Monday, January 31, 2011

real love


Christmas is finally packed away. Well it is all packed up in the plastic tubs anyway.
 It has yet to be put away in the attic. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

Since I was so late in packing up Christmas, I figured it was OK to go ahead and put out Valentines Day.
This is the family room mantle.  I wanted to keep things clean, simple and fresh, but still full of color.


But decorating in a LOVE theme doesn't make love real. This we know.
Luckily I have had a beautiful reminder of what love truly looks like recently.
A few weekends ago I officiated my first wedding. Talk about LOVE.
This was a second marriage & blended family wedding. 
The bride and groom and their children friends of ours.
The whole evening was sweet and precious and lovely and honest and free of pretense.
Everyone took part in the ceremony, parents, kids, guest.

Bride and Groom, together, wrote several parts of the ceremony themselves.
This part, the "charge," was one of my very favorites

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; 
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, 
 dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.



Friday, January 28, 2011

it's a family thing

All my mother wanted for Christmas was for all her children to go to church with her and for us to have family photo's taken.


Luckily I have 2 professional photographers for sisters.
Judea (seated in the middle) and Jemimah (on the end)
And they are both amazingly talented, and so very different.


Jemimah drew the short straw and got this years family photo assignment.
She did such a great job and the made the whole shoot so much fun, that you can't tell by looking at the pictures that we were all FREEZING cold!


The ones of Sweet Man and I are maybe my very favorites. I ordered copies of all these photos, and the 2 prints of us are going in our bedroom.

I'm a lucky girl.



Jemimah lives in Texas and is happy to travel for shoots, including Arkansas. Her specialty is families. Visit her website here: http://jemimahb.showitsite.com/

Judea lives in Fayetville and she travels too. Her specialty is Editorial, Fashion, & Bands.
Visit her website here: http://judeajackson.net/

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

one little change

If you have not been over to visit Annalea Hart's blog you need too. It is adorable, sweet and inspiring. Everything I love in a blog and cute kids to boot. I mean, just look at these precious pictures of her playroom, nursery and living room.



Monday,  Annalea posted a new "project" called one little change.
in her words "one little change is about seeing lasting difference and making real progress on the big goals in life by being faithful in small monthly changes."

I could not have said it better myself.

When I read Annalea's post on Monday, I knew I had to share this idea, because I can personally vouch for what One Little Change can accomplish.

Earlier this month I saw my family and myself spiraling out of control.
All the rest and peace we had found during the Christmas break went right down the toilet after one day back at school and work. Cranky, short tempered, withdrawn, frazzled. This was the picture of every member of my household, with myself as the poster child. And I had no idea why.

The next night, after another disastrous and dissatisfying day, I crawled into my comfy bed well before my usual bedtime, completely at the end of my rope. I am pretty sure I mumbled-prayed something like "Help me please, I have no idea what to do" as  I put on my face mask, turned on some music and laid still, waiting to fall asleep. But instead of sleep came an epiphany. I do not know any better way to explain it.
My whole body was flooded with warmth and I knew exactly what we needed to do.
What I needed to do.

The next morning I got up, I went to work and I wrote what we now refer to as The Manifesto (or The New Greer Order.) Sweet Man will tell you that there were lots of great points and bullet points in that document, but I think the thing we all agree on in hindsight that the one change that could be has turned out to be  the Main Thing that All Other Things Hinge On is this one little change in our daily routine:

I get up one hour before everyone else.





1. American Airlines Watch Aeroclock - Travel Alarm Clock #1A, 2. Untitled, 3. Time Print, 4. cuckoo clock, 5. Turquoise Solar Clock, 6. tick tock ,chicken clock, 7. Our Little Nest, 8. White Rabbit Alarm Brooch, 9. Red clock


Now this may not seem drastic to you, but it is drastic to us. Maybe you always get up an hour before you absolutely have to.Before your kids and your spouse. Maybe your mornings have not been defined by trying to beat the clock and never winning.  Maybe you just pop up at dawn and always have. But this is not, and never has been true of me.  And yet I have done with myself, what I could never seem to do with my infants;
I have put myself on a schedule. Radical, I know.


 The positive effects of me having an hour to write/think/pray/shower/drink coffee in silence on the overall temperament of my household in the morning and our well being throughout the entire day is something that I cannot describe, but it is beautiful and healing and we are all so much better for it.
  Essentially I have found a way to follow that great old piece of airline wisdom:
I have put my own oxygen mask on first.

