8/52 {still catching up}

*a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014*

Sorry for the wonky photos.  New phone, new photo dimensions.  It actually has a rear facing camera that is 13 megapixels!  That's more than my DSLR has!  I'm still learning the ins and outs of the settings though and low-light is still an issue, but for a phone the images are pretty decent.


I needed new contact photos.  She was happy to sit for her portrait. Dang red eye.


She's started to put herself to "bed" at night by getting all cozy at the end of the chaise.  I'm not complaining.


Currently {february twenty seventh}

this week's themes:
liking, thinking, planting, blooming, pinning

Liking the new book I'm reading.  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  I tend to drift toward the young adult side of reading.  I don't like romance, not big on mystery.  So I read the books that take me to some created world outside of the "norm".  Though I did recently finish up reading the second book in the All Souls Trilogy (Shadow of Night).  I'm looking forward to the next book, coming in July.

Thinking that our youngest child is definitely unique.  Her favorite movie?  Poltergeist.  No, I'm not kidding. It used to be Brave, but after we watched Poltergeist once, she started going for it every time she wanted to watch something.  Other movies on a regular loop include Insidious, The Ring, and The Grudge.  And no, I swear I'm totally serious about this.  She isn't scared by them either.

We haven't started planting anything here yet because it's still much too cold outside.  However, I have planned out what the garden will look like.  Back in May I had this bright idea to make a raised garden bed using this idea.  It did not work for us.  Nothing grew.  Well, one green bean tried to grow, but gave out after reaching a few inches tall.  I'm hoping this year to go all in and buy a tiller and just go big on a garden right in the yard.

Nothing is blooming yet either.  I think I may have seen some daffodils attempting to poke through the ground along the side of our road, but nothing has reached the point of bloom yet.  I'll definitely be glad when it does!

I've been pinning several knitting related pins recently and a few home decorating ideas.  I have three knitting projects going right now.  I probably need to finish a couple of those before I go finding new ideas through Pinterest.

next week's themes:
declaring, saving, demolishing, sniffing, despising


Currently prompts hosted by Lindsay of Ot & Et and Randalin of Harvesting Kale.

7/52 {catching up}

*a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014*


Riding the little train at the local mall.  My girls.


DIY Pinterest Style

I am the world's worst decorator.  I see things in magazines or online, but can't seem to recreate it.  The walls in my living room are fairly bare and contain only a collage frame of 4x6 photos from 7 or 8 years ago, an antique mirror that has seen better days, and a large framed drawing that my mother drew when she was pregnant with me.  So what's a wayward decorator to do?  Pinterest!

We've all seen the embroidery hoop projects.  In fact, I think it was one of my very first pins. I loved them for their simplicity, colorfulness, ease of change.

So I bought some hoops, more fabric than I needed, and a can of paint.  I waited for what seemed like months to have a day that was warm enough to paint.  I took the inside hoop out of all the hoops and just painted the outside hoops plus the chipboard letter.  Mostly though I painted my fingers.



These hoops are so easy to make.  The hardest part is trimming the fabric around the edges.  I warmed up my hot glue gun and glued the letter to one of the bigger hoops.  That wasn't nearly as easy as you think it would be.  Hot glue doesn't stay hot very long.

I thought seven would be enough, but I need more hoops!  Also my friend, Cam, mentioned that a nice thrifted photo frame (one of those scrolly kind) would be great to go with them.  So now I'm waiting for the next semi-warm day to head out and go on a thrift and find mission.

A word of caution about Command adhesive.  We live in an anomaly of a home.  When we first moved in we thought the walls were made of plaster, but as it turns out, no.  It's concrete.  No seriously.  Concrete.  Which I guess is a good thing because we live in a tornado high traffic area.  Not such a good thing when you want to hang photos or other things on your walls.  You have to get a drill, drill bit, anchors, anchor screws, blah, blah, blah.  I opted to use these adhesive tabs that are touted as being easy to put up and remove.  I put this particular one up about two inches below where I had intended to so since I had extra tabs I decided to remove it.  Oops.  Took some wall with it.  Either I was too eager to remove it or it's not as handy dandy to remove as they say.

In any case, I love the way they turned out and they make at least one wall of my living room look good!  I made pillow covers too!

