LENT + Other Ramblings

In the past, I have not done well "giving things up" for Lent. I always fail in the first week and then it just causes a weird loop of emotions, so I have lately attempted to "add" something instead: going to daily mass, listening to Christian/Catholic radio only, praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet every car ride, etc.

This year, I was hazily pondering something about my marriage (maybe praying for him, reading a devotional together...), but hadn't settled on anything specific. However, every time I started to think about this, one of my friends kept popping into my head and my heart felt the need to pray for her.

So, in what I think is a nudge by the Holy Spirit, I'm committing to praying for my friend every day. I plan on doing a doodle prayer so there is a visual representation of my prayers and then gifting her that image at Easter.

If you like Fixer Upper, you'll love this book. The audio book is even better because Chip reads it himself. It's a gr…

Memory Keeping

How do you keep track of important family moments? Do you print your photos? Store them in files on the computer? Make scrapbooks? Did you fill out baby books?

I've tried to do a few things over the years...

For about 5 years I've used SMASH books as an informal place to store receipts, cards, ticket stubs, actual printed photos, etc. smattered among some journaling. I like this format because the pages are fun and colorful. I don't feel like it has to look "perfect." Plus it's a great place to store all of the random momentos for a super affordable price (anywhere from $8-18 on Amazon, depending on the style you want).

Somewhere I read about keeping an "Anniversary Book" -- to include a picture of you, describe how it was celebrated, important things in your lives at that moment, etc. I use a SMASH book for this and I try to make Scott write something too. I think it's fun to have our handwriting there!

For Luke's baby book, I think someone…

January in Numbers

7 = # of books read

3 = # of books I started and stopped (Calling my Name by Liara Tamani, The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Saenz, The Memory of Light by Francisco Stork). If I'm not into a book in the first 50 pages, I just stop... ! Do you stick it out till the end? Or do you stop like me?

3 = # of snow days!

21 = # of Jazzercise classes attended

Too Many = # of half eaten snacks by toddlers

6 = # of new recipes I tried! Some from this cookbook (Microwave Apple Crumble for One and Cumin & Lime Sweet Potato fries) and this one (Lasagna'd Hasselback Potatoes & Buffalo Chicken with Broiled Romaine), plus these chocolate zucchini muffins and these fish tacos

3 = # of family birthdays celebrated! My grandma turned 94, my sister is now 35, and my nephew is 6!

Overall, January was a pretty chill month. February is my least favorite month of the year.... so I'm hoping it goes quickly =)

7 QTs

My second three-day work week (in a row!) is coming to a close -- thanks to a snow day and a cold day. Weeks like this are nice, but also .. harder somehow.

1. So far this year I have read:
Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler = Non-fiction about how she found faith and eventually joined the Catholic Church. I read this really quickly, was intrigued with her story, but felt more explanation was needed at times-- like she mentioned having a hang up on birth control but then one event changed her mind completely, which felt a bit inauthentic to me but may have really been the case! God works is mysterious ways. (B+)

Dear Martin by Nic Stone = YA novel about an African-American boy who is navigating the world while encountering racism (B-)

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord = YA novel about a girl who experiences a crisis of faith when her mom is diagnosed with cancer for the second time; I think faith is often missing from YA novels, so it was refreshing to read a realistic take…

Snow Day Delights

Every school in the area received a SNOW DAY today due to the chance of freezing rain, ice, and snow in the middle of the night. Of course, nothing really happened until about 8am today when it did start snowing and blowing. But, I'm not complaining =) 
I just scored all of this for my nephew's 1st birthday present for $20.03 -- which includes tax and free shipping! Once a month (usually around now) Kohl's has it's typical 15%, 20%, or 30% off sale (the coupon code for 30% is a quick Google search away. This time it's SNOWY30), plus they offer free shipping to Kohls charge card holders (JAN4FREE). AND this time, they had a $10 off $30 baby purchase (BABYSALE10). Plus, as always, everything was on sale to begin with. So if you need any 0-24mo baby stuff-- check this out!

Also-- I attempted to make an entire pot of coffee instead of drinking 3 kcups throughout the day... and I just cannot make coffee! Seriously. The first time it was way too weak, so I made it again…

Some New Recipes!

I haven't been doing a great job listening to my body this last month and have consumed all too much sugar and fatty carbs, so I'm consciously making a few healthier options this week. Here are a few recipes I'm going to try!

Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups (I haven't tried them yet, but while they were baking Scott said twice, "That smells so good!". edited to add: no flavor. Even with so much cinnamon, they tasted like... nothing? It was weird.) & random smoothie concoctions (I always use greek yogurt, ice, milk/juice, a banana and whatever fruit I have -- sometimes I add peanut butter or chia seeds).

Lunch: leftovers or ham+cheese+lettuce wrap

Dinner: Hamburger Soup(edit: made for dinner--- delicious!), Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Pesto Vegetables + Pasta, and these Mexican Quinoa Wraps

Any suggestions on other types of protein/meat? I pretty much alternate between chicken and hamburger... with shrimp once every two weeks or so…

Hopes for 2018

Do you make New Years Resolutions? I haven't made a real resolution in a few years... all that pressure, I always lose steam by about January 3rd. I do take time to reflect on the year and what went well and what could be better; then I try to create a few focus words or phrases to help usher in the new year. Of course, some years I've forgotten my words by February, but other times they've been a consistent reminder.

This year I used Canva to create an image with my phrases to use as my computer background for awhile or maybe my phone background later. It's a super easy program, so I may end up changing how it looks as the year goes on. We'll see.

Maybe my biggest accomplishment of 2017 is improving my relationship with my body. I feel more confident, less obsessed with the # on the scale, less obsessed with food in general. I am stronger. I am healthier. I am better at listening to my body. . . . but I am still horrible at drinking water. Like, I'm lucky if I…