Monday, December 29, 2014

5 Things I Learned in 2014

Of all the things that I learned in 2014,
these are the ones that flew from my mind to the paper the quickest.

5 Things I Learned in 2014:

1.  "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."
From "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode" by Crystal Paine.
Yep...I forgot to plan for 2014.
Hoping to not make that mistake again!

2.  Discipline has to take place in the heart, not with a list of "do's and don't's".
This one is true for moms and kids alike.
A concept that I learned from Jim and Lynne Jackson of Connected Families.

3.  Parenting is hard.
I've spent many years coasting through, thinking, "I've got this!". It's very humbling when you find out, "I don't got this".
And, so comforting to know that "God's got this."

4.  Pound some nails in the wall and hang some pretty pictures!
Worst case scenario, you have to take 3 minutes to patch and paint.
From "The Nesting Place" by Myquillyn Smith

5.  A Mother's Prayer:
"Lord, meet my kids at every turn!  May they not click a link, turn a corner, or have a conversation where they don't run smack into you!"


I'm so thankful to learn from wise people.
Like my mom, who looked at me and my sister-in-law at our Christmas Eve Brunch and said, "You girls.  Do not spend one minute of your time giving in to the feeling of Mom Guilt."
She said it with such conviction, and I needed to hear it so desperately, that it brought me to ugly tears.
I was a mess.  
But, let's all remember that our kids are not our Report Cards!
We are doing the gosh darn best that we know how to do.
If we are asking God to do this thing with us,
and if we are trying to educate ourselves on how to raise this generation, then I think we're doing OK.

Here's to a wonderful 2015!

XOXO Tiffany

"Living with purpose means wisely choosing and committing to a few of the best things for the season of life you're in."
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December...

Merry Christmas!!!
Love, The Millers

My blogging in December took a back seat to the wonderful + crazy Christmas season.
I wish I could get rid of the "crazy" and just enjoy the "wonderful".
I did not mail Christmas cards/photos this year.
It felt like a good year to let that tradition go.
I decided to do a Facebook/Instagram/Blog Christmas greeting instead. 
So, on Christmas Day, after our breakfast burritos, 
and before heading out to the theatre to see Unbroken (amazing),
we set the tripod up out on the deck, walked out there with fresh snow falling,
and snapped our family picture.
A few minutes later, I posted it on Instagram and Facebook,
and our Merry Christmas greeting was complete.
I think I found a new tradition.
A tradition with more "wonderful" and less "crazy".
(although, if you've ever tried to get a family photo, you know there's plenty of crazy going on in between clicks...ugh)

I hope your Christmas season was wonderful!
I'm so thankful that God loves us (sinners) so passionately,
that he would send a bit of himself, Jesus, to this earth, to teach us how to live.
May we never forget that kind of love,
and may we always look to Jesus to understand how to live.

XOXO Tiffany

"For unto us a child is born...and his name shall be called
Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace"
Isaiah 9:6 (King James Version)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Guest Post!

I got asked to guest post on a little local blog!!!
The Non-Toy Gift Blog asked me if I'd write a post for them regarding a trip that my kids and I and some friends took to the Bakken Museum last year.
From one little blog to another...that was fun!
Be sure to check them out, they have wonderful lists of gift ideas as well as local activities.
Thank you Stef (non-toy blog) for being so kind and wonderful to work with!

You guys...I am planning a Planning Day!
I asked my sweet husband if I could have a Planning Day sometime between now and December 31st.  Well, his first reaction was, "You need a whole day???".  Isn't he cute?
I should have started by asking for a Planning Weekend and then settling for a Day.
Regardless, he agreed.  It is not on the books yet, but I will have a Planning Day in the next few weeks where I will plan out 2015.  I mean...I am going to go crazy.  I have never done anything like this, but I have big hopes and dreams for 2015, and if I don't get a plan written out, that year will come and go like so many others have.  I have a running list going of all that I would like to accomplish in that day.  A few things on the list are:
-52 weeks of meals
-52 blog post ideas
-schedule dates with my Sweetie
-schedule dates with the kids
-make my 2015 planner (I already have it designed)
-sewing/etsy goals
-prayer/bible study plans

Well, really the list goes on and on.
I don't know where or when, but this thing is happening.
I'll let you know how it goes!

