating.
  91. Create a new family tradition. Traditions are and were important to me. I’d like to establish some memorable ones for James and Kennedy.
  92. Buy new running shoes. Extra points if I go to a place that analyzes your gait.
  93. Finish Psych. Tim introduced me to Psych when we were dating and we spent many nights watching episode after episode. We stopped after season 6, so we have two seasons to watch.
  94. Visit a National Park. We’re visiting Gettysburg soon, so this one will be easy to accomplish.
  95. Take a book to Baked and read on the porch. Baked is a favorite, local breakfast place.
  96. Make pain au chocolat (chocolate croissants). I’ve always been super intimidated by croissants. 
  97. Find a way to track my activity that I will use consistently. I’m thinking a Fitbit Zip might be a good, unobtrusive option.
  98. Get to a point where we don’t buy bread. I have a bread maker, but it makes a weird shape loaf that is not conducive to sandwich making. So, I either want to become proficient in hand shaping or invest in a Zojirushi.
  99. Sit down with a financial planner. We stick to a budget but we don’t really have a plan for our kiddos’ college/weddings. I’d like to be proactive about saving for the future.
  100. Buy a chest freezer. We have an extra mini fridge in our garage that works for now. However, I’d like to buy meat in bulk and have room to store all the blueberries we pick in the summer.
  101. Document my 101 things. I’ll be keeping track of my progress on Instagram. Follow along at #Emilys101things.
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My first Stitch Fix box!

My wardrobe has gone through major renovations over the past couple years. Between babies, reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (a wonderful bum-kicker of a book)and moving, I’ve purged the majority of my clothing because it didn’t fit properly, wasn’t my style anymore, or was one of multiple black sweaters…

Since my pregnancy with Kennedy, I’ve had my sights on doing Stitch Fix to bolster my sparse closet. Thanks to some Stitch Fix bucks my in-laws gave me for Christmas, I received my first fix this week. This is by no means a style blog, but I love looking at other people’s Fix posts, so thought I would share the contents of my box and my Stitch Fix experience!

If you have no idea what Stitch Fix is, here’s a brief run down:

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service. You fill out a detailed style profile online that gives your stylist an idea of your size, preferences, needs/wants, and price point. Once you schedule a Fix, your stylist picks five pieces and sends them to you with a styling guide that will give you ideas about how to incorporate those pieces into your wardrobe. You get to try on those items in your own home, cogitate on their cuteness, and decide whether you want to keep them or send them back. The pieces you don’t want get put in a prepaid bag and dropped at the post office. The styling fee is $20, which gets applied to any item of clothing you keep. If you decide you want all five pieces, you get 20% off your entire box.

I asked my stylist for a chambray shirt (mine doesn’t fit super well) and some black leggings (I continue to wear my maternity leggings that have weathered two pregnancies and have a growing hole in the bum region.). Katie, my stylist, wasn’t able to snag a chambray shirt but gave me another chambrayish option and included some black leggings. I could tell that she had checked out my style Pinterest board because there were lots of stripes and plaid.

Evella Boatneck Top

Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top (Medium) $64

This was my stylist’s solution to the chambray shirt. It looks like a layered chambray button up without the bulk because it’s one top. I thought it looked too businessy when I first tried it on, but liked it way better the next day when we took the photos. The fabric was thick and I love me some horizontal stripes. If it fit like it looks in the big photo, I would have kept it. However, I had to hold the fabric of the bottom back (top right photo) to get it that way. I think a small wouldn’t have fit so well in the shoulders/chest, but might have been less bell like on the bottom. Returned.

Plaid

Colibri Plaid

Market &Spruce Colibri Plaid Printed Tab-Sleeve Shirt (Meidum) $48

Love the plaid and the colors of this light, airy top. The bottom scoops even lower than the front which I loved. Again, didn’t feel like it was anything special on the first day and then liked it so much better when I styled it with things that I already owned. I decided to send it back because it wasn’t very practical for Winter (100% rayon). Gosh, I’m already regretting that decision… Returned.

Fun fact about the lace dress in the first photos: I wore that dress to leave my wedding, sans tights. It is shoooort. Not sure what I was thinking. Embarrassed emoji face.

