Friday, December 14, 2012

a touch of rustic Christmas

I must start this post out with a soul bearing, deep digging confession.... I love Pinterest. 
There, it's out there and I'm feeling a little vulnerable. Oh for the day that my mind was not bombarded with so much craftiness, creativity and clever DIYer's. But there's no turning back now folks. The local craft stores must know me by first name now, and surely their investors should too! My new laundry/craft room is happy though, for her essence is always brimming of flying scraps of fabric, the hum of my sewing machine or the smell of the ole' hot glue gun burning long into the night.

I joke with hubby about it being my lab. More times than not the project at hand is most always an "experiment" and if it actually turns out to be of something cute or out Pinterest! That's where the confession comes into play. I see a pin, become intrigued, and set my mind to figuring out how to make it or alter it in some way. Every fiber of my brain is sizzling and I can't stop it until there are scissors or a glue gun in hand. Maybe they have a "Pinterest support group" for people like me!

Now let me justify myself a little. ( or present to you my excuses). In all my pinteresty inspired lab projects I've discovered something about myself, that has come as a bit of a revelation. I've maybe always known I was a bit of an artsy kind of person, but more than that, "creating" something with my hands is an outlet of "who I am" that clears my mind, relaxes me and is rewarding by way of sense of accomplishment. Being a stay-at-home mother is satisfying and a blessing in so many ways, but I've discovered finding an"outlet" for tapping into what God wove into my being by way of talent or even personality makes me a better mother and wife. Finding a little time in the day when the boys are napping, or even having them along side me snipping, stamping, or gluing gets me through my day with just a little more joy!

And then the holidays made their entrance. Oh glorious Pin happy, gift wrapping, day in and day out of crafting & decorating. It sure takes the gloom off those foggy cold days, when everyone is sniffing and coughing and feeling cooped up! I like to take the elements of nature and throw in a little sparkle for a cheap easy theme! It's fun for the kids to go outside and find things for our project too.

So tell me, what keeps you sane or brings a bit more joy to your crazy, hectic holiday schedules?....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

the scheduled sleep



Actually, the truth is I'm a proponent of routine schedule for healthy development, but the longer I'm a mother, the more I laugh at the word schedule! The idea behind them is to keep things operating in a smooth manner, where child & mother know what to expect from each other at the same times every day.

We we're clickin along pretty good in our routines until sweet peep # 2 came on the scene. Nobody knows what to expect out of anybody at anytime. Somebodies always a day late or a dollar short, and if it ain't his idea, it ain't happenin'. The act of falling asleep has taken on a "routine" of it's own, and some may argue that it could fall into the category of a form of art. Let me break it down, just to humor you...

It usually starts with a full on game of wrestle just to get him into bed, then there's the bouncing, bouncing, bouncing, with a toss and a turn, maybe a roll...followed by the arm flapping and maybe a little leg twitching..throw in a little more flopping, change directions on the bed, start in with some talking, which turns into humming...and then more talking, while still twitching his leg, change back directions....the eyes close for just a minute.....

{hold your breath}

...and then start the above routine all over again. If you haven't lost your patience by now, just about the time your left thinking your evening quiet-time is never gonna happen....he's asleep. yup, just like that! I've never seen anything like it.

All that to say, Mr. Sleep-striker can preform his "art" when it's time for his routine, regularly schedule nap or bedtime...but come Tuesday morning, say at 10:36, or some other random's as if he was overcome by a force and was left slumbering soundly in the strangest locations. {see above}

It's been good for me. I'll admit I'm not ready to throw out the schedules completely. But if you wanna take a snooze on the hardwood floor, don't bother even taking your boots off. Snooze away. So maybe it's only 10:36, and your "scheduled" nap isn't until 1, but I can roll with that!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankful for the ordinary.

25 days of silence from the frantz nest, now that is a serious blog coma! It's not because there has actually been silence IN the nest, but rather the opposite. After getting home from our big trip, we kind of slid into a curious mode of the daily grind. That is best described as a mixture of the normal day to day living and a few out of the ordinaries. I guess really, thats just normal living...if there is such a thing!

