friday chats

Hello, lovelies, and happiest of Fridays to you all!

I’ve loved this short week! Holiday weeks always give extra pieces of wonderful because it makes the work week shorter and our favorite guy gets days off more quickly!

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We’ve also been having a happy week because we’ve had Auntie Bear in town. Auntie Bear (Bear is her family nickname) is J’s older sister and oh, she is loved in this household! She and AK have a particularly sweet bond and AK had been counting down the days until her arrival from about the beginning of December. We’ve had a lovely week, in it’s sweet simplicity. Walks, trampoline jumps, movies and books, dance parties and snuggles, good food, many conversations, and ushering in the new year with sparkling apple cider and buffalo wings. Bear has been so thoughtful in her help to me, too, as she’s done many dishes, helped me cook and clean, and just poured out auntie love on the kids. Thankful for days like these with our Bear.

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To top off all this goodness my sweet man took today off so that we could have another day all together while Bear is in town AND he’s taking Monday off, too, as an extra family day before my birthday next weekend and before his next MBA class begins a few days later! Gosh, I love that man.

I do hope you’ve all had beautiful weeks ringing in the new year. Are you midnight people or there’s-absolutely-no-way-I-could-make-it people?

Now, onto MY FAVORITE THINGS from this week.

  • Our dear friends, the Noels, sent us such a thoughtful Christmas package and my gift was this beautiful Determination Cement Necklace from a collaboration that Liz did with Wells Cooperative. I’ve mentioned before about Liz founding the Dream Retreat with two of her good friends and any piece of the Dream Collection from Wells Cooperative gives back to the retreat. I love that! The pieces are lovely and so meaningful. I’ve asked for the Precious Gift White Agate Necklace for my birthday. I’ve seen it on Liz and it’s the perfect piece to wear everyday. I’m so proud of my friend!

  • My parents gifted AK Connect Four as part of her Christmas this year and we’ve had so much fun playing it with her. She’s become quite good at it, too! Sometimes I forget about introducing AK to the games J and I played growing up, so I was so glad to have this reminder of how something so simple as connecting 4 plastic circles could make for such good family time.

  • I chose several gluten and dairy free recipes to make for dinner while Bear is here because that’s the way she tries to eat on a regular basis. My brother and sis-in-love in TX also eat that way so Megan is a wealth of good recipes in that way! Megan had recently sent me a Pinterest board of some Whole30 recipes that they had tried and liked so I peeked at these as I was menu-planning for Bear’s visit. A couple nights ago I made these lettuce wraps and they were delicious! I substituted back in soy sauce because that was okay for us to use and I left out the water chestnuts because I do. not. like. them, but this recipe got a hearty “yay!” from all of us!

  • My parents also gifted the kids Ellie Holcomb’s new album, Sing: Creation Songs, for Christmas. It’s one I’ve been eager to try so we were so excited about it. It is excellent! So joyful, so fun, so full of good truth to fill our little’s ears. Several of the songs are absolutely dance-worthy, too. #5 is particularly happy and AK asks to repeat it at least 4 times in a row every time. I’m so thankful for good music like this. If you’ve never listened to Ellie Holcomb before you really ought try her Red Sea Road album, too. It is JUST SO GOOD.

  • This dusty pink short sleeve hoodie was a Christmas from my dad and I’ve been loving it! It’s so comfy and cozy, the shade of pink is perfect, and it’s a great length to wear with leggings. The Everyday & Company Shop is a new favorite of mine. I’m not spending shopping money right now (more to come on this later) but I’m keeping my little list going of some lovely staples to add to my closet.

  • We just watched Christopher Robin last night and, oh friends, I couldn’t have loved it more. It was every bit as sweet and comfortable and dear as you’d expect anything with Pooh Bear to ever be. I most definitely want to add this one to our family collection to watch for all the years to come. It was simply happy.

Any new favorite finds or moments this week you’d care to share?
I do hope you all have a beautiful Friday!

Happy Weekending, lovelies!

