Music, Illness, and a Wedding! (7 Quick Takes #13)

6 Jun

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This has been a pretty full week, so much so that I have enough random stuff that I can actually link up with Jennifer and crew at Conversion Diary.

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My younger brother, Jeff, got married last weekend! He married someone whom readers of this blog may be familiar with – my very first Dreamer in the Spotlight, Abby! To most everyone’s surprise, she did not make her own wedding cake, but Jeni’s gourmet ice cream was served all afternoon! It was perfect for a hot day!

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I’ve let my Dreamer in the Spotlight series kind of go by the wayside for the past several months, but another person who I featured last year, Catholic musician Tori Harris, is releasing a new EP this summer. I was fortunate enough to be able to listen to it prior to it’s release this week. I love her sound! Pre-sale copies will be out on iTunes this Sunday! Be sure to check back in the next few weeks for an update post on what Tori’s been doing!

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After a busy wedding weekend, my oldest came down with a cough that turned into a sinus/throat infection complete with conjuctivitis. I’m praying that no one else gets sick since she has been pretty contagious the past few days. Thanks to my mom for taking care of her! Work has been so crazy busy this week that there was no way I could stay home. :(

When I got home from work on Wednesday, after C was taken to the doctor, it was kind of a funny scene in my front yard. I was on the phone with my mom talking about what the doctor said,  juggling some groceries, calling for my dog that had escaped from the backyard, and walking up to the front door with only one shoe on because the other broke! Wow…

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It’s CMA Fest again in Nashville this week. Adam is the lead tech at LP Field where all the nightly concerts are being held. He had a little scare with the storm that came through Wednesday night, but the tarps held up and all the gear was dry! Hopefully everything runs smoothly the rest of the weekend! He just sent me this pic of Eric Church’s performance! I guess he crept out from behind backstage. It’s as close as I’m going to get to downtown right now! No thank you, crazy traffic!

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I’ve been looking at ways to expand my skills and grow career-wise, so I’m kind of interested in pursuing grant writing. There are a couple workshops coming up later this year in Nashville that I’m considering attending. Anybody out there have experience with writing grants? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

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This weekend, I plan to figure out what project/craft the girls and I will be doing for Adam for Father’s Day. If you have any fun ideas, please share! Last year I posted about 5 free printables. I’m going to go back and check those out or maybe find something different… C said that she’s going to “make the best card that Daddy’s ever seen,” so we probably can’t top that!

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Maybe I spoke too soon about having seven things to talk about…. It’s getting late and my brain can’t think! TGIF! Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

Be a Sheep

14 May

Shepherd with SheepSource

Last Tuesday, Adam excitedly called me about a Catholic Answers Live podcast episode he was in the middle of listening to. Host Patrick Coffin was interviewing Catholic country artist, Collin Raye, about his new book, A Voice Undefeated, and the state of the music industry in Nashville right now. It was so refreshing to hear him speak on a lot of the same things that Adam has expressed frustration about, like how hard it is to get any songs of substance cut right now!

To listen to this podcast with Collin Raye that originally aired May 12th, click here.

Later that night, after I had an opportunity to listen to it myself we talked on the phone about it and, again, about figuring out what steps God wants us to pursue… It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking at the big picture and the work and time a music ministry would take, especially when we work opposite schedules and have two young children. Things seem impossible to even think about. We ended with the conclusion that we need to keep bringing our fears honestly before the Lord and continue to pray and be open to God’s will. We need to focus on one step at a time. Listening to this podcast, though, was definitely some sort of step on the journey.

Before I went to bed, I read the gospel reading (John 10:22-30) and meditation for the day in The Word Among Us. No surprise – it totally went along with what we had just been discussing. Here’s a little snippet of the meditation for May 13:

…he wants you to become more sheeplike: more single-minded in faith, more reliant on him, more “helpless.” He wants you to learn to rest in his salvation and trust him more fully…

Spend some time today thinking about being a sheep. Watch and listen for messages from the world and from your own heart that urge you to be independent, to take care of yourself. Are you listening to those messages more than to the messages that come from the Good Shepherd? He truly does love and care for you so let him make you more and more like one of his trusting, obedient sheep.