Would you enjoy a Planning Day???

I'm hoping to write 3 more posts this month.
And then I'll let you know what my blog plans are for the New Year.
#ilovefreshstarts

XOXO Tiffany

"When you feel out of sorts, try to make someone else happy, and you will soon be so yourself."
And Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

Monday, November 24, 2014

Our Homeschool...Year 7

It's a little crazy to think that we are well on our way into our 7th year of homeschooling.
Each year we tweak what we do.  This not only makes it feel fresh and exciting, but it allows us to make changes as our needs change.

Usually on the first day of school, I have the kids fill out a sheet of paper that has things like:
My name, my age/grade, my favorite subject, my favorite food, what I'm good at, what I need to work on, etc.
This year I changed it up and presented the kids with a personalized list of their strengths.
This came to me one day last summer, and I thought it was a great way to start out the school year.  It's a way of intentionally trying to focus on what they're naturally good at and not putting so much focus on what they're not good at.
The kids loved it.
Here is how we spend our day (typically):
8-9am...breakfast and chores
Our chores (once a week unless stated otherwise):
*the kids clean the kitchen every day after breakfast
*they each get one day to take care of Coco (groom, poop duty, clean up food/water area)
*dust/sweep/vacuum main level
*clean 3 bathrooms
*laundry down and sorted
*the girls naturally keep very tidy rooms...the boy needs reminding.
(The chores around here got "real" after last years Mother's Day.  The first sign of an entitled child sends me over the edge.  I may do a special Mother's Day One Year Later post in May, if I get my kids permission.  It was not a good day.)
9-10:30am...Table Time
During this time, which is what is shown in the pictures, we:
*sing/learn a hymn (this was awkward at first but got awesome with repetition).
+we also learn about the author/date of the hymn
+we sing along to Jadon Lavik's Roots Run Deep CD
+PS...I cry during hymns
*pray (we all take a turn)
*grammar (Grammar Ace)
*Shakespeare (How to Teach your Child Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig...awesome!!!)
+ lots of other resources about Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Era.
+we have already memorized 6 passages from Shakespeare.
+my favorite part of our day
+we all grab a special drink to enjoy while studying Shakespeare
(tea, coffee, cafe au lait, chai tea, hot cocoa etc...)
From 10:30-11:30am, we head upstairs.
This is a special little nugget that we discovered last year.
My children's doors all meet up in a corner of the upstairs hallway.
And, if my children are in their rooms, in their own space, we have a lot less squirrelly behavior and a lot less of them torturing each other with the "don't touch me", "stop making that noise", "move your books over", "MJ's on the couch!", "don't look at me", "can I hold Coco now?"...you get the point.  Upstairs, they get to be in their own space, and yet we're all together.  MJ will play Lego's, and pick up his room and put his clean laundry away (if he's feeling spunky...not often).  The girls do their make-up, get dressed, make their beds, pick out outfits for upcoming events, write lists, put their laundry away, organize their closet, and/or draw.
Upstairs we:
*enjoy our current read aloud
+this year we are working through the Narnia series
*read from our science devotional by Julie von Vett
*read a missionary story
+usually from the Christian Heros Then and Now series
+I cry during awesome read alouds....the kids are good about keeping me supplied with tissues...Aslan (awesome!)...missionaries (amazing!)
Then...we head back downstairs for lunch from 11:30-12pm.
From 12-1:30pm, the kids do their independent work.  We do a 30 minute rotation for Math, Reading, and Writing.  They are all on a different subject at a different time.  That way I can help with math when needed.  This year we are doing Teaching Textbooks + Khan Academy.  The kids pick whatever book they would like to read and at this point they can write about whatever they would like.  They make lists, write letters, write to me in our mom/daughter journal, practice handwriting, write passages from their current book, write scripture verses, etc.  I'm thinking of making this a little more structured after the new year...I'd like to add in book reports.
On a good day, we do Science from 1:30-2pm.  We're doing General Science by Apologia.
That's it!  Works for us!

