Saturday, July 11, 2020

life + such.

i'm cozied up in my bed, drinking a hot mug of coffee right now. 
it's saturday morning. no plans for the day.
jared has been sick all week. [not the 'rona.].
it has been a good week though. 
i have been digging into the Word a lot lately.
it is my sustenance in this season. 

i looked at the last post i wrote on this blog- the end of april.
it feels like a lifetime ago. 
i was still working from home.
jared was still furloughed.
my grandma was still alive.

i was scrolling though my phone recently to give jared a phone number.
i realized my grandma's phone number is still in my contacts.
i can't bring myself to delete it. not right now.

life has been . . . i don't even know.
the last seven months have been strange. humbling. slightly scary at times. 
but i can still see Beauty sprinkled throughout it all.

i went back to work last month. it was a smooth transition. 
i'm grateful to have a job. 
and i still can't believe this is the view from my cubicle.

though i haven't written here or posted a lot on the socials lately, 
i have been documenting life on a private insta + a private blog. 
it has been one of the best ideas i've had this year.
no one will ever read those words or see the everyday photos. just me.
a way to remember the good + the hard + the in-betweens of life right now.

the internet is so loud right now.
i have unfollowed + muted a lot.
i try to take short breaks each week.
living life untethered from my phone is vital.

i have also been journaling a lot lately.
this practice has also been a great addition to my daily life.

the amount of audiobooks i have been reading is wild, at least for me.
in june, i read five audiobooks. [yes- it is reading.]
eleven days into july, and i've already finished three.
i track all of my books here on goodreads.

jackson turned three at the end of june.
he is wild + strong-willed + hilarious.
we enrolled him in a christian preschool.
i have to surrender this plan to the Lord on a daily basis.
while i would love to stay home with him, it's not possible.
at least- right now. and maybe never.
and i have to ask [daily, hourly, sometimes moment by moment] for peace.
what i know from the past is His faithfulness in every situation, regardless of the outcome. 

i stumbled upon this chocolate chip mug cake + it is heavenly.
cooking + baking have been fun lately. 
i am always on the hunt for something new to try.

well . . . now i'm off to relax for the day.
jared is finally feeling better, but not enough for us to get out today.
i'm fine with that though. rest is much needed after this week.

ok- bye.



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

currently // april 2020




reading  //  the magician's nephew

watching  //  bones + little fires everywhere

listening  //  phoebe reads a mystery + my worship playlist

loving  //  our new greenhouse!

enjoying  //  working from home

drinking  //  lots of water + kombucha (this is my current fav)

cooking  //  meatloaf + potatoes + lots of roasted vegetables

baking  //  this oatmeal bake

making me happy:  tangerine juice from TJs  /  watermelon lip balm  /  spring blooms  /  evening walks after dinner  /  mexican food  /  british accents  /  my new coffee mugs from hearth + hand  /  dry shampoo  /  sleeping in  /  dinner that i didn't have to make  /  the 100 day project  /  my nose ring  /  orange chicken + fried rice from aldi  /  pastel colors

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

i luv u.




all of our windows are open in the house right now.
it's a breezy seventy degrees.
i can see the sunset out my bedroom window.
there are about a dozen birds singing a sweet melody amongst themselves.

this feeling-
it is lovely. peaceful.

--

i have been working from home for a week now.
i cannot tell you how many times i have thanked the Lord for this.
i prayed + prayed over this for a week before i was told i could stay home + work.
i do not take one minute of it for granted.

--

we camped at the lake the last couple days.
they were probably the best two days we've had since everything started.
being in nature usually solves most problems.
it's where i feel closest to the Lord.

jackson played on the beach area at the lake.
not a beach, really.
it's kansas.

but there was sand.
and waves.
and it was beautiful.

as i drove home from the lake this morning, i noticed this tank.
or rather- what was written on it.
how many times have i driven by this?
dozens, probably.
for some reason, seeing that "i luv u" made me smile.

had i not been savoring the peaceful drive + my morning coffee, i would have missed it.
rushing around is not a part of life right now.
that is what slowing down will do.
what i once thought was important seems insignificant compared to the joy of the little things.

like a tank in a field on the side of the road, graffitied with a tiny love note.

