July 19, 2014

New Site!

Hello friends! The blog is currently undergoing some transition... new site, new look, all that good stuff. While construction is happening, click on over here!

June 11, 2014

Good Soil

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seed sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plant soon wilted under the hot sun, and since it didn’t have deep roots, it died. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants so they produced no grain. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they sprouted, grew, and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” [Mark 4:3-8]

My grandma has a thirst for beauty and a real gift for creating it in any space. She is one of the most creative people I've ever had in my life. Wherever she goes, she's using her hands to make the world a more beautiful place. I've been thinking about her a lot lately. Whenever I think of her house, I picture it simply lush with trailing green plants, large ferns, and towers of African violets. Even in the middle of a cold Indiana winter, her home felt warm and alive. She and my grandpa recently moved into a new condo, and her letters (yes, letters! She is the most precious grandma one could ever wish for) describe their patio garden and the new plants she's putting in. It's inspired me to try my best to turn my brown thumb into a slightly greener one. I've been looking up information online and trying my best to check my plants' soil on a regular basis. This has been filled with a lot of trial and error, and I've lost a plant or two, but the other day I was rewarded by my first African violet bloom in a year!

This is what good soil and tending can do for plants. And it's what they can do for the human heart.

Providing good soil for my children is the best work I can do in their lives, and it is the part of parenting that I take most seriously. Over the last few years, I've been asked by a lot of moms what we do in our house to provide a good soil for the Gospel to take root, and I have three suggestions below, based on what's worked well for our family. I am always interested in how other families are teaching the Gospel at home, so please leave your sweet practices in the comments! Some of these things may seem obvious, some may seem like something you'd like to try, and others may not fit your family at all! The important thing is to cheer each other on as we share Good News with our sweet babies.

+ I'm in the Word. This has looked different at different seasons and I expect it to keep changing and that's fine. Grace, not legalism, right? I get a daily email from She Reads Truth that contains a Bible passage and a devotional. These are really manageable, yet meaty, for a mom of two who has lost a significant amount of brain power in the last three years. I want the Word of God to be written on my kids' hearts, so I absolutely need it to be written on mine. I want wisdom from the Bible to flow as naturally out of my mouth as a little ditty from Daniel Tiger. And it really works. Cruz was feeling nervous about a slide at the playground and I got to tell him, "remember when the disciples felt nervous about the Big Storm?" Be in the Word.

+ Our kids listen to exclusively Christian music (also, a tremendous amount of the Frozen soundtrack, so let me keep it real). I love pop music and hip hop music and we used to listen to that, so please don't think this about me being on any kind of high horse about morality in music. However, one morning I drove Cruz to daycare at 7:50am and our local hip hop station was playing some song that blasted out "sprayin' honeys with champaaaagne." Too early! I thought, and just like that, I was done. Cruz and London love music, so the music they listen to might as well have some redeeming qualities. When Cruz is supposed to be napping, he's often jumping around his room belting out "Come Thou Fount" or "Silent Night" instead. I feel great that those words are written on his heart. I love that I can ask him, "what do you think this song is about?" and we can talk about why there are so many songs about God as a foundation (I mean, really, there are a lot).

+ We pray with our kids and in front of our kids. Pre-dinner and pre-bedtime prayers are so sweet to do with our kids, but I want my children to see how rich and real prayer life can be. Tovi and I often set aside time while we're driving (and the kids are essentially our captive "audience") to praise God and pray for each other, our family, our church... anything that's on our hearts. I hope that this practice demonstrates our dependence on God, thanksgiving for the things He's provided, thanksgiving for salvation, and the truth that we can bring anything to Him in prayer.

If you're looking for more ways to help your children develop an awesome faith life, here are some additional suggestions. And leave your's in the comments below! I would love to keep updating this list with your ideas!
+ The Jesus Storybook Bible 
+ The Power of a Praying Parent 
+ Homelife Magazine 
+ Hello, Darling

May 28, 2014

what's working {in february}

after i posted what's working in january, my friend michelle posted her own version. and from that, i was inspired to start using the 'notes' app on my phone more often. so all month long i've been keeping a running list of the things that seem to be working well for us. so here we go... what's working in february!

+ nutella. yup, i am a million years late to the game on this one. it never occurred to me that as an adult, i could decide to keep nutella in my home. we were recently given a jar of nutella... and we're never going back. this is an eliasen family pantry staple from now on.

+ inkjoy pens. you've seen the commercials, and the pens live up to the hype! great colors, easy flow. they are currently making all my notes and planners and to-do lists look very, very pretty. $1.87 on amazon is a price that can't be beat.

+ old navy drawstring jersey pants. are these sweats? are they leggings? who knows, but they're great. a little tip from me to you: size up on these. i like them to fit a little slouchy, more like tapered sweats than leggings.

+ mossimo junior's boyfriend v tee. the other day my friend anna texted me a funny comment about gray t-shirts from target (and wearing them every day). i quickly her back a picture of me captioned, "oh, you mean THIS gray t-shirt from target?" this t-shirt is part of my every day uniform (and yes, i'm wearing one right now). whenever i go to target, i pick up another color. size up if you're into a slouchy fit, although they're a good length to start with.

+ making lunch the night before. i am going crazy trying to figure out how to get us out of the house in a timely manner. one solution that i've come up with is to pack cruz's lunch at night, no matter what. i usually do this if he has daycare the next morning, but now i'm doing it every day so that we can zip off somewhere once london's up from her morning nap. (sidenote: doesn't london's expression kill you? 'mom, how many more pictures do you need of us eating lunch?')

