Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cabin in the Woods


I've been missing in action for a long time because I've been spending a lot of time on my crochet blog - The Little Monkey Shop.

Watching the rain on the front porch by Tea in the Morning Too

We recently took some family time to relax in a cabin in the woods along the TN/KY border. We go to these cabins often to just relax. We actually really hope it rains so that we can sit on the front porch and watch the storm, read a book, crochet, and drink coffee.
 
A trip to Pickett State Park

We also like to do some hiking, wading in the creek, skipping rocks, catching minnows, and just enjoying being out in nature.

A walk in the woods to a cave.

At Pickett State Park we found found a trail that led to a natural bridge and cave. Such a cool natural formation!

Sisterly love amazes me!

And our hikes often end like this - Cade getting a ride one someone's hip. Emma offered him a ride without him asking - I love to see the little ways they love on him!

Gypsy Poncho Pattern by Little Monkeys Design

During our relaxing on the front porch, while the little guy was playing with his bristle block toys (current favorite toys!), I was able to finish up my Gypsy Poncho I've been working on. The woods around the cabin created a unique place to take pictures of the finished poncho.

Woodland bonnet by Little Monkeys Design.

I also worked up this Woodlands Bonnet for a customer while swinging on the porch swing! My first bonnet crochet pattern! 

Relaxing in a cabin in the woods - with a side of coffee.

I highly recommend taking a little time to get away and relax! The best part is getting up in the cooler mornings and reading on the front porch rocking chair with a side of coffee, taking in natures beauty.

You can read more about our time at the cabin from a teenagers perspective at Spinach is Good For You.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Review - Insanity's Shoes



My friend Angela Tompkins recently published a book titled Insanity's Shoes about her experience with postpartum psychosis. As a RN and a IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), I felt I needed to read this book so that I could better screen and counsel the postpartum women I see and talk to on a regular basis.

In the book, Angela gives not only her own experience of what it was like inside her brain during her two weeks of insanity, but also how her psychosis affected those around her. Her husband writes an occasional chapter to let us know what he saw and felt during this time period. Having both sides of the picture helps to create an even more colorful view!

When we think of postpartum issues in mothers, we often think of postpartum depression, which is a lot more common, therefore women are more widely screened for it.

Postpartum psychosis is a much more rare postpartum illness and is widely overlooked by medical professionals.

Signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis, as well as general information about this mental illness, can be found on the Postpartum Support International website.

In Insanity's Shoes, Angela goes from being a wife and the mother of a young girl and a newborn son to being a patient in a lock down unit of a psych hospital. Anyone who knows Angela would say, "What??? No way!!" So mental illness can happen to the best of us when our brain chemistry goes haywire for one reason or another.

The takeaway message for me in this book is that we aren't made to be everything to everyone ALL the time! It's important to learn to say No when necessary and to recharge ourselves with rest, especially after birthing a new baby or other stressful situations in life. It's just as important as we reach out with meals, a listening ear or offers of babysitting to those who are in need of such help. Be each other's keeper!

Angela wrote Insanity's Shoes in an easy to read format. With a hot cup of tea, a Kleenex or two, and a quite afternoon (all the kids are napping ...), you can enjoy this book in a couple of hours and finish feeling like Angela is your best friend whom you feel for, plus know that you've learned a lot about postpartum psychosis that can help you be a better friend or counselor to the women in your life.

Then pass the book on to others (or buy your best friend a copy!) so they too can recognize the signs of postpartum psychosis and get a new mother the help she so desperately needs.

 

Friday, March 11, 2016

It's Spring! Time to clean out closets!

Image courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 
Spring means time to do your Spring cleaning! We recently moved, so I feel like we spent the last year Spring cleaning!
 
Since we live in a much smaller house now, we have a lot less closet space. This really helps you simplify! There's just not room for any extras!
 
Now that winter is (hopefully :)) almost over, it's time to look back over your winter clothes.
 
See those tops and bottoms that are really cute, you like them, but for some reason never wore them?
 
 Get rid of them! Lovely as they are, they are taking up valuable real estate!
 
 Time to sell or donate them to someone who can really use them. This will give you closet space for clothing articles that you will wear, not just decorate your closet with.
 
