Oct 24, 2014

Day 23: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Trick or Treat!}

Kim, Mya, Faith, Madi and Lily
Last night Faith, I and some friends went downtown to the annual Halloween Hysteria for trick-or-treating and Halloween fun. Faith and I (sometimes with Brad, some years with Kim) have been enjoying this event since she was two. Over teh next week we'll attend two trunk-or-treats and then of course, Halloween. I'm not a fan of all the candy. In fact I usually donate or toss a lot of it, especially as Christmas nears and the next slew of sugar treats is about to arrive. We usually limit the treat-getting to three events but decided to try the college trunk-or-treat this year as well. For me the events aren't about the candy at all, but for the togetherness, the social atmosphere, and the festive holiday fun. Faith won't be of trick-or-treating age much longer so I guess I better enjoy these moments while they're here!

Faith as Aurora (from Maleficent)

Oct 23, 2014

Day 22: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Pantry Floor Organization}

The floor of our pantry has been a source of stress for me as far as organizing goes. Until now, I've just sat the larger items directly on the floor or used rolling carts, but the carts don't always hold what I need and since the pantry is right by the back door and we have a yellow lab, dog hair, leaves and dirt/debris slide under the pantry door often. Bleh! 

I wanted something to corral the larger items and keep them away from the mess, so I had Brad attach casters to some fruit crates that I had purchased at a garage sale. They fit under the lowest shelf well, and do just what I needed them to do!

I like that I can roll them out to get something or put it away, and then roll them right back! I use them to store large containers of vinegar and baking soda, extra coffee and baby formula, Brad's protein powder, and anything else larger that doesn't have another place to go.

At some point I may paint or decorate them, but for now this is working just fine!

The rest of the pantry is in need of a semi-annual clean-out, so maybe that will be a weekend project!

Oct 22, 2014

Day 21: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Letting Go}

This post isn't about organizing or doing fun fall activities, but instead is about finding some inner peace that will help us with a fresh start in fall and all year long. In a way it's about simplifying life a little bit. It's about one of the hardest concepts for me to learn...letting go.

I wish relationships got easier as we got older but it seems maybe they don't. And I'm someone who craves peace and hates being misunderstood. The older I get the better I am at standing up for myself, but that may have also made me more willing to fight a battle that my younger, more peace-keeping (maybe scared) self would have avoided. If the situation warrants I want to explain myself, be heard, tell my side. After that I can't control what anyone thinks or does, but I feel I've done what I can at that point. 

My biggest letting go experience was probably my divorce. Of course the relationship itself required letting go, but I also had to let go of my ideas of how my life would play out, and there was a lot of pain, anger and bitterness. It took years, but I got there.

In the past few years there have been a couple less life-changing instances, and very recently another upsetting incident was brought to light. This is probably the first year that I've chosen to walk away and let go. It has not been easy and it hasn't been perfect, and it wasn't immediate. I still hurt. And I'm still angry. But not nearly as much so if I'd allowed myself to hang on. The most recent event was maybe a game-changer for me. I decided within a day to simply let it go. No confrontation. No upheaval. No questions. 

It was the most peaceful I'd felt in a long time. By choosing to let go, I relieved myself of the burden of carrying anger with me. I chose to not let it affect my life. I chose to be responsible for me and my actions, and move forward. It was the most freeing thing.

Forgiveness is a lot tougher, but I think by not choosing the anger it will be a lot easier to get to forgiveness as well. And I pray that with each future circumstance, that this reaction will get easier and more natural. 

We all make mistakes. I've made HUGE ones in my life. I continue to make mistakes. I have to remind myself that and remember that it's unfair for me to judge anyone. I think we all hope that if we do wrong by someone they'll forgive us, so how unfair would it be to not do the same? Even if they haven't asked for it. 

When we take ourselves out of the seat of judgement, and we choose to take back peace for ourselves and not be angry, it gets a lot easier to just let go...

Oct 21, 2014

Day 20: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Family Night}

Ready for a walk!
Time together as a family is often tough for us to come by. It seems like either Brad or I get to spend time with Faith but getting all three of us together at the same time is so difficult with our schedules and all the things that need to be done at home. So when I saw that the weather was going to be nice tonight and we had an evening free (amen!), I suggested to Brad that we go for a family walk. Later Faith suggested a "fire night", so we added that to the plans, too. Amazingly we did all that and had dinner together. It was so wonderful and I know we're all of one mind when it comes to making it a regular occurrence.

Of course it helped that I had a pretty productive day and felt like I was getting somewhere, but I'm learning that with everything I have going on I can't get it all done right now, so taking a break for what's important needs to be a priority.

And how cute is that stroller?? ;)

Day 19: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Organizing Project Life}

After scrapbooking at the cabin last weekend I have Project Life organization on the brain! Fortunately, at least for a beginner Project Lifer like me, there's not a lot to organize so it's a pretty simple process!

