Tuesday, 19 March 2013

coming soon// changes!

Yes, indeed, there has been much afoot in my family these last few months (hence the looong lapse of time between posts)!
God has been so good to give me trials and times of intense spiritual growth lately. I'm learning so much about resting in the knowledge of His ever-sufficient grace and mercy in my life, that He will uphold me with His right hand, and that cappuccinos in beautiful tea cups are a great partner to studying the Word.
Explanations to come soon, but until then know that the changes include

// invaluable lessons of a spiritual and soul-stirring nature,
// a new blog (in this design?),
// new wedding-planning website (SO excited about this), and
// selling handmade goods at a local antique shop.

In the meantime, feel free to keep up with my daily adventures on instagram! Recently I upgraded from a non-smart, Barbie phone and have joined the rest of humanity with a smart phone. Generally, I avoid technical stuff but this phone has been a pretty fun toy thus far. Ah, I also present to you the updated currently playing list, enjoy!

// the above photo accurately presents the ever-playful side of Hope and Joy from Dubai; the N family is Stateside for the next couple of months so we've had the immense pleasure of having them rickashay down our halls and take silly photographs. Life is so beautiful :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

happy weekend//pistachio pound cake

Pistachio Pound Cake. Heavenly, I tell you.
Yesterday I was appointed to bring something sweet to a Chica Lunch Date (definition: an afternoon wherein two of my kindred spirits and I have lunch together, laughing and encouraging each other all through our time together), and after scrolling through my pinterest I came across this delicious looking photograph; pistachios meets buttery goodness, for what more could a girl ask? As much as it pains me to admit it, I've had my share of pumpkin spiced treats for this season and am looking forward to other things. The almond extract and nutty pistachio really hit the spot.
Super easy peasy recipe to follow, came out marvelously the first time!
For just about any occasion, this delightful pound cake will compliment; I highly suggest it with a warm cup of cinnamon tea. Go forth and bake!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

of learning and beekeeping

So, due to some fairly recent changes in my life (explanation to come), I've started seriously researching beekeeping and learning more about honeybees in general. This wee, industrial insect has proven to be so fascinating! My journey with bees has only just begun and I'm very excited; books have been borrowed and I'm beginning the hunt for more bee knowledge. :) For those of you at the brink of bee insight, here's a neat, artsy video to get you started. Enjoy!

from Rob Cleary on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

hello again//life update

My how time flies! It's interesting to me how it seemed easier to blog when I had more on my plate, alas for the rhythm of life that has a tendency to go by ever so quickly.

Lately I've been...

purging// items from my room! Things had a way of piling up during the flurry of weddings last year; estate sale finds and potential crafts alike were thrown into quite a jumble. Let the sorting begin!

traveling// just day and weekend trips this time; my sister and her family moved about two hours away, so we've been taking advantage of the short distance and excellent gas mileage from my prius (yes, it really does hum :) As you can see from the photos, the Munchkins are growing up rapidly, we've got to be there to soak it all in!

setting knitting aside// for a wee season. Perhaps its the cold weather or lack of vitamins but my poor wrists have been aching lately! It was a toss up between yoga and knitting and the yoga won; while both activities are stress-relieving, the latter does better at keeping me in shape. The good news is that I really do have a reason to wear yoga pants now.

baking// the cold weather insists! Lots of breads and pot pies! Thankfully, it's all for other people, so no lasting effects on me.

 reading// I've taken it up again, at long last. Currently on the "must read" list are This Momentary Marriage, Each for the Other, A Shelter in the Time of Storm, and Keeping Honey Bees.

What have you been up to lately?

 Though the crafting schedule has been put on hold lately, I've been recently inspired by this adorable post concerning reminderwear; I'm thoroughly convinced and can think of quite a number of little people that would benefit from these highly useful articles of clothing. What wee lassie wouldn't want a shirt that says, "Remember, I'm only TWO"??

