September 12, 2013

where I've been


It’s been awhile since I’ve been in this space. 
That is never my intention. I hate being inconsistent.

So where have I been?

Here and there. But mostly just here. Being present in my home and with my family. Pouring all of myself into a few things.

This summer was full, at times overwhelming, and I couldn’t shrug the feeling that the Lord was calling me to a time of quiet, a time of turning my gazes inward. A time of rest. I have learned in my walk with Him that it is far better to listen to the gentle nudges than to have Him use something stronger to get my attention. So I waited, listened. And you know something? Sitting and waiting at His feet is a wonderful place to find yourself.

I have spent more time reflecting on Him and His Word and pouring myself into my family than I had been granting myself the time to do. Basically, I’ve been trying to do a few things well. That isn’t something I was doing for a while. As much as I try to guard against it, I was once again juggling too much. 

I am passionate about cultivating a rich, Christ-centered and beautiful life for our family. And sometimes, I’ve learned, that means pouring effort into what really matters the most. 


And what has mattered the most is my family and my walk with Him. So I’ve mulled over books, spent time digging into sections of scripture and working through a very convicting study on meakness. I’ve been purposing to be present with my family, dwelling in each moment and delighting in them. 

It is hard to turn my mind off because by nature I am always thinking forward to what can and should be done. But I have learned a lesson during this time. 

I have learned to be still. 

July 01, 2013

oatmeal raisin bars


These {oatmeal raisin bars} are so yummy that my kiddos feel like they are getting dessert in the middle of the afternoon whenever I offer these as a snack. Add a glass of cold milk and they are over the moon for these moist and chewy bars. Since I'm controlling the quality of the ingredients, I can feel good about serving these bars up anytime they ask. They are just sweet enough and the addition of the honey and cinnamon create the perfect balance. 

June 30, 2013

google reader is going bye-bye!

Hello my lovely readers!

Did you hear?
Google Reader is going away tomorrow {7/1}!

This is just a friendly reminder that if you read ourcultivatedlife.com in Google Reader you will want to switch to a new reader.  I would be sad if you missed out on any posts and if we couldn't connect any longer! 

So, here is what you can do today before Google Reader disappears...

Facebook~ Like ourcultivatelife.com on Facebook! I love the interaction among the Facebook community. Once you "like", make sure that you select "Show in News Feed" to make sure you don't miss any posts. If you don't, you will only see about a third of the updates! Boo!



Subscribe via email~ This is a simple option that delivers post updates right to your inbox. I write posts on recipes, diy projects, thoughts and encouragement on mothering and being a biblical homemaker about 2-3 times a week. This option will always keep you in the loop:)




Switch to a new blog reader~ Check out a few of the other readers out there. I have personally switched to Bloglovin and really enjoy it. There is also a Bloglovin app and I can keep up with all of my favorite blogs right on my iPhone! You can also easily import your Google Reader feed right in making it super easy. 


So, how will we stay connected? 

June 26, 2013

natural room deodorizer


Homes have a distinctive scent.  Ever noticed that?  

I am a wee-little bit obsessed with having my home smell good. I admit it!

I love the smell of a freshly cleaned home, fresh flowers, opened windows in early spring, or a yummy meal almost ready to emerge from the oven
It's the lingering smell of roasted garlic from last night's dinner or the trash that didn't get taken out that I really don't love at all. That's when the air in my home could use a little sprucing up.

A simple natural room deodorizer is such a lovely solution. Sure, you can buy lots of candles and room fresheners but those can be expensive and add unnecessary chemicals to your home. What could be easier than simmering water with the addition to sweet smelling spices, herbs and fruit to fill your home with a subtle, pleasant scent. The truly beautiful part? There are no "real" guidelines and seemingly endless possibilities! Think of the scents you love and base your blend around that. Combine citrus, herbs, spices and extracts to come up with your own signature scent. Or change it up based on what you have on hand or for the various seasons. I love warm spicy scents in the fall {orange, cinnamon and cloves} and more citrus notes in the spring {limes and mint}. 

This simple, natural room deodorizer is one I'm quite fond of lately. It is a wonderful blend of rosemary, lemon and vanilla. I've seen others claim this as the Williams Sonoma smell. Can't go wrong there!

Just toss a sliced lemon, 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract into a saucepan. Fill about 2/3 with water, place it on the back burner and turn the heat to low. 

Nothing could be simpler than tossing a few ingredients in a saucepan and letting them simmer away. In a short time your kitchen will smell divine and the scent will continue to travel throughout your home. Keep an eye on the pot and add water as needed to prevent burning. Want a stronger scent? Just add more of your ingredients to the water. This mix can be used for up to two days.