 



If you would like to make One Little Change grab Annalea's button and pass it on.
And whatever you do, you might want to grab that oxygen mask first.
 

Monday, January 24, 2011

silly rabbit


I live with the silliest, sweetest boys on the planet.

Of course they often drive me up the wall, over the roof and out the door.

Mostly, when they argue.
With me.
With each other.
With the fence post.



But then they do stuff like this I am head of heels in love again.
Oh, parenthood.

Friday, January 21, 2011

i love paris...


Over the years my love of all things Parisian has become well known amongst my family and friends.
Of course I have not yet been to Paris, so I don't know if I would really love it or not.
But I prefer to think that I would. At least for a visit.

But I digress.

Let me start over.
Over the years, people whom I love and who love me have given me all sorts of Parisian themed gifts. Mostly they give me things Eiffel tower inspired.
I now have so much that I only bring it all out as part of my Valentine's Day decor, because, as we all know, Paris is the City of Love.

This year I think I am going to add some more color  - red, aqua and green perhaps - to my primarily pink collection.



I know that An American in Paris is the more popular "Parisian"  Gene Kelly flick, but my favorite is actually 
Les Girls. Fun, colorful and silly. It's like the original Real Housewives with dancing and great clothes.

I love this poster - and would love to have my own copy to frame, but I am afraid that in a house full of all-to-soon-to-be pubescent boys I may need to hold off...
some things don't need any encouragement.

But I am going to pull from the color pallet for Valentines Day inspiration this year.

Here are some other inspiring Eiffel Tower goodies I found...

They are all from Etsy and find out more just click the picture!

I love those little flower baubles.
I am a sucker for every necklace that features one.

 
I love the hearts added to this photo. So dream like.
Screen printed Scarf. Simpl and classy.
Just adorable.
Love the color. Love the birds.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

polenta schlomenta

a few weeks ago, I thought I would be thrifty and clever and make Fried Polenta a'la Giada De Laurentis
I had day old polenta (that Sweet Man had prepared the night before) already cold and in the fridge.
I had all the other ingrediants needed and my trusty iron skillet.


so I cut up my polenta and I heated my oil and grated my cheese.

but I noticed that my polenta was awfully mushy, even after having been in the fridge for a day.
but I forged ahead, convinced that all would turn out right.

Oh silly me!

The polenta "sticks" kept sticking to the frying pan, completely coming apart when I tried to turn them.

In the end I had perfectly edible slightly crusty mounds of still mushy polenta.
Even after a visit to the oven.
(I was so distraught I didn't even get a picture.)

So peeps what did I do wrong?
Was my polenta too wet?
My oil not hot enough?

Have you ever tried to fry polenta before? Did it work?

Help me people!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

choose love

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
MLK Jr





Ok, I am ready to start thinking about Valentines Day now.
Are you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

a perfect saturday

 
last weekend, before the snow came, we went to the country to stay with friends.
but for lunch we drove into town for lunch -Green Cart Deli style.

Jeanetta had raved and raved about these yummy dogs, so we got online, figured out where they were going to be that day and headed to town.

None of us were disappointed. Those are some good dogs.
If you live in Central Arkansas or are visiting anytime soon, sign up for Green Cart Deli's twitter feed so you can visit them too! I promise, these are not your local ballpark dogs.
This fella here, despite his initial skepticism may have had 2 or 3 or maybe more... But he's not tellin.

We were doubly lucky that day because  Green Cart Deli was set up in the little park downtown.


This was perfect for all the kids - they had a grand time climbing and playing on the train car that is parked there.
And eating their lunch there as well.
Rumor has it that after the mom's left to go do some shopping, the kids tried to all get in the fountain.

Thank goodness for the dads!

 I had fun playing with my camera on such a beautiful sunny day. Taking lots of pictures of different shapes, colors and angles.
And the sky was so amazingly blue.
You would never have guessed snow was only hours away.


 If you live in Arkansas and you know some kids that live and breathe trains you need to go here and vote for today for Arkansas to win an Union Pacific excursion featuring one of their historic steam giants.  
You could make tons of kids (big and small) very happy with just one click of your mouse.
 

Conway had recently hosted an Arts Fest downtown and there was still evidence of it here and there.
 My favorites were the crochet arms of the park benches.



