Tuesday, May 24, 2016

april recap

Every month- towards the end of the month- (or towards the end of the new month- that's a joke!) I recap my monthly activities and goals and link to various personal blog posts.

Related- Monthly Recaps: 2016 // 2015 // 2014
april goals
Hey there! It has been very quiet around here. My blog has been quiet, but my "real life" hasn't. We're coming to the end of my girls' school year- there's so much to do/wrap up AND we're all feeling sluggish. That's not a good pairing. I have been feeling especially idle these past few weeks and am hoping to shake off these weird feelings soon. :) Thank you for sticking around and checking in.

April was a full month in my personal life... my daughter Evie turned 10 in April. We celebrated by hosting a sleepover for her and her friends. They made ice cream cupcakes (I'll share a tutorial soon), watched a scary movie with too much junk food, screamed shrilly up and down my house, had a pillow fight, and stayed up ridiculously late. (I may still be recovering from the sleepover, in fact).

I also went to Artisanal LA with my good friend Kerri in April. It was fun. There were plenty of artisan treats to be sampled. My favorite shops included Indie Jams (clever branding and sweet "jams"), Broadway Baker (one of the few things I purchased included their grandma's mix-up bars- yum!), Hello Sweetie Pies (adorable pies on a stick), and Bertha Mae's Brownie Co. (phenomenal brownies).
april recap
I was especially happy to receive this "Makers gonna make" tote and cute buttons and you know I have a thing for pretty business cards:
currently in april
Another highlight this month was meeting the author Rainbow Rowell at the Yallwest Fierce Friday event and having her sign my copy of Eleanor & Park and postcards featuring Eleanor & Park artwork.
2016-04-30 12.47.27 1
I shared my thoughts on Eleanor & Park in my last book report. I'm in the middle of Fangirl right now. (Loving it!)

Last month I also crossed a few things off of my spring manifesto including "Go to a craft fair" (see above), "Go out with a friend," "Go the the library," "Sit outside at a cafe." My sisters and I met up at a cafe for an early dinner and chatted over sandwiches, pastries, and coffee (coffee for me, anyway).
april recap
It was SO NICE!

(P.S. I've been missing sandwiches lately now that I'm not doing my 52 sandwiches project anymore).

Anyway, though my personal life was busy, I was more quiet than usual on the blog. Thank you to those of you who asked if I was okay. I am! ;)
book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 1 - 13)
I started my first book club in April on my blog. We read The Mountain Between Us. I shared discussion questions every Wednesday. I was happy to see some of you participating (hi Jasmine and Denise! :) I shared some of what I thought in the comments, as well, but will give a review in my next book report.

Now I am thinking about the next book for the book club.

In April, I shared the news that my sister Jasmine and brother-in-law Oscar are expecting their first baby.
a kinda unorthodox list of newborn baby must-haves
I also reshared my Unorthodox List of Newborn Baby Must-Haves.
april recap
As far as my goals for April, this is how I did:

  • Read The Mountain Between Us
    • I will be listing the first set of questions this Wednesday, April 6th, for chapters 1-13. I hope you will be joining me. 
      • I did! :) 
  • Wake up early every day
    • I had been waking up early for a couple of months, but fell back into my old habit of fighting with my snooze button. 
      • I didn't do very well with this. Remember? Feeling idle?? 
  • Spring clean Sunday morning
    • I got up to this past Sunday to spring clean. I was happy to do something productive and still relax for some of the day.
      • Nope.
  • Get serious- work on our garden
    • I have high hopes for a nice garden this year. :)
      • We did clean up the garden area and prepare the soil.
  • Continue working on my spring manifesto.
    • I'm really looking forward to reading in the sunshine.
      • I did. :)
    I didn't do so great this month, but oh well. That's how it goes sometimes. (Nobody ever said I was a motivational speaker. ha).

    See you soon. (I hope! ;)

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 40 - 51)

    book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 40 - 51)
    I read The Mountain Between Us this month. :) Every Wednesday in April, I listed a couple of discussion questions about the chapters we were supposed to have read. We were supposed to have read about 13 chapters a week. You can, of course, read at your pace and look over the discussion questions when you're ready.
    1. What was Rachel right about? (ch. 41)
    2. What do you think about Rachel's decision to risk her life for the twins? 
    3. How did you like the end? If you could change anything about it, what would you change?
    Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comments. You can also ask your own questions or bring up another topic/discussion starter. I will be commenting, as well, and replying to all comments left. (If you leave a comment at a later time- when you've gotten around to reading this section- I will still reply to your comment within the comments section. Again, feel free to go at your own pace).

    Related: Discussion questions for chapters 1 - 13discussion questions for chapters 14 - 26; discussion questions for chapters 27 - 39

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    a kinda unorthodox list of newborn baby must-haves

    a kinda unorthodox list of newborn baby must-haves
    I'm excited to share that my sister Jasmine and brother-in-law Oscar are expecting their first baby this September! :)

    Some time ago (back when I was expecting Juli, my fourth daughter), I shared my must-have items during those newborn baby days. Some of the items I shared are unconventional, but helped me tremendously. I decided to update my list and reshare it now that it's personally relevant again. (Hi, Jas!)