{Gifting idea:}
Combine your favorite combo, right down to the water, and place in a mason jar. Attach a ribbon and little note of instruction and give as a hostess gift. Now, who wouldn't love that?



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June 24, 2013

cucumber, tomato & red onion salad



Summer time in my mother's kitchen always included a few things. Iced tea and garden veggies to name a few. Among the veggies that came out of our garden in abundance were cucumbers. So much so that this little cucumber, tomato and red onion salad became a staple side dish during the summer months. The addition of the basil is my own but the rest is just how I always remember having this simple salad on our dinner table.  

I love how simple it is as well as the use of apple cider vinegar in the recipe.

We continue to hear about the benefits of apple cider vinegar {or ACV}.  What's the hype with apple cider vinegar? Well, benefits include a strengthened immune system, increased stamina, improved digestion, increased metabolism and even aiding in diabetes and lowering high cholesterol. {Read more about the benefits here.} Those things alone make it something I want more of in my diet. 

When choosing ACV you want one that is preferably organic and hasn't been distilled or treated as that process removes the beneficial nutrients. Look for a cloudy appearance (sediment called the "mother"). I recommend Bragg's. 

This simple salad is a perfect way to add a little ACV to your diet.


{cucumber, tomato and red onion salad}

  • 2 large cucumbers, sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tomatos, cut into wedges
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 4 basil leaves, rolled up and finely sliced
Combine the cucumbers, onion, and tomato in a medium sized bowl. Add salt and pepper and then toss with the apple cider vinegar. Allow this to sit for 30 minutes {or while you make the rest of your dinner!} to let the flavors develop. 
Add the basil and give the salad another gentle toss before serving. 

June 21, 2013

my summer goals


Today is the official first day of summer. The longest day of the year. And with its arrival I find myself thinking, how am I going to use all of that sunshine? What are my personal summer goals?

I have spent the first few weeks of our summer "break" running, running, and running. If I keep this up I'll be worn out by the time school rolls back around!

And that is NOT the goal.

It's so easy to just let time fly so I want to intentionally enjoy this season of the year and, more importantly, this season of life with my family. 

I want to move forward with intention...a determination to act a certain way. 

I know myself well enough to know that it is far too easy for me to address the most immediate need instead of the most important. I can get side tracked and find myself veering off course, usually by just a small degree. But that shift in trajectory will land me in a different destination than the one I first set my sight on. I want to diligently seek the Lord for what He has for me and then intentional seek to stay on that course. 

I love this quote from Sally Clarkson, "God has granted me a portion to be a good steward over."  I want to be a good steward.  Desperately. For me, I know that means moving forward with intention. 

This summer, Lord willing, I'm going to be intentional about:

  • enjoying my family
  • memorizing scripture 
  • feeding my family real food
  • tweaking my time management
  • being thoughtful about the words I read and listen to
  • developing a relationship with our neighbors
I'm sure my list will grow. They always seem to. That's the funny thing about lists. 

Are you intentional?

I'd love to hear some of your thoughts. What are you seeking to be intentional about this summer?


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June 15, 2013

being intentional {enjoying our family}


Summer...

A more relaxed schedule. 
Fewer obligations. 
Lazy days.  
The simple joy of playing outside until darkness falls. 
Catching lightning bugs and listening to little ones giggle as their hands get a tickle. 
The lingering scent of sunscreen and sticky marshmallow fingers from backyard smores. 
Dirty children and rings around bathtubs.

Summer brings all of those things but it can also bring with it an overwhelming pressure for parents {especially us mamas}. Pressures to fill the days with "something fun". Coming up with bucket lists, and finding the time, creativity and money to make it all happen. Maybe we are in a season of life where extra time and flexibility isn't something we have. Or maybe we just don't feel crafty enough, patient enough or have money enough for all of the "fun". 

Can I encourage you to have one simple focus this summer?

Be intentional. 

Let's be intentional with our children and simply enjoy them. 

Those farther along the path than us are always reminding us of something. 'Enjoy your children because they grow up so fast.' 

Let's grasp the simple fact that our little ones won't be little forever. It really does pass in a blink. 

Being intentional with my kids means being intentional with my time. Time is a free gift {that's why it's called the present, right?} so let's spend it generously. 

We are making memories with our children as we invest time in their lives. Chances are, when they look back over their childhood days, it will be the moments that will stand out. They may not remember the details of games and activities but they will remember the emotions and feelings of being with you. This is where the investment needs to be.  In the time spent with them.

So don't wear yourself out running all over chasing after activities and things. 

Spend time. Sit and quietly savor whispering moments with your children listening to the small voices of their hearts and learn more about the person that God is growing them to be. This is the best investment you can make. 


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