What Would Martha Stewart Do?

What Would Martha Stewart Do? | sarahesh.com
Martha Stewart is the queen of all things domestic, although to be fair, she has gardeners and maids, so she really doesn't have anything on the average woman.
As a Stay at Home Mom, I sometimes feel like a domestic goddess of sorts, but being mom to a little boy who is all boy, I really don't have much to show for my efforts.
Carson fits the masculine stereotype by being loud and full of energy and messy, so very, very messy.
Cupboards are meant to be emptied, toys should be scattered, water always needs to be splashed over the side of the tub, and music should be played loud. Burps and farts are fun and chocolate looks best smeared on the walls.
We don't exactly agree on methods of housekeeping, he and I.
But with all of that unleashed energy, he is proving to be very helpful and willing, and I am learning to relax my Stewart-like housekeep standards of perfection.
As Carson carries the stack of perfectly folded tee shirts into the closet, they somehow drop from his clumsy hands, so he quickly picks them up again, no longer neatly folded, and shoves them in to the drawers, proud of his efforts. And I smile, because it no longer matters that there are going to be wrinkled clothes and disheveled drawers. He is helping out and learning that work can be fun. I don't want my desire for perfection to squander that.
So if you come over for dinner and the table set haphazardly, it is because an eager little man was in charge of arranging the napkins and silverware at each place setting, and if you notice a smear of who-knows-what on your spoon, it most likely was cleaned by a 14 month old who still puts everything in his mouth. And during dinner, you might notice "housekeeping" mopping the floors with a child sized Swiffer.
I'm sure Martha Stewart would cringe if she saw the state of my home, with finger printed windows, and disheveled drawers, and cupboards filled with pots and pans and toy tractors too, but what Martha doesn't know is that we are still in training, this mini-housekeeping crew of mine.
Give us a few years, Martha, and our efforts now will have hopefully paid off. Because right now I am planning to work my way out of a job -- and let the mini crew take over.
I'm sure it works like that, right?



Currently | sarahesh.com
Reading: A lot of books! But the book I am going to tell you about is called Make It Happen by Lara Casey.
When I first selected this book, I did so because it was a book that was recommended on a few blogs that I follow. Imagine my surprise when the book arrived in the mail and I flipped through it, realizing that I had already heard about Lara's story. She was interviewed on a podcast that I had listened to several months ago. I remember the interview so vividly because Lara speaks with such passion as she tells her story.
The book is meant to be interactive with the reader, offering journal prompts and other ways to take action. I didn't follow the prompts, and I think that I probably would have gotten more out of it if I had -- so I need to read this again. However, in the last half of the book, Lara shares how she had been working on her business, Southern Weddings, hours on end, often working seven days per week. Her marriage was suffering because of it, and she knew something had to change. She established new "office hours" and began to limit time spent on social media and her blog. It wasn't an over-night turnaround, but slowly she began to reap the benefits of this. Her marriage completely changed, and because of the shift in Lara's life, her husband wanted to know what made her different. He started to join her at church and two months after she gave birth to their daughter, he gave his life to the Lord! Her business flourished after she started limiting time at work too, because she was more focused and intentional when she was working.
While this book wasn't quite what I was expecting or hoping for, it was still good and worthwhile. Lara's story was the final push I needed to start setting boundaries for myself with time spent online, which so far, has been refreshing and rewarding.
Note: This book was courtesy of BookLookBloggers.com in exchange for an honest review.
Loving:  Ever Be by Bethel Music. Actually, the entire album is amazing, but I'm especially fond of Ever Be, because whenever it comes on Carson gets all excited and starts to dance, which is basically the cutest thing I ever saw.
Dreaming: About our upcoming family getaway to Lake Placid. Most folks head south in the middle of winter, but we've decided to go further north. We've rented a really cute cabin and we're hoping to get snowed in for a few days. Summertime is crazy, especially for Herm with work, so we decided to take vacation a few months early and I couldn't be more excited about it!
Wishing: My house had porch swings like this. The Brawner's entire home is fabulous. You should probably check it out.
Thinking About: Making something like this for Carson. I'm pretty sure he would love it.
Listening: To books on audio, since it is one of the ways that I can actually "read" a book and still get other stuff done too. Win. Win.
Watching: Tutorials on Youtube: to learn how to curl hair with a flat iron; to learn how to run my DSLR camera; to learn how to get 6-pack abs.
I like Youtube.
Trying: To get a few more things crossed off that 23 before 24 list before summer happens. I really want to accomplish all of the items on the list, so I know that I need to focus now on the things that don't require warm weather, such as making mozzarella from scratch and participating in a group workout and learning basic floral arrangement, so that when the busyness of summer and fall hit, I'm already ahead of the game
What is "currently" going on in your life? Leave a comment and tell me about.
Have a great weekend!


