My Book Nook

My house is usually messy and full of chaos. It raises my anxiety, but I also hate cleaning up. I recently decided to take one small corner of my home and turn it into my tidy, relaxation spot.

The sofa and bookshelf were already here in my bedroom. In a messy home, however, extra furniture easily becomes a place for clutter. A couple of weeks ago, I declared, this is my book nook. This is my spot for relaxation. No more clothes or toys thrown upon this sofa!

In the past, those curtains stayed closed. Now, I am opening up to let in the natural light. This spot is also great, because it is has the separate lighting (the chandelier) from the rest of the room. Since my daughter sleeps in my bedroom, I can still use my book nook spot after she is asleep without turning on the overhead light.

I purchased a few little extras to make my spot extra special.

I bought an extra cozy blanket from Pottery Barn Teen. It is super soft and perfect both for me and for my dogs to snuggle under. I also ordered these Pride and Prejudice themed pillows from TheOldCuriousityShopp on Etsy. They are comfy and bring me joy!

On the wall, I hung this letter box from Underwood Letterpress. It came in my Fall Causebox. I plan to change it up with quotes from my favorite books. This one is from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I love the whole series!

I already had this table from Hobby Lobby, but moved it next to my book nook. I’ve never been a big candle person. I don’t buy them myself, but I have several that I’ve gotten as gifts. I don’t have the strongest sense of smell. I usually only light them right before people come over to my house to mask any not so great smells that may be lingering. Many people find candles soothing, so I’m trying to be one of those people. This La Lueur candle, which also came in my Fall Causebox, does smell better than many of the unnatural and synthetic candles that I have had in the past.

I even ordered a new mug that would brighten my mood to use for hot tea in my book nook. This cup of happy mug comes from Natural Life, and says “do more of what makes you happy” inside the rim.

I also try to be one of those people who drinks a comforting cup of tea. Tea is healthy and makes me feel fancy.

My little book nook brings me joy. It is not always quiet, with dogs and a child in the house. But I am making an effort to spend time there doing things to take care of me, like relaxing and reading a book. My dogs usually join me. It’s also a comfy place for my daughter to sit next to me and draw or read books together. My sink may be currently full of dirty dishes and toys are currently strewn around the house. But my book nook is cozy and calm.

Toy Story 4 Birthday Party

As my daughter’s school class gets bigger every year (not to mention all of the other friends and family), I decided to take it easy and forego the huge birthday party this year that we normally do. She had one school friend over last week for a special extended play date, and they had a great time.

I still wanted to throw a party though, just on a smaller scale. We had a few friends and family over for a Toy Story 4 themed party at our house. The cute invite came from moolaparty on Etsy.

I couldn’t help but use cute little themed food labels to make it fun. The labels came from lunabirthdays on Etsy. Some of the label ideas were my own. Others I found on Pinterest.

The drink station idea came from Pinterest. I glued the googly eyes to make alien cups, and my daughter drew the mouths (so each one was unique).

To Infini-Tea and Beyond!

In addition to some Pizza Planet pizza, we had gumbo. I couldn’t relate gumbo to Toy Story until my brother came up with Gum-Bo Peep!

The cake was designed to look like Bo Peep’s outfit and was made by Les Amis Bake Shoppe.

We also had Forky cookie favors made by Cookie Rouge. She always does the best work!

We even played a game of Pin the Tail on Bullseye. This download came from itsacowsopinion on Etsy.

It may have been a small party, but I couldn’t help myself going crazy with the details. My little family also wore themed shirts.

It was a party success!

Be Bright, Sunny, and Positive – like a Sunflower

This afternoon, I brought my daughter to visit the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens. We have been before, but I wanted to take some pictures in the sunflower fields that have recently bloomed.

I wish that I could grow flowers. Flowers are pretty and full of color, and I wish that I could grow some at home to look at daily. But I have quite the black thumb. I should probably keep trying.

