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Sep 29, 2012

October

October's around the corner, which, I can hardly believe.
-one of my halloween creations-

If you'd like to showcase your blog or shop on this here marigoldroad, feel free to click the advertise button for details.

Traffic will increase as I network at the Influence Conference! Also, I've been blogging five years so I've got some veteran experience. :-) Sponsorship includes optional mentorship on my part.

My largest ad is $20 and it buys you whatever you want in addition to margin space, whether that's a solo post, your own giveaway, you talking about peanut butter or photography or baby wearing, whatever...I approve all posts that go up but as sponsors I give you quite a bit of freedom.

Have I convinced you yet?
Sweet weekends to you all!

Sep 28, 2012

He Was There For Me

Is it okay, just only a couple times a year, to go to one's kiddos for comfort?
  I was really distraught about something and Wilder was the only in flesh person available. It was bedtime, so I crawled into bed with him and just cried. Pretty sure his white pillowcase is now mascarified. I didn't cry for a long time, because I didn't want to freak him out, but I did cry for a good, REAL time. 

I think it IS okay for our kids to see us show our sad and joyous feelings. Feelings are neither good nor bad; they are just feelings and it's up to us to express them in a healthy manner.

In this sweet intimate moment with Wilder, a little miracle happened. He asked if I needed any Kleenex, went and got some, then came back to me with the Kleenex and just hugged on me and told me everything would be okay. A love within my heart swelled so high. I am so honored to see this little boy grow up, to see him bear such sensitivity and helpfulness. To witness his understanding of the fact that things are not always about him.

Our kids are people too, and so often, the Lord uses them to teach us things. To comfort us when we need that mommy hug.

I sort of fast forwarded to a time when Wilder's hands will outgrow the length of mine, when he will have a life all his own and he will say, hey, it's okay, Mom, sometime when I really need it.

It's a full circle, beautiful thing.

Sep 27, 2012

babEblessings

We're The Ernst Family


Why did you start blogging?

I started a blog about 8 years ago when I had time for scrapbooking – you could do challenges and win product, I loved it. And occasionally I would add in some written posts. Then after Brian and I got married and had been through some career changes I started blogging about our life together and the changes that we happening in our lives. But babEblessings started when we decided to add to our family, and I loved just being able to look back at what was going on. Then once we were put on bedrest it became a way to just get my thoughts out there when I really couldn’t see anyone, and it was just a way to encourage other bedrest moms that they could make it through. Earlier this summer our focus shifted a lot, and now I blog about everything God is showing me in everyday life. I blog to encourage other, and so that one day I can read about how much God has changed my life.    

What is one piece of blogging advice that most helped you?   

“If you build it they will come” 

 A friend said this during a group chat we were having and really it’s so true. You can’t build a blog or a fan base overnight, and you’re not going to get readers who keep coming back by just asking. You have to build a great base, you have to write your heart and put your heart and soul into it to build something and then people will keep coming back.  

What do you hope people glean from your writing?

I hope that people come to realize how amazing God is and the amazing things he can do if we allow him the room in our hearts and lives to work. I love hearing about the “ah-ha” moments or the moments when people come to a realization from my writing.    



What are some of your favorite blogs?

Goodness that’s hard!!

I love Sarah  from Nurse Loves Farmer and hear heart – her blog is mommy blog meets faith. She’s got such a big heart and I love reading about everything she’s seeing through God’s love.

Brittany from These Happy Times is a mix of everything but I love her honesty. She shows us that she’s real.

Erin from Sweetness Itself is the sweetest girl I could ever meet (and I can't wait to meet her in person at Influence). She has such a big heart for God and for reaching her generation for him.

Alright – here’s the fun part!!

