What I'm Into (November Edition)

I can't believe another month has flown by. I love when bloggers share the things they've been reading, doing, or watching lately. Anne inspired me to write my own What I'm Into today.

Reading

I've had lots of fun reading books recommended by Shelia (Deliberate Reader) and Anne (Modern Mrs. Darcy). I am still raving about Love Does by Bob Goff.

I finished reading An Invisible Thread and I have Lived a Thousand Years. Both were thought-provoking, inspiring reads. 

I skimmed Dinner: A Love Story, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, French Women Don't Get Fat, and An Everlasting Meal

I'm in the middle of reading Bringing up bébé by Pamela Druckerman and really like the ideas and concepts she presents.

Listening

New music and me don't normally go together. I have been loving 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I bought Carl Goes Up from the Up Soundtrack. Other than that, I listen to what Anthony turns on.

Crafting

Since Olivia (my niece) was due on December 5th, we had a Ready to Pop baby shower in the middle of November. I made a breastfeeding survival kit for Heidi. It included handmade burp cloths and a nursing cover.

(Heidi at her shower)

I also made Olivia a hooded towel and washcloth set and a few more blankets. 

I made two table runners and have Christmas fabric ready for a pennant to decorate our front room.

I started knitting again last night and am making a little mauve and purple beanie for guess who? Olivia! She just can't wear something that isn't handmade by her Auntie.

Cooking

Last weekend I made a small Thanksgiving dinner. I successfully made a turkey and it was delicious!

(photo credit)

I've been making lots of red sauce using Jessica's recipe. And I've made 3 batches of brownies over the course of 3 days. Maybe that's why my clothes aren't fitting?

Blogging

The most popular post was Homemade Vanilla Extract. My personal favorites were A Simpler Season and the DIY Natural Laundry Soap.

Blogger Love

Nearly every post has spoken to me in some way from Donald Miller's Storyline Blog. My personal favorites were:

Nikki (Christian By Association) wrote an insightful post called "Why Christians Should Say Happy Holidays." It's worth the time to read it. 

PC Walker (Ragamuffin PC) always writes posts that cut to the heart. "When you say, "I don't want to gossip, but ..." has helped me stop a few times. 

Anthony told me about Diane's blog, He Speaks in the Silence, and this Sunday Scripture was food for my soul.

Buying

I took a big leap and bought Michael Hyatt's Get Published while it was on sale last week. I haven't started the program, but I have high hopes for it helping me with my writing. 

I bought some earrings from Hannah, a necklace from Tricia, and fun cards to put on my sewing projects from Lindsay.

(Sewing projects with cards)

Watching

We went to the movies and saw Lincoln with Heidi and Caleb. It was a great movie and I thought the casting of Daniel Day-Lewis was perfect. I enjoyed the filming and appreciated the way the cameras recorded a scene from the ground.

Going/Travelling

This month we went to Disneyland with Anthony's family and had a great time. But seriously, how could we not have a great time at Disneyland?

My favorite part of our whole trip was the conversations we had while standing in line for rides and driving in the car. Because of the trip, we have nicknames: inlaws (Anthony, Donna, Brianna) & outlaws (Scott, Chad & me)!

I loved recapping this month!

What have you been up to lately?

Linking up with Leigh for What I'm Into.

Thankful Tuesday

Today I am grateful for:

The option to express my opinion about who governs my city, state, and country.

No matter what the election outcome is, God is sovereign and in control of all people.

New friends and older friends.

Food, food, and more food on our recent trip to Disneyland with our family.

Laughter.

Celebrating my sister Heidi's birthday and getting to see her pregnant belly.

People that listen to me and people I can listen to.

Memories of a recent trip to Portland where we heard about needs in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Options.

The opportunity to share my story.

Mostly I am grateful that my husband was born. God's hand was on him from even before birth to guard him and allow me to be a part of his amazing story.

Rainy Portland. Photo credit: Bryce Hoffman

Thank you, Micha for the Thankful Tuesday inspiration!

