Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Well, hey there. It's been a minute, hasn't it? I have missed this little space so much, and it really is such a great way to keep track of family life and capture precious memories. So where do I begin??? No idea, I guess I'll wing it. :)

The biggest bits of news are 1) we moved to Florida back in November; and 2) I just finished my graduate degree in counseling psychology and worked all this past year as a clinical therapist intern. Wow. And then throw in all things Covid-related, and, well... WOW! What. A. Year.

Let's just jump in with Christmas, and maybe I'll backtrack a bit after that. We tried to keep things focused on the real meaning of Christmas, like we always do, but if I'm being totally honest, that was hard to do this year. I think it's safe to say lots of things just feel off, and add a major move to the mix, and things felts really off. But of course there were some absolute moments of joy, too!

Lots to explore in our new town! The downtown area is just beautiful with twinkle lights on every tree along the streets, and the sunset on Christmas Eve was spectacular!

A blurry but goodie :)

Ha ha ha ha

My Mom's special Advent calendar... look closely, ha ha

Levi decorated his little tree all by himself this year!

Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve

Levi wanted to draw special pictures for him. I see a present, some letters, "Hi Ho" and a stocking. Not bad! I asked Santa to bring all my babies together under the same roof for Christmas, and we were THIS close, but we got sick, some of us with Covid and the flu. It was pretty miserable but we're doing better and are very thankful about that. 

He asked for so long for a special dinosaur friend for Popsicle, his blue dinosaur. Meet Popcorn! So sweet. :)

All ready for Christmas dinner. Someone lingered in adorable jammies and wanted to play and color all day long. Sounds good to me!

We now live just a few miles from the ocean in North Florida so we spend lots of time wandering around out here by the waves. Officially our first day after Christmas at the beach! It certainly has had its highs and lows, but I'm trying to stay focused on the positives. I sure do miss our families! Being so far away is hard. Any tips for me to help with the adjustment?

I hope whoever happens to be reading this is doing well and looking forward to a brand new year. I've missed connecting with people through this space! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, even if it looked a little (or a lot!) different this year. Prayers for a happy and healthy 2021!


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Day in the Life ~ 2/5/19

Hi friends! I realize I haven't done one of these day in the life posts for a looooong time, and they're my favorite! I know the details fade and I'm so glad to have them written down to look back on again. Hope you enjoy reading about my exciting life, ha ha. :)

Normally I'm up and at 'em just after 4, but I hardly slept the night before so it was a little after 5 when I started picking up, finishing lunches, and going through photos....because I am currently obsessed with organizing files and such. It will be feel so good when it's done BUT. Ugh. ha ha

I've been eating these pan cooked apples and dates several mornings a week for a while now. So easy and delicious!

Doing a little "reading" while I move in the kitchen...

Making pancakes for the kiddos...

He refused to eat most meals yesterday so he was especially lovely this morning. Good thing he's cute. ;)

Morning sky at drop off. The temps reached 60 degrees yesterday!!!!

A happier backseat driver :)

Lots of mornings he still wants to be in his crib and read. So I used it like baby jail and grabbed a shower. I feel it should be noted that Caleb and I went to the gym Monday evening- I showered quickly but my hair was gross, ha! Speaking of hair, I may have given myself a hair cut because I am miserable with this stupid new cut from two weeks ago. She gave me the WEIRDEST layers and it was not working. At all.

Moving laundry folding!

And then the grocery store... he wanted my chapstick so he was puckering up! :)

Silly boy!

First daffodils of the season!!!

For me? Levi was chatting with ALL the people around us. Counting, singing, jabbering, you name it. He was feeling much more outgoing than normal.

I never mind grocery shopping...until it's time to put it all away. Check out that awful sand and grit all over. You just can't escape it until June around here, no matter how many times you sweep and vacuum!

I kept running back outside to watch him play

Lots of puddles- he got soaked, ha! And he loves chalk but didn't like drawing on wet pavement. Can't blame him there.

My Mom and Dad stopped in and had lunch, but Levi wouldn't eat a thing and was crabby. And naughty, so he got put to bed for a nap without any stories. That has happened only once before! He LOVES reading books! It was so sunny and warm, I opened up the door in our bedroom. Everybody was enjoying the fresh air. :)


Pretty view!

For some strange reason, I decided (on a whim) to organize some fabric while he slept. WHY??!! This was the worst of it, but Levi was having the best time playing out back on the deck. It's been over four months since we could do that.

Making tacos and quesadillas for dinner, and then driving Isabelle and a friend to basketball practice. The sky over this field is so pretty at sunset.

Someone discovered the art of "Timmmmmmber" and was having a blast.

Daddy told Levi that he'd give him a massage after his bath. What a good Daddy. :)

After reading and getting Levi settled, which took FOREVER last night!, I got the coffee ready for morning for Donut Wednesday and cleaned up a bit. I had just gone to bed when Levi screamed his head off so I ran in there to see what was the matter. He was out of it and hysterical, and I could tell right away that he'd pooped. That hasn't happened at night for a long time, so I took care of that but he still had a hard time settling back down. Shortly after, Jonah got home- his job scheduled a late night, which did not make me happy in the least- so I went down and chatted with him. Little did I know that I'd be sleeping on the couch within the hour because someone was unable to stop snoring- poor guy hasn't been feeling well and I didn't want to keep bothering him, so I went downstairs.