I have this problem too! I have several nice skirts and sweaters that I really like and will "one day" wear, but they aren't real practical on an every day basis. Keep one such out fit for that "one day", and donate the others.
 
I practiced this idea last Saturday and had a pile of winter clothes to donate to those in need. That feels good on two fronts - my closet is a little more organized and I'm helping someone out with a gift of "new" clothes.
 
 
 
Don't let these early Spring days go by without looking through your winter clothes and seeing which ones you never wore and finding them a new home!

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Quilted Heart - Book Review


 
In keeping with my New Year's Resolution, I've been reading a few more books this year than I have over the past few years.
 
I choose The Quilted Heart randomly, needing to add a few more dollars to my cart to get free shipping! It was a good choice!
 
The Quilted Heart is written by Mona Hodgson and are three short novels in one, all involving the same characters. The setting is a small Missouri town a the end of the Civil War. This intrigued me because we had just finished reading Across Five Aprils with our homeschool history program. I have read very few books about life in the North after the Civil War.

The perfect reader would be a young or older adult, more likely a female. :) This is a Christian book, so no moral or modesty issues. I would encourage my teenage daughters to read this book.
 
The three main characters in the book couldn't lead more different lives, but they are all intertwined as they try to piece their lives back together after the heartaches they experienced related to the intense hardships of the Civil War. 
 
At the center of each story is a quilting group ran by an older woman, Mrs. Brantenberg, who, though she too experienced great tribulations brought on by the war, was able to have a positive impact on everyone's life in the quilting circle, through friendship and prayer.
 
Mrs. Brantenberg says, "Life is much like quilting - a patchwork of scraps and remnants." 
"No matter our age. Life's changing seasons are as persistent as the ripples along the shore."  
I particularly like to read historical fiction books because I like to learn a little something in my easy reading. This book was perfect - it included the post Civil War Era and led into wagon trains going west from Missouri.

I enjoyed the uplifting qualities of this book too. Though the characters had suffered greatly and their lives were in a mess, they could find the good in the day and give praise where it was due. It made me see that we can always find something positive in our lives and underlined the need of daily thanking God for the seasons in our lives.




Monday, February 29, 2016

Kniting Heaven and Earth - a book review

 
This morning I'm over at Little Monkey's Shop with a book review and a giveaway. Even if you don't knit - I don't knit - you might be interested in reading how this author uses her knitting to help her navigate through life experiences.
 
At the end of the post, I tell you how to enter the book giveaway.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My new Essential Oils Bag


Over the past few years our family has started using Young Living Essential Oils to better our lives on a daily basis. As I have learned more and more about natural healing, I've collected quite a few different essential oils. What to do with them all?

My friend Dori over at The Red Feedsack makes the most beautiful bags for carrying your essential oils in when you travel - or for just storing them. She gifted me one recently (because that's what friends do!) and I'm in LOVE with it! She even included a great gift tag.

 The essential oil bag is made out of high quality fabric, so it will wash well and look new for a long time.  She has lots of fabric colors and styles from which to choose. The outside has a zipper opening on top with a colorful ribbon to add some cuteness.


Inside, the bag is padded and lined. There are 10 little pockets for the oil bottles along the sides of the bag and four removable inserts with 3 pockets each.  This gives you space for 22 bottles of oil in the bag! Each bottle of oil is snug in its own space and isn't going anywhere or breaking!


As a seamstress myself, I can say Dori has done a fantastic job in sewing these essential oil bags. I use mine to hold my everyday oils and then add a few extras when we travel. It also looks great sitting on the corner of our bathroom counter.

If you are interested in getting an essential oil bag for yourself or a friend, Dori can be found on her blog at The Red Feedsack.  

Tell her Angela said, "Hello!"


Friday, February 5, 2016

Loop Scarf in time for Valentine's Day


Today I'm over at Little Monkey Shop sharing a free crochet pattern for this skinny or loop scarf.

Don't know how to crochet? No problem - this pattern utilizes the very basic crochet stitch - the chain stitch. You could even make it with your fingers if you don't have a crochet hook.

Let me know how your skinny/loop scarf turns out!