Tiffina Top

Loveappella Tiffina Knit Top (Medium) $54

This top was an instant yes. The photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s the perfect mix of neutral, basic and fun details. The length is awesome and it’s wonderfully soft. Kept.

Rune Porter Legging (Medium) $38

When my box came, I was in the midst of some weird stomach bug. Had I not been on a Gatorade and toast diet, these leggings probably would have created some muffiny action. They were a nice weight and I liked that they were made in the US. Even if they were a large, I’m not sure I could have spent $38 on leggings. We’re not at a point with our clothing budget for me to prioritize quality over price on every item. Returned. 

Margerie Strip Cardigan

Market & Spruce Margerie Stripe & Dot Open Cardigan (Medium) $68

Apologies for the bum shot… I wanted to highlight the cute gathered detail on the back of this wonderfully soft (are all Stitch Fix pieces SO soft??) cardigan. The shoulders/arms were a little big. It made me feel shlumpy. Other than the white shirt combo, I was also having a hard time picturing what I could wear this with from my wardrobe. Returned.

~~~

Overall, i was really happy with my box and thrilled with the experience. My next Fix is already scheduled for the beginning of February.

Some final thoughts about Stitch Fix:

  • With two kids under two, I don’t have a ton of free time to shop (especially by myself). And as someone who gets major decision fatigue, I love that Stitch Fix gives me access to stylish clothes without crowds and endless options. I can try things on in my own home – yay for nice lighting and unlimited time in front of the mirror.
  • The process of filling out the style profile was beneficial. With their prompts, I was able to identify some distinct dislikes and some definite loves. Plus, knowing more about your style preferences is helpful when you do go shopping.
  • You get three days to decide if you’re keeping the pieces. I made some snap judgements the first time I tried on some of the items (I’m looking at you boatneck top), which totally changed the next day when we were taking the photos. I love being able to physically see how a piece of clothing will fit into my current wardrobe. Makes for wiser purchases.
  • And finally, having your sweet husband take photos while you try not to pose awkwardly is a very stretching experience…

Have you tried Stitch Fix? I’d love to hear about your experience or answer any questions.

The 5 W’s (and an H) behind No-Sugar September

The precision of freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils. The smell of a new box of crayons. The stack of blank spiral bound notebooks. Even though I am seven years out of a school setting (and now feel old), I get the back-to-school fever when September rolls around.

September is a time for fresh starts, and this goal-setting, Type-A girl loves a fresh start. In addition to starting fresh with my approach towards motherhood and writing, the Gardner household is making a major change come September 1st.

We’re going sugar free!

In honor of recess, lunch lines, and book reports, here’s the 5 W’s (and an H) behind our big, sugar-free fresh start.

No Sugar September

WHO:

The Gardners: Tim, my tech savvy, youth pastor stud of a husband who just revamped his own blog, and me (Emily), amateur gardening, coffee loving writer of this blog.

WHAT:

No-Sugar September. Da. Da. Duuuuuun. Normally I’m all about the alliterations, but I liked the sound of No-Sugar September better than sugarless or sugar free September. For the month of September, we will not consume any refined sugar or white flour.

WHERE:

Our house. I have a feeling not many outside dinning establishments would comply with our No Sugar September dietary restrictions.

WHEN:

When I read about Bjork and Lindsey’s 60 days of no sugar in July, my interest was piqued but doing something similar was totally out of the question in August. We were going on vacation in August and there was no way I was giving up cinnamon raisin toast grilled and frosted at The Red Door or multiple helpings of anything my mom made for the sake of a sugar selective diet.

As I went though my mental calendar, I was pleased to discover that September was vacation, holiday, and major event free and would thus be suitable for a lifestyle altering diet challenge such as giving up refined sugar and white flour.

A minor glitch occurred when we got the opportunity to take a mini Labor Day getaway this weekend. The prep for No Sugar September has been time consuming and I didn’t think I could handle a No Sugar Roadtrip, so No Sugar September will run from September 3rd – October 1st. Four straight weeks.

WHY:

Because I’m too much of a weenie to do a Whole 30 or go gluten free, BUT I was feeling in need of a system (mental and physical) refresh.

