Showing posts with label The Small Things. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Small Things. Show all posts

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Small Things {November Edition}

THANKSGIVING
How can I mention this month's favorite things without giving a shout out to Thanksgiving? I love baking and cooking and fall, so Thanksgiving is high on my list of best holidays. We had a very simple dinner this year with my parents and, aside from my poor little girl who wasn't feeling well, it was perfect (don't worry, she's all better now). I love hosting and all the little details that come with it (when the holidays roll around, I fall in love with our chalkboard wall all over again). It's been an amazing year and it was refreshing to slow down and think about all I have to be thankful for--definitely something that I should do more than once a year.


GIFTS WITH MEANING
Earlier this month, I celebrated my 28th birthday. My husband bought me this Cup the Ante necklace from Modcloth.com. Not only is it adorable (I've gotten so many complements on it) but it's also a tribute to my children's novel, The Fantastical Adventures of Pinkletin Frog, and Pinkletin's own dear teacup and spoon. Just one more show of support and encouragement from the best-ever husband.







CATCHING FIRE
I've been looking forward to Catching Fire for months and the hubby and I got to have a date earlier this week to go see it. I was not disappointed. SO GOOD. They did an excellent job with the novel adaptation, even better I think, than the first film. And great casting all around (Jennifer Lawrence is amazing, as usual). Catching Fire is my favorite book of the trilogy and I would definitely see the film again. If you get a chance to see this one in the theater, take it! And if you haven't read the books, put them on your Christmas list.





Don't forget to come back Monday for an interview with Erin Healy! You can find out all about her new book, Stranger Things, and get a chance to snag yourself a copy to ring in the New Year!



Friday, October 25, 2013

The Small Things {October Edition}

This month's happies...

New Laptop!
As a writer, I'm not sure there's any gadget better than a new laptop, especially when you've gotten into several verbal arguments with your old one. No matter how many times I reminded it that being a writer requires, you know, RESEARCH, my old laptop approached the internet like a toddler approaches broccoli. That, combined with its propensity for greeting me with a black stare, finally pushed me to the point of being unwilling to risk an all-out crash while in the middle of writing (just the thought gives me nightmares). I was already an Apple fan, but after using my Macbook for a few weeks, I'll never go back to PC. This thing is the bomb. And so shiny.


Pumpkin Carving
You know on Halloween how there was that one house where the blinds were closed tight and all the lights were off--except for the TV that the people pretending not to be home were watching? Yeah, I grew up in that house. (I love my parents to death, but when I was a kid, my mom went through a lot of NO THAT'S EVIL phases. We laugh about it now.) Long story short, while we've always happily handed out candy, this is the first year our kids (who are 8 and 5, respectively) are going trick-or-treating, and also the first year we decided to carve pumpkins. We had a ridiculous amount of fun. And since we've had a typical Montana heat-wave-before-the-winter-storm-warning, we're probably going to do it again next week now that the black cat and headless apparition are starting to wilt.

This Guy
One advantage to marrying a guy who is a phenomenal cook, is that he offers to make homemade pasta when you forget to buy linguini to go with the zucchini parmesan. He has now requested a pasta roller/cutter for Christmas so that this can become a regular occurrence. My heart be still. I'm pretty sure I'm the luckiest lady in the universe.






Now on to the best month of the year.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Small Things {September Edition}

Now that the month is nearly over, here's my September happies. :)

The Goodness of Baked Things

Summer + no air conditioning = no baking, so once the weather starts to cool to a tolerable temperature I happily return to my cookie sheets, bread pans, and muffin tins. In my opinion, coffee/tea/chai without some sort of baked good is just plain wrong and should only occur in the most desperate of circumstances. Sometimes the only thing that gets me through this time of year's crazy days of homeschooling, design work, ballet, and soccer is that golden moment in the afternoon when I can brew a cup of coffee or tea, grab a treat and pretend for ten minutes that I have absolutely nothing else to do. Thankfully the weather has been rainy and chilly and wonderfully fall-ish so I've been able to keep up a steady stream of baked delights to satisfy my mid-afternoon cravings. You can visit my board of deliciousness on Pinterest for some of my favorite recipes.