My daughter’s favorite part was the swing, of course, not the flowers. There is a playground in the children’s garden. We also visited the rose garden.

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve your health, mood, creativity, and spirits. I need to make an effort to do it more often.

Soufflé

I have a collection of cookbooks, and I used to love trying out new recipes. Every time I make a recipe, I give it a rating, so that I remember what I thought about it. Recently though, I have stopped cooking as much. The time spent in the kitchen, piles of dishes, and cost of ingredients just doesn’t seem worth it most of the time, especially on busy work days. I love good food, but often fall back on easy and quick dinner options or eating out. I haven’t bought a new cookbook in a long time, because I’ve made a conscious decision to stop cooking to save time and money.

I have been home for the past couple weeks, however, recovering from surgery. I am finally starting to feel a little better, but I am still on a soft food diet. So I decided to pull out one of my cookbooks and try to make something. Today I made a Gruyère and Parmesan soufflé from a Bon Appetit cookbook. It was tasty, although the Gruyère tasted even better just shaved right off the block.

It’s not terribly interesting or creative, but here is my cheesy soufflé. The consistency and rise came out perfectly, which are unusual for me.

Patience is a Virtue

Patience.  A simple virtue that I wish I could practice evenly in all areas of my life.  Compared to many people, I am pretty patient when it comes to everyday inconveniences.  I can usually handle traffic delays, slow service in a restaurant, or a long line at the store.  Where I find my patience most often wearing thin is with the people I love the most – my daughter and husband.

Why is that it is easier to be kind towards strangers and acquaintances than to our own families?  My theory is that it is because it is less risky. We know that the people we love will forgive us time and again for yelling at them in anger, whereas a co-worker or other acquaintance may not.

I know it shouldn’t be this way.  I shouldn’t snap at my family for the slightest inconvenience.  I know this intellectually, but I still find it difficult to put into place.  

I came across this quote.  Is that the answer? Fake it until you make it?  It is certainly better than showing your frustration, especially in a parenting situation.  But ideally, I would like to not only sound calm, but actually be calm.

One of our jobs as a parent is to help teach our children how to regulate their emotions.  We do this through example. It is imperative that I learn to be patient, so that I can pass that skill onto my daughter.  It is so much easier to have the skill naturally, than to be a grown woman trying to cultivate it.

Patience with my family is a skill that I must practice.  I want to live in a calm and loving home, and I need to do my part to make sure that happens.  Sometimes my husband has to remind me that I’m overreacting in a parenting situation. Other times, I’m overreacting towards him and my daughter is the one to notice the tension and remind me to be kind.

What do you do to remind yourself to be patient with your loved ones?

Be Present

I have an addiction to my phone and laptop. I spend far too much of my time scrolling through Facebook or checking emails. I know this is a problem, and yet it persists. The magnetic letters on my fridge remind me to “be present.” I have the Space app on my phone to track my phone usage, and send me little reminders like “isn’t it time you took a break?” And yet my five year old daughter still finds opportunities to say things like “you pay more attention to your phone than me.” Nothing like a pre-schooler to tell you the truth.

I actually held out on getting a smart phone longer than most, because I predicted that I would struggle with finding the right phone-life balance. In 2011, I went on a work trip and remember sitting on the bus quietly while everyone played on their phones. Seeing as I’m also an introvert and don’t often engage others in small talk, I had only my own thoughts to entertain me. It was not long after that trip that I decided to get my first smart phone.

I do believe that a lot of great things come from social media. It is a great way to connect and share information. That is why I have not tried removing social media as a whole from my life. The Space app is a great tool when I actually utilize it and don’t just ignore its comments, as I’ve tended to do lately. Like I stated earlier, preschoolers are probably the best protection against overuse of the internet. Sometimes I just have to listen to my daughter and stop everything to color a picture of My Little Pony or play a round of Hide and Seek. What do you do to remind yourself to live in the real world and not just in the internet world?