Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Bumpy Start to 2014

Well, last week began with the coldest temperatures we've seen in 40 years.  By the grace of God our pipes didn't freeze! And the week ended with a dreadful case of food poisoning or a stomach bug for me, hard to tell which, but it was just awful.  Hopefully, this week turns a sunnier corner!

The colder days with no school were passed with cookie baking, elaborate fort building, books, cards, movies, searches on pinterest for "boy crafts and activities" and lots of time in our PJs in front of the fire (ooo, and the premiere of The Bachelor + Downton Abbey).  It sounds dreamy, but we all started to suffer from a little cabin fever by the end of it.  I recently read this book (really liked it!!) and just started this one.  I must be on a young adult fiction kick.

All that time spent at home got me thinking a bit about New Year's resolutions (which I typically don't make) and blogging (why I really do it, what I want for this blog in the year ahead).  A reader (hi Paula!) recently left me a comment saying I seem to have a good handle on how I manage my phone/ipad/computer use and balance social media, that it doesn't interfere with me being a present and good mother.  That if all of it had been available when her children were little she fears she would have been a distracted mommy.  It got me thinking, am I distracted?  Do I really balance it well?  I know I like to think so, but how often do I jump on Instagram in a day or quickly check email or scroll through Pinterest?  How often am I holding my phone when one of my children starts a conversation or asks for my help?  Do they ever feel like they are interrupting me and my phone/computer/fill-in-the-blank device?  Am I balancing it all as well as I should?  Honestly, I think I am not.   So, this year I'm making a more conscious effort.  I'm only going to check email twice a day.  In the morning and at night.  Nothing is so urgent it has to be addressed immediately and if it is, I hope it comes via a phone call!  I did sign up for unroll.me and it has been a life changer in managing all my email subscriptions, of which there were over 300.  As for IG, I'm going to only check my feed in the evening, even if I post pics earlier in the day.  I think these two things will force me to keep the phone out of hands reach at all times.

As for blogging, I've given some thought as to why I continue to do it.  I love the way blogging forces me to seek out the beautiful moments in life, it makes me want to capture them on film and in words whether it's about family or food or home.  I appreciate joy in the simple things and see beauty in everyday moments more clearly since I've been a blogger.  It's a big bonus that others want to read about it and allow me to share on a weekly basis.  So, 2014 will likely bring much of the same on this blog, but I'd love to know if there are topic areas you would like me to cover that I haven't in the past.  I'm taking suggestions!!  I'm planning a kitchen essentials post (by request from my IG friends) later in the month.  Feel free to add anything else you would like to hear about in the comments and I'll see if I can work it in.

I hope your 2014 has gotten off to a great (food poison-free) start!

  





  



26 comments:

  1. Tessa I'm feeling the same, I'm unplugging and becoming more present. I would
    Love to know how you meal plan and shop to have fresh healthy items available, and also how you eat all the delicious things you make and still look like a million bucks! Your go to work out and body care regimen would be great ~Leslie

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  2. Hi Tessa...What a beautifully thought out and written post! Thank you so much for sharing!!!
    XO Barbara

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  3. Tessa, so glad you're feeling better! Your comments on unplugging really resonate. I would be interested in any go-to menus you have for dinner guests. Thanks and Happy 2014!

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  4. Hi Tessa, (Thanks for the shout out!), I think we're all very blessed to have so many good things in our lives that it is easy to let the "good" and even the "better" sometimes distract us from the "best," which is almost always spending time with our children. As someone who really enjoys your grams and pins and posts, I'm glad you're not giving it up--how else would I be inspired to make shortbread and package it in kraft paper bags tied with baker's twine for all my co-workers?! Like your other readers, I'd love to know your favorite go-to company dinner menus and holiday ideas. Take care in the New Year! xoxo

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  5. Tessa, glad you are feeling better. Food poisoning is not a good way to bring in the new year! I would like to know what your go to pantry essentials are?

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  6. Hi Tessa, glad you are feeling better! Food poisoning is definitely not a good way to bring in the new year. I would like to know what your kitchen must haves are? Or pantry essentials?

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  7. Hi Tessa, I come to your blog often as inspiration to live a life well lived and to make the small moments in life as important (if not more important) as the big moments. I'd love posts on organizing around the home, how you keep your children busy (I feel I struggle with this at times), outfit inspirations; I always feel the need for some inspiration in that department, cooking and baking tips and tricks that you've learned along the way... Happy New Year and I look forward to what 2014 has in the works for your blog.

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  8. How to tie the perfect bow. Yes, THAT is what I need to know. And of course more cooking, recipes and packaging!! Love your whole cute life!

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  9. Phew, I started reading and that got worried you would call it quits on your beautiful blog! Thank you for continuing to share your family moments with us readers, I look forward to it daily:-) As a mom of two young boys (3 and 1), I would love to learn about your parenting philosopy/tips/style, etc. You seem to have such sweet, well mannered, and great all-around boys-I'd love to know how you and your husband have done it over the years. Happy Monday!

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  10. I really enjoy your blog and admire your desire to share your life without taking away from your family. I have two boys as well ( ages three and four), and we love adventures, baking, movies, and cuddling too. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I started reading this post and was worried that you were going to end the blog. So glad that is not the case! I enjoy your blog - it is well written and shows me that small, simple things can be what is best in life. You will have a lovely record of this time in your family's life. Love the cooking, entertaining and decorating posts. I am a huge Ina fan, too.