Watership Down

I'd never heard of this book until one day I was Googling "anthropomorphic animal novels" (say that three times fast) and it popped up on a must-read-classics list. I tried to borrow it from my local library, but it was checked out. Then, in a fantastic turn of events, I stumbled upon a copy in a little used bookstore we visited while on vacation back in August. Typically I'm a very fast reader and a good book lasts about as long as Captain Jack's rum, but I found this book to be a lovely one to just meander through, picking it up here and there to read a chapter or two as I found time. It was absolutely delightful and I can definitely see myself returning to the world of Hazel, Fiver, and their stalwart band of bunnies for many years to come.

Star Wars

Now that I'm done waxing poetic about bunny books, it's time to get my geek on. Or would that be nerd? (According to this article, I could be both, honestly). This month marked a very significant point in my children's lives--their introduction to Star Wars. My five-year-old son is already obsessed, thanks to his love of Angry Birds, which turned into a love for Angry Birds Star Wars, which turned into a love for anything and everything related to Star Wars--especially if it involves Chewbacca. This was his reaction when he finally got to bring home the coveted Angry Birds Star Wars bedding...

Of course my husband and I have strongly encouraged him and decided he was ready to experience the wonder of the real thing. So off to the library we went, where miracle of miracles we were able to snag Episodes I-VI (with III reserved for mommy and daddy only, much to the boy's disappointment. He has now added "...and help me grow faster so I can watch Star Wars three" to his bedtime prayers). I have now heard Darth Vader's theme song being enthusiastically hummed at least three times a day for the last two weeks.
The force is strong with this one.

Be sure to check back in next week...I'm very excited to be introducing some special posts for the month of October!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Small Things {August Edition}

My end-of-summer happies...

Family Vacation

This August marked our 2nd annual trip to church family camp. We had a blast heading to the beautiful Flathead Valley for a relaxing week filled with sunshine, great teachings from a hilarious couple visiting from across the pond (the Irish accents were glorious), and plenty of sightseeing and shopping. We made stops at all our favorite places, like Red Caboose Frozen Yogurt + Coffee, and Whitefish Beach. We also discovered some new favorites in Sweet Peaks Ice Cream and the best used bookstore I've ever been to: The Bookshelf (seriously folks, I could spend all the time and buy all the books). We also got to hang out with some awesome people, including our friends Jeremiah and Rachel, who besides being a really cool couple, are also amazing photographers (you should click on their names right there and check out their stuff). We wrapped up the week with an evening at Fresh Life Church and a stay at the charming and wonderful Kalispell Grand Hotel. All in all it was a wonderful way to spend one of our last summer weeks.

The Mason Bar Company

In our house we unashamedly use mason jars as our drinking glasses, so when I found out about these mason jar tumblers, naturally I had to have one. I picked up this beauty at the Red Caboose while we were on vacation, but no matter where you happen to be, you can snag one from their etsy shop. Today I tried infusing my water with fruit for the first time, with a combo of strawberry and lemon slices, and I must say, the result was delightful. It's also great for iced coffee. Who am I kidding...it's great for everything.


School Supplies

School is back in session next week, and for us that means the Martin family schoolbooks have arrived. As a homeschool graduate myself, I can still remember the excitement of thumbing through the year's worth of textbooks as soon as the mailman delivered them. I'm glad my kids continue the tradition and are always eager to find out what they'll be learning. I give it about a month before the newness wears off and they're no longer quite so thrilled at the prospect of school, so I'll enjoy their excitement while it lasts. I'll also bask in the joys of cheap notebooks, index cards, and post-it notes. And don't forget the bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils...


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Small Things {July Edition}

Sometimes it's the little things. Here's the stuff I'm loving this month...

Little Red Chair

You may remember I mentioned my friend Chelsea and her blog, Little Red Chair, in the very first Picture Quote Monday post. Well, Chelsea recently re-vamped her blog and started a "Lessons From" series. Her first two greats: Julia Child, and Emily Dickinson. Have I mentioned I adore this girl? Check out all her beautiful (and delicious) posts, including the orange zest bundt cake recipe, which immediately went on my must-bake list. And while you're at it, like her Facebook page to see all the incredible skills this girl has when it comes to renovating and decorating.




