Monday, December 23, 2013

2 down, 1 to go!

My sweet mama sent my girlie and I to the Nutcracker this year. It was Mad's first time seeing it and she was in awe. I'm not sure if that's what made this hormonal, pregnant mama tear up, or if I'm just especially moved by cute ballerina's now that I'm getting old, but I should have packed tissues. Who'd have thunk? I was pretty happy that she got to go in style, since I finished Christmas knit #2 just in time! Then I gave it to her early, because every little girl needs something extra fancy special to wear to her first time at the Nutcracker--which was also a wonderfully cute bonus to going to the early show. 

The pattern I used is Spritely, and the yarn is a discontinued alpaca/merino/nylon mix from KnitPicks that is super lovely, and I'm sad that they no longer carry it. You can see more details and photos on my project page

Now to finish Christmas knit #3 before tomorrow. Wish me luck! 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Oh my, guys, pardon me while I just step right back in here like I haven't been neglecting the blogosphere for the last three months, but holy CHRISTMAS KNITTING! I'm actually about to finish project number two, which will make for 2 down and only 1 to go. Totally doable! But only because the last one will only be a hat for Max, since I already gave him this vest just last month.

I started this Tomten waaaaaay back when Maximus was just a year old, and was super inspired by a similar jacket knitted by SouleMama. Luckily, I didn't check my gauge and so even though I originally intended for it to fit an 18 month old Max, it ended up being about a size 5T, and fits an almost 5 year old Max! 

When I pulled it out of the bottom of my knitting bag in October Maximus immediately noticed it and asked if it was going to be for him. Then he would keep track of my progress on his "rainbow coat," commenting about it every time he saw me working on it. It was darling and gave me all the motivation I needed to finish it at the annual knitting retreat my mom, mother in law, and aunt go on in early November.

 It was so lovely, and the icing on the cake (besides the view) was that my madre knit in all my loose ends (of which there were a ton because of all those fat stripes).

The best part, though, after getting home and giving it to Max, was hearing him chose his words quite carefully. "Mommy, your knitting is very beautiful." He really said that. My heart swelled. 

"But sometimes I think I'm going to like something more than I really do." Annnnnd deflate. 
At least he let me down easy, right?

Monday, August 12, 2013

healing chicken soup {a recipe}

A summer cold has hit our house, and I just happened to buy a one-pound bag of ginger root. Not because I knew what to do with that much, but because I wanted a tiny piece to grate into my tea. I could only find it already pre-bagged in one pound bundles and it was cheap, so I figured what they hay. After a few internet searches that left me feeling uninspired I came across this one and inspiration struck.

Here's what I did:
First take
1 onion, sliced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
about 8 ounces of ginger, sliced (with skin still on)
4-5 small gloves garlic, crushed
whole chicken, rinsed
1-2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Then add
1 cup of rice
2-3 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 small zucchini
1 cup of frozen peas
a handful of baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Add all the first ingredients to a 6 quart stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer, covered, for a 2-4 hours depending on how early you think to start dinner. Take soup off heat and remove chicken, allowing to cool. Pour broth through a sieve and discard ginger and veggies. Remove the meat off the bones and shred. Bring strained broth back up to boil and add sliced carrots, rice, zucchini and spinach. Add chicken and serve when veggies are tender and rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). I didn't have a sliced fennel bulb on hand but feel that if I did, adding it would have been perfection. Also, I only added back about 2/3 of the meat and saved the rest to toss on top of salads for lunch throughout the week.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

attics and pinterest and stuff

So... my husband and I are taking a class at our church right now, called Timesavers Marriage, and we took this "time style" quiz. It was no surprise that my "time style" is Dreamer. Right mom, right? So that is why, even though we just moved in and haven't even painted our living room yet, which means we haven't hung photos on the wall, and we may not have even finished unpacking everything, and we have ZERO budget for things like large renovations and won't for years and when we do the kitchen is no. 1 on the list, I have already decided that one day we will build stairs to our attic and add dormers. And if you follow me on pinterest, you'll see some awesome inspiration pins for how to use the space, and also lots of other pins for ridiculous projects and makeovers that I have no intention of ever doing, but the photos are so pretty I couldn't help but click "pin". Somehow that dang site tends to suck the hours out of my day, often times wasting all of what could actually be productive moments while Milo-man naps. But hey, if we ever win the lottery, at least I know how I want my attic. ;)
here are two of my favorite ideas:

from the nato's: attic renovation. before and after pictures.  because one day we'll build stairs up to our attic. and dormers.

Attic converted to year round 'camp' indoors -- perfect for parties, sleepovers, or date nights.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


we ate a meal at the table for the first time last tuesday. that's how smoothly things are going right now. BUT i've gone to the gym twice. TWICE! in a row(ish) even. i'm considering going again. that'd be huge. I recently realized how quickly this summer is slipping by and we're thinking we'll lay low for the next few weeks until Labor Day weekend brings the very last summer event our way before school starts.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Can I just take a moment to point out how incredibly blessed I am? Yes? Thanks. It doesn't always feel that way, but look at those faces. It is undeniable.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

keepin' it real.

"Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside."

