Finding joy and grace in the ordinary.

Apple Orchard

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So, if you follow along on any social media platform of mine, you know that I am 100% a summer girl. I want to live where the sun always shines and it’s 80 degrees. Saying goodbye to summer isn’t easy for me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love autumn, but knowing my favorite season is a year away makes me want to cry into my pillow for a bit. However, there is something beautiful about living in a place that fully experiences all four seasons. Whether you’re ready or not, you’re carried through the rhythms and you get the chance to start fresh and indulge in the special gems that are saved specially for the time. Visiting the apple orchard is one of those things.

I love to write out a “bucket list” for our family each fall–a list of activities and events to try throughout September and October. We chose the perfect day to check off the first activity on our list. It was breezy and the apple orchard was quiet while most of the state prepared for the first football game of the season. We rode the trailer through rows of trees and took our time finding the best honeycrisps (my personal favorite).

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Penny insisted on carrying her bag of apples and June was only concerned with taking a bite.We’ve been doing this since the girls were babies and it gets better and better as they age. Watching the girls explore and have fun brings me so much joy.

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The transition to autumn is really lovely. I crack open my windows on a crisp morning while the big band music plays and my favorite fall candle fills the house. My tea kettle whistles and I pour hot water into my favorite chai mix and I sit underneath a blanket before anyone’s awake to open my Bible in silence. There is so much romance in the changing of the trees! We’re only on the edge of autumn, but I eagerly anticipate all the goodness it brings and we plan to enjoy it to the fullest.

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We came home from the orchard and I poured myself a glass a wine, put on some jazz music, put my favorite soup on the stove, and made apple butter in the crockpot while my husband watched the game. It felt like the official welcoming of a new season (even though it was 90 degrees the rest of the weekend ha!).

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We welcome you, Fall. Please be gentle as we say goodbye to a dear friend.

I’m excited to share all of my favorite fall things with you soon, including our family bucket list! Stay tuned and have a great week!

My Favorite Tank Top

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I’m a homemaker on a budget who loves fashion. It’s kind of an oxymoron. It’s not easy to have Madewell/Free People taste on a Target budget, amiright?! BUT. After all these years (lol I’m only 26), I’m learning to be selective with the pieces I add to my wardrobe. I’m not a hardcore “wardrobe capsule” person, but I love the idea of being intentional with the pieces of clothing you buy–making sure they are good quality (get outta here F21) and versatile. This tank top is just that.

I’m pretty sure I was born in the wrong era. I love the combination of simple and classic mixed with the vintage elements of the 60’s and 70’s. To me, a turtleneck tank is the perfect piece to transition into cooler days here in the midwest. It’s cool enough to wear as a tank when the sun it out, but it can also be layered and worn well into the winter when the temperatures drop lower than I’d like them to.

So when I found this top at the Gap, I immediately had this idea to do a blog post on a few ways I can style it with different outfits from my wardrobe. I will most definitely be going back for the other colors!

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I love the playfulness of this tank with overalls and chucks. It’s the perfect outfit for running errands.

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For those who know me well, they know that I have a denim obsession. I just love it. Denim jumpers, denim dresses, denim jackets, denim skirts, etc. My husband teases me that sometimes I remind him of a Sunday school teacher from the 90’s. I mean, that doesn’t totally feel like an insult to me but, whatevs. I think denim on denim is great. Most of the time you need to have something to break it up a little (a.k.a. the stripes) or you’ll be mistaken for Jay Leno and nobody wants that.

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I don’t really consider myself to be a badass. I drive a minivan, for goodness sake, but every now and then I like to spice it up with a leather jacket and some black boots. The fur collar makes me feel a little Penny-Lane.

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I love the tank paired with a suede skirt. (It would be equally cute with a mini-suede skirt). Midi-skirts are one of my favorite things and you can wear pretty much any solid-colored skirt with the stripes (I’m not a big gal on mixing patterns but if that’s you, you go girl).