Housewife Gadgetry

This is probably the peak of housewifely nerdiness, but I'm in love with my new in-sink dishrack. Gone are the days of having a dish towel covered in a precarious stack of dripping, non-dishwasher-safe dinner and drinkware taking up counter space. Think me lame if you will, but I'm the type of person who has a hard time relaxing if my house is messy, and dishes are at the top of my super-annoying-must-clean-up-now list. The fact that this allows me to dry the hand-wash only items without cluttering up my kitchen makes me ridiculously happy.




Quitting Stuff

A week ago, myself and about 2000 other people embarked on an adventure in the form of an online social experiment by none other than Jon Acuff, author of START. The Start Experiment is all about taking risks and pursuing individual goals in an encouraging and supportive group environment. I'll be posting more about the experiment and my goal later in the week, but I wanted to share one of the recent daily challenges. Jon asked us to make a "quit list" of 3-5 things we could each quit doing that would open up more time, energy, or hope for our dreams. My list? Quit worrying. Quit exhausting myself. Quit being insecure. Since taking steps toward implementing these three things, my happiness level has definitely gone up. Even my husband commented on how much less stressed I've been. Who knew quitting could be such a good thing?

What about you? In the midst of a busy summer, what helps you slow down and just enjoy life?

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Small Things - June Edition

My happies for this month...

Alice in Wonderland - On Vinyl

A couple weeks ago the hubby and I hit up a little used record store while on a roadtrip. There I discovered a previously unknown fact: Back in the day they made audiobooks on vinyl. I snagged the entirety of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, read by a gentleman with a wonderful British accent. And it cost me a whole dollar. There's something so cozy and inviting about the old record pops and crackles in the background of the narration. The perfect summer version of curling up with a hardcover and a warm fire.





Veronica Mars

Yes, I got ridiculously excited when I found out about the Kickstarter, and yes, my husband and I promptly pledged. Veronica Mars has always been a guilty pleasure. It came out the same year we got married and many a night was spent watching it together. I was almost as upset about the series ending as I was when Amy Sherman-Palladino stopped writing Gilmore Girls episodes. In honor of the upcoming film, we've been watching the series on DVD. I'm currently awaiting the arrival of my Amazon shipment of season one, since a very inconsiderate library patron is literally YEARS overdue on the last 2 discs. Where are the library ninjas when you need them? They could learn a few things from Mars Investigations... 


Summer

Summer is here! Maybe not according to your calendar, but it is by mine. My reason for loving summer has nothing to do with the hot weather (I prefer fall, when the temperature is reasonable.) What makes the current season awesome is that school is out--and as a homeschooling family that means mommy gets a break along with the kids. It also means I don't have to feel guilty about sleeping in in the morning if I'm up writing (or reading) until midnight the previous night.





What about you? What's got you smiling this month?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Small Things - May Edition

Encouraging Words

I've started getting feedback from my beta readers and I gotta say, they've put a gigantic smile on my face. From my mother-in-law's (slightly biased) praise, to a mom who was inspired to read it aloud to her kids, they've been both helpful and super encouraging. But the highlight was this week at writers group when my friend brought me a message from her two boys: They like my book so much they've already planned the movie trailer. *Cuteness overload* Combine that with their love of the characters and the fact they beg for more at the end of each chapter, and my day was made. Heck, my year was made. I'm more excited than ever to take the next step toward publication. A huge shout out and thank you to all my beta-readers!


An Old Favorite

I've been revisiting one of my favorite children's books, The Wind in the Willows. My own book's style and characters were hugely inspired by this story, so it has an extra special place in my heart. What makes it even better is the fact that this particular copy is part of my collection of vintage and antique books. I love the delightful simplicity of the cover of this 1933 edition, but the best part is the inscription inside, from a mother to her son on Christmas. I love imagining that little boy curled up on a snowy winter day, absorbed in the very same book I now hold. You can see a photo of the inscription here, in my Instagram feed.



