Amy Beth

May 29, 2015

These Days // 19

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taking: a short break from blogging, apparently. I had plans to post this week, but it just didn’t happen. And rather than feel stressed and guilty about my failure to be consistent with this hobby, I’m just going to say that instead I enjoyed…

watching: New Girl. I started at the beginning on Netflix and have made it a good way through the first season. One of these days I’m going to run out of lighthearted comedies to keep me entertained during bedtime nursing sessions.

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I went a little overboard with the rainbow patterns one day.

hearing: giggles from my girl! I’ve heard little happy grunts and coos, but this week brought some full on laughs. It happened while tossing her into the air, of course.

going: to a new (to me) babywearing mom’s group. It’s a bit (no, a lot) out of my comfort zone to go hang out with a bunch of strangers, but it was fun, I learned some new things about baby wearing, and my Charlie got to play with several other little boys his age.

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loving: how Charlie really seems to be coming into his own as a big brother these days. He gives Poppy hugs and kisses all the time, he holds her hand and brings her toys if she’s crying, and he even wanted her to sit on his lap! And she, of course, watches him with rapt attention any time he’s near. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be her hero someday.

Have a fabulous weekend, dear readers!

April 22, 2015

Yogurt Berry Bark

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I am perpetually hunting for new healthy-ish snack ideas. This would happen to anyone whose three year old asks for a snack every hour. So one day I came up with this idea for some yogurt berry bark. It was simple to put together and a nice quick kitchen project for Charlie to help with.

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Measuring isn’t necessary with this recipe. Just throw some tasty berries in a bowl of yogurt and stir. We used plain yogurt with a spoonful of sugar. I’m sure many other flavors would be just as good.

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Make sure to cut up the berries a bit to get all that juicy flavor mixed into the yogurt.

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Spread it out on a cookie sheet topped with parchment paper.

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And top with some melted chocolate. Of course!

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Lick that chocolate melting dish clean!

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Freeze for a few hours and break it up into pieces.

Charlie found this snack to be a bit too hard to eat after freezing, so it didn’t quite fix my snack-time woes. But I enjoyed it!

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April 13, 2015

Documenting the Snow

We got so much snow this year! It was crazy. And it definitely needs to be remembered. Enter my Project Life album.

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Since switching to a 12×12 album I was able to fit the story of our snow days into one spread.

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Left side – design A

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Right side – design B

I’m happy with the way these turned out. I really like the look of spreads that all come from one day or event. It makes the whole page look a lot more cohesive. I’d like to try to do more of these types of spreads in the future.


12×12 American Crafts Album

Becky Higgins Photo Pocket Pages – Big Variety Pack

Amy Tangerine Mini Kit

April 8, 2015

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See


I have to say, I started the 2015 Reading Challenge with a good one. Chris and I chose “a book that is currently on the best-seller list” as the first category of the challenge to complete. I went with All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I had no great expectations for it. It was just one of the few books on the list that didn’t seem to center on a murder or crime, so that’s what I picked.

The story is set in Europe during WWII and is told from the perspectives of two different characters – children really – who come of age during the height of WWII. The first is a blind French girl who flees Paris during the Nazi invasion with her father who may or may not be in possession of a cursed diamond. The second is a German orphan boy who escapes his fate of working in the coal mines when his gift at working with radios and mechanics awards him a spot at a prestigious school for the Hitler Youth.

The 500 some pages in the book go by quickly. It’s an easy read, but definitely not fluff. The chapters are short and go back and forth between the girl and the boy, the beginning of the war and the end. It was fascinating to watch the story unfold and reveal how these two separate lives would intersect.

At one point near the end of the book I told Chris that either there was going to be some kind of miracle, or everyone was going to die. It turned out to have some of both. There was a bit of the miraculous. There was a bit of the sad. Some people lived and some people died. Everyone came out of the war with some scars. But many also learned how very strong they could be.

If you’re looking for a book to read, I would definitely recommend this one.

April 6, 2015

A few adjustments

When I first decided to make a photo album using the Project Life system, I thought the traditional 12×12 size sound like way too much. It’s so big! I just want to keep things simple! Less is more!

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But I quickly found that the 6×8 size that I started with couldn’t hold many 4×6 photos on a page. I was needing to do a lot of cutting and cropping of my photos, and a single event or theme had to take up several pages in my book. So after playing with the smaller size for several months, I decided that was just not the way I wanted this book to go and I took the plunge and bought a bigger album.


The thing’s a mammoth. But it’s also much easier to work with. I can use several 4×6 photos on a page still have plenty of space to include fun backgrounds and journalling.

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The nice thing about the large album is I can still fit my smaller sheets inside. I just included all the pages I’ve already made and plan to use the remainder of my small pocket sheets to make little “mini albums” of special events throughout the book.