+ trucks app. cruz does not get a tremendous amount of screentime, but he has a couple of apps on my ipad and phone. the 'trucks' app by duck duck moose was one that i originally downloaded onto my phone. he liked it ok, but didn't choose to play with it that often. we recently pulled it up on the ipad, where it is a much better app. i like this app because there's problem solving involved, and no characters. there's a "fix it" shop section, where cars with flat tires get new tires, and cruz has now created an entire fix it shop under my desk, inspired by his game. i don't know if this is creative or disturbing, but let's go with creative.

what's working for you this month? share in the comments or link up!

what's working {in march}

it's time for what worked in march! march is typically my busiest month at work, so i've felt stressed and pulled verrrrrry thin: it didn't always feel like a lot was working. but over the last week i've caught my breath and remember that yes, there are lots of things that are working for us around here.

snapbibs. let me tell you-- i just hate bibs. they are horrible and crusty and never as clean as i want them to be. we recently ordered some cute girlie bibs for london, which turned out to be darling but a totally terrible product. she gave them a loving chomp (as babies do) and within a few days, they looked worn and damaged. then i discovered snapbibs on instagram... and this is the bib we've been looking for. london looks so cute with it on, and it's durable! i can see these being a great go-to baby shower gift. i'm already picking out which colors i want next (for her! right?).

+ coffitivity. i love working at a coffee shop. i love the smell, the energy, and the social pressure to stay focused on my work. because i have two kids at home now, i don't always get to escape to my local starbucks or coffee bean the way i used to. the coffitivity app or website helps make up for some of that. i can get the ambient noise going, and it really does help me to focus.

+ daffodils from trader joe's. honestly, you can't spend a better $1.29.

+ shampoo only. we could just call these next two tips "the lazy gal's guide to beauty." by this point you know that i am all about cutting out excess. and guess what? one morning i was so tired that i forgot to put conditioner in my hair and i ended up with a fantastic hair day! what the what?? i've now gone over two weeks without conditioner and i can only say good things about it. my showers are shorter, and because i'm using less product , i can go longer between washes. now, i have no idea if this will work for your hair, but isn't it worth trying?

+ apple cider vinegar. i've been having wacky postpartum skin. think dry, fine lines, and the occasional breakout. i've been using apple cider vinegar on my breakouts with surprisingly good results! i keep a baby food container of acv in the bathroom, and when i feel a breakout coming on, i use a q-tip to apply a little to my face. it stings, but that's how we know it's working, right? (i could probably even use acv in place of conditioner! #lazygalbeauty)

+ do you ever do serious spring cleaning? for some reason, i've had the itch to spring clean this year. i've followed iheartorganizing's daily plan. i didn't take on a project every day, of course, so there's plenty to keep going with in april. there were some projects that i originally scoffed at, but later realized how desperately my home needed them! (cleaning the fronts of the kitchen cupboards! wow!)

want more things that work?
what's working for you this month? share in the comments below or link up!

What's Working {in May}

I have never appreciated spring as a season. I guess growing up in Seattle never felt terribly different from winter. Is there truly a difference between rainy, windy and thirty degrees and rainy, windy and forty-five? In Santa Barbara, our weather hardly fluctuates. I bet you could guess the weather of any day of the year with startling accuracy—75 degrees, sunny, slight breeze. But somehow this year it has felt like spring and I really like it. I’m noticing the blooming trees and flowers in our neighborhood. I appreciate our mild days and cool nights, and I’ve been spring-cleaning and redecorating fearlessly! With Tovi and I both working from home, two active mobile kids, and one dog, it feels as if every inch of our house and space and time needs to be used well right now. We need simplicity and efficiency. There's absolutely no physical, mental, or emotional space for things that don't work. So here’s what has worked in May:

+ Working out as soon as the kids go to bed. There was a point in March when I was working so hard that I actually made myself sick. Migraine headache, throwing up, sick. Tovi said enough was enough, and he has really helped me to build some healthy routines back into my day. One of them is working out as soon as the kids go to bed. It’s an obvious transition in the day, so changing outfits doesn’t feel too weird (does changing outfits keep anyone from working out? Just me?). If you don’t have a regular workout time, I recommend this one!

+  Crystal Light Energy sticks. I’m sure this is not the healthiest trick in the book, but it works! In the afternoon, I stir one of these little powder sticks into my water and have a great boost of energy for the afternoon.

+ Anchors in the week. With Cruz we walk a fine line between helping him to anticipate what’s coming up next in the day or week and helping him to learn flexibility. One way we do this is to have “anchors” in our week; there’s something that happens every Monday, Tuesday, etc that he looks forward to, and then we can fill in the remaining part of the day with non-routine activities. Playdate Tuesdays! Music Class Thursdays! I love being able to schedule our week around these fun anchors.

+ Peaches Skincare. The combination of having a second child and turning thirty really started to show on my face. My skin started getting dry and full of fine lines and I didn’t look or feel like myself. I’ve been using Peaches for a month and my face feels young and fresh! Peaches is a local skincare line (I purchased it at the spa), but you can also order online. As higher-end skincare lines go, it’s totally affordable and I think it’s absolutely worth the price.

+ Anemone bras. My friend Annemarie introduced me to these stretchy bras. They are perfect for nursing and layering a low-cut shirt. They are comfy. They come in tons of colors. And best of all? On Amazon Prime, they’re like $12 for a 2-pack.

+ Honest Co. Conditioning Spray. I am not an Honest Co groupie. I’ve tried other products before and found them to be just okay, but I really like this conditioning spray. London’s curls are growing in, and this spray does a nice job of keeping them from getting too frizzy or wild, while keeping them sweet smelling (a bonus, as she regularly conditions her hair with green beans and sweet potatoes).

How about you? What's working in your life right now?

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