Recent Groovy Finds// Two Sides of Lonely, Suddenly, You Never Need Nobody, and Lakehouse,
Recent Funny. True. Interesting.// His faithfulness, my workout story, the happy life before cell phones, the reason to eat chocolate, and finally, don't hate.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

now playing...

Happy Tuesday, friends!
Today I am knocking out a list of sewing projects (loads of nursing covers for the North Carolina shop I sell to), running errands, and drinking a large quantity of Chocolate Monkey Rooibus tea (think of it as a hot tea version of Ben & Jerry's "Chunky Monkey", I know, it's my favorite flavor too). This fabulous song, which has already been played a number of times, was discovered via pandora radio a few weeks ago and I've been enjoying it ever since; good tune and lyrics make for a wonderful combination. Also, slightly on the back burner, I'm getting a few things together for a small get together celebrating twenty-something years of this curly head; yes indeed, a birthday is just around the corner (like, next week)! More on that later, but if you want to plan ahead, check out my pinterest for gift ideas, if you want...

Monday, 12 November 2012

good ol' philly

And they're off! My parent's are happily enjoying Philadelphia...without us girls. The benefits of some of my Dad's business trips is that my Mom is able to go with him, tagging along for dinner and enjoying the sights and sounds of wherever he is; this time it is Philadelphia but in the past they've been able to enjoy the English countryside, Pittsburgh, and the fabulous California. We do our best not to be jealous. While they're gone, my sisters and I have been able to take a wee visit to my sister and her family as well as enjoying a marvelous Pajama Day today (well timed, considering our schedule of late). For those who don't know, Pajama Day was founded by our dear friend from Dubai, Jackie Neal. It comes quite randomly throughout the year but usually after a busy few weeks/months; the participants are required to wear pajamas or some sort of comfortable loungewear, and Chick Food is involved (smoothies, salads, raw food of all kinds, think clean and light). A series of films is typically watched (while knitting and/or ironing), ranging from tv shows to epic dramas; meals are eaten at odd hours and music is played quite loudly (normal for us around here). For this Pajama Day we'll enjoy any combination of The Last of the Mohican's, Phantom of the Opera, Le Hérisson, Dial M for Murder, and/or The Devil Wears Prada. Now you know what Pajama Day is, so go ahead, enjoy one sometime!
As far as dinner goes, we're planning on a pumpkin smoothie, veggie scramble, and hot tea. Yep, we're girls.
And lest you think loungewear is the only attire for this week, know that a teux deux list is made! I'm planning to get lots of sewing and knitting done and perhaps some organizing to my ever disarrayed craft closet!

The very fallish breeze and cheerfully chilly temperatures certainly brought a refreshing change to the recent balmy conditions around here! Totally inspired me to wash and clean out my car and we'll probably be eating dinner outside, under the twinkly lights (listening to this playlist would add to the ambiance, I think). Today the windows have been flung open and we're doing our best to spend as much time outside as possible~
I just love this time of year.

The above photo, shows them enjoying Leeds, England last Spring; the trip coincided with their anniversary, so all parties were quite pleased. Tea was enjoyed by all and the happy couple even brought back some lovely souvenirs.  

Thursday, 8 November 2012

my darling children

Hello there, may I introduce you to "my" new children? There are only four of them in this photo, the other three were home at the time, but never fear, they'll make their blogging presence in due course. I present to you (from left to right) Arden (5), Christiana (8), Shiloah (12), and Robert (2) or Michael Darling. Affectionately referred to as such because of the way Robert reminds me of the smallest Darling child in Peter Pan; he also speaks in a British accent from time to time.

One morning, on the way to Trader Joe's/HEB...

Michael Darling (Robert): "Miss Elena, can we drive your other car? I like it more better..."

Nanny (me): "Well, Robert, my Mom needed to drive the prius today so we switched cars, don't you like this one?"

Michael Darling: "No, I like the white car more better."

Nanny: "But Robert, this one has a sun roof!! Don't you think that makes this car way better?!"

