What I’m Into {lately}

This is part What I’m Into (a la Leigh Kramer) and part What’s Saving My Life (a la Modern Mrs. Darcy). I hope you find something new or noteworthy!

Fam Bam

The whole fam getting ready to head out for #LoveLehighValley. It was special and humbling to serve as a family and with our small group!

The Great British Baking Show –  My brother and his fiancé recommended this show while we were comparing notes on what we were binge-watching on Netflix. (Fixer Upper and House Hunters for us…) Utterly delightful. That’s the best way to describe this British-import baking competition. It’s beautifully shot with fun hosts, charming judges, and kind contestants.

Natalie Freeman, of Natalie Creates, introduced me to the Whoa, wait, Walmart? Instagram account. Bethany and Amanda just may help me conquer my dislike of Willy Waldo Mart. (Anyone else have nicknames for stores? Just me? Okay…) I have purchased at least five articles of clothing because of their IG.

I bought a Kindle! I had been reading my small collection of e-books on my iPad/iPhone and wasn’t thrilled with the whole experience. Then I subscribed to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Kindle Deals newsletter and my resolve to remain Kindle free went up in flames. On my brother-in-laws recommendation, I didn’t do the cheapy thing and bought the Paperwhite instead of the regular. The backlit screen is so worth it.

This brings me to how much I love Amazon and their amazing customer service. I was waiting to purchase my Kindle until after I sold my iPad, so I was unable to take advantage of the electronics sale around Thanksgiving. Two weeks after I bought my Kindle at full price, Amazon put it on sale again. The aforementioned brother-in-law noticed and suggested I ask Amazon for a reimbursement of the price difference. I did. And they issued the reimbursement, no problem. And that is why I will happily buy all the things on Amazon.

Rachel Hollis of The Chic Site (a lifestyle website that is easy to get lost in). Her Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey (a fantastic podcast) was one of my favorite episodes.

The Lazy Genius Collective – I heard Kendra on Around The Table (another fun podcast). She was the inspiration for my 101 things in 1001 days. Kendra has a lovely balance of silly and serious. She’s also a hard core baker which makes me love her more.

Pinch of Yum’s Capsule Wardrobe – One of the best posts I’ve read about starting a capsule wardrobe.

Carpool Karaoke – I am mildly obsessed with carpool Karaoke. James Corden of The Late Late Show drives around with a famous artist and they chat, sing, and have shenanigans. I’ve watched Adele and Justin Bieber’s multiple times.

Burts Bees candles – Soy candles that smell delicious (I’m partial to Pinecones and Cinnamon and Sweet Basil). My only complaint is that the wick dies before the wax is gone.

I kinda love looking at other people’s wedding and family photos. I did a deep dive on Jenni’s blog and loved this family’s photos (I used to write with both Jenni and Callie at Kindred Grace).

My buddy Kat’s blog is endlessly inspiring me to write more, parent intentionally, and find more joy in my daily tasks.

I saw on Rachel‘s Instagram a genius idea to use your dishwasher as a drying rack. I’m really trying to keep on top of my dishes, lately, so I don’t end up with an overwhelming pile of that takes me ages to clean after the kids go to bed. Sometimes I end up with too many dishes for my actual drying rack which halts my whole process. I’ve been doing the dishwasher drying rack hack and it’s awesome.

Along those same lines, I’ve been making a concerted effort to keep my house in maintenance mode which requires actually putting things away where they go at the end of the day, not just shuffling the shaz.

I’m loving Modern Mrs. Darcy’s newish podcast What Should I Read Next. She talks books and reading and does a little literary matchmaking with a different person on each episode. AND Tim is going to be a guest in a future episode (insert JEALOUS emoji here.)

I could go on, but several things deserve their own post…

What are you loving right now?

What I’m Into – January 2015

We’ve been in Pennsylvania for two months and it feels like we are finally getting in the groove. All of my clothes boxes are unpacked (It took almost the entire two months *insert embarrassed emoji here*) and there are things hanging on the walls. I love the proximity to my family and our new church family is wonderful. I joined MOPS which has been a fun way to meet new friends,too.

February is already looking like it’s going to be packed, but here’s a look back at January.

Linking up with What I’m Into at Leigh Kramer!

Birthday Hat Collage

I love that our family gets to celebrate a birthday in January. It helps banish some of the Winter blues that set in after Christmas. My parents and brother were able to come in for James’ 1st birthday, and though we made it a pretty mellow day, we did spend his birthday eve crafting these awesome party hats out of kraft paper. A huge roll is 7 bucks at Walmart and I have an endless supply of scrapbook papers, pens and other crafty ephemera.


This is a glimpse at what I’ve been reading. I do my book reviews in the middle of the month, so check back for my thoughts on these and a couple more.

Jone's Sausage

We are a bacon family. But, over the Thanksgiving holiday, my mom introduced us to Jones sausage. Game. Changer. They live in the freezer section. No filler or icky chemicals, just pure, sausagey goodness. I avoid our local Walmart at all costs, but I make an exception to purchase these mondo bags of sausage so we don’t run out. We had breakfast for dinner seven times in January and they all included this sausage.

Sugar Paper

I love planners and calendars of all sorts. They feed my inner organizational diva. This year, I’m loving these beauties from Sugar Paper (via Target). I got the large one on the left for Christmas and then purchased a smaller one to complete my calendar needs.

The larger planner has a month at a glance layout before the individual days. I use the month page to record what we had for dinner, anything I made (yogurt, bread, granola, etc.), and dinner guests. I like to have a record of our eating habits and as we continue our real food journey, It’s helpful to have a visual guide of how long our homemade staples last. I record Bible reading, exercise, and prayers in the individual days.

