Weekend Fun: Sledding

What a lovely weekend. I don’t think we’ve had that much fun in awhile! Good times with friends, a date night, seeing the King’s Speech (uh-mazing!), a coffee date, good family time, watching a favorite classic movie (His Girl Friday — Cary Grant is the best!), and a Costco run (free food!). But my favorite part?


It was our first time sledding since we’ve lived in the Midwest, and Parker couldn’t get enough of it. It was a nice warm 32 out, so that made the experience much more enjoyable. Illinois is a pretty flat place, but we managed to find a small hill near the lake by our house. The lake is all frozen over and all the ice skaters/hockey players were enjoying th ice. It really was as idyllic as it sounds! I’m pretty sure we’ll be spending many more afternoons doing this sort of thing over the next couple of months. And I don’t mind one bit!

First, Parker got to go for a little ride on the sled before we got to the hill. It’s great to be a kid!

Just walking around in snow is a lot of fun when you’re just 17 months old!

Check me out!!

Can’t wait to get down that hill!


Getting dragged back up the hill. So much fun!

Mix and Repeat. Recipe for a great day!



Well, folks, it’s been another busy week around these parts. It seems like everyone I talk to is feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do. I guess that’s January for you. I’ve had so many half-formed blogs in my head, but just can’t get them typed out. Maybe bullet-points would be easier?

:: snow:: For some reason this winter has been getting to me. It’s our fourth one in the Midwest, but it’s really the first time I’ve been sick of it. It is snowing today, though, and it is gorgeous. All the needles on our pine tree are coated with it–it’s just mesmerizing to watch.

::red coat:: I’ve wanted one F-O-R-E-V-E-R. And now I have one. I am so stinkin’ happy. I found it on clearance at Target, so that was a double bonus. It’s bright, cherry red, down to my knees, simple, button-up, and has a faux-waistband that makes me look fabulous. Or at least feel fabulous, which really, isn’t that the same thing?

::sweetness:: I just love my husband. He has been so sweet lately. Yes, even sweeter than usual. He brought me flowers, took me on a fabulous date, and really listened to me. I could just talk and dream with that man for hours. He also sacrifices every single day for our family. He pulled an all-nighter last night just to keep up with all the work he has on his plate. And he still won’t let me leave without a kiss. Love him.

::giggles:: Parker has been full of them lately. And singing. That boy loves to sing. He is always asking me to sing the Itsy Bitsy spider. It gets a little old, but his expression never does. Watching him light up is the highlight of my day.

::food:: I haven’t been eating much of it lately. Although it is on my mind constantly. Yep, I’m on a diet. It’s high-time for the baby weight to be gone all ready. I’m basically limiting myself to lots of veggies, protein, good fats, and whole grains. The food is delicious, but I still miss my chocolate. A Lot.

::peace:: I’ve been feeling a lot of it lately. Which is unusual for me. I am actually content with life. Wow.

::reading:: I have been reading a ton lately. I went through our local used book store and came home with a handful of old classics. You know what? A lot of old classics are really depressing. I’ve read: Man in the Iron Mask, House with Seven Gables, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Robinson Crusoe, and a few others I can’t recall at the moment. I still love to read classics, but give a girl some happy endings. Seriously.

What’s on your mind these days?


Block-A-Palooza: Block 1

I’m so excited! Block-a-Palooza started this week! They posted the tutorial yesterday, and I just couldn’t wait to get started. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately with all that has to be done in a day, but my gracious hubby told me to take some time off last night and just sew. *Swoon* That man knows the way to my heart!

With my newly tuned-up machine purring away, it took no time at all to get this block hammered out. It is the first time I’ve made the flying geese pattern, so that was fun to learn something new. This picture isn’t the greatest quality, but you get the main idea.

I think it turned out pretty swell. Definitely out of my normal color choices, but it feels good to try something new. Plus the lively yellow makes me feel like Spring might not be so far away after all. A girl can always dream!


True Fellowship

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Rom. 12:15

I think this is one of the hardest commands in Scripture. I mean, I don’t particularly feel compelled to murder or steal, so those are easy commands for me to obey. But this one, it’s a lot harder for me to live out.

Rejoice with those who rejoice. Doesn’t that sound lovely? Be happy for other people in their happiness. What should be difficult about that? In many cases it isn’t too hard. You know what I’m talking about. It’s easy to rejoice with someone when they are experiencing a blessing that you yourself have also received. But what is much, much harder is rejoicing when someone has something that you don’t — and maybe, you’ve even been waiting a long time for that thing. It can be the most challenging thing in the world to smile, congratulate, and celebrate with someone who has the dream spouse, job, child, money, status, etc. that you’ve been so desperately waiting or praying for. One-More-Person announcing they are pregnant when you’ve been struggling with infertility for years feels like a kick in the stomach, not something you particularly want to rejoice over. And yet, the command stands: Rejoice.

Weep with those who weep. I have a hard time not crying when I see people cry. Doesn’t that mean this command should be a breeze for me? Nope. Not by a long shot. You know what we have a tendency to do when we see people in pain? Compare. We try to encourage by saying, “What you are going through isn’t that bad, listen to this terrible thing I’ve been going through.” Do you know how that makes the weeping person feel? Worse. De-legitamized. Foolish. Uncared for. The other difficult thing about this command, to me anyway, is the lack of a time limit. It never says to weep for a bit and then, well really, shouldn’t they be over this by now? No, it says to weep. Indefinitely. There are some people who have loads in life that will elongate that time of sorrow. And we are called to weep alongside them. For as long as they are weeping.