Don't forget...kids (and adults) are never too old to be read to!
One of the things I like best about it, is that we can discuss the books together.  Before a new day of reading, we recap (narrate) the previous days reading.  We quote our favorite passages constantly.  The other day, MJ said, "don't be such wet blanket", which is from Narnia...made me LOL!  The other one that I say that drives my kids crazy is, "Look where a ____ could be and where a _____ couldn't possibly be!".  A phrase for when something is lost from the awesome book The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong.
None of my kids are voracious readers.  30 minutes a day is enough for them, though Lucy will read for hours before bed, but not at other times during the day (like me).  So, this is the only way for us all to enjoy the same books!
I also read to Matt several times a year.  He doesn't enjoy reading and there are some things that I just need him to hear.  He humors me, and sometimes starts to snore (for real), but I give him a little shove and we continue.

Read a book to someone you love!
And...don't forget to be thankful this week and always!
Happy Thanksgiving!

XOXO Tiffany

"Contentment is hard, and hard things take practice."
Enough by Kate Conner

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How to make Taco Bowls!

My neighbor friends and I used to go to ScrapMania at Archiver's, back when they were still in business.
For $15, you could haul in all your scrapbooking gear and hang out from 5-11pm.
They provided candy, snacks, drinks, and dinner!  Not to mention drawings for free give-aways.
We loved it because we could have a mom's night out, while still being productive.
One of my favorite dinners that they catered in was from Byerly's.
Taco Bowls!  Mmmmm.
I even bought a tray of Byerly's taco bowls once when I hosted book club.  They're so good!
Then, a friend of mine made them at home!  I've been making them at home ever since.

If you are a Costco member, or know one, you should really get these Tortilla Land uncooked tortillas.  For like $8, you get 50 tortillas.  You crisp them up on a skillet.  It only takes like 2 minutes.
They are warm and crispy and chewy...so good!
To make the Taco Bowls...
take an uncooked tortilla, pierce it several times with a fork, and drape it over a mason jar.
Place the mason jars on a cookie sheet.  You can fit about 6 jars on the pan.
Put them in the oven at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.  I turn the pan halfway through the cooking.
Pull them out and let them cool for a few minutes on the mason jar.  The cooling process helps them release from the jar.  Then, wiggle them off the jar and fill with your favorite taco ingredients!
These can be made up in advance for easy entertaining.
5 puffy tortilla bowls ready to be filled!
For a vegetarian taco bowl...
I cook up a couple of cups of bulgur and season it up.
You cook it like you would rice, and it looks like ground beef.
I add chopped onion, and a sprinkle of cumin and chili powder.
Mix it up and enjoy your vegetarian taco meat!
Other toppings include:
shredded lettuce, tomatoes, chopped pepper and jalapeno, corn, salsa, and sour cream.
Enjoy your taco bowls!

A fun kitchen tip...
If you happen to find yourself with some extra sweetened condensed milk this holiday season (I had a half can leftover from some pumpkin spice latte's that I made), you might consider adding a heaping tablespoon + a sprinkle of cinnamon to your coffee!

A little update...I plan on discontinuing the email option on my blog.  I've changed my Tiffany Layne Fashion Facebook Page, which used to be used for my sewing business, into my personal blog page.  So, you can go to Facebook and "like" my Tiffany Layne Fashion page and all my new blog posts will show up as a link on Facebook.  The emails will still come out until December 31, 2014.

And another update...I got asked to Guest Post on a blog!!!
More details on that to come.

And lastly (will this post ever end?)...
if you know a teen...give them a squeeze!
While the teen years have always had their challenges, today's teens are handling phones, texting, social media etc., and this offers new challenges all their own!
Bless those little sweeties.

Have a great week!

XOXO Tiffany

"Telling the truth about how you feel is good.  Good and honest and brave."
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Monday, November 10, 2014

From the Sewing Room

Today is a Snow Day!!!
It started snowing around 4am and all the schools have been cancelled, including the Miller Homeschool!  I LOVE when it snows.  It's exciting and pretty.  I try to cancel all plans.  I turn on the fireplace, light my candle and bake something.  Today it was banana muffins.  We pulled out the Christmas DVD's (the kids watched Christmas with the Kranks...a classic) and played some Christmas music.