--

i have never seen more people taking walks than as of late.
and i think it is wonderful.

i, too, take more walks.
jackson + i take a stroll around the block several times each week after dinner.

i also journal each day.
i pray more.

slowing down has made the little things become meaningful things.

--

this season of life has been a mixture of all the things.
but we have a choice in the matter.
and for me-
i choose joy.
laughter.
a good cry, when needed.
an extra cup of coffee.
worship music.
spending most of the evening outside.
taking walks with jackson.
hugging jared a little longer.

all of the little things that are really the big things.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

i didn't have to put on real pants today.




i got the order to start working from home today. to say that i was excited would be an understatement. i wanted to chronicle this day, mostly because it's such a rare thing. here are some thoughts from my first day working from home:


-  there are going to be kinks to work out at the beginning. i had already decided it wasn't going to work out, and i had only been twenty minutes into the workday. technical difficulties are going to happen. it's best to take a deep breath + know that it will work out.

-  we don't have an office space in our home, so i am working out of the camper. it was a crazy idea at first, but it works! i have privacy. i have my own space. i can listen to music without headphones. i can open the windows + feel the fresh air. it's a pretty great set up right now.

-  i didn't have to put on real pants. i told myself that the first couple days could be very casual. i did put makeup on, but i haven't changed out of my leggings yet. now i am thinking i need some cool house slippers.

-  i need to be better about getting up and taking a break. that's on me. i will do better tomorrow.

-  i am so, so grateful for this opportunity. in my department, it was easiest for me to work from home. i don't take it for granted one bit. the company i work for is so great to allow us to work from home during this insane time.

-  i can pop my head out and see the boys when i want. i love getting to say hi when i go in the house for water or a bathroom break. jared has been furloughed for three weeks, but we are still thankful.


day one was pretty good. the beginning was a little rough, but it all worked out. i discovered this album + listened to it a lot. i drank coffee + diffused oils + refrained from working on my puzzle that's in the camper next to me. now i'm off to drink more coffee on our pergola + enjoy the evening. our lives right now are so weird + insert basically every emotion, but i have felt the Lord so close these past few weeks. He is my joy.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

seven on sunday // 001





  1.  DOWNTOWN WICHITA  

last week, i moved into our new corporate offices in downtown wichita. it is surreal. (not to mention amazing because byyyyeeee to k-96 traffic. miss you never.) it's weird to ride on an elevator. it's weird to look out the window and remember i work in a "tower", as jackson calls it. it's weird because it's all new, but i don't take one bit for granted.


  2.  100 DAY PROJECT   

one of my 2020 goals is to participate in the 100 day project. what a perfect time to stretch myself creatively since the world is anything but normal at the moment. my subject for the project is lists. i got the idea from my internet friend, rachel. i purchased these little notebooks for documenting the daily lists, but i also plan to share them on insta-stories somehow.


  3.  PLANT LADY  

i bought two new plants this weekend, and it's safe to say they won't be the last. there's something about plants that brings calm + coziness to our home. i am excited to purchase a plant from a new local shop in wichita. we are also building a greenhouse with our neighbor, and it is going to be so wonderful to walk out to our backyard and grab tomatoes or peppers to eat. 
i bought two new plants over the weekend, and i think i
  4.  SPRING IS HERE  

well, except for this weekend. brrr. but the trees are blooming + you know it makes my heart happy. 

  5.  IS THAT YOU, RONA?  

our lives are anything but normal right now because of the coronavirus. i have lots of opinions, but i have saved all of those for my husband + not for the internet. i will say one thing- as i was discussing all the craziness, i started listing all the people close to us who would be most susceptible to the virus. it was then that i realized this isn't about me anymore. i am doing my part to protect those i love + care about, but i'm still living- with a little more understanding + compassion for those around me. 