I bought the smaller planner for the blog. It’s slim with just a single double page spread for each month, but it’s just enough to record the posts that went live and jot down ideas for future posts. There are several pages in the back for bigger picture dreaming and brainstorming.

Bible Journaling

I got a text from my mom on January 2nd telling me all about Bible Journaling and that she had Amazoned (absolutely a verb) me an ESV journaling Bible that would be arriving the next day. I am no artist, but everything about Bible journaling thrills me. The practice of turning what I’ve read into something visual helps me mediate and remember what God has shown me. I’ve filled my Instagram and Pinterest feed with Bible journaling inspiration and I just can’t wait to fill my Bible. Shanna Noel is an amazing resource as well.

I decided to read the Bible chronologically this year. (Job was tough… I’m back in Genesis now.) Crossway has an amazing list of Bible reading plans in various formats. You can have the day’s reading sent to your email, put in your iCal or print it out!

I got Tim an Aeropress and milk frother for Christmas. It’s been the gift that keeps on giving… My $30 investment replaced our cheapy espresso machine and it gets used everyday. I’ve been getting up at 6 to do my devotions and, more often than not, it’s the thought of a homemade honey latte that gets me out from underneath my warm covers.

Frying Dutchman

We like to explore a place through its food. One of our recent explorations was The Frying Dutchman in Kutztown, PA that makes and tops your donuts to order. If you’re local and haven’t been – it’s a must. Having worked at The Donut Man I have a very high standard for donuts. These definitely pass with flying colors. (Top to bottom: French Toast, PBJ, S’more, Powdered Sugar, PB Cup, Honey Graham). Pretty sure this will be a weekly tradition. And, yes, Tim and I ate all of these.

What I’m Into – April 2014

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

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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!


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.


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.


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.


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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What I’m Into – March 2014

What I'm Into

My sweet cousin Savannah came to visit! She’s the one who introduced me to Shauna Niequist (I’m forever in her debt for that!) and I hadn’t seen her since my wedding. I loved catching up. She reminds me of a beautiful wood nymph and embodies a gentle, quiet spirit.


In light of my new normal, I’ve been asking myself this question on a regular basis:

Based on my past experience, my present circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the WISE thing to do?

Ask It by Andy Stanley

Lucy’s Narnia – A delightful website and blog devoted to raising readers.

My family has our own lexicon full of unique, often made up, words and phrases that we use regularly. In addition to our language oddities, we major on the nicknames. We’ve started early with James. I especially like his rapper names: J. Fuzzle (J. Fussle when he’s being ornery) and Jimmy G. Are we the only ones who call our children weird things?

Living vicariously through Apartment Therapy. I’m obsessed with organization, so I particularly liked the post about choosing what paper items to toss and which ones to file.

Loved these ideas for living a great life on less money.

Have you ever searched for a scripture on Pinterest? It’s a treasure trove of beautiful printables and encouraging articles. Here’s an awesome chalkboard print of one of my life verses.

Tim weighs in on our life since James arrived – two months ago!

Really loving Erica Layne’s blog Let Why Lead.

Another great Coke commercial (and reminder to engage in the here and now):

Life without auto tune: I found this beyond funny, probably because this is what I would sound like…

Linking up with Leigh!

What I’m Into – February 2014

What I'm Into

Parts of this post have been sitting in drafts since January. I didn’t link up last month because I had a baby Which brings me to the most important thing I’ve been into this month – my son, James!

James Gardner

My brother-in-law’s sister designed this cute announcement for us. Now I’m just waiting on my self-inking address stamp I had made via Vista Print (so I don’t have to write our return address on every. single. envelope) to send them out. The $15 dollars was a good investment, I think.

James at one month

James turned one month old yesterday. Just wow. He smiles and grunts (A LOT) and always has his hands by his face. Yes, his middle name comes from To Kill A Mockingbird. I can’t get enough of his fuzzy head, thunder thighs, and yawn face.

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Good Reads

My current nursing activity is keeping up with my Feedly. I may not have read many books the past month, but I’ve read a whole ton of blog posts. These are winners:

  • 5 Reasons Mamas Don’t Take of Themselves via Naptime Diaries – I’m in the midst of creating new, healthy self-care habits as a mom.
  • Back to Writing and The Art of Unblogging via Trina Holden – Must reads if you are a writer/blogger. Trina’s advice is encouraging in my changing season of life.
  • Bursting via Little Did She Know – My new friend, Cara, considers the questions: How do you go about encouraging someone fainting in heart? What does it look like to come and console?

Next up on my book reading list is Dear Mr. Knightley, the debut novel by Katherine Reay, and I am beyond excited to start it today.

Good Listens

  • Oceans by Hillsong United – A gorgeous, moving song. I love the folky, lyrical style. Similar to Psalm 23, one of my favorites by Reality SF.
  • Hold You Up by Shane Harper
  • I’m digging Jake Bugg after seeing him perform on American Idol last night.
  • Ask It: Edged Out by Andy Stanley – Simple and straightforward. One of the best sermons I’ve heard on boundaries/purity.

Good Eats

  • Magnum Minis – Small versions of the decadent Magnum ice cream bars.
  • Fig-Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula via Pioneer Woman – A toothsome combo. We’ve made these modifications: whole wheat Boboli crust because whole wheat is delicious and quicker than making your own, regular mozzarella because fresh made our first round soupy, spring mix because our pack of arugula had gone bad, and crisping the prosciutto before putting on pizza because crispy prosciutto is good prosciutto.
  • Man Pleasing Chicken via Witty in The CIty –  Some of the best chicken I’ve eaten. How could you go wrong with mustard, maple syrup, and rosemary?
  • Raspberry Lemon Pie via Thimbleanna – Summer in my mouth.

Linking up with Leigh!