I have been very intentional about making time for my sewing room lately.
It seems to start on Friday night.
We are in a "season" where our Friday nights are spent at home.  Which I love.
So, after we put all our "school" stuff away, pick up the house, have dinner, and clean up the kitchen...I pull out a sewing project.  My focus has been one "design" per month.
So, at the beginning of September, I decided to use up all of my fleece and make
Fleece Neck Gators.
I have been selling these on our local Facebook Garage Sale site as well as in my Etsy shop.
For October, I decided to make Hot Rice/Lavender Bags out of some flannel that I had purchased last year.  I have been selling these in the same two places.
If you want to make a Rice Bag of your own...my instructions from last year are here.
This year I just added 1/3 cup of lavender and changed the dimensions to 7 x 16".
I had a whole storage tub of fleece!
Whatever I don't sell or give away by January 1st, I'll donate.
If you want to make your own...
Just cut a piece of fleece in a 10 x 21" rectangle.
Be sure that the long edge goes with the stretch!  That way it stretches as you pull it over your head.
Stitch the seam right sides together and then top stitch it for reinforcement.
I also worked on a pattern for a little top out of some of my favorite black fabric.
It turned out OK.  I need to do some tweaks to it, but I will still wear it as is and I'll snap a photo once I do.  
I was brainstorming what I wanted to work on for November...
I decided on Upcycled Sweater Infinity Scarves.
I made two on Friday night with sweaters from around our house...hee hee.
I hope nobody misses them.
I'm on the hunt for more sweaters, and when I find them, I'll be cutting and sewing like crazy!
Hoping to list a batch of those by December 1st.
I also did a fun little project with one of Matt's old flannel shirts.
I got two outfits out of it that I'll show you next month.
One of the outfits got rave reviews...
and one of the outfits got looks and no comments.  I don't think that one went over as well.
I may wear that outfit again and see how it goes...we'll see.
I'll share those photos next month!

Be looking for my next post later this week...a fun recipe!

Comments are welcome...

XOXO Tiffany

"I looked at the small luminous face of the orchid for help, but like all orchids, she was entirely self-involved, enwrapped in her own beauty."  Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Shelfie

I've been having a hard time finding time to read lately!
I finished 5 books last month, but didn't make my goal of chapter 30 in Wives and Daughters.
I'm so excited about my book pics this month!

Here they are:
1.  Family...The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma
2.  Book Club...Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos
3.  Classic...Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
4.  Biography/Read Aloud...Brother Andrew by Janet & Geoff Benge
5.  Read Aloud...The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (Narnia Book 4)

Can't wait to dig into these books!
Let me know what your all-time favorite book is!
Next week I'm planning to show you all the things I've been working on in my Sewing Room!
Feel free to take a peek at my Etsy shop!
I'm hoping to add new items every month.

XOXO Tiffany

"Mrs. Whetstra bustled around making coffee and buttering buns..."
Brother Andrew by Janet & Geoff Benge

Monday, October 27, 2014

October Shelfie

I have really enjoyed this process of picking 5 books to focus on for the month.
I'm too likely to jump around from book to book if I don't focus my selection.
Next month, I'm planning to share my "November Shelfie" at the beginning of the month.
I won't be sharing my thoughts or ratings on each book.
But, if you are curious, feel free to comment below!
Here are the categories and books for this month:

1.  Family:  Crazy Mama by Hannah Keeley (Kindle)
2.  Classic:  Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
3.  Read Aloud:  Prince Caspian (and Voyage of the Dawn Treader) by C.S. Lewis (Narnia Series)
4.  Biography:  7 Men by Eric Metaxas (William Wilberforce chapter)
5.  Book Club:  Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

It has been an enjoyable month of reading!
I'm still working on Wives and Daughters.  I'll be reading that one the rest of this week.  My goal is to get to chapter 30 by Friday...there are 60 chapters in the book.  I'll probably keep this book in my stack for November.  I'm really enjoying it.  I've almost got my November Shelfie narrowed down.  I'll post it next week.