  6.  NY TIMES DAILY MINI CROSSWORD  

i can't remember where i saw this (probably twitter) but the ny times offers a mini crossword on their website every day. i find it challenging + fun to stretch my brain. my best time is one minute!

  7.  SEVEN ON SUNDAY SERIES  


this is a new series on the blog to replace the weekly musings posts. my hope is that i can blog more now that our lives are . . . i don't even know the way to describe it. i like having a space to reflect on, and i also like sharing things i find or love or whatever. blogging is so different these days, especially for someone who was doing it at the height of the blogging days. (2011-2015ish). i don't really care if i have a ton of readership, but if something i post resonates with someone, that's the real goal here. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

new trees + snow + a lava lamp.




-  it was predicted that we would receive a "trace" of snow, and i woke up the next morning to two inches of snow. my normal twenty-five minute commute to work ended up taking an hour + fifteen minutes. is it spring yet?

-  we went to the local nursery on saturday to pick out two trees for our yard. we got an oak tree + a blooming apple tree.

-  i have shared this chocolate cake in a mug before, but it needs to be shared again because i make this at least three times a week!

-  jackson randomly said, "amber, you feeling better?" LOL. everyone has been asking me that this week because i was sick for a week. he hears everything!

-  i really want a lava lamp.

-  i had the day off on monday, but i was finally recovering from the flu.

-  we bought a new mower this week, and you will not find a more excited kid than jackson. he loves mowers!

-  our grocery bill was $115 this week! not too shabby if you ask me.

-  these no bake caramel cookie dough bars look legit.

-  not much to really recap this week. it was busy at work + our evenings were usually super chill.

Friday, February 14, 2020

a camping happy list.



sleeping in until nine. a dollar general trip for camping goodies. incredible weather in the middle of winter.
coffee + a puzzle while cozied up with a blanket. an ecstatic kid who loves camping. hiking.
breakfast for dinner. nature walks. a stellar sunset. yahtzee with the in-laws. crunchy leaves. snacks.


[more photos from past camping trips HERE.]

currently // february 2020




reading  //  "stop calling me beautiful" by phylicia masonheimer.

watching  //  bones. i love this show so much!

listening  //  two new favorite podcasts:  the RAD podcast + the newsworthy 

loving  //  having the flu on valentine's day. i bet my husband finds me so attractive.

enjoying  //  intentional rest. a full day of sabbath is hard in this season, but taking little bits works well.

anticipating  //  spriiiiiiing.

drinking  //  the harvest blend tea from TJs with honey.

eating  //  all the sweet potatoes.


making me happy:  this $10 men's sweatshirt from walmart, cashew butter, a lemon cookie scented candle from trader joe's, puzzles, floral shoes from the dollar general, wheel of fortune, chocolate cake in a mug, the snow we had earlier this week, cozy blankets, snow boots, waterproof eye liner. these new pens.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

wheel of fortune + chocolate cake in a mug




-  my girl, phylicia masonheimer, launched her podcast (VERITY) + i am so, so thankful for it! her teaching goes beyond surface-level faith + fluff + challenges us to go deeper with God. i am also on her book launch team and GUYS. buy the book. i am reading through it now, and i cannot tell you how it has already changed me. i don't say that in a flippant way. she is not pretentious about what she believes + backs everything up with scripture. she is the real deal.

-  we purchased an antenna to watch the super bowl, and we get local channels now. i have no shame in admitting that i get so much joy out of watching wheel of fortune.

-  i recently started researching alternative essential oil brands. i found two non-MLM companies that have great reviews + quality products: plant therapy + edens garden. i plan to place an order from each company, so i will report back with my findings.