10. Read Twelve Non-Fiction Books

“A fondness for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself."  -Jane Austen
Non-fiction | sarahesh.com
A love for reading is something that my mom worked hard at to instill in my siblings and I. She has a large bookshelf that is overflowing with titles -- books on health and wellness, books on historical events, how-to's on anything from gardening to building your own dulcimer, fiction by her all time favorite authors, children's books, classics  -- along with several small bookshelves throughout the house, those filled as well.
She took us to the library on a weekly basis, and got recommendations from the Librarians for books we might enjoy based on what we were studying in school or what was popular at the time with other kids our ages.
But it wasn't until I was twelve or thirteen that I truly began to find joy in words on a page. Before then, I read what was required of me and nothing more. Sitting still was boring, reading was boring. And I didn't like boring.
I think you should give this series a try, it might surprise you. My mom handed me a small stack of books, the Love Comes Softly collection by Janette Oke.  I was skeptical, but three chapters in, my world had expanded. It didn't take long for me to read through that series, as well as several other series by Oke, and from there I began branching out to new authors and genres, as well as biographies and other non-fiction works.
There were many, many nights after that point where I got so lost in the story, that time ticked by me, unaware, as I read the final words on the last page and slowly closed the book, to then notice that it was well past midnight.
Over the years my preferences have definitely changed. Most often I find myself reaching for non-fiction, however, there are a few fiction authors whose work I love so much so, that when they release a new title I will set aside all other books I am currently reading and devour theirs instead.
Almost every year I make it my personal goal to read twelve new, non-fiction books. Over the course of 2014 I read eighteen new books, so when I added 10. Read twelve non-fiction books to the 23 before 24 list, I knew it would be fairly easy for me. I did surprise myself though, because I'm only three months in and I have already read through twelve non-fiction books and I'm well into several other titles, that I'll add to my ever growing list as soon as I finish them. I'm sure summer will slow my reading down a bit, as it always does, but that's okay, I've crossed this off of the list, and I'll just keep on going strong until the grass needs mowed and my garden need to be tended and the sunshine and my little adventurer keep my out-of-doors from dawn until dusk.
I believe that reading has opened my eyes to the world around me, to different cultures and ways of thinking, and to new thoughts and ideas, some that I can agree with and others that I'll only entertain.
My hope is that I, too, can cultivate a love for books in my own children, just as my mom did for me. (Even if that means that I read What Bear Likes Best five times a day, seven days per week, because it is Carson's current favorite.)
The books I read are as follows:
What are you currently reading? Feel free to share the titles in the comments below