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I also purchased a few kits of journaling cards to make my life easier. I love the idea of creating my own backgrounds and journaling cards, but the reality is that I will never get this album done if I try to do that for everything. The Becky Higgins site has a ton of great card designs to choose from. I went with the Amy Tangerine Mini Kit, the My Story Themed Cards, and the Inspiration Themed Cards. They are all full of bright, bold colors that I think will make this album feel really happy.

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Inspiration themed cards

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My Story themed cards

I’m really glad I started this little project. I feel like it gets easier each time I sit down to work on a spread and I know I’ll be glad to have this album in several years when we’re all older.

Complete list of Project Life products I used:

12×12 American Crafts Album

Becky Higgins Photo Pocket Pages – Big Variety Pack

Amy Tangerine Mini Kit

Inspiration Themed Cards

My Story Themed Cards

April 3, 2015

These Days // 13

This has been a week, you guys.

Normally, my Friday posts are a time to talk about the more trivial things in life. A listing of the positives and the celebrations. But this week it’s been more about the feelings. So let’s talk about it.


feeling: sad

My Aunt Barbara passed away last Thursday morning. It happened so quickly, it’s still hard to believe. Just three weeks earlier she had gone into the hospital with some swelling and difficulty breathing only to learn that she had stage 4 cancer. At first it sounded like we only had a year or two left with her. Then she developed an infection and it was a matter of days, then hours, and then she was gone. My heart aches every time I think of it.

feeling: exhausted

The funerals (there were two) were in Kansas City and her hometown of Warrensburg, MO. Getting out there is about a 9 hour drive on a good day. Add in a detour to drop off a three year old at the in-laws house, and continue on with a 3 month old that needs diaper changes and nursing breaks every couple of hours, and you’ve got yourself a really long trip. We’re still recovering.

feeling: amazed

At just how much Aunt Barbara loved us. I had always known that my sisters and I were important and special to her. I didn’t realize how much she loved to brag on us to her many friends. There were so many people that we met at the funeral who felt that they had watched us grow up through the eyes of Aunt Barbara. Even though we only got to see Aunt Barbara and Uncle Vernon a few times a year, they thought about us and talked about us and cared about us every day in between.

feeling: grateful

That we were able to have so much time with family in the time leading up to and during the funerals. If only Aunt Barbara had been there it would have been a truly joyous occasion. My parents and sisters were all there – a feat in and of itself. We spent lots of time with Uncle Vernon. We got to visit with cousins I haven’t seen in years, and I even met some family members for the first time. And I can honestly say that they are all really great people. I wish it hadn’t taken such a sad event to get us all together.

feeling: inspired

By the life my Aunt Barbara led. At first glance, it doesn’t seem that impressive. She wasn’t an influential leader. She didn’t own her own business, or start her own charity, or live some kind of high profile life. But she made an impact on so many people. Enough to fill two separate funeral homes. All these people came simply because they were loved by her. Her life is a testament to the power and impact a person can have by simply caring for the people you meet along the way – your neighbors. My Aunt Barbara lived in the same house, worked in the same company, attended the same tiny church, and went to the same high school reunions and retiree functions and volunteer opportunities for as long as I knew her and longer. But even though it seemed that nothing much changed in her life, it’s obvious to me now that she changed the lives of the people around her. I’m certain when she met Jesus face to face he said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

feeling: comforted

In the promise of heaven. I don’t know how people who don’t have a relationship with God and the reality of heaven to look forward to can handle the death of a loved one. As much as I miss Aunt Barbara now, I am comforted in the fact that I will see her again. I’m pretty sure she’s in one of those many rooms organizing her supplies in the most space efficient way possible, making friends with everyone she meets, and preparing a plate of the best chocolate chip cookies in the world to greet us with when we all go to join her.

March 30, 2015

Discover New Blogs


My friend Tina, from the blog Go Big or Go Home, recently nominated me to receive the Leibster blogging award. This award is basically a way for bloggers to honor and recognize other bloggers they enjoy and want to introduce to their readers. So if you’re visiting from Tina’s blog, welcome! Make yourself at home and stay awhile!

If you’re one of my regular readers, I highly recommend that you pop over to Tina’s blog and take a look around. She writes about home and craft projects, style, and her experiences being a new mom! Reading Tina’s blog is like sitting down to chat with a good friend. You should definitely check it out.

So the fun part of this award is the nominator gets to ask 10 questions to the nominee. So here we go!

1- What’s your blog about?

I write about various creative and DIY projects, activities to do with your kiddos, simplifying, and thoughts related to living a full and happy life.

2- What did you want to be when you grew up?

A ballerina! And once I got out of kindergarten and became more practical about my future, a teacher. It wasn’t until I became a grown up that I found my place as a graphic designer.

3- What is your favorite beauty product?