Often times, I think we feel like we need to do something- anything- to make our dreams happen. Yes, we need to put forth a lot of effort, but sometimes we are just spinning our wheels. Being busy makes us feel like we are making progress, but it is just wasted energy if we’re not following and trusting God’s path for us.

I love the image of being a sheep! It can be so hard to let go of the illusion of control, but there is so much peace and freedom in letting our Good Shepherd lead us! He wants what is best for us and will not lead us astray!

We are working on knowing when to wait for God’s hand and when it may be fear that is holding us back. I pray that the Lord will lead these two aspiring sheep to what he has called us to do and that we may follow! I also pray for any of you sheep who are reading this! I’m so inspired by the commitment and example of so many who are responding to God’s will for their lives! Thank you for your courage!

Adventures in Gardening {Part 3: Planting a Square Foot Garden}

14 May

Square Foot Gardening

To catch up on my gardening experiment, read Part 1: Starting Seeds Indoors and Part 2: Building a Raised Bed.

Fortunately, last weekend I had time to transplant my seedlings into the raised bed! My grids for the square foot garden were already laid out, so it made spacing very easy. Mel Bartholomew came up with this method of garden and I’ve done so much research on square foot gardening, I feel like I’ve read his books, even though I haven’t!

20140514-220303.jpgMy precious little plants waiting to move to their new home!

One of the things that everyone says to do in advance is chart out where you want to place your plants in the box. Taller plants should go on the north-side of the garden and smaller plants on the south-side so they aren’t competing for sunshine. I also found that certain plants are “companion” plants and others don’t like to be near each other. For example, I had to be sure to plant my basil away from my cucumbers, because apparently they don’t like strong smelling herbs. Tomatoes, peppers, basil, and marigolds all do really well together.

Here is my plan on paper:

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I planted extra tomato and pepper plants in case squirrels try to be sneaky with my food!

20140514-215622.jpgWow, I majorly need some sun! Sorry if my arm is blinding you!

I put in stakes and cages prior to planting, as recommended online so as not to damage the roots.

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20140514-215751.jpgMy pepper plants have been doing so well so far. I hope they continue on like this!! Grow, grow!

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My girls helped me directly sow the zucchini, squash, and cucumber seeds. We had a good bit of rain on Wednesday and most of the cucumber plants have sprouted already! Now, I’m going to have to figure out how to trellis these guys to grow vertically so they don’t take over my garden!

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And here is my plan made 100% reality in my little 4×4 square foot garden:

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Hopefully, my guardian owl will scare little critters away!

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I can’t wait for these plants to start producing fruit and vegetables! Now I need to research how to harvest!

 Anybody else out there gardening this year (or has in the past)? What vegetables or fruits have you had the most success growing?

Adventures in Gardening {Part 2: Building a Raised Bed}

8 May

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The last official frost date for Tennessee was April 30th, so that means that my little seedlings that I started indoors need to be transplanted! Last Sunday, my husband built the 4 x 4 raised bed and I prepared the soil. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to actually plant the seeds and seedlings but I’m trying to work on that this weekend as long as it doesn’t storm the whole time!

Please note: I am a first-time gardener! I’ve done a lot of research, but I’m obviously learning quite a bit as I go along. If you have any tips, feel free to share!

Here is a little overview of this step in my gardening adventure:

20140508-211130.jpgAdam bought some non-treated lumber to build my 6″ high bed. It cost about $16 for the materials.

20140508-211147.jpgThis is what I used for my soil. (WARNING – Don’t buy the red bags… read on for why.) Mel Bartholomew, the creator of Square Foot Gardening, advises a mix of 1/3 Coarse Vermiculite, 1/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss, and 1/3 Blended Compost.  I didn’t pay attention to the grade of vermiculite and was just happy that I found some at Lowe’s, so these red bags actually consist of fine-grade vermiculite. I had already mixed it before realizing the necessity of coarse vermiculite. We’ll see what happens this summer with the plants… I spent about $60 to create the soil mix. (Oh, and there is a special square foot gardening soil available, but I would have had to spend double just to ship the darn bags because they weren’t available in any of the Home Depot stores in Middle Tennessee. You may be one of the lucky ones that lives near a store that carries it, though! The cost of the pre-made soil is about the same as mixing it yourself.)