Though all my other craft and scrapbooking supplies have to be stored downstairs, I have little enough Project Life supplies that I'm able to keep it all in this dresser in the living room (the dresser that still needs painted!). Originally it was all in one drawer, but I have more photos and a few more supplies so I spread it out into two drawers yesterday. My baker's rack expanded my kitchen storage a bit so I was able to move tablecloths and things from the top drawer to free it up.

The top drawer already had drawer dividers so I kept them in there to separate the smaller items. This drawer holds photos for the current album, mini kits, my 3x4 punch, journal pens, and extra pics that need filed away later.

The larger drawer holds two Project Life albums and one other that I plan to use for our wedding pics, two Core Kits, and three boxes of pages.

Having it all in the living room makes it accessible and easy to grab if I want to work on my album and watch a little TV! I love how little space it all takes up and how I can work on little bits at a time without hauling the mother load from downstairs. I'm sure as I get more kits, etc., there will be a need for further organization, but for now this is working great!

Day 17: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Ice Cream & Snuggles}

This is the other post that I titled and apparently abandoned last week! As you read on you'll discover why. ;) 

Faith had to get a 2nd set of tubes in her ears Thursday, so we had a day of mostly relaxation and snuggles planned. Unfortunately things didn't go quite as planned, largely because she perked up in a big way around lunchtime and was very active! In fact this post was originally titled "Snuggles and a Movie", but we never got to the movie!

We had bought ice cream the night before because she remembered having some after her first set of tubes were put in. She wanted it almost immediately after getting home from surgery, so it wound up being her "breakfast". I gave her just a bit to see how it would go down. After 20 minutes or so she seemed in the clear, so I gave her more. She handed me the bowl with a half scoop remaining, said, "I'm done," and proceeded to throw it all up. (Cleaning and being the runner for a "sicky" may have also interrupted our R&R plans. ;))

My parents had come down to be my support since Brad had to work, so they were visiting until about 1:00. Shortly before they left, Faith got a boost of energy and in no time was doing cartwheels. Literally. I had scheduled parent/teacher conferences for that afternoon knowing she may be feeling well enough and since I didn't have daycare kids, but as the day wore on and I was more and more ready for a nap myself, I was wishing she'd have been more down and out! But she wasn't, so I went ahead with conferences (which went really well) while she played at a friend's. After we made a quick trip to Wal Mart, and finally headed home for ice cream and snuggles. ;)

Our store was out of my two favorite Ben & Jerry's so I tried a new flavor, Coffee Toffee Crunch. See that candy bar?? It had huge chunks in it...yum!

Moral of the story, I guess, is that even though days don't always go as planned, be sure to carve out a moment to take it back as you intended...and snuggles and ice cream make everything great!

Day 16: 31 Days to a Blissful Fall {Simplified Pumpkin Patch}

WHOA. Just realized that two of my blog posts never got done or published! Oops! Catch-up time, I guess!

For the past few years Brad and I have taken Faith to a pumpkin patch that's part of a church camp. It is very low-key and no-frills, and I love that about it. Aside from the obvious pumpkins, they offer hayrack rides, a corn maze, a giant inflatable pillow for jumping, a petting zoo, campfires, what I call "redneck" outdoor games, and just good old fashioned fun. 

Kim & Mya at the pumpkin patch
When Faith was little we took her to a larger pumpkin patch, but still not the main one in Nebraska. It was a step up with a place to eat, bouncy houses, several small attractions, and hayrack rides to get the pumpkins. And many people take their kids to one that's even larger yet. I haven't been there, but I hear about how pricey it is...and that's before you ever get a pumpkin! Not only that, but the lines are long and the place is crowded. Not my idea of a great time and definitely not Brad's, either.

The camp that we've been going to is mostly free, and pumpkins are by donation. 

Last year a friend told me about another pumpkin patch by the one we'd been going to, and it was even more down-to-basics. She said the prices were great and they have more pumpkin varieties, which I was super excited about. Last year the weather hadn't cooperated for all the varieties, but Kim and I decided to take the girls this year and check it out again. 

When we pulled up to this family owned farm only one other couple was there aside from the family that owns and works the pumpkin patch. It's just you, the country, and a field of pumpkins. They have a small barn with pre-picked pumpkins and some other things you can purchase, and there are several areas decorated for the holiday. Last year we got to watch the geese that they have go nuts over a watermelon that the guy threw in their pen for them to eat. 

Faith's new friend
We grabbed our wagon and headed into the pumpkin patch, but not before a black kitten made friends with Faith. We keep trying to talk Brad into a cat and if it hadn't been for the fact that we had plans to be out of town for the weekend, we may have come home with it. It literally hugged her as soon as she picked it up. Such a sweetie!

Mya and Faith
In addition to your standard orange pumpkins (and they had several sizes of those including huge ones!), they had pink Cinderella pumpkins, blue moon pumpkins, and white ones. I love the unique varieties and got all of these pictured below for $15! 

So often we think that kids need so much stuff, so much entertainment. We spend oodles of money and time taking them to crowded places where everyone has to wait in line, and then by the end everyone's frustrated and cranky. I very much appreciate these small pumpkin patches that focus on what's important: Being outside, taking in the fall sights, and of course, pumpkins!