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^^^I also forgot to put my cute black hat on in the photo above because my children were getting antsy and we were rushing to get these photos taken. hashtag RealLife.

I highly recommend you add this top to your autumn wardrobe. As you’ve seen, it can be worn with numerous outfit combos and you will definitely get your money’s worth! And just in case you were wondering…this isn’t some sort of ad for Gap (#goals) I just really like this top and I really like sharing the things I love with you!

I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll leave you with the song and I’m currently addicted to.

Ireland

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It has been four months since our trip to Ireland. It took me all summer to muster up the motivation to sort through all of my photos and condense them down to a handful. The trip was, hands down, the best experience of my life. I don’t travel the world often and I really hate flying so it took me a while to gain the courage to fly across the ocean, but I’m so glad I did. Ireland was a dream. It was everything I imagined it would be and more. The pictures just don’t do it justice! I think of those special memories often, this romantic week tucked in the back of my mind.

We were able to take this trip through my husband’s work and they took VERY good care of us. Usually when we travel, we are pinching pennies and being as frugal as possible. We were completely out of our element staying in five star hotels and eating at the finest restaurants. I could totally get used to that style of travelingšŸ˜‰

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We started in Dublin. The city was beautiful and full of history. Truman’s favorite part was the Guinness brewery tour. I’m not much of a beer drinker so I didn’t appreciate the real Guinness as much as he did, but apparently the stuff in Ireland is much better than what we have in the U.S. After a few days in the city, we took a train to Killarney to experience the beautiful countryside of Ireland. I enjoy cities, but I was mostly looking forward to this part. We took a three hour train ride and I was SO excited for it because I had always wanted to ride on a train. However, it was the worst. I don’t really get motion sickness, but something about riding backwards and the cart shaking back and forth made for a pretty miserable ride. The scenery was still breathtaking as we passed many pastures and cute, little cottages along the way.

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We stayed at The Europe hotel and it was STUNNING. When I think of Ireland, I don’t think “mountains” so I was pleasantly surprised when this was our view from the hotel. The first thing we did when we arrived was walk down to the dock to take it all in. After a long morning of travel, I snuggled up on one of the chairs by the pool to read a book.

We took a few tours on the trip and my favoriteĀ  was the Dingle Peninsula tour. We rode a bus all along the peninsula and stopped in Dingle to experience small-town living. Unfortunately, we caught a really gloomy and rainy day so we couldn’t see most of the views off the coast. Our tour guide told us it was a true shame because it’s one of the most beautiful things to see in Ireland. Through the fog and rain we could barely make out the site where they filmed the last scene from the most recent Star Wars.

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On our final day, we set out early in the morning to take a tour through the Gap of Dunloe. It felt a lot like Colorado, but getting to listen to the tour guide’s rich Irish accent as he led us via horse and carriage was extra special.

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Once we got back from our tour, Truman treated me to an afternoon at the beautiful spa in the hotel. I spent time in the steam room, I floated in the salt water tub, and relaxed in the sun with a good book before my massage. After my massage, they led me to a special room with heated lounge chairs overlooking the mountains. A small heated pool was attached and I lay over the side, listening to the water and the birds. It had been mostly chilly and rainy while we were there, but on that day the sun was trying to peek through the clouds. That moment was the most restful moment of my life. I listened to the birds chirp and just praised God for this amazing opportunity. I never grow tired of experiencing His beauty and it felt like a big kiss on the cheek to have an entire afternoon of quiet and rest. I think back to that scene often when I need to escape my mind for a moment. I hope that I’m fortunate enough to return someday.

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I want to go back to Ireland so badly. There was so much of the country that we didn’t have time to see and there are many things that I want to see again. I’m so thankful for the experience. Ireland captured a piece of my heart and we hope to return again! (Maybe next time in the summer when it’s *slightly* warmer.)

