Monday, August 18, 2014

Renters, Week 2 Begins


Well, Week 1 in the Rent House has passed.
We are into week two.
I feel like a month has passed at least. Maybe three months.
A week? How is that possible?

This weekend I discovered that Washi tape is a renters friend.
I also hung a few "things" on the wall - i.e.  whatever random items where packed last or just thrown in the car at the last minute.
However, I cannot find a good place for all the cookie sheets. Would under the sofa be a bad idea?

I have only muttered the words "I hate this" once.
So that's good.

The "poster" above is a scrapbook page, torn out of a collection. 
It sums up best where I am right now and is a good reminder for when I grow impatient with our limbo.

Because honestly, the best thing about this move has been how our little family has adapted.
Sticking together.
Being together.
Living together. 
It really is what makes a house a home - this being together in it.

But don't let me paint too pretty a picture.
We are all desperately counting down the days till the Internet man comes (3.)
We are a wired family and I think all of us would argue that while being together makes a house a home, having wireless Internet is what makes our home happy to be in.
Don't judge.

In other news, the search is still on for a farm.
So many questions to sort through.
The options are not vast in this area for our needs/budget so we Sweet Man and I are crunching numbers and looking at all the possible scenarios.
This is our third house and our first acreage. I feel like I know a lot about how to pick the first and very little about the second.
Sometimes this process is exciting, sometimes it is exhausting.
But in the end it will be worth it.
(Remind me if I start to complain too much, OK?)

Meanwhile I am going to go wrestle some boxes of books for the boys out of the storage unit.
Wish me luck!

xo
J







Friday, August 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Julia!


(wonderful Julia image found here)

Happy 102 Julia!
You continue to inspire and charm me.

Long live the love of butter!

- J

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Upside Down







Yesterday a friend sent me an email checking in on some things I was supposed to finish and she graciously gave me an out by saying "I am sure things in your life are upside down right now."

Which is the absolute truth.
Things are all upside down right now, and never more so than yesterday.

Yesterday the moving caught up with me.
I was tired.
I was cranky.
I was mad about all the things that got put into storage instead of into our rent house (the boys fav toys, my good camera, the peanut butter...)
I was impatient with myself.
I was worn threadbare in all the wrong places.

The truth is that  I had been all of these things for days, but I  kept shoving them to the back of the to-take-care-of list, in favor of more urgent task.

Getting beds made (yes our mattresses are on the floor on purpose. Since we don't know how long we will be renting we went with minimal furniture. It is sort of like camping inside. Fun! Right?)

Unpacking the kitchen (I have way more plates than a family of four needs. Miraculously it all just fit.)

Making sure we had toilet paper.

Buying more peanut butter.

Going to work.

Monitoring homework (a little trickier without our Internet set up yet.)

But by the end of yesterday I was fini.
The steak we had for dinner time we had dinner may have been medium rare, but I was well done.
All of the exhaustion and holding-it-together came apart at the seems.

So as soon as the dishes hit the sink I vamoosed.
I poured myself a jelly jar full of boxed red wine, adjusted our fancy new rabbit ears on the television, got into bed and proceeded to watch network television in real time for the first time in years.
The Mindy Project? Adorbs. 
Person of Interest? I can't decide. I think I like it?
Also, local news? Oh my golly, it is so depressing.

Eventually I fell asleep and today I woke up feeling better.
Not quite right side up but I am getting there.

Moving is hard y'all.
Moving into a temporary situation is hard.
Moving while balancing work and kids and school and pets and missing boxes is hard.

As is typical, I am learning another facet of being present. Of going slow. Of not pushing myself too hard.

I tend to forget that there is no shame in being tired.
That time and space is needed to adjust to big life changes, and pushing through like nothing has changed doesn't do me any good. 

I tend to forget that I am human and that I have limits. Limits that are different from other peoples
And that there is no shame in that either.

So here is to this season of upside down being.
To going slow.
To taking my time adjusting.
To being upside down as long as needed.

peace and blessings-
J


Monday, August 11, 2014

SOLD









This weekend, after 11 memorable, lovely, hard won, beautiful, exhausting, amazing, fun, and work- filled years, ( almost to the day,) we said goodbye to life on Ridge Road.

We have sold our house to a lovely young couple who we are happy to know love the house as much as we did.
We have signed the papers, and moved out of our sweet little Casa d'Lovely and onto a new -albeit somewhat unknown - adventure.

It is all at once sad and exciting. Heartbreaking and inspiring. Happy and bittersweet.

We are currently in a rental while we  we look for our little farm of dreams.
We are grateful beyond measure to be able to catch our breath for bit between permanent homes - as we are sure that our farm of dreams will require much TLC (most places we love do,) - but we are also extremely curious about what the future holds.

Limbo and I have never been great pals, but it looks like I better make friends with him if I want to survive this next season of our life.

As St. Dolly once said, " You cannot control the wind, but you can adjust the sails." 

Time to do some adjusting!

xo
J


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

these are the days











Y'all I have been soaking up summer best I can.
I have been:
Getting into the new job groove.
Packing boxes.
Picking beans.
Taking naps.
Staying up too late.
Listening to beautiful books while I clean the never-ending closets out.
Celebrating and being celebrated.
Slowing down.
Sitting still.
Enjoying.

It's a good season.

I am so very thankul for it's gifts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Blueberry Muffins and Being Present


I am days away from celebrating my one month anniversary at my new job and I could not be happier about how everything is going.
I love the church family that I am serving, I love my boss and co-workers, I love my role as lay minister more than I could have ever dreamed, and I love the ways it has benefited our family.
The whole experience has blessed me and my crew so very much, and I am grateful beyond words.