 

20140508-211205.jpgIt was such a beautiful day! The girls played in the sprinkler while we worked!

 

20140508-211230.jpgI read somewhere online that newspapers could be laid down in the yard as opposed to clearing out all of the grass first. (Can you tell we live in Nashville by the newspaper photos – Titans coach, David Nail, Dierks Bentley?) One of the strong points of building a raised bed is that it is supposed to be free of weeds! I’m all about less hassle gardening!

 

20140508-211251.jpgTo help minimize the chance of weeds, I put down some weed block over the newspaper. It cost about $10 for a roll. Also pictured above, are the three types of soil needed for a successful square foot garden! The only thing that will need to be replaced each year is the compost (as long as my fine vermiculite works out okay – fingers crossed)! Oh, and if anyone needs organic peat moss let me know! It was compressed and doubled in size once opened, so I have a ton left over!

 

20140508-211322.jpgHere is all of the soil mixed together! My youngest wanted to help too! It basically looks like a big sandbox, so what kid wouldn’t?!

A 4×4 bed is supposed to hold about 7.5 cubic feet (2.5 cubic ft of each potting soil element). I still have some room in my box, so I’m thinking about trying to find some coarse vermiculite and to add with a little more compost and peat moss.

 

20140508-211418.jpgI nailed plywood down to make 12″ grids, which is a highly recommended part of square foot gardening. I purposely left one marker off, because two of my squash plants will take up the space of two squares instead of one.

 

20140508-211434.jpgHere are my seedlings hardening off outside and patiently waiting to be planted… they’re still waiting! I had too many long days at work this week and not enough time to plant! My tomato plants, especially, are dying to be transplanted!

 

20140508-211446.jpgI did manage to transplant a basil plant and a tiny mint plant to these two front containers. As you can see it’s dark outside in this photo! I finished with a few minutes of daylight left Sunday night! I planted parsley in the back green pot. It’s supposedly really hard to germinate and grow from seed, so we’ll see. It doesn’t hurt to try!

I’ll be posting Part 3 of this series soon! If you missed the first step in this adventure, read Part 1: Starting Seeds Indoors.

Adam Shick at Nashville Catholic Underground: Recap

1 May

20140501-210701.jpgAdam accompanied by Jon Conley (Guitarist for Kenny Chesney)

This past Saturday, Adam played a set at Saint Mary of the Seven Sorrows for the monthly Catholic Underground event in downtown Nashville! He hadn’t played a show for awhile and was a little concerned about whether or not his voice would last for an hour-long set, especially after doing an afternoon rehearsal with amazing guitar player, Jon Conley. (Adam played with him while on the road in Emma Jacob’s band a few years ago.) Fortunately, his voice was just fine! I’m certain the Holy Spirit was helping him out! :)

20140501-210722.jpgBustin’ out a note… and, yes, he got to sign the backdrop! :)

Adam sang mostly originals, but mixed in a Coldplay cover and a NEEDTOBREATHE cover. He wrapped up the night with a Lean on Me/This Little Light of Mine/You are My Sunshine Medley! Everybody was singing and clapping along, so it was a great way to end! Here’s the link to the video! Oh, and you have to hear what he did with the last note, because it totally caught me by surprise. Dude is awesome!

20140501-210711.jpgSitting on Grandpa’s lap, watching Daddy sing one of her favorite songs (with favorite stuffed animal “Monkey”)!

We let our almost-five-year-old stay up that night to watch her daddy perform! She loved it, although she was exhausted! We’re so excited that a good number of our family and friends could come out! Even one of our high school friends who was in town for a bachelor party stopped by!

As usual, we’re contemplating how God wants Adam to move forward with his music… first thing is to get his record done!!! At least we have the website up-and-going: adamshickmusic.com! It’s a start!

Woohoo! Almost TGIF! Have a great weekend, y’all!

 

Travel Diary No. 5

21 Apr

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It has definitely been a Monday today! Anybody else feel the same way?! I’m linking up with Jenny and ladies tonight! Even though the site changed again, I found the new one so I can update my online “Travel Diary” day book (formerly Moments of Grace and Catholic Woman’s Almanac)!!!