A few quotes to share:

"The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
"Forgiveness was evidence of a life surrendered to God."
Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

"Soup and celery, I wish our leaders would think less about these old wives' tales and more about victuals and arms."
"Thimbles and Thunderstorms!"
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (words by Trumpkin the dwarf)

"When God gets a hold of you and wants to do something amazing with your life, he's going to have to squeeze all the gunk out of you.  The pride, the ego, the self-righteousness-it's all got to go.  God can't do anything with your life until it's emptied out."
"Start speaking the Word of God.  Start speaking the reality of your dreams and visions that He has given you."
"No one can be you and you can't be anyone else."
Crazy Mama by Hannah Keeley

"There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
(this classic line is read every day before we begin.  a family favorite.)

What are you reading lately???
Anything awesome that I should add to my list?
Have a wonderful last week of October!

XOXO Tiffany

"Tired, yes, but that will only make him more usable in the Lord's hands."
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back to School 2014

 And then my babies were in 8th, 7th, and 5th grade.
Our 7th year of homeschooling.
No regrets.
 A bitter-sweet year for me.
My Daisy is heading to the high school next year.
I'm going to miss her something fierce.
 MJ...thank you for putting up with us ladies all day, every day.
I don't know how you do it.
You're going to make an awesome husband someday.
And probably a lawyer...because you sure do love to debate.

Lucy...thank you for keeping me on my toes.
You also keep me grounded and humble.
I can't get anything by you.  You're always so alert and so darn smart.
Maybe you'll be a nurse someday, and put all that wit and charm to use.

Daisy...thank you for being a leader.
You keep us on track.  Your desire to learn is contagious.
You are sweet, sensitive, and a people pleaser.
Your networking ability and people skills will take you far.
 I hope and pray that you have all enjoyed these years together.
Some days have been better than others.
I hope those are the ones we remember.
Maybe someday we'll giggle about the less than pleasant days.
 I hope you leave our homeschool with a love of learning.
I hope you go out into the world with a clear vision of God's plan for your lives.
I hope you make this world a better place.
I hope you love well.
And when you're ready to fly, remember to fly back home...often.
Mom and Dad will be waiting for you.
We'll eat chicken tacos.
And make chocolate banana malts for dessert.

Looking forward to all of the exciting years to come!

XOXO Mom

"What you believe sets the course of your life."
We can live to please people, or we can live to please God."
Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Something I'm Lovin'


 I have to share this new website and app that has made me so happy.
I follow several blogs.
It tends to be a revolving list.  Some come and go, some will be there for always.
I typically receive an email of new blog posts whenever possible.
My InBox was getting bombarded...so full!
And then...I discovered...Bloglovin.
A place to have all your favorite blogs in one, aesthetically pleasing, place.
I am currently un-subscribing from the email list of all the blogs that I follow,
and just adding them to my Bloglovin page!
It has made my mornings run more smoothly, because now
I don't feel the pressure to get through all those blog emails and clear out my inbox for the day.
For me, blog reading should not be a morning activity.
(I'll save my new morning routine for another post).
I'm now enjoying blogs during my 3pm coffee break after I drop my girls off at their sports.
MJ is usually happy to get in a Minecraft shift or head out to hang with the neighbor dudes.
A few more things...
You can scroll through on your phone, if you download the FREE app.
Or, just use the website, Bloglovin.com.
You can "heart" all your favorite posts, in case there was something, like a recipe, that you want to revisit someday.
You can mark them "read" or "unread" so that they remove or stay in your feed.
You can also easily share a post via email or social media.
This has completely simplified and organized my blog reading!
Plus, I'm less likely to read every post this way.
I just read the ones that interest me.
Now, this has probably been around for 5+ years...I am really slow to change.
But, when I do make a change, it is usually a really good thing.

I hope you organize all your favorite blogs on Bloglovin'!

XOXO Tiffany

"You can cry a river, but can you build a bridge?"
Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My 40th Birthday.