This verse, in a nutshell, is a perfect picture of what fellowship should look like. Truly carrying one another’s burdens. What a weighty (and yet privileged) thing it is to be a part of church. It certainly is imperfect–after all imperfect people populate it–but it is a beautiful thing when it is lived out. It strengthens the soul of the believer to be a recipient of such care. Not only that, it makes the gospel much more attractive to the world. True fellowship is certainly worth fighting for. Don’t you think?


Metal Parts and Whirring Machines

Isn’t she classy?

I am somewhat of a sucker for old sewing machines. As I’ve mentioned before, antiques don’t really do it for me, but those old machines are just so enchanting. I happened upon an old, lovely (and electric) Singer a few months ago and I couldn’t pass it by. It was all of $40 at a local resale shop. I was just elated to bring it home!

You sure won’t see ornate golden seals on your average Wal-Mart bought machine.

I bought it in September and it has taken me all this time to get it a nice tune-up. My Old Faithful Bernina had a cracked part (the only part on the machine that is plastic, oh how I love heavy, clunky, all-metal machines!), and my repair guy offered to fix the Singer for free. Score! Now with a few replaced parts and a tune-up it’s up and running beautifully.

See the beautiful silver plating? What’s not to love??

I know I’m a bit partial, but if you are in the market for a new machine–why not try to find an old one? Not only is it “green” to buy a used machine, they really were made better back then. My sewing machine repairman (who is amazing! Check out Sew Master if you are in the Chicagoland area.) is always excited to play with my Bernina. He thinks they are the best, too! They are work-horses and will last you forever. Definitely worth the investment!

What is your favorite sewing machine? Why?



It can seem so elusive to those of us who live busy lives. And let’s face it, who doesn’t in this day and age? I always thought that life would slow down once I was at home with a kiddo. Boy was I wrong.

The days might not be hectic, running from one thing to the next, but they do contain their fair share of busyness. Being somewhat of a perfectionist, there are some days that I look ahead and find it hard to breathe. I think: How am I ever going to get all of this done? And if it isn’t the to-do list that is overwhelming me, there are plenty of other relational, emotional, or spiritual things going on in life that tend to weigh on my mind.

Amazingly enough, the answer for me is usually: Rest. You heard me right. I didn’t say– “Get busy!” Nope, just rest.┬áBefore I move forward with the to-do list, or the conversations, or whatever I might be facing in my day I just need to rest. Whether it’s physical rest (sit down, drink some water, breathe, nap, etc.) or spiritual rest (pray, read the Scriptures, etc.), things usually go much better in my day when I allow myself to rest.

So that’s what I’ve been doing today. Resting. I napped when Parker napped. I’m not making anything complicated for dinner. I’m leaving the laundry unfolded for one more day and not worrying about the dishes filling the sink. Today, what I really need, is to rest.


Cookbooks and Cooking

I’m pretty sure that I might be clinically classified as a “Cookbook Addict”. Folks, it’s getting kind of bad. I bought 4 cookbooks last week. FOUR. They were all using giftcards from Christmas except for one that I bought from a used book store for $5. Isn’t that just like an addict, to start rationalizing the purchases? Oh my!

I really do cook a lot, so the cookbooks aren’t really frivilous items. But, I’m guessing it isn’t entirely normal to buy four in one week either. I guess that just confirms your suspicions: I am most definitely not normal! Oh, and to make matters worse, when I buy a new cookbook, I actually sit down and look through each page. I’m sort of insane like that.

Anyway, here are my newly acquired cooking resources.

The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

I realize I’m a little late on the bandwagon for this one, but better late than never, right?

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I already have the Healthy Bread version of this book, but couldn’t resist getting this one. I love bread making, and as you may recall, regularly making bread is a part of my 2011 goals. I’ve already made two batches of the Master Recipe and it is FANTASTIC!

Feeding the Whole Family: Cooking with Whole Foods

I saw this cookbook on a blog that I frequent and was really impressed by the review. It features a baby version for each recipe, which I thought sounded like a great asset to have in the kitchen.

The Spice Cookbook

I fell in love with this cookbook as soon as I laid eyes on it. It has beautiful hand-drawn illustrations throughout and the recipes are all about wholesome-traditional-made-from-scratch food. Sounds perfect!


A New Addition

No, I’m not pregnant.

No, we didn’t get an animal.

But–we do have a new addition to our lives!

This lovely lady now sits proudly in our dining room!

There is something so magical about creating music. I had almost forgotten what it does for my soul. When I was in high school and everything was chaotic and dramatic, I would come home from a long day and pour myself into a piece of music. Somehow, though nothing had changed, life was better. More beautiful. More hopeful. More . . . musical.

After many years of being without a piano, I now have one in my life again. I get to fill our home with music everyday. And I’m not the only one! Brian is learning the basics on the piano, and since he’s an accomplished musician on the viola, it probably won’t take him long to start creating music of his own. And of course there is Parker. Who loves the piano. He sings along with me when I play, and tries to add his own contribution to my pieces.

And somehow our home feels just a tad more relaxed. More joyful. More restful. And definitely more musical!


Good Intentions

I really did intend to blog today.

I have a ton on my mind that I’d love to work through in this little space called Deliberately Domestic.

But, life got in the way and I’ve been tied up with too many projects to count.

My dear friend from CA is coming in tonight, so I doubt blogging will be substantial for the rest of the week. Maybe you’ll get some glimpses of all the fun we are having!

Happy January 4th!