Food has always been an integral part of community and celebration for me, and I like it that way. However, at times, food has also been a substance I’ve used like a drug. Pregnancy and postpartum have been seasons of growth in developing a healthier relationship with food and I’m hoping No Sugar September will promote further growth.

Neither of us expect to stick with a strict no refined sugar, no white flour diet after September, but I’d like to integrate some of our No Sugar September food habits into our normal culinary lifestyle.

We aren’t doing this to loose weight, but we will be taking a few measurements as one way quantify the effects of No Sugar September.

HOW:

We’ve been prepping for No Sugar September for the past month. I’ll be writing a more detailed post about getting started later, but our first steps looked something like this:

  • Read about Bjork and Lindsey’s 60 days sans sugar. *light bulbs*inspiration*
  • Wonder how I could convince Tim to go sugar free. Send him the blog post via email to test the waters.
  • With a little cajoling, Tim agrees. Hip hip hooray!
  • Spend August eating all sorts of sugary, carby wonderfulness since we’re giving up refined sugar and white flour in September.
  • Don’t replace the chocolate chips when the last bag is used for gooey cookies.
  • Start trolling Pinterest for refined sugar free sweets, because sweets are a top priority when menu planning.
  • Read Trina Holden’s new book, Your Real Food Journey, and get re-inspired by the delicious recipes that totally conform to No Sugar September.
  • Get serious about making a menu. Start replacing food staples with whole wheat, sugar free versions.
  • Make disgusting muffins. Wonder how I will survive September. Make Shauna Niequist’s Blueberry Crisp. Know I will survive since I can eat that everyday during No Sugar September if I wanted.

So, wish us luck! I will be posting tips, tricks, and recipes along the way. Have you ever done anything like this? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. Recipes appreciated, too :)

 

6 Things I Learned In May

Instead of sharing what I’ve been into this month, I’m linking up with Emily to share a few things that I’ve learned during this lovely month of May. (I may have a bias since May is my birthday month…)

1. I’m addicted to blogging porn. Like any multi-step program, naming the addiction/problem is the first part of the recovery process. Social media use is all tied up in my addiction, too, so I’ve been slowly weeding my garden space on the internet and replanting with intention and care. Right now, this looks like reading blogs only via Feedly and deleting Facebook from my phone.

2. I re-learned (more of a confirmation of what I already knew) how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg that peels correctly and has bright yellow yolks.

 

the perfect hard-boiled eggGet the perfect hard-boiled egg every time:

  • Put eggs in pot (don’t overcrowd) and fill with cold water, covering the eggs by one-inch.
  • Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Not a rolling boil, but a tiny bubble boil.
  • Promptly remove from heat and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.
  • Keep covered for 12 minutes.
  • After 12 minutes, drain eggs and run under cold water until you can handle them without burning your fingers.
  • Drain cold water and shake the eggs vigorously in the pot to crack the shells.
  • Peel and store eggs in refrigerator.
  • My favorite peeling method: Pinch cracked shell with thumb and forefinger at the top of the wider part of the egg. There’s usually an air pocket there which allows you to get under the membrane that holds the shell together. Pull shell away and gently wedge your thumb under the remaining shell/membrane. Slide your thumb along the egg to take off the remaining shell. Run under water to remove residual shell pieces.

3. Parenthood is a constantly evolving, ever changing role that makes me more overwhelmed and more proud/joyful/energized than anything else. James scooted and slept in his own room for the first time this past week!

 

How to save money on dish soap4. I’ve always been a little disturbed by how much dish soap it takes to wash my dirty dishes. I use a pump soap dispenser and find myself constantly reapplying to my sponge since most of the new soap gets liberally smeared on the next dish. What I needed was instant lather. Getting instant lather takes a minor investment and will save you a good chunk of money per year.

How to save money on dish soap:

  • Buy a foaming anti-bacterial hand soap from Bath and Body Works. (Do they sell cheaper ones elsewhere?) Enjoy the lovely scent until it runs out.
  • Fill the empty container 1/3 full of your desired dish soap. Fill the rest of the container with water, leaving about 1/2″ airspace.
  • Screw the lid back on and shake, shake, shake until the soap and the water are mixed.
  • Voila. You now have a foaming dish soap that gives you instant lather without wasting endless soap!