-  i have worked in the accounting field for over fifteen years. this parody video is so, so good. (because it's true!)

- kendra shared a recipe from the pioneer woman for a chocolate cake in a mug. GAH. i have made so many of these in two days that it's borderline ridiculous. [side note: i subbed the vegetable oil with avocado oil + the semi-sweet chocolate chips for mini dark chocolate chips, and it tastes divine.]

- i saw rachel writing with these pens and i bought some for myself. they are delightful.

- "hot takes seem to collect an echo chamber of people who think (and probably look) just like i do. they will stand around and applaud and i'll feel really popular and affirmed. this is not my calling." [lisa hensley]  //  she posted this on tuesday- a couple days after the super bowl, and it is spot on. we don't need another think piece from another christian woman about j-lo + shakira. we (yes- even me) are often so ready to tell the world what we're against that we don't take the time to just sit back + listen.

-  i found the prettiest floral shoes (in the photo above) at dollar general for only five dollars. that store is kryptonite on our budget. they have puzzles (also in the photo above) for a dollar! how can i resist?


week five // my 2020 in photos




day twenty-seven 


 day twenty-eight


day twenty-nine 


day thirty 


 day thirty-one


day thirty-two 


day thirty-three




Monday, February 3, 2020

camping + dunkaroos + cashew butter




-  we went camping over the weekend. the weather was unseasonably warm for february, so we took full advantage. we had so much fun!

-  the chiefs won the super bowl! growing up, i cheered for the dallas cowboys. (still do.) now that i've lived in kansas long enough, i feel like it's okay to cheer for the chiefs now.

-  i discovered a podcast that delivers short bits of news in fifteen minutes or less. if the news makes you break out in hives, then the newsworthy is a great, informative podcast without bias. (i never, ever thought that "news" + "unbiased" could be used in the same sentence, but here we are.) erica delivers bits of current news in quick tidbits - enough to keep up with what's going on, but not so much that you need to break out the cortisone for the hives.

-  these paleo donuts look delicious!

-  i finished another puzzle over the weekend.

-  we spend all of our sunday afternoon outside. no jacket. sunshine warming our skin. kids running around. pure delight.

-  why is dollar general so wonderful?

-  cashew butter is my new favorite thing.

-  does anyone remember dunkaroos?! i used to eat them all the time at my grandma gracie's house. there is so much nostalgia in that delicious cookie/frosting packet. i saw this post on instagram, and now i am so excited!

-  week five of my 2020 in photos.

week four // my 2020 in photos.


 day twenty


 day twenty-one


 day twenty-two


 day twenty-three


 day twenty-four


 day twenty-five


day twenty-six




Sunday, January 26, 2020

cookie dough bread + a penguin




-  i shared a lot of words about grocery shopping. and this week, jared + i sat down and made a meal plan + a list for the store. we bought the majority of our food at aldi and several other items at walmart marketplace, and we spent $130!

-  my computer mouse went out at work, and they brought me a new one. it's silent mouse, meaning when i'm clicking it, there's not an annoying click-click-click sound. it is revolutionary.

-  i am super excited to make this cookie dough bread. (and look at this cookie dough CAKE.)

-  y'all- i survived jackson's first stomach bug. now jared has it. looks like i'm next?

-  okay, dude readers. skip the next sentence. trust me.

-  does anyone has experience with period cups? if so, let ya girl know.

-  okay, fellas. we're back to talking about things that won't make you squirm or run away.

-  i walked the halls at work with a penguin.

-  we made this pork chop recipe this week, and it was so good!