One of the ways that our family is benefiting is from my new schedule.
While I am working as many hours (and sometimes I will work many more  during Christmas and Holy Week etc.)  as I was before, they are arranged differently and are much more flexible. This pace and flexibility is exactly what I wished and prayed for over the past year, as it became increasingly evident to Sweet Man and I that something had to change in my work situation in order for me to keep my sanity, and be present to our family life.
 During all those discussions and prayers, I never thought that being a minister would be the solution that presented itself to our quandary, but thank goodness for surprises!


Ok, so what does this have to do with Blueberry Muffins? 
Well, one of the ways I wanted to be present for our family was to make breakfast's for the boys before school on a more consistent basis.
When I was a kid my mother made us some sort of homemade breakfast almost every morning during the school years. 
They weren't always fancy or even great (sorry Mom,) but they were there and so was she.
This year Wylie began High School and Miles began Middle School. Their time here at home is growing shorter by the day and I desperately don't want to miss it. 
I want to be here. I want to be present. 
So I am making them breakfast just like my mother did. 
Sometimes it's muffins like these, sometimes it's eggs and sausage, sometimes it's oatmeal. Sometimes its fancy and sometimes it's not very good. 
But regardless, I am there. 
Do they notice? 
Does it make a difference to them that they are eating eggs and muffins and not cereal? 
I have no idea. 
But it matters to me. 
 It may be a small thing to them, but it is a huge thing to me, and part of my job as the momma is to do what I think is important, even if they take it for granted.



Do I think that everyone should get up and make their kids a homemade breakfast? Nope. Not at all.
Do I think that you know the place where you need to show up and be present for your kids? 
Yep. 
And it probably something that would never hit my radar, and that is okay. 
You know your family and what they need and that is the only thing that matters.
Don't compare your parenting  or family life to others. 
That is a useless road to travel, and will only frustrate you more. I know. I have traveled it often.
But do fight for the change that you know is needed.
And take heart - if what your family needs right now seems impossible, don't give up. 
Keep an eye out for even the slightest, smallest sliver of an opportunity that will help turn things around. 
Be alert and tenacious in your search for a solution. It is out there. 
And know that I am praying that your life takes an unexpected, wonderfully surprising turn, allowing you to show up the way you want to show up for your kids, to do for your family what only you know in your gut needs to happen.

In the meantime, here is a muffin recipe that was really as yummy as it looked!






I have been looking for a great from-scratch blueberry muffin recipe for a while now, as I am trying to move away from prepared foods/box mixes. This one was recommended to me and it is easy and delicious!

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Line a muffin tin with 10 paper liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray

5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces or 71 grams) unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces or 191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces or 105 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)
.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. 
Add egg and beat well, then yogurt, sour cream, and lemon zest. 
Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift half of dry ingredients over batter. 
Mix until combined. 
Sift remaining dry ingredients into batter and mix just until the flour disappears. 
Gently fold in your blueberries. 
The dough will be very thick.
Add dough to muffin cups.
You’re looking for them to be about 3/4 full, nothing more, so you might only need 9 instead of 10 cups. 
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean (minus the blueberry goo.)

Enjoy!
J

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Happy Glampers


So you see, this one time I went glamping.
And it was a blast.
(Mostly.)


As luck would have it I went glamping (glamour + camping)  on the very weekend that my period showed up (sorry if that is an over-share. It is what it is.) And at my declining age, getting my period is less than fun. You might say it is hell-ish.


Also, as luck would have it I went glamping on the first weekend that it was truly hot in Arkansas after such a mild and lovely Spring.

My first-world pampered self was not prepared for such a dreadful combination as this.

But I perservered.
(Mostly.)


Thankfully luck would also have it that I was with some amazing gals who didn't seem to hold it against me when I passed out on my top bunk in the middle of the afternoon out of sheer hormonal exhaustion and heat fatigue.



And thankfully, luck (well, really it was smart planning on all of our parts) would also have it we were camping only minutes away from Stephanie's house where she generously let us shower in her clean and private bathroom,  where I was able to help myself  to much-needed nausea meds after over-indulging in the cheese selection at the hottest moment of the day, and recoup for a few minutes in the air conditioning, all of which helped bring me back to life so that I could fully enjoy the remainder of the experience, drinking my fill of the Happy Camper Cocktail.



If you follow me on Instagram you can go back and look at all my #GlampingAr pics of the weekend to see pictures of all the fun we had - including a trip to Miss Fern's house, breakfast at Mather Lodge, and pictures from our Friday night Mexican Fiesta dinner.

Most of these pics however are from Saturday evening and they are styled to the hilt.
Why?
Because not only did we Glamp, but we modeled as well, and so did all our stuff....


You see, Steph's husband works for the State Parks Dept, and word had somehow traveled to headquarters about this mysterious "Arkansas Glamping" expedition of ours, and so always on the hunt for new ways to promote our amazing Arkansas State Parks (they really are amazing) their ad people asked if they could send a team out to do a photo shoot of all our glamping our fun.
Being a group of  bloggers, we all replied with a hearty "bring it on!"
And so they did.





Everyone "decorated" their own bunks (we stayed in Yurts!) and then we all pitched in on the rest of the areas.







All of these pictures are from Saturday evening, which turned out to be one of the most fun parts of the entire glamping adventure despite my initial bad attitude. Thanks to the cool breeze that appeared just in time, the magical refills of my mason jar with Happy Camper cocktails,  that glorious shower at Stephanie's right before the photo shoot began, and my amazing co-glampers who kept me laughing the entire time, it was a highlight of the entire weekend.

Want to see more about our glamping fun? Go check out the rest of the gals blogs.
(And don't worry, they probably won't complain about their periods like me.)


Jeanetta @ The Splendid Things

Heather @ Heather’s Dish
Stephanie @ The Park Wife


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