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South Dakota

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I feel like taking a family vacation to South Dakota is a very American thing to do. I had actually never been to SD and I naively thought it was a boring state. Since we have some family who live in Spearfish, we thought it would be the perfect chance to get away and not have to spend a ton of money on lodging and eating out. I had been looking forward to taking the girls on their first family vacation and even though there were PLENTY of meltdowns, we went in with low expectations and overall had a great time.

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On our way up to Spearfish (a 9 hour drive!) we stopped in the badlands. It was stunning. I mean, truly breathtaking. The girls were tired and cranky at this point so we didn’t get to stick around and explore as much as I would have liked, but I’m really glad we stopped and I would recommend it to anyone who passes by. We were told to avoid Wall Drug because it’s a huge tourist trap–it is. But. Doughnuts. We stopped because we were starving and I caved and bought a few of their cake doughnuts. Zero regrets about it.

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The Black Hills felt a lot like Colorado at some points. We decided to take the girls on a hike in Spearfish Canyon and it couldn’t have gone any better. They were such troopers! They loved pretending to be warrior princesses and they jumped over rocks and climbed their way to the top. We hiked to Devil’s Bathtub and it was beautiful.

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Hiking with children on your back is no easy feat, let me tell you. I got more of a workout on this trip than I have in years! It’s easy to do when the scenery is beautiful.

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We went to Keystone one day to do the Rushmore thing because you have to! Keystone reminded me of a condensed version of Branson and I’m not a big fan of giant tourist traps, BUT they did have a chairlift that took you to a restaurant and on the way down you could ride the alpine slide. That was the girls’ favorite part of the whole trip and they would have been content to ride that over and over again all day.

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A lot of people told us that we needed to visit Storybook Village in Rapid City. The girls loved it and I wish Nebraska had something like it! It’s free and it’s this giant, weird park that’s full of children’s story characters. Of course the favorite spot was Cinderella’s carriage.

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On our last day, we decided to explore Custer State Park. I really wanted to see a killer view before we left and it seemed like that was the place to do it. The mistake we made, however, was going through the wildlife loop. I was expecting to see herds of buffalo surrounding our van. We saw two. TWO. The entire 45 minute drive was very uneventful and disappointing. Obviously it’s wildlife so you can’t guarantee anything, but the girls were getting restless and we wish we would have skipped that part. We took a VERY long drive all the way across the park up to Sylvan Lake and even though everyone was cranky and tired of being in the car, Sylvan Lake turned out to be my favorite part of the trip. It was beautiful. Had I known it existed beforehand, I would have planned an entire day to spend up there on the beach. The trails were pretty, the beach was clean, and the girls loved playing in the water.

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Needless to say, South Dakota wowed us. Even though there were a few bumps along the way, we enjoyed our first adventure with the girls and I even learned to like the uncertainty of traveling. Part of exploring a new area is learning how to go with the flow and take risks and that’s not easy for me, but we learned a lot on the trip and we’re looking forward to more vacations in the future!

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Father’s Day Weekend

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Our Father’s Day Weekend was slow and quiet. I’ll admit, because I stay at home with the girls and our weekdays can be long and mundane sometimes, when Friday hits I’m like a puppy scratching to get out of its cage and I want to do all. the. things! I have a long summer “bucket-list” but that list was put aside this weekend and we spent time enjoying a slower pace at home. Our garden was being taken hostage by weeds with super-powers so I spent the afternoon caring for our ever-growing veggies (and mourning the loss of my spinach that most likely was taken by the cute little bunny that’s been hanging around our house).

