A steady stream

Yesterday I posted about the “stream of consciousness” I sometimes need to get out on the blog. It felt so good just to clear out the cobwebs. It might not have been the post that builds traffic or moves me up in Google ranking. But getting out the boring stuff paves the way for my other thoughts to flow through. I’ve had a stirring of creativity lately (It’s really a cyclical thing every few weeks if we’re being honest. So, I guess I should really say I’m in my creative cycle right now). The ideas come about rather feverishly and I can never get them all done or even started before I’m out of the cycle and back into regular activities of daily living. I need to find a way to balance both, instead of being a mad woman in my crafting hole and then not at all on, say, a Tuesday. But, when there’s “clutter” in my brain I can’t get the ideas out of my head and into real life at all because I’m thinking about the boring stuff. I just “collect” the ideas on Pinterest and never do them and that’s not ACTUAL living. Hey self, that’s not ACTUAL living! (I needed to hear that).

So, there’s my long way of saying thanks for letting me unload the rather unexciting stuff every now and then so I can write about what I really want to write about.

Today I wanted to curate a little something I noticed over on my Tumblr while scrolling through the other day. I’ve collected quite a few quotes over there. As I was reading them I noticed that I liked the way they all sounded when read together. Of course all of them speak to me or I wouldn’t have collected them to begin with. But there was a little something different about seeing them all together. I felt like I could really see the feelings and moods and thoughts I was having when I originally collected them. I was interested to see if they were still relevant to me after the “moods” had passed. And they are. So they must be an important reminder to me. So, I thought I’d collect them all here in one giant note-to-self.


  • Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?  -Danielle LaPorte
  • Before I am your daughter, your sister, your aunt, niece, or cousin, I am my own person. And I will not set fire to myself to keep you warm.
  • I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance.  -Jon Stewart
  • It’s a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.  -Nagulb Mahfouz
  • Writing is really just a matter of writing a lot, writing consistently, and having faith that you’ll continue to get better and better. Sometimes, people think that if they don’t display great talent and have some success right away, they won’t succeed. But writing’s about struggling through and learning and finding out what it is about writing itself that you really love.  -Laura Kasichke
  • I don’t want to look back in five years time and think “We could have been magnificent, but I was afraid.” In 5 years I want to tell of how fear tried to cheat me out of the best thing in life, and I didn’t let it.
  • In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.  -Anne Frank
  • Real love has little to do with falling. It’s a climb up the rocky face of a mountain, hard work, and most people are too selfish or too scared to bother. Very few reach the critical point in their relationship that summons the attention of the light and the dark, that place where they will make a commitment to love no matter what obstacles, or temptations, appear in their path.
  • Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.  -Helen Keller
  • Oh my God. What if you wake up some day and you’re 65 or 75 and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.  -Anne Lamott
  • When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.  -Shauna Niequist



  • You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.  -Henry David Thoreau
  • Allow yourself to be a beginner. No one starts off being excellent.  -Wendy Flynn
  • No Rain. No Flowers.
  • When you are washing the dishes, washing the dishes must be the most important thing in your life. Just as when you are drinking tea, drinking tea must be the most important thing in your life. Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the whole world revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this actual moment is life.   -Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I disregard the proportions, the measures, the tempo of the ordinary world. I refuse to live in the ordinary world as an ordinary woman, to enter ordinary relationships. I want ecstasy. I am a neurotic in the sense that I live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself.  -Anais Nin
  • I hope you live a life that you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.  -F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I just watch what they do.  -Andrew Carnegie
  • The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.  -Galileo Galilei
  • Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once.  -Paulo Coelho
  • Buy less; choose well.  -Vivenne Westwood
  • I’m a dirt person. I trust dirt. I don’t trust diamonds and gold.  -Eartha Kitt
  • There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.  -Aldo Leopold
  • Going back to a simpler life based on living by sufficiency rather than excess is not a step backward. Rather, returning to a simpler way allows us to regain our dignity, puts us in touch with the land, and makes us value human contact again.  -Yvon Chouinard


  • Sow for yourselves righteousness; real steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, that He may come and rain righteousness on you.  -Hosea 11:12
  • I’d rather be in the mountains thinking of God, than in church thinking about the mountains.  -John Muir
  • I am more interested in your fruit than I am your theology. If your knowledge doesn’t better equip you to love, it’s worthless.  -Mattie Montgomery


I listed them in the order that I collected them. I find it interesting how they all kind of flow together even though I found them on totally different days and from several different places. I think it pretty accurately sums up how I feel about much of life. I want to be closer to nature, closer to God, intentional with my relationships, dream bigger, do better, and try harder to love myself.

Do you have a favorite quote that really speaks to you? Share it with us in the comments section.

Did you know?

Sometimes I have a lot to say, and nothing to say when it comes to blogging. I can have a million thoughts rolling around in my head but none of them seem to be actual blog posts. So, sometimes, dear reader, you just get a stream of consciousness.