-  week four of my 2020 in photos.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

grocery shopping.




last weekend, i shared about our grocery trip on instagram. what was supposed to be on the lower side of what we normally spend ended up being over $200. two hundred dollars. for food + essentials. it's bananas to think about. (see what i did there? a food pun.)

since sharing, i have had several great conversations about how other people budget + shop for groceries. (some are in my insta highlights if you're interested!) in my quest for developing a grocery plan, i have learned some valuable tips + lessons + information.

i need to stop right here and explain myself a little. (i rarely feel the need to do so, but in this instance, context is important.) i never in my life have had a grocery budget. i've never even had an actual budget for any of my income. up until jared + i were married, i lived with my parents, so they bought the majority of food. i would buy all the fun stuff, like makeup + toiletries + new items. (*remember this.)

fast forward to the day jared + i got back from vegas after eloping. we went grocery shopping right after the plane landed since jared had to go back to work the next day. he said this to me, and it has been something we joke about still to this day: "i usually spend $60 on myself, so we can probably spend $80 for the both of us, right?" now hear me when i say this: i was on a post-elopement high from the previous two days. i didn't really care about anything like groceries at that moment, so i was like suuuuure! (please, please tease him about this for all the rest of our days.)

three weeks later, i finally had to tell jared, I AM HUNGRY. i know this sounds so silly. why didn't i just say something? again - post-marriage bliss. i was still blissful, but i was also starving.

over the following years, i would come to loathe grocery shopping. but then - FINALLY - i had this realization last year, and it changed my shopping habits forever: i am the type of person that looooooooves to try a new product when it comes out in stores. so there i was, filling up my cart with mug cake mixes + kombucha + snacks, but i wouldn't ever actually buy essentials. (*see the correlation? all fun, no logic. lolz.)


some changes i've made + new ideas i want to implement:

-  use what is already in the pantry/cabinets. i am so, so bad at this! but just this week, i made an effort to look at what i had before deciding i need more. i have several bottles of shampoo + body wash that i put under the cabinet because i wanted to try the new one i purchased. (*again- i love trying out new products!) i plan to use all of those up before even thinking about buying more. same goes for makeup. i have been using up all my powders that had just a liiiiittle bit left in the compact, and i have stretched them out for over a week! small changes add up to less money spent.

-  stop buying pre-packaged goods i can make on my own. growing up, one of the things i remember doing alllll the time was grating cheese before we sat down for dinner. i started buying shredded cheese after i got married, and it's silly + grated block cheese is 1000 times better anyway. this goes for other things, too. i never, ever buy pre-cut fruit, but i can stop buying things like expensive "healthy" cookies and making my own. [like these banana cookies.]

-  look at the weekly sales for good deals. i don't know how much i will do this, but if it's an item that has a really good sale (meat, BOGO, essentials, etc.), then i can save a few bucks. again- those small things add up!

-  make a master list of meals. i started writing down meal ideas in a notebook that i can refer to when making a meal plan for the week. this will cut down on decision making, which is one of my pain points in the process of grocery shopping.

-  use ibotta for cash moneyyyyy. it takes five minutes to find the items i've purchased + then add a photo of my receipt. they are literally paying me to do it. [here is my affiliate link if you're interested.]

-  meal prep my breakfasts. i usually eat a perfect bar for breakfast each morning, which adds up to $13 a week. if i make these energy bites or this oatmeal bake, it's so much cheaper!

-  utilize my instant pot. the best invention ever!

-  calm down at trader joe's. LOL. i was spending $60 weekly on - you guessed it - new-to-me products! but this week, i needed three things + i actually stuck to it. my total was $8. EIGHT DOLLARS. not going to lie, i was reeeeeeally proud of myself.

-  make a list before i go shopping. i need structure or i'm just going to end up with random things that won't go very far.

----------


that was a lot of words about grocery shopping. if you have any tips or tricks, let me know!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

grocery shopping + eyeliner + the good list




-  i bought a hot chocolate mix recently. i could never get it all mixed up very well. i had the bright idea to put it all in my magic bullet before i heated it up, and i am convinced it's my most brilliant idea ever. (this is not a new idea, i realize. i'm just proud of myself.) it was so creamy + frothy + i topped it with these marshmallows.