Does soap count as a beauty product? After years of problem skin and using products that irritated and dried my face out, I started using Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser. It keeps my skin as clean and blemish free as anything else (which isn’t perfectly, but I’ve given up on that) but it’s gentle and doesn’t dry me out. I also love that it’s made with natural ingredients and no preservatives. After I started having babies I became a lot more wary of the chemicals I put on my skin, so I feel safe using this soap every day.

4- What brand is your favorite pair of jeans?

Whatever fits. I don’t go jeans shopping very often, and I don’t really have a go-to brand. However, I do have fond memories of a pair of Gap jeans back in high school.

5- Tell me about your favorite day in your life!

I don’t know about one single favorite day, but I’ve learned that great days usually include the following:
* A feeling of accomplishment – This might mean getting on top of chores, completing a project, or just trying out a new activity.
* But also plenty of rest and leisure time. A great day won’t feel hurried or stressed.
* Lots of time with family – Sometimes it might just be with my little family of four, or it might include grandparents and aunts and uncles.
* Great weather and time spent in it.

Some days that fit the bill that I’ve talked about on the blog include this past Christmas and the day we went to the zoo.

6- Why did you start blogging?

For the (potential unlikely future prospect of lots of) money! Just kidding. Blogging is a way for me to express my thoughts in a way that is fun and comfortable for me. I’m pretty introverted in person, and express my thoughts much more clearly through writing (mainly because it gives me the chance to revise, and revise, and revise), so blogging is a nice way for me to get my thoughts out of my head and out into the world. It’s also a great tool for self-improvement. I’m more likely to complete projects or try new things when I’m looking for something interesting to post on the blog. A blog full of “I took a nap and watched TV today” would get old pretty quick.

7- Where is your favorite place in your house?

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My absolute favorite place is actually outside the house, in the backyard. We have a great shade tree that makes even the hottest summer days pleasant to be out in. Given that it’s still winter right now, I’m really missing afternoons spent under the tree.

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It’s also gorgeous in the fall.

8- Coffee or tea?

Tea. But only when iced and full of sugar. The way my grandma makes it.

9- Tell me about your favorite DIY project.

I’m pretty proud of my coat closet makeover. It’s a project I brainstormed, planned, and executed all by myself. And we use it everyday!

10- Where do you get outfit inspiration?

My closet and the weather. Honestly, most of my outfits aren’t very “inspired.” Lately I’ve been spending most of my days in sweatpants and long-sleeved t-shirts. But I’ve been in a slow process of clearing out my closet of things that I don’t love, and hope to build up my wardrobe with some good basics once I’ve gotten through the postpartum size fluctuations. I’m really intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe and hope to form one of my own eventually.

So there you have it! Thanks, Tina, for the fun questions and the nomination!

March 2, 2015


My boy turns three years old today. Just go ahead and think of all the cliche things to say about children getting older and how it happens so fast and the days are long but the years are short etc. and you pretty much have what’s going through my head right now. So since we’re all feeling nostalgic I thought I’d take a little walk down memory lane to celebrate three years of Charlie. He’s inspired a lot of blog posts in the past three years.


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I could go on, but I don’t want to make your computer explode from the cuteness.

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

February 27, 2015

These Days // 10

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This post is brought to you by a couple of hours by myself in a coffee shop. Glory! It’s amazing how quiet a very busy and loud restaurant can seem when you are a mother. I think it’s just the fact that none of the noise is anything I have to pay attention to.

Here’s what we’ve been doing these days:

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sprouting: potatoes. I went to throw some potatoes in a crock pot this week and found that they had started to sprout and go soft. So we turned them into a science experiment instead. I have no idea if anything interesting will happen. Maybe they’ll grow some fun stems and roots. Maybe they’ll rot. Maybe they’ll just sit there until I give up and throw them out.

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Related: sticking toothpicks in a bunch of potatoes is fun! Charlie made a “town.” Can you see it?

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learning: letters. We’ve done a few letter A activities this week that have gone over pretty well. If we continue to have success with a few more letters I’ll be sure to share what we’ve been doing here on the blog soon.

enjoying: time at home with my kids. I feel like this week has finally started to look a bit more like what I hope to get out of my days as a stay at home mom. I’ve stayed more or less on top of some basic housekeeping and still managed to get in some fun playtime and actives with Charlie. And I’m getting a few moments to myself too! We still have a ways to go in terms of establishing a constant routine, and someday I need to work up the courage to get the kids out of the house, but we’re making progress and I don’t feel like I’m going insane.

organizing: the pantry and kitchen cabinets. We got some new dishes and packed up some old ones to pass along to my sister. Now I feel like our kitchen has a bit more breathing room. Thank goodness.

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graduating: speech therapy! Charlie has aged out of the early intervention program in our state and has made so much progress that he no longer qualifies for services. We’re so proud of him and the progress he’s made. And so thankful to Ms. Z who has been coming to our home each week for the past 8 months to help him. We’re going to miss her!

Enjoy your weekend!

Coffee with Caitlin