Michael Darling: "I still like the other one"

One fine day before lunch...
 Nanny (me): said in a British accent "Oh, Robert Darling, you musn't have your cars on the table! We're eating lunch, sir, and it wouldn't do to have them there; you really must take them off!"

Michael Darling (Robert): also said in British accent "But I want the cars on the table!"

At last, I have someone who'll converse with me in foreign accents that we don't really have.

We all have quite a merry time together. Our weekly routine is simple but it works well for us; I arrive around nine in the morning, carry off a few Darlings with me to the grocery store for the weeks groceries, coming home for lunch, then I'll make dinner and put a few for naps. Trader Joe's is definitely my new hangout, it's really a marvelous place; lots of samples, interesting chocolate combinations (my current loves being the 70% chocolate with toffee, walnuts, and pecans or the 50% with salted almonds. I know, right?!) and friendly staff make for a very pleasant shopping stop! In my experience, one generally gains more samples, coupons, and friendly gestures when shopping with children; particularly children who speak with foreign accents. Ah, the stories one has to tell when caring for children!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

changing seasons

At least, this week it is. This morning, as I was walking home from the voting booths (voted!), a delightful chill was being carried through the trees and propelled by the cars speeding past, so much so that I felt the need for a bit of lightweight wool around the neck. Sometimes it's the simple things, I tell you. Walking in the chilly air with a scarf, walking through the rain (pouring or misting) and being among the sand and sea are things that I consider to be on the "sweet and simple list". They just come naturally and often don't last terribly long, but they're a part of the things one remembers about a day or vacation.
Ah, to be back by the sea...

So, my fall swing of wedding planning has come to a close and I must confess to be a mixture of sadness that the planning/coordinating is over (for now) and contentedness that sweet friends are married; there is certainly a satisfaction of looking back at a job well done, reviewing what I learned and making notes of what to do next time. I've had many a person ask me what I'll be doing now that these weddings are over and quite honestly, I'm looking forward to getting back to "home life". Since September, I've had a few things on hold and how is the time to get back to them. As usual, I'll start with a teux deux list and will start working to knock it out! A major thing that's been lovingly placed on the back burner is my dear etsy shop, I don't even remember when I put it on vacation but it's time to break out the knitting needles and sewing things again. I'd love to focus on selling to brick-and-mortar shops around Houston, Austin, North Carolina, and New York (it certainly helps to have friends in different parts of the country!). Working with people is something that I really enjoy and is a factor that I have sorely missed by selling primarily on etsy, more on that thought later. :)
Also, now that I'm not quite so busy, I have more time to be nannying! In the past month or so, I've had the pleasure to begin regularly nannying for a family from my church, and there have been so many fun experiences thus far! Currently there are seven children in the family and as the top three children are older and self-sufficient, I mostly work with the younger four.
Robert (age 2, whom I refer to as "Michael Darling") is my new little buddy and we do have a grand time together; he's a marvelous grocery shopping buddy and has a great love for my humming car (because it really is the car that loves to have fun); HEB and Trader Joe's are our current hangout places. (I just. love. Trader Joe's.) Be expecting photos of "my" new seven children soon. It's all a change of pace considering the schedule I've been keeping the past three months but I generally consider change to be a beautiful thing; at the very least, it's wonderful for the creative mind to have a new schedule every now and again.

But first, I must sort through all of the wedding leftovers; runaway receipts and lists must be tracked, wedding flower urns to be returned, and emails to be sent. After that, I'm very much looking forward to filling up the weeks with nannying, sewing, knitting, running (my new found exercise love), and-hopefully-more estate sale finds (I'm always on the hunt for linens, eclectic plates, and glass jars!).  November begins my very favorite time of year (in case it's slipped your notice), there are so many things I love about the chilly months not only because they're chilly but because of the things that November/December/January bring. Birthdays, hot apple cider, and dinner outside under white twinkly lights are just a few of the things that make this time of year special to me.

What about you? How does your November look?


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