-  i finished another audiobook this week. (affiliate link)

-  i bought a new planner for the year, and (like most people) i started out the first week doing great, but after the second or third week, it has sat untouched, no writings for days. then i remembered that the pages of my planner can be taken out and put back in! now i have the week's spread sitting next to me at my desk while i work, and it has been a game-changer! (also- please know that i loathe the stupid phrases throughout the planner, but the layout is the reason i bought it.)

-  walmart didn't have the eyeliner i needed, so they substituted it for a waterproof one. i decided to accept it, and now i am so glad i did! i will be buying waterproof eyeliner from now on. (i use this eye makeup remover.)

-  speaking of walmart- we bought groceries on saturday and spent almost $200. two hundred flippin' dollars on FOOD. i took to instagram to ask everyone how much they spend on groceries every week. we definitely spend above average than most of those who responded. one of my goals for this year is to get a grocery budget in place, so this was an eye-opener to the changes we can make. (i welcome any + all tips for grocery shopping.)

-  tsh released her new podcast, the good list. each week, she shares short episodes about stuff she's loving lately.

-  remember that puzzle i linked in last week's recap post? i found it at the mall this week for half off!

-  week three of my 2020 in photos.


week three // my 2020 in photos


 day thirteen


 day fourteen


 day fifteen


 day sixteen


 day seventeen


day eighteen 


day nineteen




Sunday, January 12, 2020

puzzles + an audiobook + a big boy bed.




-  i am slowly becoming a tea drinker. (if you have a favorite, let me know!)

-  jackson got a big boy bed this week. i really hadn't given it a second thought until i tucked him in bed. as i turned around to shut the door, i glanced back at him. my chest tightened up. tears filled my eyes. my baby is becoming a big boy, and it made me a little sad.

-  i completed a puzzle over the holidays, and now i want to quit my job + do puzzles all day + drink coffee. this state flower stamp puzzle looks fun + so does this retro kitchen puzzle.

-  i started this audiobook this week + finished it on saturday. i forget how much i love listening to books.

-  we went to homegrown after church on sunday morning, and the honey bee latte was life changing.

-  i am working my way through this two year bible plan.

-  my parents gifted me an instant pot for christmas. i made shredded chicken for tacos, and it only took 20 minutes! i am so excited because now when i get home from work, i can make dinner quickly. (if you have any favorite IP recipes, send them my way!)

-  i mentioned in last week's post that i was slowly de-cluttering working my way through our entire house. this week, i cleaned our linen cabinet, the refrigerator, + one of our kitchen cabinets.

-  i was uncharacteristically hoping for snow this weekend, and we only got a trace. such a bummer.

-  uncharacteristically is a really long word.

-  we took down our christmas tree this week. we usually leave our trees up until late january, but since we got our new dining room table, i was eager to get the space back to normal.


week two // my 2020 in photos.


 day six

 day seven

 day eight

 day nine

 day ten

 day eleven

day twelve





Sunday, January 5, 2020

the great purge + a 2020 goal + baked goods.




-  this week, i started what i've jokingly deemed the great purge. i started with my clothes + shoes. next will be jackson's clothes + toys, followed by the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. little by little, i hope to go through each area of our home and rid our space of the excess.

-  little lion cafe is one of my favorite spots in wichita right now.

-  one of my goals for this year is to take a photo each day of the year. i am challenging myself to take the photo horizontally, since all my photos are vertical. i am trying to decide how to share the photos. i'm thinking weekly on the blog.

-  these oatmeal whoopie pies look so good! (minus the raisins because EW.)

-  unpopular opinion: nuts + raisins do not belong in baked goods. and the corner slices of brownies belong in the trash.

-  we welcomed the new year by sleeping. lolz. jared + i both were fighting colds all week, so he was asleep by nine + me by eleven. that's okay though. we woke up the next morning and drank coffee together.

week one // my 2020 in photos.


day one 


 day two


 day three


 day four


day five