A Beautiful Mess App

Now that I've finally joined the current century and upgraded to an iPhone, I'm even more in love with taking and sharing photos. As a lover of doodles, type, and creative flair, A Beautiful Mess is everything I could dream of in a photo editing app. With beautiful hand-drawn borders, great fonts for custom type, and fun doodles and phrases, it's the perfect way to add your own funky style to your pictures. You can also create custom backgrounds using a variety of included images/patterns (like the vintage library card in the Beta-Reader thumbnail above). Just to show you how awesome this app is, I used it to create all the images in this post. It's well worth the $0.99 to download. You can also visit Elsie and Emma's lovely lifestyle blog here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Small Things

After my Favorite Things post, I decided I wanted to make that sort of thing a regular deal. So every month, I'll be sharing the stuff that I'm currently in love with--the small things that bring an extra dose of happy to my day. They might be writing related...or not. Here's what I'm digging this month...

Alter Eco Dark Chocolate with Quinoa

I love everything about this chocolate...the taste, the ingredients, the gorgeous packaging. It's just the right level of darkness (not too sweet, not too bitter) so it's still smooth. Plus, it's split into the perfect sized squares--small enough you don't feel guilty, but big enough you're not so tempted to break off a second piece. And with crispy Quinoa instead of rice, it's like a beautiful, grown-up Krackle for hipsters.




Relevant Magazine/Podcast

There's not a website, publication or podcast I love more than Relevant. From social justice news to thought-provoking articles on current issues to tongue-in-cheek humor pieces, these guys are the best. Want to find great new music? The latest in Youtube hilarity? Interviews with authors, musicians, and world changers? Look no further. Not only can you get all this from the website and bi-monthly mag, but it gets even better when you throw in the weekly Relevant Podcast (a new one releases every Friday). And don't even get me started on the iPad edition of the magazine--it's pure genius in design. Check it out. Trust me.


Plant Nanny App

It's fun and it has a practical, healthy purpose. Pick from a variety of adorable plants, then care for it while caring for yourself! Plant Nanny calculates the ideal amount of water you need each day, based on your height and weight. Each time you drink a glass of water, give one to your plant. When your plant is fully grown, stick it in your garden and start a new one. Don't drink enough, and your plant will give you sad eyes and turn brown (yes, I know this from experience). The customizable reminder alert makes it easy to create a healthy routine. Happy plant = healthier you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Few of My Favorite Things




Journals App

This Journals app is a great way to organize and jot down notes and ideas. With four different styles of journals and dozens of fonts, it's fun and easy to customize. I love the fact that each journal can be split into chapters and pages because I can keep multiple writings separate, but under one common heading. Plus, you can attach photos, videos, and even draw and record audio right there in the app. My only word of caution is to make sure you remember your password if you choose to create a locked journal, because as far as I can tell there's no recovery option. The app gets a 4.5 star rating in the app store and is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.
NOTE: Since I originally posted, Journals has updated their app to allow for password reset.  



Some people need complete silence to write, others enjoy creating a writing playlist. I'm in the latter group. I love music and I love having a soundtrack attached to my stories (though admittedly the songs don't always have anything to do with what I'm writing about). English alternative rock band, A Silent Film (think sounds similar to Snow Patrol and The Killers) is one of my go-to bands to rock out to and get the creative juices flowing. I love lyrics that tell a story, and with tracks like "Danny, Dakota and the Wishing Well" and "Anastasia" Sand and Snow is one of my favorite albums to put on shuffle as I write.

 


When people ask what my favorite book is, this is the answer I give them. (Yes, I know it's not just one book, but who can really pick just one?). This series is about seven siblings who choose to adopt each other after leaving the orphanage where they grew up. As adults, each one has taken an intense job: Chicago PD hostage negotiator, US Marshall, forensic pathologist, firefighter, children's trauma psychologist, paramedic, and pediatric physician, respectively. Each of the six books center around one individual's story (with one sister's story being told across the books). The novels are filled with suspense, romance and incredible details about each sibling's chosen field. The result is a story you can't put down and characters that seem incredibly real. I've read through the entire series four times, and individual books several times more. The Protector (Jack the firefighter's story) is my favorite. Since I'd just finished reading it when I met my husband--who was a volunteer firefighter at the time--the book was practically his wingman.

Feel free to share some of your favorites (current or all-time) in the comments below!