As always there has been the meals to provide, laundry to be done, and general maintenance of survival in the nest...then blonde chief here woke up with an abnormally puffy and pinkish colored eye one morning that started the fun week of conquering the contagious infestation! Trying to keep the hands of a 2 and 4 year old washed is like pulling teeth (or just simply brushing them, if your 2). The eye drops we're an even more dreaded task...but then that's where things really take a turn in complete utter surprise. As if it were a walk in the park, brave blue eyes would lay himself down and take them with hardly a blink...and I was left in utter shock 3x a day at his performance. Life is full of surprises! ;)

Confined to the house, in our attempt to prevent further spread of the pink eye, we kept ourselves sane by reading our books from the library on the First Thanksgiving and making fun crafts off Pinterest! People are so crafty...seriously, who comes up with mini pilgrim hats made out of two of my favorite sweets...Keebler cookies and Reece's cups! More than one hat got squished in the making, and therefore needed to be consumed by the individual at the end of the production line, who also happen to be in charge of "quality" control! 

When all parties were well again, we resurfaced and hit the ground running. Thanksgiving was at our house this year, and mama had to learn how to roast up a turkey! I loaded up my two sous chefs and we hunted down a small turkey, kitchen twine, baster, and other necessities for our trial run! Besides wrestling around for a good 15 minutes, trying to "truss" the bird, the whole experience went relatively smooth! Yet another pleasant surprise!

Ordinary life or little surprises along the way...the beauty of this season is finding Thankfulness in every situation. Sometimes it takes me a lot longer to find gratitude in things like pink eye, but there really is a silver lining behind every cloud. Even if there wasn't, the GRACE alone that has been extended to us by our Savior is reason enough to wake up grateful every. single. day.

And if your wondering what the silver lining is...on those days you can't seem to get your head above the clouds...make mini pilgrim hats! But make sure your the guy at the end of the assembly line! :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

the simple {quality} life

As I was saying in the conclusion of my last post, being in a foreign land where from the moment you step off the plane, everything from the road signs to ordering a simple coffee from a local barista is a guessing game to connect the communication gap! The differences in cultural habits are also a factor in reminding you how far away from home you are!

The beautiful thing is, differences aside, people are all the same! We may prefer different foods and eat at different hours of the day...but we were all created with the need to eat! We may prefer to sleep on different levels of mattress firmness...but we all require sleep to function! We all show emotion when we're excited, sad, frustrated or irritated, we just have different ways of displaying them.

We all breathe. We all love. We all hope...but what makes us all feel alive is different! The challenge comes in accepting our differences and choosing to learn from each other! We don't have to be from different countries or ethnic groups to disagree on something simple...but the challenge is still the same! Realizing that my " preferences" are just that, and not a "required" way of living for everyone else in the world!

The only One worthy enough to set a required way of living is the One who created us all! Gods principles are the only exception to the "individual preference" way of living! When preferences become skewed with principles, the individual is trying to say God isn't worthy enough...but that's a rabbit trail I don't intend to go down on right now! 

What I most appreciated about the Italians is there stress on the importance of quality! It's not a secret that a lot of well known brands come out of Italy, from cars to clothes, and they are high end and usually handmade! The American mindset is that quantity is the famed way, and we are even willing to sacrifice quality to obtain more! This makes us a "disposable" nation, because we have to constantly replace the inferior quality items! And sometimes we replace things that aren't even worn out or broken. 

Even more admirable about this culture is they are willing to give time to ensure the quality of whatever it is they are doing or making! Something as simple as pizza dough is prepared 24 hours in advance to serving, because that is the required time it takes for the components of the dough to be at the proper consistency for a perfect pizza! They sit for hours over a meal just enjoying, not only the food, but the companionship of whoever is enjoying the food with them! They only thing they get in a hurry over is driving...and I haven't figured that out, so when I do, I'll be sure to write about it!

So as a short sum up...I've concluded "being content with the simple things", "less is sometimes more", and "things truly become sweeter with time" is what I need to work on before I can claim the "inner" Italian life and  move to a Villa somewhere on top of a sun soaked hill of Tuscany!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

{Cinque Terre} worth the wait!

You probably think by now we fell off into the Atlantic ocean on our way home, with the way my blogging abruptly ended mid-trip! Well, we did make it home safely, thankfully, but I was without a WiFi connection the last few days and then I broke the adapter I was so proud of that transferred the pictures from my camera to the iPad! So now I will attempt play catch up...

So we had one day left in Italy in my last post, and we were kinda feeling a mixture of emotions. The previous day was spent sightseeing in down pours of rain & sitting in cafes waiting for it to let up! Although it added a level of romance, walking the cobblestone streets huddled up under one umbrella, having water slosh around in our shoes wasn't the ideal way to tour any town! 

