Monday, July 31

Chasing Slow...

We have been in our new house for nearly eight weeks now.
Summer is coming to a close and school starts back in eleven days.
And all I did was blink...

I have so much to share with much I want to say.
Today, however, I only want to share this book...because this book is all the feels.

I can hardly put it down because it has filled me up.
"Chasing Slow" is beautifully written...pages penned with truth and authenticity while the story itself is riveting. Erin Loechner has most certainly shared her heart and in the process has stolen mine.


Here are some excerpts that struck me during my reading - I've only just finished chapter 9 :

"Sometimes the most holy thing we can do is to be still. To sit down and twirl the fork and eat the pasta."

"The only thing worse than being a victim is resenting the survivors." 

"Do you know what happens when we victimize ourselves? When we hand over the power to circumstances? We lose everything that matters. We lose the freedom to change, the grace to rise above, the strength to get up off the couch. We have given the power away. We can no longer conjure it when we need it most. And let's be clear: we will need it most."

"...success is not a mountain, not a flood, but a mirror. It reflects what the world wants from you, and so you smile and brush the hair out of your eyes, and you play along."


If any of that resonated with you...I encourage you to get your hands on a copy and be ready to be inspired...and moved.

And if you want to connect with Erin on social media...well I've made it simple for ya:
BLOG: Design for Mankind
INSTAGRAM: erinloechner
FB: DesignforMankind
PINTEREST: Erin Loechner / Design for Mankind


I don't want this summer to be over...
because it's just another summer I will never get back.
And there are just too many of those in my life already! *wink*


Wednesday, June 21

Moving Forward...

The place we've called home for the last 7 years was put on the market and 14 days later it sold.
New beginnings are never easy...mostly because of the letting go we are forced to do.

I think you guys know I didn't want to say goodbye...there are so many things we are going to miss.

But I think what tugs at my heartstrings the most are the memories we leave behind.
For me I feel like the memories become embedded in the walls, windows, doors, and foundation of our homes. As much as we carry memories with us in our hearts and minds...I feel like there are so many "memory treasures" left behind. As if they are held prisoner within the walls and can only be unlocked by those who had to leave them behind. Does that even make sense? Or is that just too deep? lol

Although, truth be told, I do have to say there are some painful parenting memories I will be glad to leave behind. Watching children struggle and battle the ugly things this world tries to destroy them with (aka teenage years) has certainly left me feeling helpless at times.

Not going to lie. There were some rough, rough seasons; Parts of parenting I just quietly battled behind the fun projects and happy blog posts I was sharing here at the same time. And friends, that's just keeping it real.

You have no idea how many times I wanted to pour my heart out here on the blog about specific struggles we were going through but my desire to honor and respect the privacy of my family kept me quiet. (and will continue to keep me quiet).

And honestly, I'm a pretty private person...believe it or not. (ironic, considering I'm a blogger).
Wait a minute.
Actually, truth be told, if there weren't other people's feelings and character involved I would gladly spill the beans about everything in my life. (most everything anyway). *wink*

I have to say there are still ongoing battles that rip this mama's heart out. much as I will miss our beautiful home on Oak Cluster...
I am also looking forward to MOVING FORWARD.

I have felt stuck for some time and didn't even realize it.
I think making new memories...
creating a new home...
in a new area...
will offer me a chance to regroup, recharge and rekindle so many things that have fallen by the wayside. It's just what sort of happens when we are distracted (or buried) under the thick of adversity.

And friends, let me tell you...
no matter how pretty the Instagram squares are...we all struggle.
There isn't a person on the planet right this second that isn't dealing with something hard.
Our "hards" will all look very different, because we are very different people experiencing life in sometimes dramatically different ways.

So, no matter what your "hard" might be...
it's my hope that you will find strength in knowing you, (we) are not alone.
Sometimes, just knowing that or hearing those words can bring the greatest of comfort.
I know personally how true that is.


I'm obviously in a very reflective, contemplative mood today.
But whatever....I'm just going with it.

Looking forward to sharing all about the new house + community soon!


Wednesday, May 17


In the middle of bubble wrap, packing paper, stacked cardboard boxes and empty walls...
Ella and I managed to sneak away for a bit from all of the moving preparations in order for her to do some modeling for our favorite local fashion boutique...The Secret Garden.

A new shipment of beautiful dresses in Ella's size have arrived and they needed a model!
As you may remember, Ella and I have a favorite tradition of going to The Secret Garden and picking out an extra special dress for the Daddy Daughter Dance held at her school every year. (see this post and this post). psst....I still need to post the photos from this year's dance. *covering eyes*

So, it didn't take much convincing for Ella to agree to an afternoon of trying on dresses and striking some poses. Here are some of my favorites...