5. I LOVE smoothies. Why have I resisted all my life? On a normal day, I will whir up a banana, 1 cup whole strawberries, and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. I pinned this smoothie a couple days ago and made an adapted version yesterday. Just. So. Good.

6. Especially when life gets overwhelming, it’s important to celebrate small victories.

photo credit: quinn.anya (egg) & Bill Selak (dish soap) via photopin cc

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What I’m Into – April 2014

What I'm IntoLinking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Primitive Roads!

I put an SOS out on Facebook for songs along the lines of Firework by Katie Perry and Glitter In The Air by Pink for a playlist I’ve entitled “Get It Girl.” Sometimes I just need some powerhouse music to get me through an afternoon slump or a tough workout. I believe Tim was a tad embarrassed that this playlist now exists on his Spotify account. What would song would you add?

Get It Girl

For better or for worse, coffee and I are back in a relationship. I do half-caf so the little guy doesn’t go haywire. I’ve had to go back to decaf, but the rest of this still applies… I used to enjoy my coffee black, but man I’m digging the creamer lately. Tim and I are always looking for ways to cut our grocery budget, so I tried my hand at making my own coffee creamer. Three ingredient success! (To be honest, we preferred the sweetness of store-bought creamer because we are sugary like that. But, we’ve switched over to half and half.)

Homemade Coffee CreamerI was faced with some major disappointment last month. Though I certainly learned a ton about when God’s plan includes no, I’m thrilled that His most recent no wasn’t an absolute no. Tim and I are headed to California in May to visit family and friends!

Our little guy keeps growing. Can’t believe he’s 3 months old already. His Uncle David and Aunt Holly watched him one evening last week so Tim and I could enjoy a pre-anniversary (May 11th is 2 years) dinner out. We had an amazing meal at Satay Bistro, which prompted me to post on Experience CDA, our semi-forgotten local interest blog. If you need some food envy, don’t miss the photos in the review.

The SUN!

Eating

Despite counting calories in anticipation of our California trip, we’ve consumed far too many of these microwave cookies. Tim perfected the recipe and they are a mondo treat. More details coming soon!

Microwave Cookie

Made this Skinny Spinach Lasagna on Monday – super delicious, even my meat loving Hubs didn’t mind being a vegetarian for the evening.

Continued the winning streak of my current favorite cookbook with this Cucumbers Vinaigrette recipe. Great as a side dish for summer BBQs.

Cucumbers Vinaigrette

Cucumbers Vinaigrette 

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced into 1/8″ rounds
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried mustard
  • ground black pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, dried mustard, and pepper. Toss with cucumbers. Serve or refrigerate until ready to use. (Only 36 calories for 1/4 of the recipe!)

Planning to buy a rosemary plant to have year-round so I can make this Rosemary Lemonade any time I want.

Rosemary Lemonade 4I made a couple rounds of overnight refrigerator oats because I miss the Chilled Swiss Oatmeal at Corner Bakery.

Reading

I started the Divergent trilogy. Loved the first installment and am moving slowly through Insurgent.

Wrote a review for Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee over on Kindred Grace in which I talk about eating mud pies. I was challenged and encouraged by the message woven throughout the book.

Still trying to finish Rhinestone Jesus after taking a break to finish Love Idol.

I’ve been running again, so I loved reading this post about comparison by Mandy Scarr.

Angry Socks and Silences by Bronwyn Lea is such a wonderfully candid look at marriage.

Pinning

Pinteresting is my go-to activity while nursing James. I probably should use that time more wisely, but thus far Pinterest seems to be what works. I’ve done some reorganizing (which I love to do) of my food related boards. Check out these new additions:

This gorgeous dress – I’m dubious that it’s actually easy to sew…

I’ve always wondered if I could pull this look off.

I wouldn’t mind having this flower installation in my house.

Genius idea I wish I had thought of before studying abroad.

Writing

I got to interview Trina Holden about her fabulous book Embracing Beauty.

Tim and I have been eating a lot of pizza lately. When we don’t have time to make our own crust, we like to jazz up store-bought crust.

My simplifying rampage continues… #ECGsimplifies

I wrote some poetry, which I never do.

Throwing open my windows and stepping into the confessional booth with two vulnerable posts.

What have you been up to this month?

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