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Normally on the weekends I try to spend as little amount of time in the kitchen as possible, but I was signed up to take a meal to a friend recovering from surgery and it was surprisingly a nice change of pace. It was a good chance to get acquainted with the new album that I won’t shut up about and spend some one on one time with Penny, who helped me bake a lemon bundt cake. Truman came into the kitchen at one point and noticed the large mess of dirty dishes and said “geez, I feel like I’ve washed the dishes a million times today.” WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

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I was strictly told “no gifts” for Father’s Day, but I wanted to still make the day special so we took daddy to our favorite little spot on Sunday morning to enjoy the warm air before it became unbearable. We packed our library books, some snacks, and the girls’ princess accessories and we watched them prance around through the trees pretending to be fairies. It took a little arm-twisting, but I tried to get a few decent photos of the girls and their daddy. Naturally, the girls didn’t want to cooperate, but it was still a special morning.

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You all know by now that I’m a firm believer that good music just makes everything better. So I pulled out one of my favorite playlists to add the perfect touch to our morning. It’s a compilation of some of my favorite instrumental songs (many of them from my favorite films). I’m far from the heroin, Elizabeth Bennet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend to be her every once in a whilešŸ˜‰ You can find the playlist here.

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Though our weekend was a quiet one, it was full of joy. I may be starting the week off with a head cold and messy house, but my spirit is resting in this place of gratitude. Grateful to be a mommy to three girls, grateful to live in a place that we love, grateful for new insights into God’s character and grace, and grateful for a husband who has always put his family first and who loves his daughters with a Christ-like, steadfast love. I know the realities of this world are that there are many fathers who don’t live up to what they should be and my heart truly breaks for that. I also know that there are many fathers who are no longer on this side of heaven which makes Father’s Day a painful one. Know that we mourn with you and we’re very sorry.

I can hardly believe that we’re nearing the end of June. I hope that your week is full of joy and that you’re able to indulge in the joy of summer.

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Summertime.

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It’s a bad sign that you haven’t used your blog for a while when you actually forget the web address! Oh boy. If my blog was an actual room, I would imagine myself opening the door to a dark space, covered in cobwebs with sheets on the furniture. It’s been too long, and I’m hoping to breathe a little life back into this.

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I can’t tell you how many nights in the past few months that I’ve told myself “okay, after I put the girls down I am going. to. blog.” I’ve written so many blog posts in my head while I’m scrubbing dishes or folding laundry or scrubbing girls with soap suds. And then they’re all asleep, and I’m exhausted and I crawl up on the couch and watch “just one more” episode of Game of Thrones with my husband. I’m happy to report that after a long and trying winter and newborn season, we no longer feel like we’re drowning (ha!). Seriously, though. Having a newborn is precious in many ways, but it also makes you feel like you’re constantly in survival mode. It may be all rainbows and daisies for some, but for us it felt like we were swimming upstream for quite a while and even though we don’t have it all figured out, it feels nice to at least be floating along with the current. Okay, no more parenting analogies, I promise.

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Besides the fact that taking care of three little ones has taken up all of my physical and mental energy, I think I’ve kept my distance from this online space because I have felt some unease towards it. The last eight months have been some of the hardest of my young adult life but I also feel like I’ve grown the most and that has caused me to really question what my intentions and visions are for this blog. I’ve always loved to encourage and inspire others. Even before the days of constant facebook interaction, I used to text nightly inspirational quotes to all of my friends. I love to share the current circumstances I face and openly work through how they are sanctifying me. When I fall in love with a new song, I want the whole world to fall in love with it, too. When God stirs something up in my heart, I want to tell everyone. I like when other people can share in my joy and I think that’s why I’ve always been drawn to blogging.

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The road block that I’m constantly approaching is “how do I have an online presence as a christian?” Although many blogs (and social media outlets) are inspirational and encouraging to me, they’re also one click away from crossing over into comparison, jealously, and this sense of entitlement that “I deserve what she has”. I’m not an expert in anything and what I have to say has probably been said better by someone else. However, I firmly believe that God can use anyone as a voice for Him and it is my deepest prayer that first and foremost He is glorified through my words. How is God glorified through a post about fashion? I honestly don’t know. I’m being completely candid about my confusion. I’m certain that He gave me these passions and gifts for a reason and I’m hoping that, over time, it will become more clear what I should do with them.