I am giving away a large ad space, which includes a guest post or interview post and $20 credit to my shop.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sep 26, 2012

The Transition to Preschool & Other Musings

Now that Wilder is in preschool, even if it's just a handful of hours a week, I find myself clinging to what little we have left at home full time. I am one of those moms who still, after 4 years, is "learning to love" staying home with the kiddos. I'm okay admitting that. It means I'm not holding up any pretenses. This is a job where I rely, like many of us, on the grace, provision, and affirmation of Jesus!

I am not a Type A, so doing the constant needs thing that motherhood requires wears me out (and I am completely disorganized; I balk at projects and to do lists), but the sensitive, outgoing, creative side of me is completely passionate about what I do, and more specifically, about Wilder and Story.
Many of my tasks, as you may relate, are mundane. I can't quite maintain it all, but I sure try (most days). When it seems overwhelming, I remind myself that I chose this, and that it's an honor. Sometimes the challenges of parenthood and the constant meeting of needs comes close to being more than I can handle. But it never quite goes over that "I've maxed my limit" point, and I'm okay!
I walked away from a career to choose something with more eternal value. I feel like I made the harder choice (the right choice for us) in staying home with the babies. BUT the smart, considerate, God-loving people the kiddos are becoming indicates to me that my and Shawn's dedication and learning-as-we-go, is making a difference in their little lives.

I know the Lord is 100% responsible for making them so wonderfully, and we give Him the glory for that. Moreover, we are thankful that our eyes and ears are not closed to how He wants us to parent, and that we have Him to rely on.
On another note, here's a bit about our schedule. We have things we have to be at Tuesday, Thursday, Friday mornings, and Wednesday nights (weekends are on a different spectrum). So I keep Monday and Wednesday as open as possible.
When I told Wilder that today we had no errands to run, he was SO HAPPY and insisted on staying in his pajamas. I don't think any of us were out of bed til 9.a.m. We do this because we can. We still have some flexibility left and I'm fighting to keep that.

Lots of times I like to be gone, I do better when we are gone, but I know that what's best for Wilder and Story (and, welp, me too) is to enjoy our safe, happy home at least a day a week. To linger a little longer over lunch, to splash in the rain water, to get covered in sidewalk chalk, to re-read the stacks of books from the library.
If you stay home full time and your oldest has just transitioned to being gone some, how has that affected your home life?
I've appreciated getting some alone time with Story, and am so tickled every time I pick up Wilder and he tells me what he learned.
 ***
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.
Proverbs 31:17

Sep 24, 2012

How To Make a Kid-Friendly Fall Owl Centerpiece

I found this cute owl craft in October's issue of Disney's Family Fun magazine and thought I'd share how our version of it turned out.

I can't find a link to the craft so I've listed all the instructions per the magazine.
To assemble one owl, trim an inch from one end of a bathroom tissue tube, fold in the top, and secure it with tape.

Cut a cupcake liner into quarters, then trim away the flat sections, leaving just the ruffles.

Use tacky glue to secure overlapping ruffled pieces to the tube.
 
Cut eyes and a beak from card stock.

Add pupils and dots with marker.

Glue the eyes and beak to the tube. For ruffled wings, cut sections from a liner and glue them to the back of the tube.  For smooth wings, attach a curved half-circle of card stock instead. 

Perch on "tree limbs" (branch) in a jar to use as a centerpiece.

Sep 20, 2012

Why I Would Never Give Up My Boutique Gig

Retail is a roller coaster ride.

It's hard not to take things personally when people don't buy my stuff; I think this is because I make it by hand--so I put my heart into it to make it special, to make it quality (plus I'm just a sensitive gal). But a good friend told me: 

Mindy, none of it is personal. It's really just about people having different tastes and liking different things.