9. Make French Macarons

French Macarons | sarahesh.com
When I was creating my 23 before 24 list, I wanted to include diverse activities, some that I knew I would thoroughly enjoy and others that were sure to stretch me a bit.
I had never had a French macaron, but I had heard stories about how difficult they were to make, how even very experienced bakers who made these tasty treats on a regular basis were not exempt from flopped batches of meringue. But after reading plenty of recipes and watching a few Youtube tutorials, I was fairly certain I could handle this... and so, nine days before Christmas, I set out to make the perfect macaron.
I started by grinding my own almond flour from almonds I had in the freezer. It took at least an hour to get the meal fine enough to sift, while being extra careful not to turn the meal into almond butter. Then I began, mixing, sifting, blending. I followed the recipe with precision, on that cold rainy day, which isn't something I do well.
French Macarons | sarahesh.com
When the batter was mixed, but not over-mixed, as was stated on the recipe, I poured it into a plastic zip-lock bag, cut the corner off of the bag, and began piping the meringue onto parchment paper. The cookies were suppose to be 1.5 inches in diameter, which turned out to be trickier than it sounds. I ended up with a lot of un-uniform dots of goo all over the place.
After 45 minutes of drying time the meringue was ready to go in the oven. I set the timer and began to hover like a mother hen hovers over her chicks, peering into the glass every few minutes, eagerly waiting for the timer to beep, signaling that I had passed the macaron-making-test.
Look, they have feet! I said, delighted, as I pulled the first tray from the oven rack. Feet are an essential part of a good macaron, or so I had read.
As the macarons cooled down, they started to sink in the centers too. Under baked. Are you kidding me! The recipe so clearly said to be sure not to keep them in the oven too long or they would burn.
I failed that test. Instead of sailing through, like I was sure I would, creating the perfect French macaron, I ended up with a bunch of gooey, under-baked- but-still-very-flavorful, Tisamisu French macarons.
We ate them all, and enjoyed every morsel, but I knew that I couldn't truly consider that an accomplishment. If I was going to cross off number nine on the list, I would have to try again. If I was going to cross number nine off of the list, I would have to succeed.
Over Christmas and New Years, my sister, Kate, went to India. On her flight back to the States, she had a long layover in Paris. She explored the city a bit, and came back with a box of delightfully colored French macarons. They were heavenly, and right then and there, as I crunched into that salted caramel treat, I vowed that I would try again, and again, and again, until I had make the perfect macaron.
Fast forward to this past Saturday - my internet free weekend - where I had all day to be snowed in at home and do what ever I please, as long as it didn't have anything to do with the internet.
The choice was easy.
I measured and weighed all of the ingredients before hand, down to the very gram, and began mixing, sifting, blending, following every step with care. When it was time to pipe the batter out onto the parchment paper, I traced the shape of a quarter onto the paper in rows of six, then I slowly squeezed out the exact amount needed each time. After 45 minutes of drying time, I put the trays into the oven, and didn't hover quite as much. After the timer beeped, I peeked in, and decided that a few more minutes of baking wouldn't hurt.
As the circles of meringue cooled, I whisked a dark chocolate butter cream frosting together, then spread it over one cookie and sandwiched it with another cookie.
These were perfect! I could now crossed off number nine on the list and feel truly okay with myself. I had accomplished the task well.
These are really good, better than the ones from Paris, my brother, Bryan, commented. Especially better than the rose flavored one.
French Macarons | sarahesh.com
If you want to try making macarons too, this recipe is really good! I didn't follow the recipe for the filling though, because the first time when I tried it, the mascarpone didn't set well. Instead I made a butter cream filling.
I would also like to thank Deb Stoltzfus, who graciously sent me a few of her tips and tricks, along with recipes and tutorials, after my first attempt went wrong. From what I hear, she makes some of the best macarons you'll ever taste. Thanks Deb!


A Weekend Offline + Links

The Weekend + Links | sarahesh.com
I am going to try something new this weekend. I've thought about doing it for several months now, but because I didn't verbally commit to it, I never followed through.
There are a lot of differing opinions about social media.  It seems like a majority of those opinions are negative, viewing social media as a waste of time and a reason for the discontentment and comparison among so many of us.
Personally, I think that, just like anything else, it can be good or it can be bad. It really depends on how it is being used and prioritized. I, for one, love Instagram, and find so much inspiration on Pinterest. Facebook isn't a favorite of mine, but I still use it regularly.
While I don't think that any of these tools are bad, I have noticed that I've been spending a lot of time on them -- distractedly scrolling through Instagram while reading a book to Carson, one I've read so many times I no longer need to see the words, or browsing Pinterest for new hair cut ideas when I could be having meaningful conversation with Herm.
I want to become more intentional with how I am spending my time, especially on the weekends when Herm is home. I want Carson to feel important and remember moments with me where I am giving him my full attention and I'm not distracted by the phone in my hand.
So Saturday and Sunday I will be completely offline.
I am going to pick up a few books at the library, and make a short list of projects I want to work on. I am going to make a point to spend a lot of time outside playing in the snow with Carson, and I'll cook a good meal for Herm. I'll probably go for a run or two too, and spend quality time with our wood stove.
I am kind of excited to see what the weekend will hold. And, to be perfectly honest, I'm kind of excited for Monday. This weekend internet fast is something that I would like to start implementing into my life, but instead of jumping head on into it, I'll be slowly experimenting with it, a few weekends at a time.
Yes, I think social media is a good thing. But I also think that this time away from it will be equally rewarding.
Do you have personal boundaries or limit the amount of time you spend online? I would love to hear some feedback on this!
In the mean time, check out these links:
Deeply Rooted Magazine for free  //  I like this view on yoga pants  //  This song is fun  //  And nothing says I love you like this banner
Until Monday!