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If you follow along on my blog, thank you. There’s a lot of noise on the internet (sometimes I feel like I contribute to it) and I feel honored that you choose to read the words that I’ve carefully placed here. If you have any insight on being a christian and also being a part of the social media world, I’d love to hear your input and experience!

We have been thoroughly enjoying this season. I feel alive in the summer. Waking up to warm weather and eating my breakfast on the porch, sun-kissed skin after a day at the pool, sticky mouths from melted popsicles. These are the things that feed my soul and I’m trying to soak up every moment. Today, we packed a picnic and spent the afternoon under the trees at a local park. I was preparing for it to be a disaster (because #kids) and it turned out to be one of my favorite days of summer so far.

I’m looking forward to jumping back into more consistent posting and I thank you for journeying along with me.

Here’s to you, summer. You just freakin’ rock.

Signs of Hope

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Tiny greens are starting to sprout from the cold ground, the chirping birds greet me in the morning, and I even heard someone mowing their lawn the other day. I feel my heavy soul sigh in relief. Winter is always a very tough season for me and this year has been especially hard as I learn to juggle three kiddos. I’m always torn with how much to publicly share on this space because I think privacy is necessary in our day and age, but there are times when I read someone’s honest words via the internet and feel like someone is wrapping their arm around me and saying “you’re not alone”.

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Ā // Hat (American Eagle–similar) Turtleneck (Urban Outfitters) Skirt (Target) Shoes (DSW) //

The best way I can describe this season is “dry”. I feel like a rag that has been twisted and tugged on until it doesn’t have one lousy drop. I have little ones who need so much from me, but oftentimes it feels like I have nothing left to give. I have felt distant from the Lord and I feel alone even though I’m always surrounded. I do what I can to “fill my cup” by taking bits of time for myself (i.e. a shower or 20 minutes to read), but right now it feels like there is a tiny hole in the bottom of my cup so no matter how hard I try to fill it, it always seems empty. It’s funny how when I’m at my lowest points, I try to take matters into my own hands and dig myself out of my hole by sheer will. It never works. And I usually end up deeper than I began. I have a hard time floating in God’s grace, especially when I don’t feel Him, because it means I have to give up control. Or the illusion of it, anyway.

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But that’s the thing. A relationship with Christ isn’t dictated by feelings, it’s grounded on truth. Relying on my hormonal, up-and-down emotions is a dangerous and fickle thing. I actually shed tears over my sunglasses broken in half by one who will not be named, for goodness sake! I went to the bathroom to cry the other day when my baby spit up (AGAIN) on the only pair of jeans that fit me and I didn’t want to wear sweatpants again. Needless to say, my emotions are a tad unstable and letting them define whether God is near is a terrible idea.

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So I’ve been working through my Lent study and reading a new book, even on the days when I don’t feel like it, and God gave me this tiny drop of water: The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 103:8). I’ve read that verse a million times but it spoke so loudly to the place I’m in now. I looked up the word steadfast to get a deeper understanding of the text. To be steadfast is to be firm and unwavering, devoted, committed, steady, constant. The Bible talks about God’s steadfast love over and over again. It beats it into your brain, your God is steady and unwavering, he does not change. Meditating on this was so comforting to me. Even when I’m feeling like a hot mess, even when it seems like I can’t control my emotions, even when I’m feeling alone and numb, my God is standing firm.

I know that it won’t always be this hard. I know our family will find a rhythm again one day. And even before we do, there will be small joys that carry us through. I will continue to fight the enemy and the lies he feeds me on a daily basis and I will seek the Lord and sit in his firm grasp. I plan to spend much of this spring focusing on what it is that brings me joy. For the last three years, I have thrown myself into the sacrifice of taking care of my children and even though they are a true joy and I feel called to care for my family first and foremost, it has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. I plan to spend a lot of time contemplating what it is that brings me joy, fills my cup, and makes me who God created me to be.

