Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I used to sew clothes for myself All.The.Time when I was younger. I was athletic, fit, and everything I tried worked perfectly, and most importantly, fit. Around the time Ethan was born, I tried to make some things for myself, but my body had changed- I lost most of the pregnancy weight, but things were just, well, different. I tried a few more times but was always less than thrilled with the results. By the time I was running around chasing my three gorgeous boys (all born within 39 months of each other), I had simply given up on the idea. I loved my babies and I loved my life, but a thyroid issue and stress binge-snacking had me not quite loving my shape. It was a really difficult time. I cringe when I see nearly every photo of me from back then because I know I wasn't looking my best, and I certainly wasn't feeling my best.

I've worked hard over the past few years to like what I see when I look in the mirror, and let me tell you, it isn't just about the body. So much is about what's going on in the mind! I don't need to be perfect- and who is?- but I want to be my best. So I've embraced designing and sewing things for myself in the past year or so. And do you know what? I love it again! Such a great feeling.

Here's a sampling of one of my stashes for this spring/summer, and this year, it's going to be all about the dresses and skirts. I'm a tall 5'9" and the things I keep trying on in stores are simply too short. Same thing with pretty tops and shirts, but that's another story for another day. Sorry if this is totally and completely boring to you, but I kind of love it, ha.

I need a few well-fitting staples in my closet such as a denim softly-pleated A-line skirt, a go-to summer dress (or two, or three!) that can be dressed up or worn casually, and one or two pretty blazers/jackets to pull things together. I made quite a few tops last year- maybe I'll share those sometime- so I'm mostly set with blouses and shirts.

 Since we're barely above zero, and rarely even hitting hitting double digits this winter, dreaming of these summery things is both torture and exciting, ha ha!

I just had to share this cute pic I posted on Instagram a bit ago: we keep taking turns getting sick over here, and Caleb spent one afternoon pouring his little heart into knitting a scarf for Mimi. I LOVE that my boys are secure enough in their "manhood" to embrace crafty things- they are quite talented! All three of them make awesome things.

Speaking of dreaming about spring and summery things, here are the fabrics I'm using this year for custom nightgowns at Rose and Ruffle. I absolutely adore them! So, so pretty! I think #7 and #9 are my favorites. =)
I have more details on my sewing blog- here- and on my shop's site - here. Please let me know if you have any questions about ordering. Thanks!

Monday, February 23, 2015


It's early Monday morning and I can hear the arctic winds blasting through the trees and rattling the windows. It's such a change from yesterday, a day when we finally got to enjoy being outside in the sunshine without having to dress like the Michelin tire man just to ward off hypothermia. It was fabulous. Fabulous! Another exciting tidbit: it's no longer pitch black at 5 o'clock. Even on a cloudy day, it's still fairly light until 5:30. Now if we could just get those temperatures to cooperate, we may actually be able to be outside and enjoy it a bit...

This weekend, I was looking through ancient photos (and not bawling my eyes out over how fast my babies have grown, no, of course not!) and happened upon a fun art project that I never ended up sharing. The kids really liked this one, so if you're stuck indoors too, maybe you'll enjoy this as well. One word of caution: this is a two-step project, which requires painting and drying time, so you do have to plan accordingly. We did the first part in the morning, and by afternoon the paint was dry and we were able to finish. You could also complete part one in an evening and save part two for the next day.

cardboard/stock paper (the inserts in calendars and photo frames work great!)
acrylic paint + semi-wide brush
paper clip
paper towels/ table mat

First, let your kids draw all over the cardboard in whatever designs, colors, shapes, etc they want. You want to have every space colored in.

Second, place a small amount of paint on a paper plate or other surface; paint the entire surface, covering over all the crayon. Painting in solid lines/strokes from top to bottom worked best for these little fingers. Black paint covers the bet, but we used other colors, too- they may just need a second coat of paint to completely cover the crayon drawings.
Set aside to let paint dry completely.
And just sit back and stare at this sweet little teeny-tiny hand. Or maybe that's just me?

Once the paint is dry, you are ready to create complete your masterpiece.
Bend out one end of a paperclip- we like the coated ones- or you can use a bobby pin or other similar item, and let your little artists etch out a scene or design on the painted surface, revealing the hidden colors underneath. It's like magic.  ;)

I helped Isabelle paint her cardboard, but the boys wanted to do it all by themselves. They did a great job, and they were truly proud of their work, without any interference from Mom (who has a hard time relinquishing control, ahem...).

I hope you have fun if you and your artists decide to make some of these fun little projects! They are such a great way to use up those cardboard insert odds and ends from calendars and such, so you're being environmentally conscious as well. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Quick & Easy Dinner: Tangy Pork Loin

Ugh. Has this been a rough season of colds, flu bugs, back spasms (seriously!), and fevers in our household. Thankfully, we're normally very healthy, but we've been hit by our share of mack trucks so to speak for the past couple of months. And with the temperatures rarely venturing beyond 7 degrees since December...yeah... is it summer yet? Pleeeeaaase!?!?!

In other news, I've been reading lots of fashion blogs lately. Not the high-end Vogue kind of fashion, more the normal but nice, everyday kind. While I would not call myself a high maintenance kind of gal by any stretch of the imagination, I do like to look my best, as most of my friends do too. But sometimes it's hard to find the right balance of what's appropriate and cute versus what just, well, isn't. Is the length too short, the neckline too low, the fit too tight...? I want what I wear to honor the Lord first and foremost, and I believe that dressing more modestly also honors my husband. But I also want to be stylish and modern, not frumpy or hidden beneath a moo moo (is that even spelled correctly, because even the word looks unattractive).