Ella was thrilled to be a model for the afternoon...
and I was happy to get out of packing for a few hours.

Hope you all are doing fantastic!!
I've missed you and I'm really looking forward to getting back to some consistent blogging once we have moved and get settled a bit.

Stay tuned and keep up with me on Instagram in between blog posts.

My entire world is about to change with our move less than 7 days away! Eeks!!
I am seriously a tossed salad of emotions. 
On one hand I'm super excited about what this adventure has in store for me personally, as well as
the magic and growth that is sure to come for my family...especially my two older daughters who are staying behind. *tears*

On the other hand...a mother is not supposed to leave her children, right?
The children are supposed to leave the nest and move away from the mother.
Although Clara turns 21 on Sunday and Ema is 18, this "moving away from them" thing feels so incredibly awkward.

And of course, there's apprehension and uncertainly as it's going to be quite an adjustment living a couple of hours away in an unfamiliar town without the comfort of having family and friends close by.

A new chapter for all of us that's for sure. *more tears* 
I really am putting my faith + trust in He who knows best and who's plans are far greater than my own.


Tuesday, April 4


It's pouring down rain on this Tuesday afternoon as I begin writing this blog post.

I think the gloomy weather is apropos for the state of mind I seem to be in most days since our decision, back in January, to have Jason accept a position with another company. The new position brings with it a lot of opportunity and promise for him. Unfortunately, it also brings with it the need to move from the area our family has come to know and love for nearly 16 years now.

I've been in denial mostly. I keep thinking something is going to happen to intervene and the process isn't really going to play out. Turns out it's playing out all right. When the "For Sale" sign went up in the yard I think that pretty much squashed any disillusionment I had about the fact that we are packing up and heading a bit north on a new adventure.

Yeah. I keep calling it an "adventure".  That's what you have to do, isn't it? When you are faced with something you don't really want to do but you know you have to do it call it an adventure. You pretend it's going to be amazing. You find all of the positives about the situation you can possibly gather and you create a bouquet of "it'll all work out". And honestly, I do have faith things will all work out.

So let's end on something super positive...
I've been filling my home with lots of fresh cut flowers lately.
Like the ones in the photo that are sitting on my perfectly made bed right now looking as though we live in a model home. Ha!!

But hey! There you go...a clean home filled with fresh flowers.
That's a really good thing.
That definitely brings me joy.
And I'm just going to hold onto that for today.

Between posts, you can find me on Instagram sharing more details about the move!
I hope to see you over there too!!


Phew!! I ended this just in the knick of phone alarm to remind me to go get Ella from school just rang!


Monday, January 23

RECIPE | Crumb Topped Apple Pie

Good morning my sweet, sweet friends!
We have been stuck on Pie #4 from my "Five Days of Pie"...haven't we?

Truth be told..."stuck" is exactly how I've been feeling over the last month or so.
I was wiped out from my projects with Hersheys along with various "life" things that have been going on behind the scenes and I just could not muster up the energy to re-bake this crumb-topped apple pie for you after realizing I didn't have any great photos of this particular one.

And then it also seemed silly to share the pie since the Christmas holidays are over AND I have been trying to avoid sweets. I just couldn't convince myself baking an apple pie in January made any sense when I wouldn't be able to eat any of it. (or shouldn't eat any of it). *wink*

The good news is...I tossed all sense out of the window and baked it anyway.
Mainly because I just couldn't see myself posting anything else when my Five Days of Pie had not been properly finished out. I couldn't just skip right over it and move onto something else. Not right.

Most importantly, this Crumb-Topped Apple Pie is something I know you all will love and I just HAVE to share it with you. Especially because there have been so many of you asking for the recipe ever since I mentioned it! apologies for keeping you waiting while I crawled out from the creative crater I'd fallen into.
I most definitely want to tuck this delicious recipe into your pocket for the next time you are looking to bake a pie - especially because this pie is easier than average since it doesn't require a standard pastry crust.

One to print for you and one for a friend...all on the same sheet for printing!

If you are just joining us for the "Five Days of Pie", here are the direct links to the other four pies shared previously...all come with cute printable recipe cards too! *wink*

The Only Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie
The Only Key Lime Pie
Mama's Blueberry Pie

And if you'd like to see the short step-by-step video I created when Ella and I made this pie for Thanksgiving...

Thanks again for loving me despite my imperfections!
You guys are sweet as apple pie and I appreciate your love + support...always!!


I had ordered a NEW PIE DISH to bake the apple pie in for Thanksgiving BUT of course it arrived AFTER the fact. *frown*

So....when I re-baked this crumb topped apple pie specifically for this post, I finally got to use it and I have to say it's lovely! If you are looking for a pretty, white, deep dish pie plate this one gets five stars from me!!

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