Thanking God for…

  • beautiful spring weather
  • being a mommy to two sweet, silly girls
  • Jesus’ death and Resurrection
  • bedtime cuddles

I am praying for…

  • the souls in purgatory
  • to be a holy wife and mother
  • the ending of abortion
  • the intentions of family members, friends, and co-workers

I am pondering…

  • How in the heck do people find time to write?! I’m hard-pressed to find time to squeeze it in each week between the long, stressful work days, house chores, grocery shopping, and mommy duties. Oh how I long to be on a deserted island for a weekend with just a computer and a good book!! :)

I am reading…

  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel.  I’m now about a fifth of the way through! I haven’t spent much time on it lately, but I definitely want to read more especially with soon-to-be Saint John Paul’s canonization coming up next week!
  • 7 Men: And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas. I just read the chapter on Eric Liddell. The way he used running as a means to get speaking gigs to spread the gospel is inspiring. I haven’t watched Chariots of Fire, but it sounds like his life as a missionary in China after his Olympic days was even more amazing and movie-worthy.

I am creating…

  • Uh….this post? Not much mental space right now for inspiration and creativity, but life is full and filled with blessings!

I’m learning…

  • More about gardening. It’s almost time to transplant my tomato, pepper, and basil plants outside! I have a feeling the hard part is just getting started! I need to harden them off outside but scared the delicate leaves will get destroyed from the wind!

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A 4-5 week update on my plants!

Around the house…

  •  My Little Ponies have taken over! The girls received a total of 6 of them for Easter from us and my parents! We’ll see how long this phase lasts, but they are obsessed right now!

Look what I found…

  • An amazing whole wheat soft-pretzel recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction! I wanted to make them during lent and finally knocked them out on Good Friday. They turned out so well. I’ll definitely be making them again!

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I am looking forward to…

Catholic Underground this weekend! I can’t wait to see Adam sing. It’s been quite the stretch since I’ve seen him perform around town. If you’re in Nashville be sure to head over to St. Mary of the Seven Sorrows! It sounds like we have a good crowd coming! Adoration starts at 7:00 pm.

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A favorite quote for today…

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Have a great Easter week!

Also, linking up here….

A Mama Collective

A Look Back: Our Wedding Song!

17 Apr

While finally catching up on my blogroll the other night, I noticed tons of peeps linking up with Grace to talk about the songs they first danced to at their wedding receptions, so of course I have to get in on this action! I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about music and marriage at the same time!

If you’ve stopped by this blog before, it’s no secret that music is kind of a big part of our lives, considering my husband is a musician and we live in Nashville. I mean, even our girls’ names are music-related!

Pretty early in our dating relationship, Adam introduced Bryan White’s How Lucky I Am CD to me and the whole thing became our, well, CD. Forget having a special song, we had 11 of them! Not including the ones he wrote for me (Man, it’s funny to hear those now)!

Adam and Stef Dancing

Anyway, we chose one of the songs on that CD to be our first dance song, You’ll Always Be Loved (By Me). Aside from the perfect (for us) lyrics, it has an amazing symphony sound that gives the song a great energy!

Here’s the chorus:

When everything is moving fast
It’s hard to stay together
I know that we can make it last
We’ll find a way to weather

Any storm heaven sends
We’ll see it through to the end
We’ll find a way if you can just believe
You’ll always be loved by me

We didn’t have any special dancing skills – we basically swayed and turned around in circles high school-dance style! (Cut us some slack! We lived 400 miles apart for three years before we got married!)

Before we even started our first dance, though, Adam surprised me with a song he had written especially for our wedding. And, yes, I really was completely surprised because he kept telling me that he didn’t want to sing a song because he wanted to focus on us and not his music, so when his groomsman handed him an acoustic guitar and two chairs were brought out to the dance floor I was genuinely caught a little off-guard!

Adam Singing to Stefanie

Adam and Stefanie

I still love this special song so much, and it’s amazing how many of these things actually came true in our life! The song is called Here’s to Me and You. (I planned to share the mp3 of this song, but due to some stupid technical difficulties and formatting issues it has became way more trouble than I ever thought it would be! If I can get it figured out, I’ll come back and update this post with the song!)