 I celebrated my 40th birthday yesterday...September 30th.
It was wonderful.
Matt grabbed donuts for breakfast...mmmmm.  And flowers.
The kids and I had hot chocolate with our donuts and watched a favorite movie of mine:
 Ballet Shoes.
Remember the book by Noel Streatfeild that Meg Ryan referred to in the movie You've Got Mail???
The book and movie do not disappoint.
 After the movie, I headed upstairs to read...and then got ready for the day.
The girls and I headed out to Caribou...something we like to do on our birthdays.
 In the evening, I watched MJ's football game (they won!).
Then we headed to Yaya and Poppy's for dinner.
 Among all the sweet gifts that I received that day, this one made me giggle out loud.
Thanks Mom.  It's hanging in our bathroom.
 I blew out 40 candles.
We ate cake and chatted.
Home and bed.
A very good day.
As I think about the events that will (most likely) occur in my 40's, it makes me pause for a bit.
My kids will all become teenagers,
they will learn to drive (gulp),
they will start to date (oh my),
they will graduate from high school,
they will head off to college,
Matt and I will become empty nesters.
I'm feeling like this will be a fairly big decade of change in our house.
Though, each decade brings on it's own amount of change.
I'm not ready...but here goes nothin'!
I think I'll pull out the book, The Power of a Praying Parent.
I'm thinking that will be a necessity.

Here's to the next 10 years!

XOXO Tiffany

"Raise us up as a generation who sets things right".  Jen Hatmaker

September Shelfie 2014

I love to read.
It is my treat, or reward, morning, noon, and night.
I was getting overwhelmed with the stacks and stacks of books that I had started, or that I wanted to start.  I was feeling like I wasn't finishing anything.
I decided to pick 5 books to read (and attempt to finish) each month.
I also wrote down some categories that can be filled in.  I am hoping to rotate those categories each month so that I get a well rounded list of titles.
Here are some of the categories that I came up with (subject to change):

1.  Spiritual
2.  Family (marriage/kids)
3.  Book Club book
4.  Read-a-Loud (RAL)
5.  Classic
6.  History
7.  Homeschool
8.  Health (exercise/cooking) or Simple Living
9.  Easy Read/Children's Lit
10.  Memoir/Biography

For September, I wanted to keep it light.
School was starting up, and I was going on a little trip.
Here are my September picks:

1.  Spiritual:  A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
2.  Marriage:  The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick
3.  Parenting:  Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle
4.  Simple Living:  The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin
5.  RAL:  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

This month, I won't have a problem finishing these selections.
That won't be the case for all the months, and so I will just have the un-finished books carry over into the next month.

I also love to rate my books on a scale from 1-5.
5.  I loved this book so much.  I would read it again and I would highly recommend it!
4.  A great book!
3.  A good book.
2.  This book was just OK.
1.  I really couldn't finish, or didn't want to finish, this book.

Here are my thoughts on the books that I read this month:
A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman
I give this book a 4.
Her writing is very poetic.  I liked how she helped me look at "art" differently.
"Don't wait until tomorrow.  Pick yourself today.  You already have everything you need.  Embrace the art alive within you, and believe in the little ways God wants to release his art into the world through you."

The Love Dare by Alex and Stephen Kendrick
I give this book a 5.
A fabulous book of reminders on how we should be treating our spouses.  Great scripture references sprinkled in.  It made you want to be a better spouse.  Very encouraging.
"Love makes sacrifices.  It keeps you so tuned in to what your spouse needs that you often respond without being asked."

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle
I give this book a 3.
This was a super cute, light read.  Very funny.  A nice little memoir.

The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin
I give this book a 4.
I REALLY enjoyed this book!  I thought Gretchin did a great job in her journey.  Her research was in depth and added a lot to her thought process.  I may have given it a 5 if her spiritual journey would have had more depth.  This is the one area that I found lacking.
"Flawed can be more perfect than perfection."

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
I give this book a 5.
Amazing.  I couldn't wait to pick it up every day.  Awesome characters.  Lots to chat about.
"Merely a trifle!  Merely a trifle!  And it isn't really finished."  Mr. Beaver responding to the kids compliment of his home.

I'm planning on adding a "Books" tab at the top of my blog.
I'm hoping to keep it updated with a list of all the books that I read each year.

What are you reading and loving lately?