I am on a quest to find one thousand things that I am thankful for, one thousand ordinary things that make this life so wonderful. You can read more about my journey to thankfulness here.
372. Drifts of snow piled high against the window
373. Cinnamon Rolls, sticky hot, fresh from the oven
374. My brown-eyed boy
375. Moonbeams peeking through the bedroom curtains
376. Risotto
377. A pair of new jeans that fit 'just so'
378. Clear crisp winter skies, dotted with twinkling stars
379. Surprised with a beautiful desk made by my Lover
380. Birds at the feeder
What are you thankful for?


Blog Lovin'

Blog Lovin'| sarahesh.com
Are you an avid blog reader?
I don't have a huge list of blogs I follow, but there are a few that I absolutely love and read regularly. My personal favorites are ones where I know the blogger or  have some sort of connection to her. But there are others that I just stumbled upon and have been following along ever since.
If I were to narrow it down to a list of my ten most loved blogs (in no particular order), it would probably look something like this:
Sometimes Sweet  //  This is one of those blogs that I stumbled upon. I don't know how I first found Sometimes Sweet, but I definitely love following along as Dani shares snippets of her life as a mom of toddlers. After reading a few of her "Currently" posts, I followed suit and added "Currently" posts to my blog as well.
Beautiful Undefined // Alicia has the ability to put a lot of feeling and emotion to what she writes, whether its a post about her favorite food or something  deeper and more heartfelt such as overcoming personal fears and struggles. She is a wordsmith, and every post she crafts is lovely. She is also a soon-to-be-Momma and I am so excited to meet her Little One.
Down South Yankee // Patty is basically super woman. She is a licensed cosmetologist and is the one who cuts my curls. She is crafty, but in a good way. Like, she probably could out-knit your grandma any day. She has two adorable Boxer dogs, which is basically like having two very active toddlers, AND... she is making a baby!
Of the Town // I've only met Sarah a time or two, but I know if we would live closer to each other we would be great friends. She loves design, owns an Etsy shop, and is a youth pastor. Her blog is always fun to read, but I especially love her #blessed posts.
K8nicole // Kate is my sister, and she's the one who inspired me to start blogging regularly through her 20 before 21 list, which I copied with a 23 before 24 list when my birthday came around. She is one of the most creative people I know, and I'm perfectly okay with that, because since I am her sister, I benefit from it. :)
Skies of Parchment // Clarita writes beautifully about her life as a wife and mother. Even though our style in home decor is often quite different, I find a lot of inspiration in her creative and budget friendly home makeovers. Her home is stunning. I don't think I've ever met her personally, although I feel like I know her because I've followed her blog for several years, and I also know a few of her sisters.
Un-Fancy // Caroline has a capsule wardrobe of thirty-seven pieces, including shoes and outerwear. Hers is the only fashion blog that I follow; I really like that she creatively uses the same pieces in heavy rotation, making new outfits every time. She has inspired me to be more creative with my minimal wardrobe, as well as putting more thought into what I purchase, reminding me that quality always trumps quantity.
The Merry Thought // I discovered this blog about a week or two ago, and I'm so impressed by it. The three ladies who run the blog live in western New York, not too far from me. They post DIY projects and tutorials, delicious recipes, and tidbits on family life. Check it out!
Babyccino Kids // If you're a Momma to Littles, you don't want to miss this blog, or the shop that goes along with it.
The Lily Field // I've never met Brittany, but can't get enough of her writing. She talks about marriage and motherhood in such an open and honest way. She is raising two handsome and energetic little men and one precious baby girl, who is adored by her big brothers.
I'd love to hear about your favorite blogs: Feel free to share their links in the comments below!