Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Book Review: Start Your Family

While this book wasn't on my official summer reading list that I shared back in May, as Rob and I were packing up for camp, I grabbed a few more books in case I finished everything else on my list (or to be honest, got bored with the ones I was reading and wanted to start yet another book).  Among them was a book that I bought last summer on Amazon, which was a "recommended read" called Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies.

The book, written by Steve and Candace Watters (you can visit their website/blog here), challenges couples to be intentional about starting a family early in their marriage while in the peak of fertility, even though doing so goes against the message of culture which says that couples should be "settled into a home in suburbia, out of debt and in good position financially, etc." before even thinking about having children - let alone encourages them to bring children into this world at all instead of pursuing their professional and consumeristic dreams.

The Watters' encourage couples to think about they have to give and gain in the task of raising children, and share so many of the positives and blessings from God that are given to parents through children that couples do not hear from society, or frankly, even from the Church.  They invite couples to step out in faith when starting their family, trusting God to provide (along with the work and preparation we must do ourselves, of course) and bless, as He did throughout the course of history in struggles and worries that couples have had, as revealed in Scripture.

My favorite chapter in the book was Chapter 3: Crucible in the "Why Start a Family?" section of the book. Their main points for the chapter are that children reveal who we (the parents) really are, that they help us work the selfishness out of our lives, and that they condition us to serve others.  Here are some things that really stuck with me:

"Our culture teaches us image management - to look our best and make good impressions. Our children teach us... 'Who do you think you're kidding?'... Parenting provides an 'incarnational' version of our faith - projecting our beliefs into flesh and blood. We see now how God gives us a family as a mirror to see ourselves, to push us to recognize who we really are and what we're capable of, both for good and for evil... Parenting gives us a God-supplied glimpse at how He sees us.  When you start a family, you're signing up for a responsibility that requires all of you... The demands of another person start with the pregnancy, are painfully obvious during the delivery, and continue in waves throughout the season of raising children."

This book really challenged me to look at my own goals and priorities in life, and to think about continuing the conversation with Rob about when we want to start our own family, in light of some of the challenges of the book.  If you are getting married soon, have recently gotten married, or even if you already have children, I would encourage you to read this book. Even though I do not necessarily agree with everything the authors write, it will be a good starting place for conversations about why, how, and when to start our family.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Wedding Invitations

I thought I would share with you a project that I recently finished up for friends of ours who are getting hitched in mid-August.  I was humbled when they asked me to create the invitations to the celebration of their special day! I designed and put together the invitations and all of the other materials like table number cards, menus, and the ceremony program for my own wedding (I'll have to post pictures of those sometime), and really had a lot of fun doing it.  Here's what I finally came up with for Andy & Jessica, after lots of ideas and edits to get it looking just right:

Hopefully this won't bring any crashers out to the wedding ;)  As I was working on them, I fell in love with the simplicity and classicness of the small black border and elegant black knot, which I guess you could interpret as J & A "tying the knot".  What do you think?


Thursday, June 24, 2010


I am proud to share the news that I am offically an Etsy SELLER.  That's right, one of my prints actually sold!  Visit through my lens: katiecarusophotography here.  You can also get there by clicking on the "Our Shop" tab above.

Thanks for celebrating with me! I am by no means an Etsy expert, but it does feel good when a stranger thinks your craft is good enough to buy and frame and hang on their wall.  Any of you out there have Etsy shops?  I'd love to visit and take a look at what you've got, and I am sure other readers would too.

Now, back to work on getting that first print mailed out...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Means Camp

Forgive me for my lack of posting this week so far.  It's that time of year again, to pack up (done) and move to camp (also done).  Camp will be home for the next five weeks!  We're excited to be back for another summer, and even though I have to work at my real job during the day, it's a great way to serve the Lord and keep Rob from getting into trouble with too much time on his hands in the summer months.

So in the next month, look for camp themed posts, [even more] pictures of nature, and a little slower blogging pace from me (since internet access will be a bit limited) - and maybe even some postings through my newly-downloaded BlogPress for iPhone app! 


Friday, June 11, 2010

Inside my... [JCrew Summer] Purse!

Today I diverge from my "normal" photos to share about the contents of my basket purse. I've become a little OCD lately about having my purse organized. Maybe it's because my summer purse only closes with the tie of a ribbon, and not a zipper, so stuff is more prone to fall when my purse takes a tumble and I don't want to risk losing anything. Or maybe it's because I've gotten sick of glares and dirty looks from people behind me in the check-out line when I can't find my credit card among the cluster of old receipts.

So, here's a peak inside my purse, and a break down of how I've managed to organize it all... (please excuse the quality of my photos today - pics taken from iPhone... maybe they'd be better if I had the iPhone 4.. hint, hint to the hubster).