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my 2019 book list

It’s the season of resolutions. This means that many many people are saying: “I’m going to read more in 2019'“. For all of those people, I really do hope they do! I hear so many reports/comments made on how much less people are reading these days and it makes me sad. There’s so much goodness to be found to reading! Heroes/Heroines, bravery, goodness, truth and virtue, imagination, sacrifice, unlikely friendships and changed people, humor, delight, examples, and beauty. I hope that we see a shift in our world to place the written word on a much higher and more treasured shelf than any screen will ever hold. I say let’s change the tide! Let’s do it by raising little readers, by forming book clubs or reading through a book with one companion, by sharing what we’re reading with others and giving books as gifts, by using those 15 minutes to read rather than scroll, and by filling corners of our home with an array of classics and new releases, best sellers and hidden gems, new and used, paperbacks and hardcovers. Let’s be readers.

J and I made a change several months ago where we began turning shows on much less frequently in the evenings and instead, began filling that time with piping beverages and our current reads. It has become a favorite routine of ours. Those hours are now filled with pages and underlines and sharing bits and pieces of what book we are making our way through and we always go to bed so much more filled up. We want reading to be a rhythm in our home, for ourselves and with our littles.

I have been eagerly gathering together my 2019 book list. Recently, I looked at my nightstand and the stack of books at the foot of it, all books I had ordered or been given last year, and I realized that I had barely scratched the surface of these titles. So came my plan. I have compiled my 2019 book list, so far as it stands now, with just the stack of books that already sits on or around my nightstand, on my desk, or gracing my coffee table. I only bought two books last month, both of which have been on my wish-list for quite a while, to complete the grouping. I’m starting here.

Here are my literary companions for the coming months.

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My Life in France by Julia Child || Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson || The Life-giving Home by Sally Clarkson || Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen || It Starts with Food by Dallas Hartwig || Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist || Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr || Made for More by Hannah Anderson || Appetite for Life by Noel Riley Fitch || None Like Him by Jen Wilkin || The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile || Humble Roots by Hannah Anderson || Persuasion by Jane Austen || Glory in the Ordinary by Courtney Reissig || Sing A New Song by Lydia Brownback || GraceLaced by Ruth Chou Simons || The Lifegiving Table bsy Sally Clarkson || The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie || Growing in Gratitude by Mary Mohler || I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel || Remember God by Annie F. Downs || Cozy, Minimalist Home by Myquillyn Smith || A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot || Homebody by Joanna Gaines

I have several biographies, many for-my-heart books, several titles about the home and the table, and one lonely fiction book — hence my plea for more fiction titles on Instagram the other day. Homebody is going to be a consistent companion book, It Starts with Food will be a more slowly digested read — J and I would like to do a Whole 30 sometime this year, GraceLaced will be enjoyed throughout the year as it is written in seasonal form and also sits on the coffee table, and Sing A New Song will be alongside as I read different Psalms throughout the year as it is written for that very reason.

*Now, I do reserve the right to put a book down if it is just not holding me. I have always been one to feel I should finish any book I start, but in the past year my sentiments have changed and I’m letting go. If a book is not keeping my interest, winning me over, or spurring me on, I am going to set it down, and that is quite alright.

I am eager to finally dig into so many of these titles that I’ve had waiting for quite some time. I will share reviews on some of these, I’m sure, but I’m not going to commit to reviews on all of them. If I do, happy surprise! :) I am on Goodreads, though, and I have a bookshelf specifically for 2019. Over there I plan on sharing snippet reviews with each book I finish. Ohhhhh, I’m getting excited, lovelies! I’m hopeful for curled up afternoons, even for 15-30 minutes, with a cuppa in hand, my candle lit, my phone tucked away elsewhere, and my bookish companion.

I’d love to hear what’s on your book list for this year! And please please share any must-read fiction books with me, as well as any other titles that simply must be shared. For, though I’m not promising to add them to this year’s book list, I will forever be collecting new titles to add to the one-day list.

Happy Reading, friends!

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