Enter today’s post.

Old Boot Coffee

Did you know that you’re supposed to run a cleaning solution through your espresso machine 3 times per month if you use milk in it?! Yeah. You are. Or else your beloved morning cup of espresso will eventually taste like it came out of an old boot. Ask me how I know. Apparently running the “rinse cycle” before and after a cup on my Starbucks Verismo machine (like the user manual told me to do) wasn’t sufficient. I was supposed to “descale” the machine at least once per month if I only used coffee/espresso pods and 3 times per month if I ever use a milk pod. I definitely haven’t been doing this. Ewwwww. I didn’t know, ok! What I did know was that my morning cuppa was starting to taste funkier and funkier. I finally broke down and Googled a way to clean it and discovered that I needed to buy a solution to do so. Nuh uh. You know I’m not all about buying the special-thing-you-have-to-have-to-use-it-properly kind of product. I did a little research and found out that the cleaning solution was made up of citric acid.

Hello?! Homesteader over here! I have that! Lots of it, in fact, for canning purposes. Winning! So I Googled on and found out that a couple of tablespoons in the water would do the trick. Then rinse, rinse, rinse, and party on Wayne. Party on Garth.


You guys! My coffee was back to normal after one cleaning with citric acid! All is right with the world again. Praise the Lard. Because things were about to get serious over here if I had to drink one more cup of old boot coffee.


Did you know the Glampout is happening again in November?! AND, it’s on my birthday?! If you’d like to meet a group of like-minded women in Texas hill country for good food, good fun, and s’mores then sign up! You won’t regret it. It was magical, dreamy, and totally refreshing. Plus, it’s November so you won’t be sweating bullets. Do it. Get a group of your girls together and sign up! Or be brave and go solo, like me. Beth and Allison will take care of you. Promise. You can thank me later.


Speaking of some of those girls, did you know a couple of them were in a magazine this month?! Um, yeah they were. The funny thing is I had called around to a couple of big box bookstores when we first moved to Tennessee to see if they carried Artful Blogging. The answer was always no. While killing time with the boys on Monday I moseyed into a Books-a-Million and parked myself in a chair at the back of the store by the magazines. While sitting there I spied an issue of Artful Blogging on the bottom shelf in the very back! Imagine my surprise as I flipped through when I caught a glimpse of my friend Allison’s photography. I recognized it right away! So awesome!



Did you notice the changes to the sidebar? Some are more recent than others. The social media buttons have changed from banners to little houses and no longer include my Tumblr. I still have it. I just couldn’t fit it in there without pulling my hair out. So I just left it off since I mostly curate pretty pictures over there for an audience of one anyway.

And there’s now a big ad at the top from BlogHer and some more ads under the “sponsors and affiliates” section.

But why, you say?

The thing is, my little old blog isn’t free. It costs me money to design it, host it, and keep it running smoothly. I don’t use a free platform like blogger or wordpress.com. Which really just means that I get to pick my website name without having .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com after the name. Makes it easier on all of us to remember. So, that means I have to pay for my name and my web hosting. And because I don’t want to lose you guys in a sea of hosting issues and lost network connections I choose one of the best web hosts, in my opinion. That means the sticker price is a little higher. Then there’s all the add-ons like design bits and upgrades. It adds up.

So, I’ve started offering three types of advertising to offset the blog costs. The first you’ll see at the top is from BlogHer. You guys! BlogHer is kind of a big deal in the blogging community. The Pioneer Woman is a member of BlogHer, for Pete’s sake! I’m kind of pumped that they accepted this little old blog. But, what does it all mean? With BlogHer I get paid per view. That means you are helping support this blog by reading it like you normally do. Any time you view the blog (not necessarily click the ad) I get paid. Now, let’s be clear here. I get paid…..like literal pennies right now. But, should the blog continue to grow at the rate it has, it will eventually start to pay for itself. (That’s the hope anyway).

I’ve also included an affiliates and sponsors section.

Affiliates are companies that I use or believe in, like Nancy Larson Science. These ads are a pay-per-purchase type of ad. If you click on them and end up buying something from their website within a certain number of days (sometimes 30, sometimes 60, sometimes a year!) then I get a small commission. Since I use the product and believe in them anyway, I figure I should at least share the link with you guys and, should you end up buying it, you share in the upkeep of this blog. It’s a symbiotic relationship we have, y’all!

Sponsors are those companies who have purchased ad space through my advertising program. These are companies who have applied to advertise on the blog and have been hand-selected and approved by me. If they do not fit with the tone of the blog or what I feel is in the interest of my readership, they don’t get a spot.

I know a lot of people have opinions about ads on blogs. The bottom line is that we are a single-income household. And should an economic turn happen, the blog is a non-essential.  It just makes sense to add in a little financial security should we need it to keep the blog up and running. I just feel like Dave Ramsey would be looking down his nose at me if we kept the blog going without finding a way for it to at least pay for itself.