What a great day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

give it a try



I have started a new project.
And I am excited about it.
And that is all for now.
Peace out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

nifty gifty

For Christmas my boys and my Sweet Man got me the docking station I subtly obnoxiously hinted for.
The only problem with this lovely gift was that my phone would not "dock" properly with the Otterbox Defender case on.
And I promise you, I need this particular case. My history with phones is not great.
So after a lot of searching I found this nifty, ridcoulously overpriced-for-the-size gadget.
(if you are looking for the same sort of product and this one is not in-stock, have paitence, it seems to be sold out and restocked fairly quickly!)
And I am happy to say that it works great, solved the problem perfectly and now I can enjoy my tunes while all snug in the bed,  charge my phone battery, and use it as an alarm clock.
How is that for streamlining things in 2011?

Here are a few more Christmas gift favs:

Jeanetta gave me this. She works in a library and is always scoring the best books for me in their booksale.
She knew I would love the cookbook part, but what she was really sure of is that I would adore the cover.
And I do.
I am actually trying to figure out if I can get a high enough scan of it to blow it up movie poster size and frame it in my kitchen.
How cute would that be?
You know would be even better? If she would paint it for me... hint, hint...

My very talented and amazingly creative friend Sarabeth made this for me.
I think she has come up with the most perfect defenition for the word CRAFTY

"an amaingly resourcelful, thrifty and handy version of the artisitc soul."

I could almost get that tatooed on my forhead I love it so much.

This book came from my Nana.
I love it because it is fill in the blank.
I love it because it came from her.
I love it because I will be able to pass it down.

 


This is a beautiful necklace from Amy.
It is 2 sided and the other side features a great Shakespear quote.
But to tell you the truth, this is my favorite of the 2.
Seems sort of perfect for the Brave year doesn't it?

And that is just a few of the lovely and beautiful gifts I received.
I am blown away by how well those I love, love and know me.
It is pretty swell actually.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

city girl, country boy

 This fall I developed a serious addiction to House Hunters International on HGTV.
I have to confess that I prefer the European episodes and I tend to delete anything even remotely tropical before even watching.
It's just that while I would love to visit Costa Rica if offered a free ticket, it is not what tickles my imagination.

A favorite recent episode was filmed in Norway (you can watch it online here)
I am embarresed to say that I had never paid any attention to Norway design in particular. Scandinavia style overall, yes, love it, big fan.
But Norway specifically? Nope.
Oh, how little I knew.

I am head overheels in love with traditional Norwegian homes. I love all the little extra details. The way the wood siding may run in different dirrections on different parts of the house.
The thick window moldings.
The deep overhangs on the roofs.
 The wooden slat ceilings inside.

When I googled  images of Norwegian homes, I found this adorable B&B in Petersburg, Alaska, near where I grew up.
If Sweet Man and I ever make it back we may have to leave the kids in Juneau with friends and take a ferry ride down the Channel for a stay here.

Another reason big white farmhouses are on my mind is because my husband has been bitten by the life-in-the-country bug.
We stayed with friends this weekend who live in the country, and my Sweet Man was transformed.
He grew up as a country boy and has patiently lived with me in the city for 14 years.
He has moved with me to progressively older houses in older neighborhoods and has been extreemly good natured about it.

 But the truth is - and I think we both realized this at the same time this weekend- he really loves the country.
The country makes his heart happy, which is so good for him, which of course is very good for us as a family.

I know the saying is "if the mama ain't happy..." but I think the same is true for the papa too.


So the discussion and the hunt is on.
We are looking at land. Close enough to town, woody enough for him, meadow-y enough for me.

Will we build a house? Move a house? Find the house already on land?
(My only request for this possible change in address is that I get the house in the bargain.)

Today The Nester asked on her blog what we are all currently browsing for.
Me, I am browsing for land (a little) and inspiration pictures of Farmhouses (Norwegian inspired especially) inside and out (a lot.)



(my all-time favorite, the River House from Midwest of Cannon Falls0

With our plans to grow our family more room inside and out would be great.
The boys are already having a blast checking out potential areas and stomping around in the woods.

I have no idea where this dream will lead us, or how long it will take, or what hills and valleys we may encounter on the road ,  but I do know that I am up for the adventure and I am so grateful for my Sweet Man and his desire to share his dream with me.
 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

one last note - I had to give a big thanks and shout out to the following bloggers for sending readers my way this week! their sweet blog mentions were the cherries-on-top of my wonderful snow days.

So go check out their blogs and tell them I sent you!
Amy B

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