Between being bummed from the rain and really missing our boys we considered just calling it good and catching the early flight out the next morning. I know, call us fair weather travelers, but I won't get into the fitful time we had sleeping on the beds in our hotel that made the floor sound like a reasonably softer alternative! The reality was, we were thousands of miles from home and with one day to go, we figured we could make the best of whatever was left! What was there really to complain about anyway!? :)

And were we ever glad we didn't skip this beautiful gem of Italy! We toured the Cinque Terre, which means "five lands", best described as ancient little fishing villages built in the side of the hill and at one time only accessible by boat! There is only about a 10 miles span from the first village to the last, and you can either walk the seaside path that connects them all or take the train that tunnels through the hills between them!

The early inhabitants of these villages spent years terracing the cliffs around them by creating miles and miles of stone walls, to enable them to grow vineyards in the land they had available. Not only was the work to build the terraces grueling, but the effort just to maintain and harvest the vineyards is unfathomable! 


The weather was a bit hit and miss, and ironically would change at about the same time we left one village to go onto the next! The main streets in each town are tightly lined with shops and eateries like all the other towns we've visited so far in Italy  but minus the cars. It was mostly foot traffic, with the occasional bike and maybe a cat or dog here or there. Thankfully we were at the end of the tourist season and traffic was light, but we overheard someone saying it's shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the summer.

Our last night there was ended with a seafood dinner overlooking this beautiful harbor. The week went all too fast, of course, but we came away with some lifelong memories! Most interesting was observing the people and the life they live in this land. You feel a long ways away from home, because the language is foreign and the culture is so different...but the people, I've concluded...we're all the same!

{Now hold that thought...because I'm going to continue on in another post! }

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Onto the Sea...

As Americans it's difficult to fathom the age of these towns and the history they have to tell! To see a building that has been around for 1000 years is beyond unbelievable! Yesterday morning we left our quiet villa and headed for the coastal town of Santa Margherita, which is about a 3 hr drive by car! 

We broke up the drive by making a couple stops on our way over, and got to take in some of this magnificient history! We visited Badia d  Passignano, a mediviel hamlet founded in 395 A.C, where there is still monks that reside and are keepers of its cultural treasures! 

In the cellar of this abbey is wine that belongs to the surrounding vineyard owners, the famous Antinori family! We got a little tour, history lesson as well as olive oil tasting, which the family makes as well! A very interesting morning, but I still just stood in awe of the architecture!

We arrived at our hotel in this port town on the Mediterranean Sea, and are once again awe struck at the beauty of this country! Man can build some spectacular buildings but nothing compares to the beauty of the land handcrafted by our Creator! Something about standing at the edge of a body of water as this, make you feel pretty small!

We have one more day of sightseeing, and then it's back to the states to gather up the peeps! We've had the time of our lives, but we're missing them and I'm sure they are us as well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bucket list moments

Pinch me, because I still cannot believe yesterday was for real! It was one of those moments that I've had at the top of my "bucket list" for a long time, and it was everything I ever dreamed it would be! Although I was a little nervous at first, I could not wipe the smile off my face the entire time, and it won't be something I forget anytime soon!

Your probably thinking it was some high adrenaline moment like skydiving or bull riding, but sorry, not for this girl! It had more to do with sautéing, kneading, and reduction techniques! I got to pretend I was Julia Child for one blissful morning, in a kitchen equipped with tools & appliances I dream of! 

I have to confess, I considered myself an intermediate in cooking, and the basics were for beginners! I'm blessed to have a mother that is a wonderful cook, and taught me how to work my way around the kitchen at a fairly young age! Basic or not, I knew the Italians had some secrets to their most simple dishes (particularly their pizza) that I was dying to know! 

Let me just tell you, I quickly realized I was just a mere novice and their "secrets" are so simple and a matter of time rather than technique! The most admirable thing about their dishes, is that they always start with the freshest ingredients, and many of them they grow themselves! Processed food is completely unheard of! My idea of "cooking" was completely revolutionized!

Executive chef, Ricardo was my teacher and though his English was exceptional good, his Italian accent was thick! He emphasized words like "marinade" and "vinegar" in a way that I have never heard, and it took me awhile to interpret what he was saying! One thing is for sure though, I hung onto every word he said and was like a sponge to the instruction and knowledge he was giving!

While I was living my Julia Child moment, Mcdreamy was checking off a top a bucket list moment himself! Unfortunately it wasn't driving one of these classic European icons, but rather chasing around a little white ball on the brilliant green turf, amidst the rolling Tuscan hills! Men truly are from mars, and women from Venus! :)

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