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What are some things that rejuvenate you? Whether you’re a mother or not, it’s really hard to be an adult and still feed your passions. I hope that no matter where you are (both geographically and internally) you are finding a peace with the changing season.

And on a slightly unrelated note, I cannot get enough of this album. This song, in particular. Enjoy.

Cheers, Jord.

The Be Groovy Tee

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I think we can all agree that motherhood is incredibly challenging.

It magnifies our weaknesses and insecurities, it stretches us further than we thought possible, and it demands our constant attention. Most of the time we gladly make the necessary sacrifices to care for our family because we love them so much and understand that this job requires a degree of selflessness. After three kiddos, however, I’m finding that in order to stay sane as a mother, I have to know when it’s okay to be a little selfish. Motherhood doesn’t have to mean giving up my passions and hobbies. Sure, it’s much harder to find time to do things I’m interested in, but I can care for others much easier when my tank is full and I’m cultivating my creative side.

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Last year I sat on the porch with my husband after putting our kiddos to bed and I told him about this idea that I had. When we were dating, we watched this Bob Dylan documentary where he said something that always stuck with us: “hey, be groovy or leave, man”. We would joke with our children when they were throwing a tantrum and it became this unofficial mantra in our home. Oftentimes when I get an idea, I don’t have the resources or I’m too nervous to follow through with it. I kept silent about my shirt idea for quite a while because I knew there wasn’t a guarantee for success, but I realize now that even if I don’t have the obvious type of success that I desire, I’m successful in the sense that I followed through with a dream and I allowed myself to pursue something just for me. A tiny side project where I don’t have to be the mom in sweatpants who cleans the kitchen a million times a day, but I get to be Jordan, the girl with a passion for style and merchandising and music.

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So this little t-shirt is so much more than a t-shirt for me. It’s a symbol for celebrating the creativity that God gave me and saying yes to it. Joe from Little Mountain Print Shoppe helped me with the design and printing and I’m so happy with the final product! I wanted the shirt to look like a vintage, worn tee so the ink is slightly faded. I hope you love it as much as I do and I can’t wait to see it on your little ones!

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My Etsy shop is officially open! Take a look and tell EVERYONE: The Cinnamon Girl Shop

Wishing you the grooviest vibes on this Monday!

(Shout out to our friend, Bill Griepenstroh, for these amazing photos!)

Cabin Fever

cabinfever3Is it just me, or does time stand still at the last week of January?

The excitement of the holiday season is over and it feels like spring should be getting closer, right? This is the time of year where I really start to feel it. I’ve got the fever. The cabin fever. I’m ready for spring dresses and afternoons at the park and sunshine that lasts past dinner. It will come, this I know. The blessing of living in the Midwest where we experience real seasons is that we never take the warm weather for granted. The cold weather that literally hurts our faces makes the warm days that much sweeter.

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(^^^ is this the face of a two year old or what?! all attitude, that June-bug)

In a season that feels dark and dry, I cling to little moments of joy to keep me going. The way the sun blankets our living room right before dinner time, the bubbling sounds of my favorite soup on the stove, music playing softly through the house in the morning while I tidy up, my warm feet in front of the space heater while I feed Maggie in the early hours of the morning. It takes a lot more effort for me to find beauty right now, but it’s there and I’m doing my best to slow down enough to enjoy it.

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I love what Charles Spurgeon has to say about winter (translated by Alistair Begg)…

“My soul, begin this wintry month with God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind you that He keeps His covenant day and night. Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it is upon you just now, it will be very painful to you: but there is comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation. He scatters the frozen dew like ashes over the once fresh green meadows of our joy. He is the great Winter King and rules in the realms of frost and therefore you cannot murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills are of the Lord’s sending and come to us with wise design. How we prize the fire just now! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us wrap ourselves in warm garments of His promises, and keep working, unlike the lazy man who refuses to plow because it is too cold; in the summer he will have nothing and will be forced to beg for bread.”