Five Minute Friday: Roots

(California Adventure, June 2011)

Many images come to mind when I think of the word roots.

Because I'm a little vain, I think about hair roots first. They are pretty much the bain of my existence. It's shallow, I know, but I do love a fresh color and highlight.

The next thing I think about is taking root. Like a tree that has its roots firmly in the ground. Roots that go down deep into the earth because it is old and established.

The other thing is family roots. Tonight I'm driving down to Disneyland with my hubster and his family. We began watching the Jungle Book and the memories I have of my own family viewing it made me smile. I vividly remember my dad loving this movie and watching it with us. At the time, he seemed like Baloo to me. Back to the drive though, some roots are growing deeper. I love that we have the opportunity to water them with time and presence.

Roots also make me think of growing deeper in my faith. This year has been full of opportunities for faith roots to increase. I am thankful God is faithful and has given me the chance to trust him more in all areas of my life (more on that later).

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday!

What Freedom Means to Me

Last time I strolled into the library to pick up the books they graciously held for my arrival, I saw this flyer:

It's part of the library's Micro-Essay Contest and I thought it would be fun to share my words here.

What Freedom Means to Me:

  • Love
  • Safety
  • Choice
  • Thought
  • Expression
  • Dignity

What does freedom mean to you (in six words)?

Whole Spice, Napa Valley

Recently, I read a blog post about freshly ground spices making a difference in cooking and baking. The post was about pumpkin pie spice and it had a link to a whole spice company in Seattle. I soon had my online cart full of $50 worth of spices when I thought, what am I going to do with all of these spices? What if I don't like them? I abandoned my online shopping cart and forgot about the whole spice idea...

Until we walked into Oxbow Public Market in Napa, California. It was there I saw a sign, a sign that read: Whole Spice.

I proceeded to tell Anthony all about whole spices. He said, go buy what you want. I couldn't pass up his offer.

I met Jennifree who manages Whole Spice.

She was incredibly helpful and knowledgeable as she showed be around the spice racks.

Whole Spice is a local company who specializes in all types of spices. The owners, the Madmones, travel around the world to find the best spices. They bring them back to Petaluma where they create delicious aromas and blends.

Jennifree told me they have over 300 single herbs, 40 types of salt, 20 varieties of chili, and 20 different peppers!

In addition to all of those spices, they also have over 70 blends. My nose was happy when I smelled the chicken and turkey herb blends. It was like Thanksgiving in a jar! I bought their pizza blend and immediately I thought I was in a pizza kitchen.

The next time you need a new spice, visit Whole Spice (Napa Valley or online). Your olfactory senses will be pleasantly surprised when they detect a fragrant, fresh spice.

Have you ever ground your own whole spices? 

Travel Tales: Vancouver Days 5, 6, & 7

Thank you for sticking with me on this journey about our travel adventures to Vancouver!

We went to Vancouver on a whim to spend time with my cousin Beth.

(practicing our foreign photos)

We were unaware of how much fun we would have meeting new friends. We met Julie and are hoping to make a trip to South Africa to visit her next year. She encouraged us by thoughtful words and prayers for our future. 

(Gastown Steam Clock: Anthony, me, Julie, Beth

(Fashionable fall hats)

Here's a video from days 5 and 6. Day 5 we went to a big food truck event and I was fascinated by the coconut booth. Day 6 we went to the Vancouver Aquarium, where sadly their oldest Beluga Whale died. Anthony wrote about that more here.

(New penguins)

(Capetown! Beth & Julie)

Day 7, we headed back to the airport and I made a little video about Canadian money. 

I love travelling with this guy. He always makes me smile and remains calm no matter how stressed I get. We've already begun planning where we'll go next! 

For the other days of our trip, click here.

ARC Football

I needed to give a big shout out to my little brother, Josh. He is an offensive lineman for the American River College football team. Go Beavers! A few weeks back, I went to a game where they played against Sacramento City College. It was Friday Night Lights, in real life!

