Friday, November 30, 2012

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

I sat down one night with hot chocolate and watched the new episode of Oprah's Favorite Things. I always loved that episode of her show every year - I never cry at movies but I would always tear up watching this show for some reason. It was so fun to see the surprise and joy on the audience's faces!

I was really excited when I heard they were doing a special episode on the OWN network, I think I set the PVR to record it twice, just in case.

And it was awesome. No screaming crowds, no elves bringing in armloads of packages, but still awesome. I just love seeing these people be showered with all sorts of luxuries they could never afford on their own. Some of Oprah's choices have me rolling my eyes and their extravagant price tags when I could get a similar version at Walmart for $9.99, but that's all part of the fun.

I'm not Oprah so I can't give anything away. But just for fun, here are my favorite things!

Sigma eye makeup brushes. They are softer and more precise than M.A.C. brushes, and for a fraction of the price. I only have a few brushes, not a complete set, but all my future brush purchases will without a doubt be Sigma.

This candle from Voluspa. I was gifted this scent, and at first I thought it smelled nice but wasn't anything amazing. And then I burnt it and fell in love. I have since found a local retailer that carries Voluspa and I spent about 10 minutes smelling every scent they carried...I think they all smell amazing and I will definitely be picking up another one as a treat to myself when this one is gone.

David's Tea. I cannot sing the praises of this tea chain enough! I am a huge tea drinker - my favorites include Chocolate Rocket (pictured above), Pumpkin Chai (a fall limited edition), Cream of Earl Grey, and Bear Trap. I currently have probably 15 or 20 different bags and tins of tea, it seems every time I am in the mall I end up in their store asking the girls behind the counter to bag up some of this, that, oh, and some of that one too. My husband laughs at me because an entire shelf in our kitchen has now been taken over by their silver bags, tins, and random tea accessories.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Best book I've read this year!

Ocean Salt from Lush. I am a huge fan of Lush Cosmetics, and this scrub is probably my all time favorite product of theirs. I use it on my face when my skin is particularly flaky, and it makes the best hand scrub. They recommend it as a whole body scrub too, but I find it's a bit harsh for my sensitive skin to use that way. It makes a great hand treatment combined with their Lemony Flutter cream; slather your hands with Lemony Flutter, and then scrub with Ocean Salt. Rinse with warm water, and your hands are left feeling softer than they ever have!

The Vileda Promist mop. Love this thing! It has a refillable spray chamber that you can fill with your own floor cleaner, and mop pads that velcro onto the head and rip off to go into your washing machine. No batteries either, like a lot of mops that have a sprayer (cough Swiffer cough). I love that this mop doesn't cost me money with every use - the pads are washable, and I use my own homemade mop solution that costs pennies at best.

What are your favorite things?? What would make the list if you were throwing a Favorite Things party?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Last Place I Looked

My camera has been missing for two months.

It's not a fancy camera or anything, just a Canon Powershot that we've had for 3 or 4 years. But still, it was missing.

We searched the house. The car. Asked all our friends and family. I scoured the daycare. We moved every piece of furniture, checked every coat pocket...

I finally gave in and ordered a new one on Cyber Monday.

Guess what I just found? Sitting in the basket of my giant 6 seater stroller that I had parked in the garage for the winter.


Not impressed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bits and Pieces

The weather has been awful this week. Grey and dark, the temperature on the thermometor is deceivingly warm, but as soon as you go outside you are hit with an icy, biting wind that chills you to the bone. Everything, including my back yard is covered in a sheet of ice. No use trying to play outside, so indoors it is today. I think I will put on a movie for the kiddos as a treat. I don't like having them sit in front of a screen very often but I have a horrible cold and there is no safe place to play outside, so I'll give myself a pass.

We finally got the nursery painted on the weekend and the crib is set up. It's not decorated, and we have no window treatments or closet doors, but I feel so much better knowing we at least have a fresh space with a proper crib ready and waiting. I am not a last minute type of person so I feel relieved knowing that the bare basics are at least in place for this baby. 13 weeks left! Which probably means 14 and a half....

We went shopping the other day for nursery stuff. I had been saving money and had a couple hundred dollars I wanted to spend. I was looking for an area rug, some curtains and a curtain rod, a light fixture and black frames with large white mattes. Oh, and a lamp. And anything else that might be cute/catch my eye. I came home with nothing. Seriously, 3 hours of shopping and not a single thing. I almost cried on the way shopping has not produced anything I can afford once I factor in shipping and duty.

I have been stalking Old Navy online all week. I am filling up a cart with sale items for Brook; shirts for as low as $2.99! I am waiting to order until Black Friday...hoping I will get an even better deal. She has no need for clothes right now, so I am purchasing everything in the next size up to put away for when she grows.   How is my baby already going to be wearing size 4 soon? sniff sniff.

Been thinking a lot about Christmas lately...about traditions and what I want to create for Brook. Thinking a lot about how I can find ways for her to be involved in giving and surprising others this holiday season, focusing on doing things for others rather than just receiving presents. Thinking about ways to make it magical without spending a lot of money, and making it about time together rather than "stuff"

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hope for the Weary Mom

I discovered this book a few weeks ago, when a friend posted a link on Facebook to a free dowload (it was free for a weekend, I believe the ebook price is now $4.99) to a book. I downloaded it and forgot about it for a few days.

When I sat down and began to read it, I could not put it down. I read the entire thing in one sitting and I am halfway through my second read. This book speaks to me, right where I am in my life. It hits me. Convicts me. Challenges me and encourages me.

