Friday, May 19, 2017


Окрошка [Okroshka] Cold Vegetable Soup

     I love this soup in spring and summer. It's fresh, light, and perfectly chilly when the temperatures are high. Not everyone loves this dish, however. My dad's family all love it and my mom's family all hate it. Mr. Chickadees and I love it, but not all the chickadees like it. They much prefer it as a salad without the "soup" part.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Family Dinner Questions {free printable}

     Does your family eat quietly at the dinner table? Or does every one chatter and talk about their day or their dreams? This is a craft we put together in one of our MOPS meetings. If you're looking for a way to engage your family in conversations, but don't know where to start, this is a great way!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fresh Quinoa Salad

     Do you have a favorite salad? I would have to say my favorite is my quinoa salad. It looks good, smells good, tastes good, and is so good for you!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Large Family | Meal Planning

     I love our MOPS group.  I joined it in 2015 after just one meet and have made many friends, my chickadees have made friends, I have been encouraged, and have learned many things. One of the things I have learned is, meal planning. I've tried it before, but without much success. This time I tried it the way a friend, Kristen, at MOPS does it and it works!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe | Challenge Conclusion

     I'm going to let you in on a little secret. 2 weeks into the challenge, I started doubting myself and wondered if it was a stupid idea. I'm a stay at home mom with 7 children.. some of whom pull on my clothes, hair, and if I wear jewelry, they'll yank on those too. Not to mention the spit up and dirty hands. More often than not, that was the reason I wore the same clothes forever and reach for the same combination of top and bottom.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe | Week Six

Week six of my 35 outfits challenge

Easter Sunday
{Outfit 33}
B&W striped 3/4 sleeve shirt,
floral maxi skirt,
with a blue necklace,
& black flats.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe | Week Five

Week five of my 35 outfits challenge

[Women Of Joy Conference]
{Outfit 26}
Cream sweater,
skinny jeans,
& tan sandal wedges

Monday, April 10, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

Dream Home | Monolithic Dome Home

     What is a monolithic dome home? Well, it is literally a dome shaped building. Its shell is made of concrete, reinforced with re-bar, making these structures nearly indestructible in hurricanes and tornadoes. Monolithic domes have been used for homes, churches, schools, sports, storage, etc.

Here is one beautiful example:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe | Week Three

Week three of my 35 outfits challenge

{Outfit 14}
Mustard yellow shirt,
tucked into grey pencil skirt,
with a black necklace,
& black flats

Friday, March 31, 2017

Our family car decal ♥

     I like family car decals.. I know not everyone does, but I love them. Especially when it's a large family. I am very particular about how things look though, so I had been searching for just the right one. Not finding anything that I loved, I decided to make my own.. Isn't it just perfect?!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe | Week Two

Week two of my 35 outfits challenge

{Outfit 8}
Red shirt
tucked into black maxi skirt,
wide black belt,
black necklace,
& black flats

Monday, March 20, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe | 35 Outfits Challenge

 I am challenging myself to wear a different outfit, every single day, for 35 days.

    I have a small problem. I can wear the same clothes several days in a row, without taking them off for the night. Don't judge. But, since deciding to build a capsule wardrobe I also decided to challenge myself to create various different outfits and not wear the same thing over and over again. So this Sunday I played around with some of my clothes and was able to create 3 different outfits.

     This white shirt and turquoise maxi skirt can be worn as is, simple and perfect for summer.. and for cooler weather it can be paired with a tied chambray shirt (or a cropped jean jacket which I'd love to add to my wardrobe) or this yellow cardigan and a brown skinny belt. Love the colors ❤

Monday, March 13, 2017

Capsule Wardrobe

     I've never been one to put "outfits" together. I mean, I put on a shirt and a skirt or a dress. That's my outfit. And like most women, I had a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear and wear the same outfits over and over. Yes, I'm a stay at home mom, so it's not like anyone ever sees me, but I would still like to look nice for myself. And I do go out and see people, I'm not chained to the wall lol. I go to church, bible study, grocery shopping, mops, play dates, mom dates, and, though not often enough, Mr. Chickadee does take me out on dates.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days