    BOPPY PILLOW
    I was introduced to the boppy by a lactation consultant when my oldest daughter was a newborn.  I was having trouble with her latching (it was terribly difficult those first few weeks), so I went often to seek the advice of a lactation consultant.  (As in multiple times a week for a few weeks). She told me it was necessary for me to be comfortable during nursing, and brought out the boppy for me to use.  I was having so much trouble with breastfeeding, and I really wanted to be successful.  The boppy was one of the tools that helped me succeed with breastfeeding.  (I breastfed all of my daughters for 2+ years).   I know that others will agree with me.  The boppy pillow is a must-have. 

    ANTI-BURST GYM BALL
    I know this one is unconventional!  Jesse and I used the gym ball to bounce our little ones to sleep or to soothe them when they were fussy.  Jesse had bought a workout ball for himself to add to his fitness routine.  One day when it was time for our little one's nap, he jokingly started bouncing her softly on the gym ball.  She quieted down right away, and fell asleep.  We were sold.  We never did use it for working out.  ;) I read about another mom who used the ball during labor, as well. (But be careful- the "anti-burst" ball burst a couple of times! lol. I fell all the way down to the ground one time. It happened so fast. Don't worry- Jesse got a good laugh). 

    ROCKING RECLINER
    Rocking chairs didn't work out for us.  They weren't sturdy enough and would annoyingly move back as we rocked Lani (our first daughter). Rocking recliners, however, totally worked.  Our girls would nap in our arms as we rocked them in the recliner.  We were very comfortable and we were able to catch up on all of our favorite shows (and then some). Which brings me to...

    NETFLIX 
    I watched so much bad, late-night reruns (infomercials when I was unlucky) when my oldest daughters were babies. Netflix was seriously heaven sent during those newborn days. We watched Breaking Bad when Juli was a newborn. Jesse and I would take shifts those first few weeks. (New parents, if you can, take night shifts! Each of us would sleep for 3 hour stretches at a time. This is a story for another day, but when Lani was a newborn, we were still so clueless that we were up together or glaring at the other when the other slept because we didn't have a shifts system in place. "HOW CAN YOU BE SLEEPING RIGHT NOW??! It's hilarious now, but it wasn't then). Anyway- back to the point- we watched Breaking Bad and we were so hooked we would actually skip our time to sleep to watch another episode together. That's true love for Breaking Bad, guys. Invest in Netflix or Hulu. :)

    BUILT-IN SHELF BRA / BASIC CAMISOLES
    I lived in these when my girls were born.  They were comfortable and provided good support.  When I needed to breastfeed, I would slip off a strap and nurse easily.  I found them more comfortable than nursing bras and button up shirts. 

    PORTABLE SWING SEAT
    This was perfect when I needed to shower, cook, entertain my other little ones, etc.  I especially loved it for travelling.  

    A SMART PHONE
    Breastfeeding is VERY time consuming.  (Rocking babies to sleep and holding them while they sleep? Also very time consuming). After I got the hang of it, I would get bored of lying or sitting there for long periods at a time.  I used to have a "dumb" phone, and I got really good at Tetris on it.  ha.  With Addy (our third daughter), we finally bought smart phones.  I use(d) it for countless things including reading my favorite blogs, scrolling through Instagram, playing games, Weight Watcher tracking, random google searches, blogging, even reading books.  It was easier to read a book on it than to try to hold an actual book while nursing.  It's undoubtedly another must-have for me.

    What would you add to this list?? The kookier, the better. ;)

    Related: Dear Marta: 5 General Newborn Tips

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    five on friday

    five on friday
    Evie got several coloring pages, markers, and other art supplies from her friends for her birthday. If you're wondering, the sleepover was both fun and exhausting. lol. Anyway, we've been coloring every day after school. It's been nice. :)

    I have 5+ links to share with you!

    1. I loved Eleanor & Park so much- I bought this postcard set this week.

    2. I'm currently obsessed with bedroom makeovers. Molly Madfis' bedroom is definitely "cozy and calming and grown up." That woven blanket is gorgeous!

    3. Tracy Benjamin is speaking my love language: Keeping Creativity Alive. She brilliantly says: "Over the past few years I’ve honored this part of myself- the part of myself that firmly believes that I must respect my creative spirit in order to be happy. If I don’t respect this, everything in my life tends to fall apart."

    4. I came across a new blog this week: "So What I Really Meant" by Dr. Alison Poulsen. It's FULL of wisdom and insight. I especially appreciated the "Dividing Up Household Chores" topic.

    5. I was immensely humbled and inspired by this thought from the podcast episode When God is Late on Your Move by Andy Stanley: "There is nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing He can't do" (at the 25:10 min. mark).

    Read more Five on Friday posts here.

    Hope you have a good one! :)

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 27 - 39)

    book club :: the mountain between us | discussion questions (chapters 27 - 39)
    I'm reading The Mountain Between Us in April and have invited you to read along if you'd like. :) Every Wednesday in April, I will be listing a couple of discussion questions about the chapters we were supposed to read. I plan to read 13 chapters a week. It's about 100 pages or so. You can, of course, read at your pace and look over the discussion questions when you're ready.
    1. Why are Ben and Rachel separated? 
    2. What did you think about Ben's "conversation" with Rachel about Ashley? (p. 261)
    3. What is the purpose of Napoleon in the novel?
    4. Share any other survival books you've read or survival movies you've watched. How does this book compare to them?
    Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comments. You can also ask your own questions or bring up another topic/discussion starter. I will be commenting, as well, and replying to all comments left. (If you leave a comment at a later time- when you've gotten around to reading this section- I will still reply to your comment within the comments section. Again, feel free to go at your own pace).

    Related: Discussion questions for chapters 1 - 13; discussion questions for chapters 14 - 26