Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Mentions: bits and curiosities from around the web

Happy Monday, friends! I've gathered a few links that may perk you up this afternoon.  Mondays tend to need an extra element of excitement and curiosity, no?

What?!  Though I'm a native of the northwest, I have never seen this wall with my own two eyes.  But that should change next time I head north.  It reminds me a little bit of this, because of the community aspect--but without the gross factor.  Are you heading to Seattle any time soon?  You may want to check out the rest of this list, '6 Quirky Things To Do In Seattle.'  Seattle, I'm digging your quirky ways.

Since we didn't do Christmas portraits this year like I had hoped, I'm contemplating having some Valentine's day pictures done with my kids.  How cute are these accessories from Carosello?  And this one?!  I die.  What a cutie. 

Why does painting have to be such a dilemma?   And why can't I have this woman guide me, teach me, or do it all for me?  I'm in over my head.  Truly.

Since being loaned "One Thousand Gifts" by a friend, I've been reading anything I can by Ann Voskamp.  Her '25 for Sanity Manifesto,' hits the heart with perfect timing.   
13.Watch Your Nos & Your Yeses will take Care of Themselves
Everything you say yes to, you say no to something else.
Are your yeses forcing you to say no to what really want to say yes to?
Don’t have guilt over a no – because every no is saying a better yes.
She makes her list an easy one to come back to with this great printable!

I have two birthday parties in the month of May.  One of them will be a Mario Brothers party since the boy is obsessed, and this is looking like a lovely option for the girl.  Look at those decorated plates and cups!  So pretty.

Hope you had a great weekend!  I'll be back with some fun updates on ours!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Unusual is right.

You guys.  Today I fell in the grocery store.  My cowboy boot heel hit the floor just so that it had me laid out, in my peacoat, with a grocery bag in one hand, purse in the other.  Then I  popped up and exclaimed, "Yes!" at nearly the same time a clerk asked me if I was okay.  To add more humiliation to my disheveled ways, when I looked up (note to self: don't look up if you've fallen on the ground in public) at the clerk, it was a girl that I knew from high school.  Yeah, really.

Then after I pulled myself together, I ran out of the store and almost got side-swiped by a passing van.  No, just kidding, that didn't happen, but it made for a better story, no?  The ordeal had me laughing the rest of the two blocks to my social media seminar. 

Beyond finding myself sprawled out on the grocery store floor, it was a different kind of day.  It was rough.  There are a lot of stresses, choices, hard work and change on the horizon, and I heard some very bad news that has left my heart heavy.  For a moment, I caught myself thinking about the things that have sent me into a spiral of depression before, and I had to regroup right then and there and say, no.  I'm not going there, and even though there is much that I can't control, I'm blessed beyond measure and capable of overcoming daunting fetes. 

As long as I can laugh about falling in public, I'm golden.  You know?

image from Tumbler

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Triple date to Urban Farmer

Saturday night, Husband, his brother, his best friend and their ladies and I went to Portland to fine dine.  I'd never been to Urban Farmer, a beautiful restaurant on the eighth floor of The Nines luxury hotel, and it was amazing.  I wish I took more pictures of the restaurant itself, as the ceilings were about six stories tall and it was laid out like an open home floor plan, with three-sided rooms for people to gather, put their feet up and have drinks.  The ambiance in the dining area was perfect, and the menu....well, let's just say we were thrilled about happy hour.

If you go, I highly recommend the cheese cart appetizer to share with your friends.  You get to choose up to six cheeses to try and about 1 oz. of each cheese.  It was so neat to try each one and pair it with crackers and flavored honey.  I also ordered up the beef slider.  That could have very well been the best slider I've ever eaten.  In fact, I'm sure of that statement.  And yes.  I totally forgot about my Paleo challenge that night.  I'd definitely return to Urban Farmer for another late-night happy hour!

 Of course one of my favorite parts of the restaurant was "the library."  You guys.  If there is a library in a restaurant (with a pool table), the owners know what's up.  And if there is a rainbow color-coded library--I'm posing in front of it.  Duh.     
...and some will do handstands on metallic tree stumps in front of said library.