I’m encouraged by the fact that the sun is setting a little later each day and we’re even expected to reach a whopping 50 degrees at the end of the week! The greatest way for me to combat my winter blues is to crank up my favorite tunes, put the kettle on the stove, and spend a little extra time caring for our home. I tweaked my cabin fever playlist on Spotify so have a listen if you need a little pick me up!

Cabin Fever / Winter Sux

We celebrated Miss Juniper’s second birthday last weekend and I made a yummy vanilla bean bundt cake. Someone on Instagram requested I share the recipe so here ya go!

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I used the recipe from here and here and tweaked them a little.

For the cake:

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

2 eggs, room temp

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 vanilla bean

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

For the frosting:

2 cups of powdered sugar

4 ounces cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tsp milk

2 drops of red food coloring

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease bundt pan
  2. beat granulated sugar, butter, and eggs in stand mixer at medium speed until well blended. add milk and vanilla and mix well. add flour, baking powder and salt; beat until smooth.
  3. pour into pan and bake about 30 minutes. (I had to bake for about 45 because my oven is weird).
  4. to make the frosting, mix all of the ingredients together in the mixer until smooth. i added two drops of red food coloring to make the frosting pink and then topped with sprinkles.

How do you combat winter blues? I wanna know!

J.

A New Year

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// Dress (Zara) Boots (Old Navy) //

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It has been almost three months since I have even touched this online space of mine and I think the longer you wait the harder it is to begin again. Over the past few months, my mind has been overcrowded with thoughts and ideas and emotions that I want to share but haven’t had the time or energy to type out. Even now, I found myself fumbling on how to organize my thoughts and turn them into cohesive paragraphs but I have to start somewhere so here we go…

I remember laying in bed during my third trimester and feeling this overwhelming fear of what the next season was going to bring. Three kids under three. So many diapers and meltdowns and car seats and germs and on top of that I was supposed to have a baby attached to my breast every two hours! (Honestly, I don’t really like nursing at all but I do it and that’s a whole other topic for another time.) Don’t get me wrong–I was so, so happy to be having another child and I have always wanted a big family but the postpartum/newborn season has always been a tough one for me and I knew we were approaching that.

Life with three kiddos has been just as I expected–full of joy and chaos and messes and noise. Leaving the house has become increasingly difficult and it’s a rare occasion when I can shower and put on real clothes. It’s hard. I’ve ugly cried more than once and I’ve lost my cool way too many times (our neighbor below us can vouch for that). My own comforts of personal style/hygiene and hobbies have taken a backseat and I’m walking the fine line of sacrifice and identity crisis. Satan reallllyyy likes to creep in there, by the way. On the other hand, I’m experiencing a newfound joy for caring for my family and my home and I’m being sanctified on a daily hourly basis.

Winter always causes me to ask deep questions. I’m stuck inside with my thoughts and I have to fight to keep perspective and preach truth to myself. When the new year came, I made long mental lists of things I wanted to change or work on. Break the sugar addiction and care for my tired body, study the art of homemaking, build my blog, focus on my marriage, be present for my kiddos, start my business idea… but I also found myself asking the BIG question “what’s the point?” What’s the point of making an effort in my appearance? What’s the point in having a stylish, well-kept home? What’s the point in taking the time to write down my thoughts when there are TONS of people doing a better job than I am? Suddenly I feel like Zoolander staring into the puddle on the ground asking “who am I?!” I don’t have the answers to most of these questions (and more) but I’m certain that they are here because God has something to teach me.

I love what I do and I’m thankful that I get to do it. This heavy season brings me to my knees but that’s exactly where I need to be. I have big ideas and big ambitions but for now, I’m content to be elbow-deep in a sink of soapy water while my husband strums his guitar and my children build towers with their blocks. There is a sweetness in this chaos and I’m so thankful for it.

Cheers to starting somewhere,

J.