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  12. Tessa, so glad you are feeling better. I always appreciate my health so much more after being ill! Just wanted you to know that for the same reasons that you write your blog, I read it. I have followed your blog for years and it has truly inspired me to see life differently. To slow down and enjoy my two girls more, to enjoy making a wonderful meal for my family, to have a homemade snack for my girls after school and to embrace that I am a simple and classic dresser and decorator even though I live in a city full of trendy everything :-)! (I live in Dallas but I am from the Midwest.) So, thank you for all that you do for your readers!! I am making a resolution to comment more so that at least I can give you encouragement :-)! One more thing, I am pretty sure I remember correctly that you have a lamb chop recipe that your family loves (?) but I did not see it under your recipes tab. Have you ever blogged the recipe?

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  13. Those are great pictures. So glad everyone is feeling better!

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  14. I can certainly relate to pondering the future of your blog. Sometimes I feel silly, and a bit superficial when I share pictures of my home or 'stuff'. Who really cares or wants to see my stuff anyhow? However, I LOVE reading blogs and seeing others homes and 'stuff'. I have gotten so much inspiration, found kindred spirits who get giddy over pretty fabric, a great recipe and their kids rooms, and it has really changed how I live my life (for the better!). Your blog and IG is one if those that I love, and that has me giddy to read. Perhaps you feel silly showing off your home too? If you do, please know that there are many readers who love your posts! I personally LOVE seeing posts about your home decor, recipes and a kitchen essentials posts sounds fantastic. I also love reading about your family and home life.....so relatable to me as I'm at that same stage....Mom to three little girls, just trying to do the best I can to raise them, and have a pretty home to do it in.

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  15. I hate rough starts to a New Year, but that's starting to feel like the norm. Started my new year sick, then pipes burst in 6 places. MAJOR ordeal. Good thing I'm not a resolution maker or a list maker...or else I'd be feeling quite discouraged right about now! Love the idea of checking email only twice a day. That used to seem so do-able. Now here I am checking it all through the day thanks to this silly phone!

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  16. I read this thinking that you were typing the thoughts going through my head. Same page as you when it comes to on my phone/ipad less…. and blogging more (but when the littles are away). THank you for sharing!

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  17. I'd love to look a little more closely at your beautiful paintings and how you chose frames for them.

    Thanks! Vicki

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  18. Hi Tessa, I would love to see your beautiful paintings more close-up and how chose frames for them.
    Thanks,
    Vicki

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  19. Ugh! We had it too. Not the best way to start a new year. Love this post and find myself asking the same questions regarding social media and blogging. Also LOVED Eleanor and Park. Happy New Year!

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  20. Ugh! We had it too. Not the best way to start a new year. Love this post and find myself asking the same questions regarding social media and blogging. Also LOVED Eleanor and Park. Happy New Year!

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  21. Ugh! We also had the stomach flu on New Year's Day. Not the best way to ring in the new year. I LOVED Eleanor and Park... really hoping she writes a sequel. Happy New Year!

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  22. I know the feeling about the stomach bug. We all had it, except my husband and it was TERRIBLE!! I am so glad and know you are too that it is behind us. My goal for 2014 is just like yours about the phone (aka--the device as my mother calls it) It is very distracting and I know that it is in my hand more than it should be!! I have started off my year by NO internet from Friday evening at 6 until Monday morning. It has made such a huge difference and I LOVE IT!!! I am now thinking that I just may do it in the evenings as well until the children go to bed. They are only little once and we miss too much. I have always had a rule that the laptop does not come out when my kids are awake bc it just isn't fair, well the phone isn't either. I also do not talk on my cell phone when my husband and children are in the car with me and I think that makes such a huge difference!!! Sorry for the rambling, but I think that a lot of mothers are feeling exactly the way we do about social media and internet!! I hope you all have a blessed new year and stay warm!!

    xoxo, Angie

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  23. Love your blog. Some things you seem to have a knack for that would be fun to read more about... meal planning & entertaining, maintaining yourself when also being a mom and cooking a lot (fitness/style), and travel with kids. Hope the new year is good to you and your family!

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  24. Love your blog. Some things I would enjoy reading about that you seem to have a knack for are meal planning & entertaining, maintaining yourself while also looking after home/kids (fitness, style), and travel with kids. Hope the new year is good to you and your family!

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  25. Hi Tessa! I am so sorry you got sick. My whole family got the stomach bug over Christmas and it was horrible. I don't wish that on anyone! I'm glad you're on the mend. Maybe you have developed an allergy to shellfish? My girlfriend developed an allergy just recently to shellfish and she has severe reactions now when she eats it. Like everyone else, I love your blog and find lots of inspiration from it. My favorite posts are about your home. I love your idea about a kitchen essentials post (I've just started upgrading some of my kitchen items). I know how you love slipcovers - maybe a post about slipcovers. I have a couple of questions regarding the fabric I should use (cotton, cotton blend vs. linen, etc.). Happy New Year!! Hope this week has been a little better!

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  26. Tessa, I absolutely love your home. I enjoy seeing snippets of your home. It seems that the last really in depth decorating post you did was your kitchen reveal. For me, I would love to see all the little "tweaks" that you do along the way. I am sure that you are moving and changing things around all the time.

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