Nights out in Portland always get me thinking that there is way more for us to see and do in that gem of a city.

Any favorite spot recommendations?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Mentions: bits and curiosities from around the web

Friday afternoon, as Asher and I were on our way into town, the sun was setting in the most vibrant of colors.  At first I was sad that I didn't have my camera, and that I was cooped up in a car driving with a list of to-do's.  Then I realized, all of that could wait.  We drove quickly up the nearest hill, pulled over and watched.  The view was amazing, and we oohed and awed till the very last bit of that red-orange sunburst slipped out of sight. 

Although he's just four, I hope Asher remembers us waiting on the sunset together; that he will grow to be a seeker of such moments regularly.  Because for me, these moments are what keep all of this together--the mystery, heartache, faith, redundancy, overflowing love.  It's like He announces through vibrant panorama--I'm here; I've got this.  And I need those reminders some times.  You, too?

Now for some other bits and curiosities:

I'm moving into my fourth week of my 30 day Paleo challenge, and let's just say that treats have been on the brain.  But it's funny--when you get this far along, your appetite for treats changes and you aren't willing to waste your splurge on anything.  Enter Chocolate Chunk Paleo Cookies.  Boom.  They hit the spot.  Even if you don't have a Paleo eating lifestyle or an interest, these are cookies are healthy and worth making...and I suggest doubling the recipe!

If you don't know Sarah Von of Yes and Yes, you live under a rock.  She writes snappy, smart content about it all--travel, how-tos, tips for success and awesome lists, including her weekly, Web Time Wasters.  She also does a series in which she interviews people about their unique, true stories.  And I did one with her!

My girl is at the age now, that she wants to try her hand at everything I do.  If I'm cooking, she wants to help.  If I'm sewing, she wants to try.   So perfectly, my sis pinned these brilliant sewing cards for kids.  They're a great place to begin, and free to print, too!

Seattle just hosted the world's largest snowball fight...for one epic minute...and set a Guinness World Record The entire night took a life of its own, as some played a form of storm the castle. Many threw snowballs wildly and blindly. Smart ones ducked. Dumb ones didn’t. Many earned welts for their bravado/stupidity.  Clearly, we missed out.

This German shepherd attends church service each day, and for a reason that may leave you sobbing.

Eeeeek!  I'm all signed up.  I'm going to be one of 35,000 runners here.  Since I've been crossfitting, I haven't been doing much long-distance running, but I've been missing it.  So it's time to start hitting the pavement and prepare to beat my 15k record!

I hope you are hitting the ground running this Monday, friends!

Have a great one!

Thanks to J.Kendrick for posting this image on her Facebook feed. It's perfect. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

twenty-four gifts

This year, I took the dare--The Joy Dare.  I'm recording three gifts each day, to accumulate one thousand gifts during the year 2013.  It's a lovely challenge that encourages being present and aware of the little things--the little blessings that God has placed before us, in ordinary moments to enjoy.  "Life is not an emergency," says Ann Voskamp, author of "One Thousand Gifts."  And I know better than to live in a constant state of fret.  There is too much goodness and graciousness to let slip by without thankfulness.

The first seventeen gifts.

And the gifts keep unfolding...

18.  the way the fog blankets the trees in the morning
19.  friends who pray together
20.  the old, weathered, white steepled church up the road
21.  a small light in a dark room
22.  children singing praises to Jesus
23.  fluffy new towels
24.  an empty to-do list
25.  pancakes on the griddle
26.  a contractor husband with plenty of skills and tools
27.  books in the mail
28.  staying cozy with sick babies
29.  clear, blue, crisp, winter days
30.  fresh seafood
31.  the crackling of the stove
32.  organized drawers
33.  the bond that Husband shares with his friends
34.  each day that my daughter returns to me safe from school
35.  card games with friends and family
36.  tall, towering evergreen trees
37.  collections--i love collections
38.  a fresh, new haircut
39.  individual dates with my kiddos
40.  the sun streaming, climbing, and falling behind the trees
41.  mt. hood peaking in the distance
42.  the golden hour

What are your gifts, today?