Dave Ramsey is always watching!

I kid.

Sort of.

All kidding aside, it just helps alleviate the financial side of things so I can continue to blog worry free. While I have less control (but still some) over the BlogHer ad, I promise to keep the ads in the sponsors and affiliates section relevant to my readership and as a pretty as possible.


Did you notice that I got in a little over my head the last couple of months? I did. I swear I have more to write about than just product reviews. As a matter of fact, for you farm-lovin’ readers, I may or may not have been working on the logistics of keeping backyard sheep over the past week. So, if you’re not into the homeschool thing, just hold tight. Things around here are always bound to change. I’m suddenly intrigued by weaving as well. So you just never know what you’ll find here.


I made the rookie mistake of taking on too many reviews at one time. When I first started approaching the companies I loved about reviewing their products I expected to get a lot of doors slammed in my face. Well, that didn’t happen. As a matter of fact most of the companies I approached said ‘Yes’! Which is great and wonderful and such a blessing to me and others who wanted to know about these products/companies. The problem is that I was also a member of a Review Crew this summer, along with being approached by a couple of companies that I didn’t solicit on my own and I ended up with a blog schedule full of reviews happening at one time. Lesson learned. From now on I will anticipate a ‘Yes’ in order to spread those posts out a bit. That way you and I don’t get bombarded with nothing but review posts. They’re fun to do and fun to read. But not a million of them in a row. Yeesh.

So, there you have it. Some of the things bouncing around in my head right now. Totally invigorating, right?

September 21, 2014 - 5:49 pm

Jen Wilmoth - The Glampout in November sounds like something I would love to do maybe next year when the baby is a little older. Do they have these every year and if so, how often? Is it a a group specifically for bloggers? I wish there was something like that around this area.

This Week at the Library

**This post contains affiliate links that help support our family, farm, and homeschool.**

Chantel over at A Harvest of Blessing is doing a little series called, “What the Klassen’s Read” where she highlights her library finds each week. I can’t recall how I found Chantel, probably during one of my rabbit-hole blog reading moments, but I really enjoy her blog. And I especially love this little series she’s started. We visit our little library weekly and when I read her post highlighting her finds I thought it was a great idea to document what we’ve read over the school year. It’s easy to forget just how many books we’ve gone through. I messaged her and asked if we could play along and she’s been nice enough to let us cling to her blogging coat tail.

The great thing about Chantel’s post is that we’ve already found a couple of awesome books from her suggestions. Aren’t blogs great?! Her first post in the series highlighted two sweet books about Jane Goodall. I left her blog and logged right into our library’s website, located the books, and picked them up the next day. Thanks Chantel!MandinsRead-2Me . . . Janeby Patrick McDonnell

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimpsby Jeanette Winter

SO super cute. The illustrations in Me…Jane are to die for. I love super cute, well written children’s non-fiction.MandinsRead-1We also picked up:

Mad About Madeline: The Complete Tales

Little Blue Truck

Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice

The Little Green Goose

Pirates Don’t Take Baths

A Mama for Owen

Now, let me just tell you, if you don’t know the true story about Owen and Mzee you need to hear it. It will melt your heart.  If you have kids who have attachment disorders or are overly sensitive to loss you might want to read it yourself first since there is the loss of both hippo parents. It really is a sweet story of adoption and love, though.

And I’m sure we’re going to be seeing a lot more of that ol’ Skippy Jon Jones in our house. This series featuring a chihuahua is an effortless way to add a little more Spanish language immersion to our day.

We have a 25 item limit at our library and I’m only slightly ashamed to say that we’ve actually come close to that limit before. We LOVE the library. The books I featured are just some of the books we’ve got checked out right now. I’m also reading The Problem of Painby C.S. Lewis and Captivatingby John and Stasi Eldridge. Also, we may or may not be listening to Winnie-the-Pooh, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Sixon audio as well. It’s a sickness, really.
Head on over to Chantel’s blog and check out her library finds each week and follow along here as I join in. I’m not sure I’ll get around to posting our finds each week but I’m going to try to keep up with them as much as I can.
I’d love to hear what you and your family are reading each week (as I’m sure Chantel would as well)!

September 12, 2014 - 9:39 pm

Jen Wilmoth - I love this idea and it inspires me to want to do the same on my blog and share what we are reading in our family! :) Just to name a few off the top of my head, we are currently reading and/or have read this week: Pinochio, Rush Revere and the First Patriots, The Horse and His Boy, The Little Red Hen, The Rainbow Fish, Winnie-the-Pooh, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, and Johnny Appleseed. Thanks for posting! :)

September 13, 2014 - 12:02 pm

nicole - We have a 50 item limit (josie has a card and so do i) and we hit it every week! We never read them all, but we all go nutso when we see all the choices! I’m going to see if we have those Jane books! Also, Captivating was amazing.

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