Currently {february twentieth}

I haven't done a Currently post since last October!  I knew it had been a while, but my how time has flown!

this week's themes:
snapping, stopping, spending, starting, skipping

Snapping... I had something else written here, but then this morning (Thursday), something else snapped.  My brain.  In reference to the next paragraph, I had some dental work done.  They did a little cosmetic fixing on my front teeth.  I snapped off some of that cosmetic stuff this morning while I was... biting my damn nails!!!  I had stopped biting them for so long and then bam I looked down one day and I'd bitten them all off.  It's as addicting as those soft drinks in the next prompt.  *sigh*

Stopping the soft drinks.  Like going cold turkey.  You see, several years ago I had a cavity.  In one of my front teeth.  My old dentist filled it, but apparently didn't do a good job of it.  Fast forward to last week when I had to visit a new dentist (because my dentist of more than 10 years won't accept my new insurance) and they informed me that the cavity was coming back and they could make it look better if I'd like them too.  Then she said, "You drink a lot of sodas, don't you?"  "Not anymore", I said.  After having my entire face from the bottom of my eyelids to below my chin be numb for hours, I will not be drinking any more of that deliciousness affectionately known as coke (no matter the brand).

Spending time waiting on the weather.  I have a project just waiting to get done and I need to paint some of it.  It's just been too wet, windy, and cold!  After all this cold and snow, tonight we are expecting severe weather in the form of thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

Starting to have "Mom moments".  Monday evening I took my oldest to the high school to sign off on the electives he had chosen for next year.  His first year of high school.  I can't believe that he is nearly old enough for this.  I am wholly unprepared.

Skipping all things soda.  I've tried to give them up before.  They really are so bad for you!  But they are also so very addicting!  However, over the years, drinking sugar soft drinks have taken their toll on my teeth.  There are definite advantages to finding a new dentist.  One who tells you exactly what is going on with yourself and doesn't just clean your teeth and send you out the door.  It's amazing how easy something is to do with the right incentive to do so.

next week's themes:
liking, thinking, planting, blooming, pinning

Lurve

Here's a bad Instagram photo from this weekend.  I don't understand why cell phone companies can't make the front facing camera better.  I probably should have just used my camera instead.  Duh.

Long before Valentine's Day arrived, we had decided that Sunday would be our day.  A glorious day together without the kids!  We rarely get out just the two of us.

Our day started with the two year old jumping on the bed yelling, "Up! Up! Up!"  She hasn't yet figured out how to put sentences together.  I'd be worried, but her older sister was the same way because she had an older brother who said everything for her.  Now Rowan has an older sister AND brother to do that.  She gets her point across though.  Hence the jumping on us in the bed.  After several donut holes and some chocolate milk was had by all, off we went!

We stopped by the AT&T store in Bowling Green to lower our bill.  They have that new shiny mobile share plan that was going to save us almost $60 a month.  I'm still not really sure what's going on, but I'm getting a new phone.  Our son is getting mine and we added a line for our oldest daughter (she is beside herself excited by this fact) and she is getting his phone.  The poor guy at the AT&T store was so confused.  Good news is I get a new phone every 18 months, if I choose too.  Bad news is that I think our bill actually went up.  Oops.

A new restaurant opened a few month ago that I've been dying to try.  Qdoba Mexican Grill.  As soon as we walked in the door, it smelled so yummy!  I opted for soft flour tortilla, grilled steak tacos with Pico de Gallo, shredded cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.  Chris got the same thing, but with pulled pork and salsa verde.

By the time we got seated and had gotten our own drinks from the fountain, most of the tacos were barely room temperature.  While the flavor was great, the tortillas were very chewy.  It was difficult to even take a bite without yanking on the taco and having the tortilla stretch to lengths I wasn't sure a cooked tortilla could stretch too.  I wasn't exactly disappointed because they did taste lovely, but I wish they had stayed warmer longer and the tortillas had been a bit... more done?  I mean, they were cooked, but just not what I was looking for.  I'd like to go again and give them another try.  Maybe not on a Sunday afternoon, mid-after church rush.

After that we headed to a local used movie/music store in the area.  Love the place.  We ended up with a couple of games and five movies for under $40.  We ended our day with a trip to the grocery store and then home to get into our comfy "around the house" clothes!  It was a great weekend spent with family and friends (on Saturday) and a great day spent together.  We should take more time to enjoy life.

The Day the Earth Ate Some Corvettes Because It Was Tired of the Snow

this morning | the side yard
It's the snow that never ends around here.  Brought to you by the Winter that never ends.  I know that it is officially Winter until Spring finally rolls around on March 20th, but come on!

Pictured above is our side yard about 9am this morning.  We did get enough sunlight and warmish temperatures to melt the majority of this snow away over the course of the day.  Though there is still several spots that are still covered.  All of this has finally melted away and guess what?

We are expecting snow tomorrow.