I am not usually a self help book sort of girl. And I don't really think of myself as one of those weary overwhelmed moms. I mean, yes, I am of course, all moms are to some degree, and you're lying if you say you aren't. But I am generally organized and have my stuff together. I don't struggle on a daily basis with feeling behind, overwhelmed, alone. Generally my days are calm and I feel like I am on top of things. Generally.

I always thought this kind of stuff was for "That" mom. You know, the one who has food splattered all over her  t shirt, hasn't showered in 3 days and is late for everything, dragging her kids behind her and yelling at them while they come behind her, noses dripping and wailing loudly.

I've never really identified with "that" mom. I am generally organized. I always shower in the mornings and take time to do my hair. I juggle my job with running a home and do a pretty good job of it, although I won't pretend I don't have dirty laundry piling up or a floor that needs to be vacuumed. I just don't generally walk around feeling like I am overwhelmed, like motherhood is too hard, or I am on the verge of a breakdown. I have my moments for sure, but if I don't feel like my life is out of control then why do I need this book? was my thinking when I started it. But my friend raved, so I read.

And read. And read. And every page was like a lightbulb moment.

It has truly changed the way I see motherhood, particularly my attitude about it as a whole.

The biggest thing I got out of this book was was a question at the end of one of the chapters....(I'm paraphrasing here)

Do you realize that  God cares more about working in your heart than he does about changing your circumstances?

How much time do I spend, asking God to change things or fix things? Asking Him to take things away, make things easier...fix my problems. Instead I should be asking for the courage and strength to get through them...not asking God to take them away. He's never promised to take all the bad things in our lives away, but He has promised many times that He will be with us, give us rest and strength, guiding us and helping us.

He's waiting for us, here in our piles of laundry and our crusty dishes, to ask Him to come. He isn't waiting anxiously like a fairy godmother for us to ask Him to whisk away all of our mess, our tiredness, our work, our problems. He's waiting for us to ask Him to walk with us THROUGH meet us in our mess. He wants to give us the energy we need to get that housework done. To bless us with patience we can't muster on our own to deal gently with our child's tantrums. To give us what we need to keep going after a night of no sleep.

I used to sometimes feel like I needed an escape. I'd sneak off to the grocery store by myself just to have some "me" time. I'd eat some chocolate, take a long bath after a hard day. But those things are just bandaids for what is really a heart problem. When I have a bad attitude toward my family, when I am tired of being the one to keep this house running, when I feel like I don't even have a minute to myself to think...a bath is not going to solve it. What I really need is to dive into God's Word and spend some time recharging. God is waiting to be asked, waiting to give. He can fill us with energy, patience, understanding. And even just plain old endurance beyond what we can muster on our own.

I find myself now, when I grumble about the supper dishes or find myself sighing over another household task...praying. Right away. Asking God to meet me here in my mess. And He always comes.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Winter Itch

About once a year it strikes me.

This strong urge to quit my job and make a living doing something creative and crafty, something messy and artsy.

I think maybe it comes when the snow falls and I am basically housebound for the next 6 months. Maybe it's just the Christmas spirit. I don't know.

But every year around this time, I feel this strong pull. This desire to sand and paint and distress whatever I can get my hands on. To try new things. To actually get renovations done around the house, and finish projects long-abandoned in the garage.

And every year I start thinking. "Wouldn't it be nice to do this for a job? To just MAKE stuff in my free time and sell it? I could totally do this!"

And every year I go searching for the THING that I can do. There is already someone in our tiny town who makes handmade furniture. Another who makes shelving, wall decor, potato bins and benches. Another who refinishes old furniture and sells it. A lady who sews baby headbands and clips. A lady who makes cloth diapers....

I feel like anything I do will be stepping on someone else's toes and infringing on their business. And I also know logically that in a tiny town, any "crafty" business I come up with will not make enough to cover my paycheques.

But every year, the urge returns. I enjoy my job. I love my job, actually. But I do feel like it is what I am supposed to be doing for a season in my life, and in a few years I will be needing to move on. I want so desperately to carve out a job for myself where I can stay at home and be my own boss...which is what I already do :) It's just that childcare is very draining, and sucking.

I enjoy it but I can see myself burning out in a few years. And as my children get older I know I will really struggle with my lack of flexibility. I have no days off, vacation is just another word for sucking our savings account dry. There is no "Can I get off work early today?" or "Can I sneak out for my kids' XYZ?" It's just me, all day every day, with no breaks or time off keeping the place running.

One day, I have a feeling that when I am missing out on my kids' special school assemblies and someone else is driving them to soccer practice and piano lessons, I will be done. And I want so badly to have something to fall back on. Something I can do to make money for my family, something I enjoy as much as the job I have right now. But something that is flexible with my time and gives me the freedom I am so lacking at this stage of my life right now.

Maybe one day I will figure out what that THING is.

But for now, I will content myself with snuggling the children I have the privilige of caring for during the day, and filling my evenings with making clay ornaments and crafting wreaths out of feather boas. After all, I've got it pretty good.

If you Really knew me...

If you REALLY knew me . . .'d know I have the nose of a bloodhound. I can smell things no one else can.'d know I like my house to always have a scent, usually something fruity or that smells like a baked good. Probably because I have the nose of a bloodhound and I always worry about my house not smelling good.'d know I don't like chick flicks or fluff chick lit books'd know I have always wanted to be a writer and I still write stories and work on a novel sometimes'd know I have a very sarcastic sense of humor'd know my dream job would be an event planner'd know I hate seafood'd know I have a hard time standing up for myself and saying no'd know I love watching Youtube makeup tutorials and experimenting with makeup'd know I am a garage sale and thrift store shopper, and I love to find deals

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