First, two summer purse additions that I can't live without, and neither should you.  A coffee cozy (top left - given to me by a friend who found them in two-packs at the dollar store) and a small tube of sunscreen (bottom right - mine happens to be Aveeno Continuous Protection SPF30).  I am a pretty big fan of Aveeno products. Check here for some free samples - they usually rotate, and are good for trying out a product before committing to purchase.

I try to always keep a book in my purse.  You never know when you'll have a few minutes of down time. In the summer, it's usually a lighter read for me, as you can tell.  And small paperbacks work best.

And finally, I'll work from front to back explaining what's in each of my little pouches.  The orange zippered case is actually this airline travel case, but I use it to corral all of my coupons so that when I'm in a store, the coupons are right there with me (side note... do you say q-pons or coo-pons?).  The brown and floral "evening" purse is where I keep all my credit, debit, and store cards and my iPhone.  It's small enough to fit nicely inside my larger purse, but is easy to grab and carry inside a store when I don't feel like lugging the basket. My keys even fit inside then too!  The Vera Bradley wristlet wallet neatly holds my receipts and gift cards. When my receipts start getting too crazy, I sort through them and move important ones for larger purchases (not Dunkin Donuts receipts for example... those meet the trashcan) in a box in our home office.  And lastly, a cute little blue linen zippered case holds my extra tube of mascara, a foldup hairbrush, and a Tide stick.

Whew! So... my purse pretty much holds my life. And it is probably more than you wanted to know. Thanks for reading my random Friday post.  Have a great weekend!


Friday Follow

Check out Friday Follow to get to know some other bloggers. It's a great way to get your blog out there and find other blogs to read.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Kitchen Prep

It seems like all we ever do is measure the kitchen.  Well, tonight after work, Rob and I are planning to meet at IKEA to actually make some decisions and actually maybe do some ordering for our kitchen. Countertops, sink + faucet, and flooring are on the list.  Plus who knows what else...

Here's a little pre-trip planning, completed in the wee hours of this morning.  Too early for me to be out of bed.  I hope I measured accurately!

You can see a little bit of bleed-through to my "list" complete with prices and measurements on the reverse side.  Like the planning phase, but think I will LOVE the finished phase.  Although I know it will never truly be "finished".  And that's what I love about nesting!

Can you see how this fits into our floor plan?

Stay tuned for some before and "during" pictures - to see what's happened so far behind the elusive plastic curtain I posted a few months ago. 


Friday, June 4, 2010


It's so hard to believe that today is the ONE YEAR anniversary/birthday of this blog!

A HUGE THANK YOU to our readers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You're what keep us posting - so keep reading, and recommend us to others if you find us worthy enough.  All five of you... okay, maybe six!  :)

I am not always known for sticking to something, so this really is quite a feat! So much has happened in our lives this year, and it's been fun to "chronologize" everything on here, providing commentary on many of our firsts. Through writing and maintaining this blog, I have learned so much and grown personally, and maybe that's really the point of a blog.

We can't wait to see what the next year has in store... stay tuned!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Peonies in Bloom

On Sunday evening, when the lighting in the kitchen was right, I spent a little while having a mini photo shoot and practicing my (still very limited) photog skills.  Aren't these peonies to die for???

Check out more over on the photography page!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Architect in Me

To give you a better idea about the layout of our rancher, here's a little floor plan that I created:

One of Rob's summer projects will be build a stone patio off the porch (behind the kitchen and porch) so this floorplan will come in handy then.  It really helps being able to see where things are, even if not to scale.  Next I could have fun adding our "furniture" and using it to virtually explore new arrangements to see if we can maximize our space in any way.  Of course there is still a lot of detail missing, but it gives you a good idea.  All of the thicker lines represent windows, and the small diagonal lines doors.  Lots and lots of doors, some of which we have taken off so we can navigate our space a little better and not have doors banging into each other.

The trapezoid sticking out of the front is our bay window, which faces the street.  Next to that is a very small front porch and the front door to our home, which leads into the living room.  I also noticed after I finished creating it that I forgot to include windows along the back wall of the home office/guest room.   The walk-up attic (about a foot too short to stand up in) and the unfinished basement are the same size as the house, minus the garage/porch/chimney, so we have a TON of storage space right now, and will eventually have space to refinish if we decide not to move... which is a nice option.

Have any suggestions for us?


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Favorites Lately

Thing we've done/seen/eaten/enjoyed lately that have been on my mind:

  • playing cards late into the night on the screened-in back porch, lit by candles
  • corn on the cob
  • Robin Hood with Russell Crowe
  • a clean house, with clean (and more importantly put away) laundry
  • Junior Mints
  • quality time with friends & family
  • sandals and flip-flops
  • PSU Coffee Break ice cream from The Creamery (thanks Mike!)
  • spring blooms and thunderstorms
  • sleeping with the fan on "oscillate"
  • planning for the kitchen mini-renovation

So, that's me and my random, wandering mind.  I feel like summer is here to stay! :)

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