It's no blizzard/ice storm of 2014 like the East coast is enduring, but I'm so over the cold.  This flip flop loving girl wants to actually wear those flops!

Even the Earth is upset with all this snow.  Just 35 miles South of me, it opened up and ate some Corvettes.  You can read the story here.  Photos here.  There is even surveillance footage of the whole thing.  Growing up here, we're all used to seeing Corvettes.  They aren't a big deal because it's just part of south central Kentucky.  They have been built here, and ONLY here, since 1981.  You can even take a tour of the plant if you are ever in the area.  It's my understanding that they are going to try to retrieve the 8 cars from the 40ft wide, 30ft deep sinkhole and restore them to their once pristine condition.

In more local news, my son came in third in his school spelling bee.  Misspelling the word ALLOWANCE. He changed the second A to an E.  An easy mistake.  I found it ironic that we have such a hard time getting him to do his few, meager chores which means he rarely gets his allowance.  If he did them more often, maybe he would have gotten that word right.  I'm still proud of him.

And that pretty much sums up the week.  It's been a week of staying firmly snuggled inside the house.  Next week's temps are more promising so maybe...  maybe... I'll get out.

sayonara

Today I made the decision to discontinue my relationship with Twitter and Facebook (for the page).  I will continue using my personal FB account though earlier this year I did a clean up of it.  It felt pretty good to go through all those "friends" that I never speak with and remove pages that I liked for some giveaway or pages that were mainly about babies or cloth diapering.  We're 98.9% potty trained around here and those pages, while still great sources, just aren't for me anymore.

That's what Twitter and this blog's FB page had become.  A place where automatic posts with links to the blog are being generated and shared.  I don't interact there.  To be honest, I very rarely even visit Twitter.  And only if there is a notification glaring at me from the sidebar do I visit the FB page.

So.... I clicked the deactivate button on the Twitter.  It said, "Hey there!  Slow your role.  Did you know that we'll only keep your stuff (including your Twitter handle) for 30 days?  Then it's sayonara."

Wait... what?  Hold up... I just wanted to deactivate for a while.  Take a breather.  So it's still "active", but not actually active.  I just didn't want some other Christine Bewley to get my @christinebewley handle.  Yep, it's petty and childish.  No, I don't care.  Sorry other Christine Bewley's out there.  

Mine.  Mine.  Mine.  Like the seagulls trying to eat Dory and Nemo.

And the FB page?  Ever since the updates of paying for people to see what you post, the view counts are so scattered.  One post will be seen 100 times and another will only be seen 15.  

All of this social media is just too much!  Why would you want to see the same thing posted in 5 or 6 different places?  I don't, so I imagine that most others don't either.  I'll still be floating around on Instagram (I'm still addicted to that!) and here on the blog.  

No worries.  You won't be able to get rid of me that easily!

6/52

*a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014*


Rowan and Kaia briefly enjoying some fun in the snow.  I could only find Ro's fingerless gloves and Kaia had to use socks.  If was only after I began taking photos that I realized... I forgot to put a coat on her.  D'oh!

52 project

What the What?! A Liebster Award

I don't get awarded too many things around here.  That's ok.  I don't mind.  Too much.  Oh who am I kidding?!  I love getting awards!  Angie from Angie's Angle bestowed upon me the Liebster Award!

There are RULES:

1. You must link back to the person that nominated you.
2. You must answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You pick 11 nominees with under 200 followers to answer your questions.
4. You cannot nominate the person who nominated you.
5. You must tell the nominees that they have been nominated by you.

Here are my 11 questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
Honestly, I don't know why I started blogging.  It seems like such a long time ago now.

2. What direction would you like your blog to take?
I'm not really looking for a direction.  I'm trying to section out time in my day for many activities and the internet has kind of taken a backseat lately.  I'm not complaining, but I do miss posting and reading.

3. If you could have an evening (dinner, movie/walk) with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
My grandparents.
My grandmother, Louise, and grandfather, Howard.
My maternal grandparents, Louise and Howard, were cute together.  They were long divorced by the time I came along.  I was able to meet my grandfather once.  I was very small, but I remember that he gave me a ceramic piggy bank that he had made for me.  While I did see my grandmother, we weren't ever close.  Now that they are both gone, I have so many questions.  Mainly about growing up in the 1930's and 40's and what is was like to have six children!
My dad and my grandmother, Lee.
My dad's mom passed when I was only a year and a half old so I never met her.  I love it when my dad tells me stories about her.  She used to be in the roller derby!  She was an amazing artist too.