Linking up here:

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

All Natural Energy Bites

So, I have this recipe that people keep asking for.  Maybe it's because they taste like mini candy bar bites, or because I rant and rave, they're healthy, they're fast, and they're easy to anyone that will listen.  And then we all grab another and maybe another, because healthy never equates to calories, right? 

All Natural Energy Bites
Adapted from
Makes approximately 16 walnut-sized bites

1/2 C. nut butter ( almond butter, peanut butter or any kind of nut butter--I buy Adam's Natural Creamy Peanut Butter)
1/3 C. honey
1 C. old fashioned rolled oats
1 C. shredded unsweetened coconut (you can substitute here with any dry ingredients, including nuts and seeds.  
I used 3/4 C. wheat germ and a small handful of ground flax seed)
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1-2 tsp. spices (optional-I didn't add any, but you could add cinnamon or pumpkin spice)
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 C. of other add-ins such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, dark chocolate chips etc. (I added chocolate chips)

1. In a large bowl, mix the nut butter, honey, vanilla and salt if desired. 
2.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Mix well.
3.  Place in the fridge for 15 or so minutes.
4. Remove from the fridge and begin to roll the dough into walnut (or smaller) size bites.
5.  Place in an airtight container in the fridge or in the freezer (we love the freezer!) for a quick and delicious snack!

I quadrupled this recipe once, for a family reunion last summer.  It took hardly any time-except for the rolling, and I popped them in the freezer.  On my way out the door in the morning, I grabbed them, and threw them in the car.  And what do you know?  After a lazy day in the sun, my family snack was ready to go.  No plates, no wrappers, no fuss. Can't beat it.

Do you have a quick, go-to snack recipe that your friends and family love?  Let's share recipes!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Mentions: bits and curiosities from the web

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope your weekend found you well.  It was regular business here around the McCully Ranch.  I took Asher to a knight birthday party, and had a little date with my girl at Menchies, in which I deprived myself of yogurt, because yes, I'm still committed to my 30 day Paleo challenge.  On Sunday, I got to read books, sing and play with 24 three and four year olds in the church nursery.  And just like every other time, I came away with my spirit filled.  Those kids are something special.

Announcement!  The slow process of renovating the ranch has began!  Starting in the family room.  I've been scouring Pinterest for a paint colors and fireplace ideas, while Husband has been skim coating the walls.  We agreed that two and three different textures in a room is not gonna fly.  This yellow fireplace/mantle is screaming my name.  How could you not be happy walking into a room with a yellow fireplace, or any of these, really? 

You guys.  I want in this band.  I'll shake the maracas or throw the singers their ukuleles.  Whatever.  I want in.  Or tickets to their next show.

Our pancakes just got...heartier and healthier.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know there are all sorts of new recipes and healthy eats happenin' in our home this January.

I'm loving this sweet heart bunting.  This girl has awesome tutorials for nearly every holiday!

Tip yourself for each workout?!  I like this incentive!  Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards!

Hope you guys are having a great start to your week!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Seventeen Gifts

If you read my recent post on the Joy Dare, you may remember me saying that I'm recording three daily gifts over the next year, to accumulate one thousand gifts during the year 2013.  It's a lovely challenge, though changing my mindset to be aware of the gifts around me, has proven to be a difficult task thus far.  Because of hurried days and the stress that has been tailing me lately, the little, beautiful things have been blurred between.  All the more reason this challenge is for me.  "Life is not an emergency," Voskamp says.  I know better than to live in a constant state of fret.  There is too much goodness and graciousness to let slip by without thankfulness.

So I give thanks:

1.  Sunlight streams through the curtains
2.  Hilltop valley views
3.  Heavy, heaping quilts
4.  Rising to slow mornings
5.  Waking to my boy's snuggles
6.  The post office clerk who regularly asks about my kitchen table and whether or not it can be eaten at, or if it is covered in crafts?
7.   Spontaneous I love you's imparted throughout each day from my boy
8.   Thick coffee-scented rooms
9.  White, quiet, winter mornings
10. Siblings stating their love for each other
11.  Handmade surprises from friends, for no reason other than to show kindness
12.  Watching a six year old grow to love reading more and more
13.  Singing, "I belong with you, you belong with me, sweetheart..." with my precious ones
14.  A days worth of fresh eggs from the coop
15.  Little helpers in the kitchen
16.  Handmade pictures and cards galore, from my girl
17.  God's faithfulness