It was a light bulb moment for me.
I've always said I'd give up doing the Cottage Collective (a local boutique comprised of several moms/wives who handcraft goodies and take turns running the store) if it stopped being fun or became too large of a financial burden for my family (that sounds so non-reliant on the Lord; I need to re-think that). As far as those terms go, so far, so good! But most of all, the emotional benefits of working there a few hours a week and some weekends, far outweigh any cost for our babysitter, booth rent, craft supplies, late nights crafting, etc.
I feel a bit like Cinderella when her foot slid perfectly into that glistening slipper. 
All became well and lovely and not confusing.
I am convinced the Lord has me at this really special place for a unique purpose. I carry the heartbeat of the Cottage with me everywhere I go. The customers and community are what make it the coolest place to shop, not to mention the admirable contributions of all the ladies on our team.

I tend to think back to when I worked in corporate America (okay, it was a private philanthropy but it was really fancy and I wore suits). Had I not decided to stay home with Wilder once he was born, I don't think I'd have become so immersed in the blogging community. And once I became immersed in that/this incredible community, I was inspired to pursue handmade, something I've always done on the side, but not for income.
I love how the Lord paints a picture and sets us on a magnificent trajectory toward finding what we are most at home doing.

For me, even more than crafting, it's being at that store encouraging women!
So now you see why, even though business isn't booming for my wares, I stick with it because it is my heart, my passion, my joy, and a rich vessel of life support!
Fall Open House Preview Party photos c/o Sally Manlove Photography

Sep 19, 2012

RedBarn Outdoor Market

 me with Mel from Sweet Treats Shop and "prego Margo" from RumTinn Accessories
photo credit: Sally Manlove

RedBarn yet again exceeded my expectations this Fall!

I had the time of my life. Maybe it was the company of these two fine craftswomen pictured above.
Though the weather was cold, misty, and mud slopped and squished everywhere, the customers were delightful, the music uplifting, and the food fulfilling.

Such a perfect day!
Most items pictured above are ones I offered.
This table features wares from all three of us.
This table held most things made by me. I loved getting my vintage goodies back out!
Pics from a retro booth, Blue June's Retro Deco I swooned over. 
 For an extended peek at the sale, click on this post.

To get grossed out, just look below at my feet (I wore the wrong shoes to be out in the muddy country):
For an insightful post on all things craft fairs, including things vendors need to keep in mind (and my first RedBarn experience), click here.
*****

The winner of the Mish Lovin' Life ad giveaway is Andrea Merrigan with A Modern Hippie! 
Email me for details.

Sep 18, 2012

Lazy Lady's Recipe: Creamy Tomato Soup


Shawn's favorite soup is tomato, yet I've never made it other than out of a Campbell's can (gasp!).

When I stumbled across this Creamy Tomato Soup recipe in an old issue of Simple & Delicious, I knew it'd be worth a try. It's not as "from scratch" as it could be, but it's still so rich and yummy!
Here's what you need:

1 can (29 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
dash hot pepper sauce
salad croutons, shredded cheddar cheese, quartered grape tomatoes 
and/or thinly sliced green onions

In a large saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through (do not boil). Garnish with croutons, cheese, tomatoes, and/or onions. Yield: 4 servings
If you decide to try it, let me know how you like it! I thought the heavy whipping cream made it pretty rich, so, a little goes a long way. :)
Now that's some perfect fall food, folks.

Sep 17, 2012

Spend Time Together: As An ENTIRE Family!

Friends, one of the most awesome, profound, life-altering, life-giving, confidence-boosting things we can do for our sweet children is to SPEND TIME WITH THEM.  Better yet, as a family.
 For reasons that are likely confusing to people who do not understand my background, doing things as a family has been difficult for me in the past. But the Lord has so renewed my joy and has helped me see that He does not require perfection from us, nor are we expected to be automatically intentional with our kiddos. He realizes it requires a laying down of self and gives us the ability to do so (don't get me wrong, most of the time I crave being with the kiddos, but to really be intentional, well, that takes focus..intent! and sometimes, I'm just tired).