Moving on. Not sure why I launched into the fashion dilemma for this post. Must be he Nyquil talking.

I don't know about you, but thinking about meal prep and shopping lists- much less actually making meals-  when I'm sick seems somewhat torturous. I have to note that my husband is VERY helpful and completely competent in this area, but that's kind of my job. Although my boys are pretty great in the kitchen, too! Here Jonah is earning culinary arts credit, I mean, making yummy yeast rolls.

This guy, on the other hand, not so helpful. Please don't judge me. I am fully aware how gross that must look. In my defense, I was nearly done and he is just so cute and...okay, I don't really have any defense.  I digress. Again. (Slow Cooker Hearty Beef Stew Recipe)

Here is one fabulous dinner that doesn't require measuring, tricky ingredients or prep, helping hands (or paws) or even any thinking. Win win.

Easy Prep Tangy Pork Loin with Baked Potatoes
1-2 lb pork loin
olive oil
rosemary, optional
salt and pepper
French's mustard
Dijon mustard
potatoes ** / ***

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After washing and pricking potatoes, place on top rack to bake.
Place pork loin in baking dish, make a few narrow cuts/slashes in top, and sprinkle salt, pepper & rosemary over top; drizzle with olive oil. Next, coat pork with a dusting of flour. Squirt mustards over top. 
  With a spoon or pastry brush, spread across top.

Pop in the oven and completely forget about it for the next hour or so.

**Instead of baking potatoes, you could quarter them and place them in the baking dish alongside the pork loin- be sure to drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. (When I'm this sick, fooling around with knives and slippery potatoes isn't such a great idea...)
***You can also bake nutrient-rich sweet potatoes, though I wouldn't recommend quartering them and baking alongside the pork loin.
After an hour or so, I check on the potatoes and the pork. Sometimes they're ready within a few minutes, and other times, like last night, they require another twenty minutes. I made some deeper slices in the pork loin so the insides would cook evenly at this point- don't do this too early or the pork will dry out.


No, sorry, I don't have a pretty picture with the baked potatoes- or even a pretty plated picture of the entire meal- but I think we all know what a nice baked potato and steamed spinach look like. Pop some organic baby spinach in the microwave or into a steamer, and you've got a satisfying, nutritious meal with very little thinking required!  =)

I have a few other good and easy dishes like this that have saved me on more than one occasion. And there's always take-out, because sometimes...a girl just needs some take-out.

I was writing this yesterday but never finished. Oops. I'm happy to report that I feel halfway decent this morning! Happy Wednesday! (HA, my kids just informed me that it's actually steps...)

Oh, and one last thing: things are getting springy and summery in the's a little post about it.

Friday, February 13, 2015


It's Friday! It's Friday! It's FRI-DAY!!! I'm supposed to be doing about a million things but instead I'm sitting here, entranced by pictures of my babies over the past several Valentine's Days/weeks. This has been a rough week, but I don't want to wallow. I found this fun Friday Favorites link-up and thought I'd kind of force myself to join in the fun because I do know how incredibly blessed I am, even when things don't go the way I want them to, and life feels chaotic and overwhelming.

Since I mentioned my babies and Valentine's Day- two of my favorite things- here are a few of my favorite pics of us that commemorate the two.

And you've got to have fabulous Valentine's Day treats!

Even my nails got a little love this week with my favorite creamy-pink color! (I'm almost sorry for sharing that since I know I don't have very pretty hands or fingers, ha!)

Now I'm off. For reals. It's almost time to pick up my part-time schooler, and Ethan is feeling super lousy and in need of a little TLC. Don't have to ask me twice! Have a great day, and a fabulous Valentine's weekend!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Whew. The past two weeks got away from me. I'm trying to keep extra busy, in the good way, to keep my mind off the twenty feet of snow outside my house, temperatures that have barely reached the teens for weeks now, and the piles and piles of boots, mittens, hats, snowpants and coats that spend their days (and nights) sprawled across every flat surface imaginable just to dry out for the next day's adventures. It's still dark by 5 pm and not light until nearly 7 am. Argh. Yes, these are the hardest days for me, and I can feel my spirits slipping a little. There are also some things I can't share right now that are threatening to undo me and send me straight into panic mode, but I'm remembering to take it all to God. Now if I could just leave it with Him and stop fretting/dreading/worrying... Today I am going to pray for those of us struggling with anxiety and worrisome situations, and I hope you'll pray for me, too.


Is it summer yet?

One of my dear friends from church came over for lunch with this cutie and her son, who is Jonah's age, and we had a great time. Isabelle was in heaven. So much fun having a real, live baby doll.  ;)
I looked outside during one of the latest storms and had to laugh at the sight of Isabelle's birthday party balloons bobbling around in the wind and snow. Funny thing is, it definitely isn't the first time, not with two winter birthdays, but it just makes me smile. Who knows?

Do you see that awesome catch over to the right? Yup. That's my Jonah. We are so very proud of him for joining the basketball team for the very first time as an 8th grader, and he has done well! I don't think I could have handled that kind of pressure at that age! I love watching them play and cheering them on. We had a soul-crushing loss last week, but this game on Saturday was just the boost we needed. So much fun!

Lastly, here is a little glimpse of Isabelle's party. I had the best of intentions to write up a little post about it last week...oops. Maybe this will be the week. It was Frozen-inspired, and I was pretty pleased that it all cost under twenty bucks!   =)

Well, we just got the call that there will be a 2-hour delay today. Seems like the perfect excuse for a big, hot breakfast. Have a great day!

You can find me on instagram here for more snippets of our daily life.
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