Oh, and I can’t talk about the reception without mentioning that I had Adam surprise my dad by singing Butterfly Kisses during our father-daughter dance! Tears!

Father Daughter Dance

What a fun night shared with precious family and friends! I’m excited that my brother’s wedding is less than two months away! I can’t wait to catch up with everyone and celebrate such a great occasion!

I’ve really enjoyed reading about other bloggers’ wedding songs and stories. What a fun link-up idea! So many great songs and moments!

All photos by Dejan Photography

Learning How to Pray {5 Helpful Resources}

11 Apr

St. Louis de Montfort Prayer Quote

I’ve wanted to write a post about prayer for awhile, but it just seems like such an overwhelming subject to tackle! There are so many different ways to pray and so many books on the topic! I’m not going to let that stop me, though!

Since it’s such a popular subject, prayer is clearly important. It is one of the most vital things that we can do to grow closer to God and be molded into who He wants us to be. It’s essential in order to discover His will for us. Praying must be more than just a few petitions tossed up throughout the day or a quick “thank you” when things work out our way. Prayer needs to be a priority so that everything else is rightly ordered and our “paths are made straight” (Proverbs 3:6). Just as a couple needs to continuously communicate and sacrifice daily in order to cultivate a healthy marriage, the same must be done to grow deeper in a relationship with Christ.

Improving my prayer life is something that I’ve personally been focusing on the past several months. Even though I’m a full-time working mother, I try to find moments in my day that I can dedicate consistently to prayer. This idea of making a point to set aside a specific time to pray each day has been a recurring theme that I have come across often in my reading.

I use my drive to work in the morning to pray and prepare for the day. I’ve been trying to get back into praying the rosary consistently, too. (It helps that my radio is broken, too – no distractions!) I also spend a little time reading the Bible after tucking my girls in at night. I’m not spending hours in prayer, but I have found that I feel much more at peace when I stick to my new routine, however short it is.

I do have to say, though, that the more I am aware of the blessings in my daily life and promptings to do God’s will, the more I feel like my actions and special moments are like little prayers. Sometimes I find myself soaking in a genuine smile from one of my daughters and I feel it’s God showing me His love and allowing me to experience true joy that only comes from Him. I can feel God in the moment. No words even need to be said.

Pray Without Ceasing Quote

In doing my research on prayer, I have come across some very helpful and inspiring resources. Instead of trying to quote and paraphrase, I think it’d be best to just share and link, because they each deserve to be read in their entirety!

Recommended Resources on Prayer:

1. The Prayer Process as shared in The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly. This 7-step process is a great daily way to pray. It helps me reflect on the accomplishments and failures of the day, how God is speaking to me, and what I can do for others.

2. Prayer Primer: Igniting a Fire Within by Fr. Thomas Dubay. This book really is a must-read on prayer. There were many great insights in this book. Not only did it address the various types of prayer and their value, but it discussed how to help children pray and how to pray even when we are busy. I know that this is a book I could re-read over and over again and continuously learn more.

3. Lesson One in Prayer by Peter Kreeft. I love how Kreeft writes – so visual and direct. This brief article on why to pray and how to get started is definitely a kick in the pants! Kreeft has also written Prayer for Beginners, but I haven’t read it yet. It’s definitely on my list and is actually available from Lighthouse Catholic Media for $5.

4. Meditation Stuff: The Laudate app is free and has daily readings and meditations. I also like Word Among Us for their daily meditations on the readings. I recently discovered The Catholic Company’s Morning Offering daily email. At first, I was like, “I don’t need another thing to read and meditate on,” but I have discovered that I really like the saint quotes that they share! Each day they feature that day’s saint, Liturgy of the Hours, and more. I highly recommend it!

5. St. Josemaria Escriva. One of my favorite bloggers, Erin of Humble Handmaid, has mentioned this saint’s writings often on her blog. She recently shared this post, “Making Every Breath a Prayer,” where she again shared some more of his wisdom. I definitely need to get to know this saint more!

How do you fit prayer into your daily life?  Do you have any favorite resources or tips?