Half-time huddle. Coach Haflich is in the bottom right corner walking to the sidelines after the huddle. 

Josh is number 68.

I got a few shots of him on the sideline. 

I'm very proud of him for his hard work and dedication to his team. 

(good gaming a teammate)

One of Josh's friends, Gerardo.

Final score: Beaver win!

Josh and another friend, Eric. 

Joshua has become a team player and I'll say it. I'm a Beaver Believer! Love you, Bud.

Travel Tales: Vancouver Day 4

On our fourth day in Vancouver we headed straight to the Visitor's Center to buy discount tickets for the Music Man, a Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) show later that night! We hopped aboard the skytrain for breakfast at Cafe Medina.

Anthony wrote a great post about our experience at this breakfast place that serves excellent coffee (finally a perfect pair). After our bellies were full, we started walking back to Canada Place. Along the way we saw a cooking school. Having just eaten, we bought a few homemade caramels and bacon infused sea salt.

As we continued our walk, we discovered a big celebration was happening because of Canada Day. We went to Canada Place 4 or 5 times during our trip and this was by far the busiest! (You can see a huge cruise ship in the back)

A little stand was giving away Canada flag pins. I got a few for us and made Anthony an honorary Canadian!

While we walked along, we spotted a stand that was serving hamburgers and none other than Anthony's favorite beverage: ROOTBEER!

We found the hop-on hop-off trolley and made our way to Stanley Park. Here's a view of downtown Vancouver from the Park. 

The famous cannon that goes off every night at 9pm. 

The Lions Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge very similar to the Golden Gate Bridge.

This was by far the hottest day. We got off the trolley at Prospect Point and spent some time looking around. 

Even though it was over 100 degrees in Sacramento, the 80 degrees in Vancouver was warm! I needed a little ice cream to cool me down. 

Anthony kindly filmed me being a tour guide. Enjoy!

We headed back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner at Stanley's Park Bar and Grill and the Music Man!

When we decided to go to Vancouver, I was bummed because we'd miss seeing the Music Man in Sacramento. Seeing the Music Man under the stars in Vancouver was one of my favorite memories of our trip!

Here are the other days of our travel tales.

Gretchen Rubin & Miscellany Monday

Culitviating an attitude of contentment and joy is a priority to me. One of the first author's I have ever read that encourages happiness in all areas of life is Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen has written a number of books, but the one she's the most famous for is The Happiness Project. Last Thursday, Anthony and I drove to the Ferry Building in San Francisco to see her discuss her newest book, Happier at Home.

The minute she took the podium I was relieved.

Relieved because she was as kind and sincere in person as I had imagined! Gretchen shared why she wrote her new book and a few key points about it. As she spoke, I found myself with a continuous smile. The happiness and joy she cultivates in little things is contagious. 

Gretchen discussed a few roadblocks to happiness that she wrote about in Happier at Home:

Possessions get in our way and clog our minds. 

Outer order contributes to inner calm and they are disproportionately related to each other 

Stalled projects clutter our minds and decrease our happiness. Sometimes you need to abandon a project.

We stood in line for Gretchen to sign my book and take a picture with her too! If you ever have the chance to hear Gretchen speak, do it. You'll be glad you did.

This weekend, I tackled a few stalled projects with the help of my cousin Rachel! I cleaned out my drawer of yarn to free up space for fabric in my craft dresser.

I fixed a dress that had ripped (on Easter) and sewed a pair of Anthony's scrubs. I uploaded the last 4 videos of our Vancouver trip!

Here's the video of what we did on Day 3. This was filmed at Granville Island Public Market

P.S. For those of you following along with my weight loss, I weighed in this week and lost .8 pounds. I didn't think it was very much until I placed the equivalent in butter on my kitchen scale. I was impressed.

How are you doing with your weight loss? Let me know if you need a little encouragement.

Happy Monday! I hope your week is full of lovely memories and beautiful fall weather.

Linking up with Carissa for Miscellany Monday.