And that was my day!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Let's Talk Pancakes! Favorite Homemade Recipes!

I can hardly believe that this is the last week of January! I was going to do a weekend re-cap, but it would really only consist of a basketball game and an impromptu trip out for burgers for the kids last night, so maybe not, ha. Our lives feel kind of boring lately, as the weather just stinks so we're stuck inside most days (and we've given up shopping/trips to the store, etc for 90 days), and we're all a bit, well, grumpy. Homemade pancakes help. :)

The following recipe serves as a nice base for several other variations, and they taste SO much better than pouring powder from a box and adding water. Definitely worth the little bit of trouble to make them from scratch.
Favorite Pancakes
What You'll Need:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (plus more to cook them)
mini chocolate chips (or blueberries!)
**For fluffier pancakes, add a tablespoon or two of water and whisk lightly- I literally hold the mixing bowl under the faucet and turn on the water for a second.**
I've made these pancakes so many times I could probably manage them blindfolded. I've passed the kitchen torch, so to speak, to my boys, and each one can now make these on their own. I am very proud of their accomplishments in the kitchen!
Blend the dry ingredients into a large mixing/batter bowl; add the eggs and milk and whisk lightly. Add oil and whisk again until batter is smooth. Pour in some chocolate chips and fold in with a spatula- you can sprinkle more onto the pancakes themselves as they're cooking. I used to cook pancakes on a griddle, set at 375 degrees, in just a little bit of oil.  BUT our griddle died and I decided not to replace it because I hated cleaning it so much. So now I use a large fry pan on medium heat with a bit of oil for the kids, coconut oil for me. The more oil you use will result in a crispier outer layer, which some people in our household prefer. Easy enough to cater to. :)
Add berries, chocolate chips, diced peaches...or nothing at all, and they will be so delicious!

Here are some more yummy from-scratch recipes! They really only do require a few more minutes of your time, but we think they are SO worth it. Enjoy!

Now I'm hungry, ha! I have been dabbling in the world of paleo and raw eating, but I'm also a big believer in balance, so maybe my apple and hard-boiled egg can wait until tomorrow morning. ;) Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New England Farmhouse Dining Room in Winter

I have a hard time with labels, so I'm hesitant to label this space "farmhouse," and I've found that I'm also leaning towards a more minimalist mindset, so... hmm, where does that leave me? Farmhouse minimal? Streamlined farmhouse? I'll have to think about that. :)

I typically keep things neutral in January, with maybe a few pops of color, partly because I like the clean, fresh slate feeling after Christmas; and partly because there are inevitably a few lingering holiday things that need to get used up or thrown out. I joked on IG that the coffee bar nook is having a slight identity crisis with all the candy canes still hanging around.

If you look below, you can see how we sanded down the table leaf on the left- this table is pretty awful BUT it's what we have, and Levi is going to wreak havoc on it for the next few years, so I can't justify purchasing a new one. Anyway, we tried using a Danish oil instead of poly as a sealer and it just plain stinks. Literally and figuratively. It took weeks for the smell to dissipate, gross! And I don't like how it turned out, either. I'm thinking of sanding and applying a creamy chalk paint- any thoughts?

We also got a wild hair and decided to remove the big rug out of here. We got that for our second house back in 2002, so it's been with us a while, and my tastes have definitely changed. And it's pretty worn out, ha. I like having it gone, but I'm not sure I like such bare floors. We shall see...

The other change in here is the curtains. After redoing this space (and the living room) almost two years ago, I just couldn't commit to window treatments. It was SO nice having everything light and bright, but lately it felt a little too bare. So we tried several different wood and faux wood blind options, and NONE of them worked. The builders decided to frame the windows with two pieces of trim instead of one, and the one closest to the window sits at an angle. Just why? WHYYYY? The right size blinds don't fit because they bump against the angled trim. The smaller sized blinds just look weird because there is too much space on either side. So blinds are out.

Considering we already had the curtain rods from when we first put them up shortly after moving in  (2016), AND we've committed to a 90-Day No Spend plan, we simply used what we had. And I like them! The curtains from our previous house, and since I don't have the last two panels to complete each window, I opted to do this. I didn't think I would like it, but I do! That ridiculous chandelier, not so much. BUT. 90 days, people. We can do this!

Ha ha, guess I was snapping pics during lunch. :)

Here is a shot from before the curtains and prior to ditching the rug...

And here...

I've got a question for you: are the photos on blogger not acting right for anyone else? They seem super grainy and dull. No bueno.... oops, now I hear someone calling for me, gotta go! Happy Tuesday! And you can find me on Instagram @bethanylivs_life , so pop over and say hello!

sharing with Tuesday Talk today! 

Just wanted to share that I've got some pretty new nightgowms in my shop, too, so feel free to take a look. And THANK YOU  so much for your support by shopping small!! 

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