May you see the gifts in each day--

A Holy Experience

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Mentions: bits and curiosities from the web

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope you were able to rest up over the weekend and enjoy some free time.  After my Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Crossfit streak, I didn't want to do much from Saturday afternoon on.  I did take a couple naps and spend some good time with my sweet kiddos.  Now it's time to kick into full gear for the upcoming week!  Here's some fun Monday Mentions to start your week:

I'm not the only one who'd like to plan a getaway during the long winter months, am I?  This picture has me dreaming of visiting here.

Are you wishing for snow?  Winterize your home with some that will last! This kind is fun, too!

I just filled out this application.  Crossing fingers...what an opportunity!

This app is the perfect companion for anyone looking to track new habits and goals for 2013.  Thanks, E!

While I love my iPhone and all of its capabilities, I'm still old fashioned this way, and just purchased this PDF.

I've been searching for awesome kid crafts. I want to take my girl out to look for baubles and pretty things for this, and this would make an awesome rainy day craft. For both the kids and I!

I'm definitely reading this book this year.  It's been on my mind ever since we visited part of the trail in September.

I'm on day six of my 30 day Paleo challenge.  I find it funny that this was the first thing I pinned. Doesn't it look interestingly delicious??

I recently came across this quote on the Rilke Facebook page, and found it intriguing. What do you think of it?  And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrassed, perhaps also protesting. But don't give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers--perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Have any botched painting attempts lying around?  It could be worth money!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A reading resolution

I may not have yet completed my New Years resolutions or goals or what have you for the year, 
but No. 1 is definitely:


I'm going to go big this year and aim to read 20 books.
Now I'm excited to plan what these twenty books are, AND have an excuse to go to Powell's Books. Wait.  One never needs an excuse to go to Powell's Books. 

Do you have a reading resolution?  What's your goal?

Happy Weekending!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Welcome 2013 + the Joy Dare {a movement}

Friends, I hope your New Years was rocking and full of laughter and great friends!  We played club beats, feasted--thanks to my excellent cooking friends, all while children ran rampant.  Sound busy?  It was! We even missed the countdown due to a makeshift couples "newlywed" game that was both ridiculous, enlightening and hilarious.

But of course, we had our own countdown ten minutes later, and listened to the men give some creative, rambling toasts.  It truly is special to watch Husband and his friends--all who he's known from the wild middle school years, as grown men, toasting to the future. 

As for resolutions for this year, I haven't yet wrapped my mind around any.  However, some exciting things have happened and began already in this new year (i.e. new hair, a Paleo challenge down at my Crossfit gym--I've got this! and the beginning of a new life-changing list).

A few months ago, my sweet friend, Danielle and I sat out on a Portland patio, pondering life, callings and dreams, while sharing fondue and drinking cocktails.  When we returned back to her house, and before I headed home, she handed me, "One Thousand Gifts," and said it reminded her of me.

You know how some books you read and others you fall into?  The sort of books that are like old friends that you've known most your life, who only visit once or twice a year, but when they do, you stay up until wee hours of the morning, because there is much to catch up on?  "One Thousand Gifts" is like an old friend.  The story and its purpose has settled right into my heart and has completely revamped my outlook for this New Year.

I'm excited to say that I've accepted Ann Voskamp's Joy Dare!  Which means over the next year, I'll be documenting three daily blessings--simple, unexpected and wonderful little things to add to my list of gifts.  By the end of the year, I'll have documented 1000 gifts, and I already know that documenting these gifts will do a number on my heart.

Here's the details:  I plan to post my 1,000 gifts for the Joy Dare on Thursdays, as that has been the day that I've shared my similar lists--the little things.  But then I'm going to link into Ann Voskamp's "Multitudes on Mondays" linkup.  Do you want to join the movement?  Here is all the information that you need to begin your own Joy Dare, but first, you should watch this touching short video.  It's the perfect place to start.


Do let me know if you blog your gifts!  I'd love to share in your joy!
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“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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