     What has this mama been up to? I have been majorly decluttering our home!! Clothes and things just seem to accumulate over time and I start getting overwhelmed, stressed, and even some times depressed. In January, a friend posted something about a decluttering challenge and my interest was piqued. It was a challenge to get rid of 1 bag of stuff per day, for 40 days. The official challenge started on March 1st, but I wanted to start immediately and so I did. On January 5th, I started the challenge and here is my progress!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How We Met

Walking up the stairs, I froze for a second. I recognized his face from the photograph, but this was not the same scrawny boy. I wondered how old the photo was that Andrey had showed me. Because Sergei, most certainly, did not look like he was a seventeen or eighteen year old boy. This was a man. He was incredibly tall, well built, broad shoulders, dark hair, and ample lips; he was very handsome. All of a sudden I was nervous, he was not at all who I had expected. My heart fluttered in its cage as I took a deep breath and walked right passed him.
A few months prior that day, Andrey, a friend from church, asked if I was dating. When I told him I was not, he said that he would like to introduce me to his brother-in-law who lives in another state. Soon after, Andrey and his wife showed me a photograph of Sergei. Then one day called and said that he was visiting and was going to be at church.
I decided to wait until everyone left the church to go talk to him. After all, in our church and Russian culture, girls never walked up to boys and start talking to them. It was not modest; not proper girl behavior. Yet, he did not know who I was or what I looked like. I had no choice but to be the first one to strike up a conversation.
After church service, while chatting in a circle with my girlfriends as we usually did, Sergei asked us where the restrooms were. Years later he told me that he asked in the hopes that only the girl he was there to meet would answer, but we cheerfully answered in unison, “Downstairs.” The girls looked at each other, giggled, and wondered who he was, but I stayed quiet. I did not want anyone to know anything yet. Who was I kidding, even I didn’t know anything yet.
When only a few people remained, I went to look for Sergei, but walking through the church, could not find him. I started feeling nervous. This stranger drove 9 hours to meet me and I was not there. Had he left? Did I miss him somewhere? I walked through the church again, but he was nowhere to be found; he was gone.
Feeling slightly heartbroken and anxious, I went out into the dark and empty parking lot. It was a chilly October night and as I exited the warm church building, I wrapped my arms around me. With a quick glance around the parking lot, I hoped to find Sergei waiting for me there.
I stopped a few steps past the door and there he was. He was getting out of his white, beat up truck. He looked strong and rugged, but well dressed in black slacks and crisp white dress shirt. As I started walking again, I tried to remember his name, I was flustered. I had never been the first one to start a conversation with the opposite sex; this was new territory for me.
After only a few short steps, a friend of mine stopped me to say hello. I chatted with him for a minute and he, nudging his head towards Sergei, asked if I knew who that man was. Sergei was now leaning against his truck, his sleeves rolled and pushed up his forearms.
“I don’t know,” I said, “But I am on my way to find out.” I hoped that I didn’t sound as nervous as I felt.
“Great! Make him feel welcome here. See you later.” With a smile and a wave, he walked away.
Here I go, I thought to myself, no turning back.
As I walked towards Sergei, he watched me. I felt my face heat up and the evening no longer seemed so cold. When I reached him, I outstretch my hand and his large tan hand engulfed it. My hand seemed so tiny and pale compared to his.
“Hi, I’m Lena.”
His curious expression changed and he smiled generously.
“So you’re Lena!”
“Yes,” I said shyly, wondering what Andrey had told him about me to make him say it like that. “What is your name? Andrey told me, but I forgot.”
“Nice to meet you, Sergei.”
His warm hand let go of mine.
“Well, it’s getting late. There isn’t much we can do tonight. How would you like to hang out tomorrow?” His confidence was captivating.
We made plans for the following day, said our good byes, and I walked away. Although I found him somewhat attractive, strong, and kind, I felt no other feelings toward him. I had dated a few boys before and knew that such feelings were fleeting. Physical attraction was not enough to sustain a relationship. So I decided, after my last failed relationship, that I would no longer follow my own foolish heart. I wanted to leave it in God’s powerful hands. After all, He knows better who my future husband would be. Little did I know, that I had just met him.