Now spending time with my family usually just flows beautifully...I can't get enough of Shawn, Wilder, and Story. They truly fill my love tank and remind me of how much God loves me! We have our stressful moments like all families with young children, but it doesn't nearly set me off track the way it used to.
 I am so thankful Shawn managed the time to fix the tubes in all the bike tires so we could enjoy the fall weather this weekend. Wilder insisted on riding his tricycle...eventually he couldn't keep up so we hitched the trike to the back of the trailer, then eventually Shawn wore it on his back (we were tired of the clanking noise).
I'm so excited about many bike rides to come!

Other things we do as a family:
Pray together
Read together
Eat dinner together
Cuddle together
Church together
Put swimsuits on our heads 

Sep 14, 2012

Housekeeping

A sweet blog reader reminded me I hadn't announced the giveaway winner for the Labor Day giveaway yet!
Photobucket
So, without further ado, the winner is Darby Harden. Email me for details, friend!

I forgot about announcing the giveaway because I'm entrenched in preparation for the Red Barn Outdoor Market I'm participating in this weekend. It's going to be fun meeting new people and spending the day sharing a booth with two super awesome, creative girls!
Photobucket My brain is also still in vacay mode a little bit. Paradise to me, is fresh spring water and hiking in the woods. So when we found a natural spring at the end of our hike at the site of the cave tour, I had to put my feet in.
I would love to go on a float trip sometime. Oceans scare me because of all the creatures within. And lakes are just kinda gross. But clear mountain spring water? I know there are crawdads, fish, etc, but at least you can see before you step.
I'm so thankful God knows my heart and let me see a little piece of my heaven while on vacay.
DSC_9433 What's on the horizon for you this weekend?

Sep 12, 2012

Indianapolis or Bust: The Influence Conference

The hosts of The Influence Conference have a link-up for those attending so we can get to know each other before the conference. This is great...I can memorize names (I'm horrible with names)!It's outlined as follows:

Provide 3-get-to-know-me-things:

~I thrive on people. I go crazy if I don't get adult contact. That's why I love my little retail job so much. It's my element. I don't know a stranger. I love making people feel great about themselves. I can close the party down; always the last to leave something!
~I had Lasik eye surgery several years ago and said a cuss word during it. I thought it hurt! Anyone else with me?
~I constantly fear the kids will have some of the emotional health issues I have had. This is an area where I put my faith in the Lord to protect my babies...and I'm so grateful the legacy starts with Shawn and I.

List 2 things I'm looking forward to about the conference:

~I'm a knowledge sponge; I yearn to learn new things, and even though I've been blogging almost five years, I'm anticipating that the strategy session will open my eyes to things I hadn't thought or known about for my blog. I want my blog to be my business, which is why I'm investing in the conference
~Meeting people: I had a blast jabbering with like-minded women at BlogSugar '11 and can't wait to do the same at Influence. Let's face it, I need some encouragement and constructive criticism. AND, the girls hosting are so real and write about things of eternal significance, and are putting this on to HELP US not only reach those yearning for their King, but to help us reach our dreams for our families.
Also, I have to add one more thing: I'm going with my sister! We haven't had just-sister time in ages because we are both moms and live a long way apart; it will be a healing time for us.
The plush gigs, and Sashes Market sound wonderful, too!

 Lastly, list 1 thing I can't leave home without:
My sunglasses. I have really sensitive blue eyes like Daddy's. They will tear up and ruin my makeup if I don't wear sunnies!

Sep 11, 2012

The REAL Pioneer Woman

We spent a few days in Missouri touring my favorite theme park from childhood, eating at entertaining restaurants, and touring a cave.

All of the pictures are on Shawn's iPhone, but to please the grandparents I just have to get these old time photos up.

Can you even believe Sissy in the above picture? Be still my heart!

I don't think I would've survived pioneer days.
I like me a hot shower and an epidural (those few times it's necessary).
More on our trip later. I have 4 days til a craft fair and nothing to sell...everything has gone to the Cottage Collective. :-)
Where's the chocolate? I'm gonna need it!