My husband just posted this on facebook, and I'm not sure where it came from, but I decided to steal it. The truth friends, is that we have a lot of ugly in our lives at times. And I'm not sure how my life has looked on the outside in the past, but I do know that here on this little corner of the interwebs, I've tried to only show the best parts of mine. I decided that this blog would be a "focus on the positive" sort of thing, not even realizing the false front it puts up. A few (very few) who know me well know that my life has actually been pretty darn ugly recently. And even though we have had plenty of positive to focus on lately, it almost didn't get to that point. But it has come to my attention that when I pretend to have it all together, and that everything is perfect, I can't be used. I can't be molded, shaped. There is no room for growth. It turns out that gets stale pretty quickly. Without going in to details, I can tell you this,

 "The Lord is near the the brokenhearted, and He saves the crushed in spirit." (Psalms 34:18)

Never in my life have I felt more broken than I did just a few short months ago, yet never in my life have I felt the presence of God more than I do now. Never in my life have I cared less what my life looks like on the outside, rather I am focused on the love and togetherness that we share inside our home. And never in my life have I put my trust so completely into the Lord to be used, shaped, and molded than I have right now, in this moment. And that, my friends, feels good. So basically what I'm trying to say is, expect a lot more "real" from me. Because real life is too beautiful to try to hide it behind false fronts. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

patchwork walls

Before you get the crazy idea that I've done something cool with actual patchwork, I need to warn you: I'm talking paint colors. Turns out, guys, that picking paint colors really is this hard. I never thought I'd be the person holding up two of basically the same color telling my husband to choose his favorite. 
We have chosen 6 different paint samples (two at a time in three different trips to the paint store), and I'm not sure if any if these are making the cut. I have to say it wouldn't feel like so much pressure if this wasn't such a HUGE paint job. Literally, every wall in this house needs paint, thanks to the last four year old inhabitant who apparently favored sharpies.
And it's weird. I knew lighting mattered, but I didn't think it mattered this much. The photo above and the photo below are of the SAME paint color. In the living room, the color makes me feel like we'll be sitting in an Easter egg, but I thought I'd like it in the kitchen.
Turns out though, that since there is so much more natural light in the kitchen you can barely tell the color has any blue. It just looks like not-quite-white. Disappointing in both rooms, since in the store it was my favorite color card. (The color is Glidden's Barely Jade, if anyone is wondering).

Thursday, July 18, 2013


So... I'm not going to be posting any more house photos anytime soon. We have been getting out of the house now that Karl is getting home from work at a decent hour (yay for a shorter commute!!) and enjoying the daylight together as a family. Just recently we walked down to our local library to see a magician in the park, and later that day we found a frozen yogurt shop just blocks away from our house (dangerous knowledge!). We are LOVING the fact that we can basically walk to everything here. Now enjoy some shots of ice cream (ok.. yogurt) in action. ;)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Progress... Sorta.

So far these boxes aren't unpacking themselves, and the right paint color for the majority if the house isn't revealing itself to me, but the kids rooms did get painted (colors of their choosing, which I love), the banister did get built (thanks to my awesome step-dad. Thank you again!!) half of the old and stinky kitchen cupboards have been lined, and we finally chose a color for our bedroom (not to mention all the scrubbing we did before bringing any boxes in). On the agenda for the weekend, before we peace out to attend an out of town wedding: stain the banister, sand down all the splotches of spackle (how were there that many holes?!), and paint the master bedroom. I'm dreaming pretty big right now...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

moving weekend!

Some of us recovered from the late night firework show better than others, but we are pretty much into our new place now. The rest of the weekend will be full of unpacking, stocking up our pantry, and re-prioritizing our list of to-dos.

Friday, July 5, 2013

I hope everyone had a safe and lovely Fourth! Here's to a great weekend. ;)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Whew! Posts are going to be a bit sporadic for the next I-don't-know-how-long. Look what we are up to! We FINALLY closed on our new home!! We are feeling super blessed and super busy, as our 100+ year old house has lots of work to be done before we move, after we move, and well, probably forever. But we wouldn't have it any other way. 

Here's to wishing everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!!! 


Friday, June 28, 2013

this moment.

inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

stuff {+giveaway winner!!}

In the spirit of making it a point to take time to consciously enjoy our family--that sounds silly doesn't it? but the truth is, its so easy to get too busy. Easy to get so wrapped up in details that really don't matter when you step back and look at the 'big picture', that you forget to just be--we decided to randomly go out for an early dinner at our family's favorite pizza place. Among other things, we really love that the kiddos get to play with these wooden pizza toys while the real ones they built are cooking! 

 We also love getting to see our baby learn to do things like this for the first time.

 And the second.

In other news, YOU won the giveaway. Please email me your info so I can get you your prize!
(carey . penn @ gmail . com)

Monday, June 24, 2013

it's a beautiful life

Isn't it funny how whether you're ready or not, life just happens? You can be thrown into an experience and you have two choices about how to look at it.
You can embrace life as a learning experience. Find ways to learn and grow and improve yourself so you can help others.

Or you can feel victim to circumstance.

I like to believe that I choose the prior. I want to set an example to my amazing children that we are here to learn and grow. We are here to see the beauty in our circumstances and our surroundings. 

We are here to improve ourselves and each other.

We are here to learn from the past and enjoy the present moment.

And to see the beauty all around us. Even when life is messy, there is plenty of beauty to be seen.

It all just depends on where you look.

Don't forget about the giveaway