My dad's father left when my dad was young and he was never part of my dad's life.  My husband and I took a trip to Chicago in 2006.  I found his cemetery plot in the Queen of Heaven cemetery.  No headstone. Even though he'd married again.  Though my main question would be why did he leave, more importantly I'd like to know more about his family.  I can't seem to find much information.

4. Imagine you could go on vacation anywhere - where would you go and who would you take with you?
I would always want to take my family, that's the easiest part of this question.  The where?  Grand Canyon, Australia, the pyramids of Giza (and mainly all of the ancient Egyptian historical sites along the Nile River), the Great Wall of China, Japan, Route 66, Ireland, Scotland.... and so on and so forth.

5. What would be the first thing you would splurge on if you were to win a jackpot?
Land.  I would buy acres and acres of land.  To live and cultivate.  And raise chickens and cows and horses and sheep... and so on and so forth.

6. If you could domesticate any animal as a pet, what would it be and why?
Pegasus because duh... flying horse.

7. Do you have any hidden talents?
It's not exactly hidden, but last year (about this time) I decided to learn knitting.  I've made several things so far and while I still consider myself a "newbie", I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments with this craft.  But suddenly, now I have a yarn addiction.

8. What is your favorite way to relax?
Nature.  I love to be outside hiking or gardening or warming my toes in the sand.

9. If you could have one wish granted right now, what would it be?
To have 100 acres of wooded land with a natural spring and a small, off grid home.

10. What is your favorite season and why?
Autumn/Fall.  It's crisp, clean, warm.  I wish all the months could be October months.

11. Name 3 other blogs that you enjoy reading.

Kaelah at The Clueless Girl - I have a girl crush on her.  She has a feature post called Things I Love Thursday.  Love it.
Tiny House Swoon - Not exactly a blog in the traditional sense.  Tons of photos and links with some of the most darling tiny/small homes.  Loads of ideas for when I get that wish granted in number 9.
Cam at A Little Kindred - She is my best friend and if I didn't include her in my three blog list, what kind of friend would I be?!  She just had the cutest, sweetest, cutest baby ever!  She's just rejoined the blogging community after a hiatus.

Those are my 11 questions!  Because I haven't the brain power after a full week of snow days to come up with 11 questions of my own and because I really liked Angie's questions, I'm using hers!  Found at the bottom of the post for easy copy and pasting.

I know the rules state that I should select 11 blogs with under 200 followers.  To be honest, I don't pay attention to how many followers people have.  So lets just say that I am tagging you.  Yes, you.  If you are reading this, consider this your notice that you have been selected!  Let me know if you accept and write a post with the questions!  I'd love to read your answers!

11 questions for you!
1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What direction would you like your blog to take?
3. If you could have an evening (dinner, movie/walk) with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
4. Imagine you could go on vacation anywhere - where would you go and who would you take with you?
5. What would be the first thing you would splurge on if you were to win a jackpot?
6. If you could domestic any animal as a pet, what would it be and why?
7. Do you have any hidden talents?
8. What is your favorite way to relax?
9. If you could have one wish granted right now, what would it be?
10. What is your favorite season and why?
11. Name 3 other blogs that you enjoy reading. (I loved this one from mine, so stealing it for my questions)

From Russia and Belgium


Sent: 18 DEC 2013
Received: 21 JAN 2014
Travel time: 34 days

I love cards that show such beautiful architecture!


Sent: 29 JAN 2013
Received: 4 FEB 2014
Travel time: 6 days

This is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  Started in 1905, construction wasn't finished until 1969!  It is one of the ten largest Roman Catholic churches (by area) in the world.  Again... beautiful architecture.

5/52 - Less than Perfect

*a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2014*

A friend shared a post on Facebook the other day that was so very true to what most of us see or put forth in social media.  We are not, in fact, all shiny, happy people.  You can read the post here.  I thought in the spirit of keeping it real I'd show a few shots of my children that didn't exactly make the cut of last week's photos. So I'm kind of cheating again on when exactly I took these photos, but it's been cold again this week and not exactly photogenic weather.


Even though it looks like my middle child, Kaia, is lovingly holding her sister, she was totally just blinking.  And obviously Ro wasn't in the mood to take a nice photo with her siblings.


So she escaped her sister's grasp and ran away.  Right out of one of her shoes.  She was quickly apprehended though.


And then we have the slow trigger finger.  I admittedly still have no idea what I'm doing with this SLR.  After holding and taking a few snaps with my friend Cam's camera when her sweet bundle was born, I realize that I wish I'd splurged and bought the better camera when I originally purchased mine.