5 Lovely Reflections for Mothers of Girls

1 Apr

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Over the past month, I have come across some very insightful posts about the importance of mothers sharing authentic beauty, truth, and joy with their daughters.  All links below are worthy of your time! These reflections are great reminders and definitely inspirational!

Linking up with Hallie and ladies at Moxie Wife this week!

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Talks With Our Daughters -Treasures from the pages Part 1.

Theresa Thomas shares some great wisdom from the book Talks With Our Daughters by Sister M. Eleanore. There is so much truth and wisdom in Sister’s writing. I will definitely be printing this and sharing with my girls when they are older. I can’t wait until Theresa posts Part 2!

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Finding Balance

This post by Melissa Michaels at (in)courage reminds us to make sure we are living with intention and focusing on serving God instead of being dragged down by to-do lists. It’s definitely something that most women struggle with, I’d say!

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10 Powerful Prayers to Help You Fight for the Heart of Your Daughter

This PDF of ten short prayers based on scripture that Lysa TerKeurst put together is another great resource! I definitely want to incorporate this into my daily prayer time!

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Little Girls, Get Up! Get Up and Eat.

Someone shared this post by Glennon of Momastery on Facebook today. It’s another great message to make us mothers pause and reflect!

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10 Things to Bring Peace, Joy, and Silence in the Midst of One of “Those” Weeks

Mary Wallace wrote this post for CatholicMom.com today. I definitely went through one of “those” weeks last week at work. Mary offers some great ideas of things we can do to give us a little silence and/or stress relief!

What’s Keeping Me Away From My Blog? {7 Quick Takes #13}

28 Mar

I’ve been itching to spend more time writing and reading others’ posts this month, but so much has been going on! And work started getting a little crazy a couple weeks ago so my brain is on overload right now! Happy to be joining Jen and co. for some Quick Takes!

I decided to share what has been keeping me so busy in March (and it wasn’t just filling out my tournament bracket)!

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One of the main things that I have been devoting my time to recently is helping my husband get his website going! He finally has a little space on the internet! There are a couple songs on there, but they still need to mastered and all. I’m just excited that adamshickmusic.com is live! AND I’m excited that the logo I created over a year and a half ago is being put to use!

Adam Shick Music

 

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So far most of the seeds that I started indoors have sprouted! When I took this photo last week, I was still waiting on more than half of them to pop out! I spent a lot of time researching before committing to starting a small raised-bed organic vegetable garden this year, so that definitely consumed time at the beginning of the month.

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 As you can see below, my attempt at nicely organizing our almost 3-year-old’s potty progress throughout the month of March was quickly abandoned! After a stubborn stretch of not wanting to go, she turned a corner yesterday and decided that she really wanted to wear her princess underwear! Let’s hope it continues! 20140328-194237.jpg

 

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One of my goals for the beginning of 2014 was to add some more flair to my home decor, so that our house feels extra welcoming and joyful. After having two babies in the past 5 years, I really haven’t had time to care too much about how the house looks! I made the kitchen wall decor below with scrapbook paper and utensil vectors I found on the internet for free!

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Every week consists of cutting and filing coupons and checking out great sales at Kroger and Publix. Ya know, making sure the family has food to eat is kind of essential on the priority list! And so is saving money! I did score 2 4-packs of toilet paper for 10 cents each and Huggies wipes for 20 cents each among other deals this week!

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We have also been working on getting our oldest daughter into Kindergarten at a nearby Catholic school. She was accepted earlier this month! I plan to post more on our decision making process regarding her education soon…

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Although so much has been going on, I have to give major props to my rock star husband! He is with the girls often during the day before he goes to work in the evenings and I don’t know what I’d do without him!

See these towels below?! Yeah, he folded these for me!

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See the dishes below? Adam hand-washed those. (Something he does regularly I might add!)

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Oh! And he also knocked out some arts and crafts with the girls this week! He found this little project all on his own! He sent this photo to me while I was at work!

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My life is full and I am blessed! Now hopefully in April I’ll be able to squeeze in A LOT more time following my blogroll and writing these posts ideas that are piling up! Have a great weekend!

 

 

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