XOXO Tiffany

"And when you are fully yourself, everyone benefits."
"God is the Artist and he has made us.  We are his poem and we will make art."
A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Sewing 2014

I'm trying to fit more sewing into my days.
I have enough fabric and ideas to last a lifetime, it is simply a matter of finding the time.
I re-covered some old porch/deck pillows with new fabric and ruffles.
I also made a cute little ruffled tablecloth.
My 13-year old loves to sit on the porch and chat on the phone, I thought she would enjoy a pretty little place to sit.  Now if we can just keep on top of those spider webs!
I've been wanting to make this little dress for awhile.
The upper of the dress is a ribbed tank top.
The rest of the dress is calico cotton gathered and tiered.
I call it my Holly Hobby dress.
I wonder what sewing I'll get to in October?
Have you been sewing/knitting/crafting lately???

XOXO Tiffany

"Thimbles and Thunderstorms!", cried Trumpkin in a rage.  "Is that how you speak to the King?  Send me, Sire, I'll go."
Prince Caspian by CS Lewis

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Miami Beach and 16 years of marriage (9/12/98)

On September 12th, Sweetie and I celebrated 16 years of marriage.
Matt was working in Miami Beach that week and he invited me out to spend the weekend.
It took me about 2 minutes to say, "yes".
We hadn't even lined up child care.  I told the kids,
"You may be home alone for a bit, but mama's going to Miami Beach!"
I packed super light.  Only a small roller carry-on and a backpack.
 I flew out on 9/11.  Don't get me started.
Lots of prayers went out on that day.
We walked from one end of that island to the other.
Logging over 20,000 steps a day.
It was hot and fabulous.
It took us a couple of days to get to know the island.
We're not glitzy, glammy, clubbers who like to spend $200 on dinner.
By Day 3 we had that place figured out and were having a blast!
 Life guard stands.
Pink on the beach.
 It was their rainy season...which just means that the clouds come and go.
You may get a light sprinkle here and there.
Maybe a late afternoon thunderstorm...which was fabulous!
 What a great weekend!
Our Miami Beach favorites:
-the walking path between the ocean and Ocean Drive
-Lincoln Center...shopping/food
-Ocean Drive
-Collins Drive...shopping
-Washington Ave...restaurants
-Kilwin's Ice Cream (toasted coconut (hers) and salted caramel (his))
(2 locations...Marriot on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Center)
-SoFi Cafe...smoothies!  (#7 Acai Very Berry)
-Primo Pizza and Sandwiches (NY food, so good)
-walking on the new South Pointe Park Pier, then walking toward the harbor, then walking through the SoFi (south of 5th) neighborhood.

What to do next time:
-rent bikes...$6/hour (pick up and drop off all over the island!)
-Eat on Espanola Way!  Adorable restaurants south of Washington Ave on Espanola Way.
(Cuban, Mexican, Italian)
-breakfast or lunch at Big Pink Restaurant

A big thank you to the two most awesome sets of grandparents!!!
We sure do love you guys.
Thank you for caring for our kids and their crazy schedules.

Now, before I go...
How about I share 16 things I've learned about marriage!?!
1.  Marriage is so hard.
2.  Marriage is so rewarding.
3.  There are highs and lows.
4.  Compromise more.
5.  Bite that tongue!
6.  Find a couple of things that you love to do together.
7.  Don't forget to say "I'm sorry" and "thank you".
8.  Pray for your spouse.
9.  Put your spouse first.
10.  Choose to love your spouse...don't wait for the feeling.
11.  Do not allow the "D" word to enter your "conversations".  (divorce...not an option)
12.  Do not swear during arguments.
13.  Get your priorities straight...God, spouse, kids, etc...
14.  Find out your spouse's Love Language, and attempt to speak it.  Head's up, it won't be your Love Language.
15.  Laugh together.
16.  Be thankful.

XOXO Tiffany

"No, you won't always see eye-to-eye.  You're not supposed to be carbon copies of each other.  If you were, one of you would be unnecessary.  Two people who always share the same opinions and perspectives won't have any balance or flavor to enhance the relationship.  Rather, your differences are for listening to and learning from."
The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

**We must have a crazy amount of "balance and flavor"...haha!