No matter what camera I use though, it won't magically get rid of that pile of clean, yet not folded and still piled on the end of the couch, pile of clothes.  It won't wash that sink full of dirty dishes.  Or pick up the clutter that is our life.  So when (not if) I post a photo here, or more than likely on Instagram, don't judge me by the state of what's in those pictures.  We all know that everyone's house and life is a little scattered sometimes.  A little messy.  We can't all be shiny, happy people living in a shiny, happy house all the time.

52 project

Repost: Tacos a la Pasta sans Tortillas

I was looking back through my archives and I came across this recipe.  I can't believe I haven't made this since last year!  It was so easy and so yummy!  I decided to revive it and give it a repost!

This is a yummy recipe that I stumbled across in an old handwritten cookbook. I am always looking for recipes with few ingredients and quick cook times.  This is one of those recipes.
Most families love tacos for their ease of cooking and eating, but sometimes they can be pretty messy.  This recipe helps keep the mess to a minimum, tastes great, and can be adjusted so easy for any families likes or dislikes!
Add these to your grocery list:
1 (16 oz.) package of medium pasta shells
1 lb. of ground beef (or turkey)
1 (26 oz.) jar of spaghetti sauce
1 envelope of taco seasoning
1 (8 oz.) carton spreadable chive and onion cream cheese (I used Philadelphia Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme)
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese (or more to taste and I think we used the "Mexican" blend, but again you can change it up and use any blend of shredded cheese)
Get started:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cook the pasta per package instructions.  Once that is started, cook beef (or turkey) in large skillet until no longer pink; drain.

Stir in the spaghetti sauce and taco seasoning.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream; set aside.

Drain the pasta; stir in beef mixture.  Transfer to a greased 13" x 9" baking dish.  Spread the cream cheese/sour cream mix on top then sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Yields 8-10 servings.  Total time:  45 mins.

The Watson Family

I don't normally post things of this nature. Or ask my readers for votes, visits, etc.  However, the story of the Watson family hit me in the heart.  Every time I see an update online or updates on the local news, I cry.  It's heart-wrenching.

I do not know them.  I do not live in their area of Kentucky.  They do live close though.  And news travels quickly.

Thursday, January 30th the news of the house fire spread.  Chad and Nikki lived in the home with their 9 children.  Some time around 2am, an electric baseboard heater caught fire.

Eight of their nine children, Madison (15), Kaitlyn (14), Morgan (13), Emily (9), Samuel (8), Raegen (6), Mark & Nathaniel (4 year old twins), and mother Nikki (35) perished in the fire.


Father Chad and one child, Kylie (11) survived, but are still fighting for their lives at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville.  Over the course of the next few hours/days, I discovered that the family attended Calvary Baptist Church in Central City, Kentucky.  I DO know the pastor and his wife.  They are the most giving, loving, and friendly people.

You may have heard that the country band The Band Perry has stepped up.  They are going to cover all funeral costs for the Watson family.  Pastor Tim Burden has spoken to the co-owner of Jagoe Homes of Owensboro, who have committed to building a new home for Chad and Kylie when they are well enough to leave the hospital.

But they still need help and they have a very long road ahead.  Not only have they lost their family, they have lost everything.  Please help if you can and spread the word to help this family who has already endured so much.


Disappearing Act

I kind of ran away from the internet this week.  I'd love to explain and show you pictures from all the awesome things I was doing all week.  Except really I was just chillin' at home.  In my new chaise lounge chair.  Not NEW new, but new to us new.  Shout out to the in-laws for getting a new sofa themselves.  The one we had previously been using was about 15-16 years old.  It was still in decent shape, needs a good cleaning, but it was a nice dark green.  The darkness of that green sofa, chair, and loveseat made this living room so dark.  The new one is a nice light beige microfiber.  Probably a bad idea to have microfiber with a toddler, but we'll manage because it's lightened up the room so much!  Now I want to paint and buy bright pillows and curtains.

I haven't been eating bonbons in my chair though.  I've been working on a pair of knitted bell bottoms for Ro.  I finally finished them.  And they are so super cute!


I made the 24 month size, but I think I should have gone with the 18 months.  They are a little big on her skinny behind, but at least she can grow into them.


In addition to all this purling and knitting, my son had his last home basketball game of middle school and his last middle school basketball tournament game this week.  He wasn't phased by this at all.  I, on the other hand, had to try not to cry at both games.  

Oh and I've been reading.  Books.  I have 62 blog posts that I need to read in my Bloglovin feed.  Guess I better get on that...