Friday, March 24, 2017

Five Things for Friday: New in the shop, Lazy St. Patrick's Day, + a Homeschool resource we're loving

1) New in the Shop!  I released my new "Saltwater" Pattern last week.  I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out.  If you purchase it, I'd love to see how yours turns out! Tag me on Instagram or send me an email to share your work!

2) Jason purchased a new-to-us typewriter this week, so now we've got two.  And what fun they are! The Big Kids (as they are known around here)  sat down together to write notes to each other.  And Ethan is constantly leaving little love notes for people, neatly typed (but reminding me to make spelling more of a priority for him.  Any suggestions for spelling helps?). Makes me happy.

3) I shared this for Day 19th of # MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram.

Day 19 of #marchmeetthemaker // Helper//
This guy is my biggest supporter and strongest encourager. He is Listener to all of my (many, many) crazy ideas, Fixer of all things broken, Wrangler of children, Adventure Partner and Swaddler of babies. He celebrates victories with me and knows exactly which treats to buy. He's the first person I think of when I have a funny story or a heartbreak to share. He even has apps on his phone for all the local art/craft stores so he can use a coupon when he stops in to pick up something for me. (Swooooon💕) After over 16 years together, it just keeps getting better. 

4) I am not a huge holiday Mama.  And that's only gotten more pronounced as we've added more kiddos to the family. I like to keep things simple.  So when the kids woke up on St. Patrick's Day this week and were wondering how we were going to celebrate, I had to pull something out of my hat quickly. Green food coloring + sprinkles in our morning oatmeal, check.  Kite + shamrock cookies + seeds for the garden hastily purchased while the kids were home making leprechaun traps, check.  It was a hit! Good thing my little people are easily impressed.

5) We have been using Crash Course Kids to learn a little bit more about Space.  They are engaging and informative and funny.  We all love them. (This is not sponsored in anyway.  We just love the videos and I thought you might, too!)
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Peek into my Sketchbook

My sketchbook is my happy place.  Here are a few spreads from the past month or so, plus a flip-through of my most recently completed sketchbook as part of the #meetthemaker challenge on Instagram.
Follow me there to see more of my daily sketchbook pages.

If the flip-through video isn't working, you can watch it here.
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Friday, March 17, 2017

Five Things for Friday: The Hillman Herald, a New Coloring Page and Spring

1) The Hillman Herald.

Miss Ellie has been putting out a typewritten family newspaper for years. (Here's one of her first editions from 5 years ago).  It began as a little treat just for our immediate family, and an excuse to use her beloved typewriter, and over the years has expanded to quite a large readership.  Lately she's been taking it more seriously and has set a deadline each month for gathering stories from the family (and book reviews from me), typing it up and sending it out to her adoring fans.

Ellie is a talented and funny writer, and I always look forward to reading her work. Each edition includes calendar items, important things that have happened in our family, updates on kids' sports, "Ask Ellie" questions, as well as little activities; things like mad libs or step by step drawing instructions.

This month she interviewed Elijah's Sunbeam teacher (the 3 year old class at our church).  Elijah is both delightful and difficult and it was so fun to hear his angel teacher's perspective on him.  Jason and I may have teared up when we read that article.

I have saved a stack of Hillman Herald's from over the years and read through a few of them just the other day.  I am certain these will be such a treasure to us in the future.

This was based on a page from my sketchbook a few weeks ago. I came across this quote by Winston Churchill and it really resonated with me:  "Be kind, but be fierce.  You are needed now more than ever before.  Take up the mantle of change, for this is your time."

The download in the shop includes a full size coloring page and a page of quarter size sheets (perfect for handouts for youth groups!).

3) Soccer practices are underway for our Ethan.  He is a talented player, but even more than that, he is dedicated to improving.  He loves playing keeper and has set the goal to block 100 kicks each day.  Which means that my kicks are improving as well, since I'm most often the one out there with him.

4) Kids Bowl Free. I've been making lists of summer time activities (hooray for warmer weather!) and recently learned that Kids Bowl Free is finally in our neck of the woods.  This is a nation-wide program that allows kids to bowl two games every single weekday all summer long for FREE! I checked into this years ago, but there were no participating bowling alleys in our area at the time.  The kids and I are so excited to go bowling as often as possible this summer.  Check it out!

5) Spring! It's been a very, very long winter.  And just like every year, I was surprised when spring actually arrived.  It's like I have to remember every year that winter won't really last forever, that we won't have to bundle up in 5 layers every time we go outside and then leave those extra layers, wet and soggy, strewn about the house when we come back in.  The temperature is rising, the snow is mostly melted and we've had a picnic as often as possible over the past few days. I've even made the boys put away their snow boots (which they would prefer to wear all year because they are so easy to put on). I'm sure we'll have some more snow over the next little while, but at least it will be the type that only stays a little while.  
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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately

I'm joining in with Anne Bogel at Modern Mrs. Darcy to share short and sweet reviews of what I've been reading lately.  What have YOU been reading lately?

The Joy of Swimming by Lisa Congdon

I loved this books as both a (former) swimmer and an artist. I love Lisa Congdon's artwork and the fact that this book was jam packed with interesting facts and stories related to my favorite sport made it just that much better.

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

Light and fun, somewhat predictable and thoroughly enjoyable.  Lauren Graham is an excellent writer, and I ended up loving this book so much more than I anticipated.  The dialogue was fun to read, the characters were so relatable.  I really loved this book. (And it's on sale right now!)

Deep Work
I'm a productivity book addict. This book is an excellent look at why our brains need time set aside for our deep work.  Constant interruptions and "multi-tasking" keep us from making progress on our big goals. I found that not everything mentioned in this book is practical for my situation, but a lot of it can be adapted to work even for work at home Mamas. I've implemented several of the suggestions from this book already and I've talked about it enough that my husband is thinking about implementing a few at his work.

Everything I Never Told You

Such a sad story about families and the choices we make to try to make others happy.  In this book, we see a tragedy through the eyes of every member of an immediate family.  The feeling I had as I finished this book has stayed with me every time I think of it.

The Unfinished Angel

This was a very fun read aloud with my kids.  Often when we read aloud, my three year old is milling around, being loud and getting into trouble.  He has been quoting (at appropriate times) little snippets from this book.  So, even he was listening.  Here's a little video of the author reading a scene that we all loved.

Before We Visit the Goddess

Another messy family story.  It seems I am drawn to those lately.  I wonder what that means...
This is about three generations of women in an Indian family. It's about family relationships, biological and otherwise.  It's about love and sacrifice and how the decisions we make impact more than just our own lives.

Loving my Actual Life
Great insights into how to love the life you're actually living, rather than dreaming of how you'd change things. Advice for how to be more present, how to love your people and your house and your work. There's probably nothing truly groundbreaking, but I'm always fascinated to learn about what specific little changes made a difference in improving peoples' lives.

The Other Einstein

This is a heartbreaking and well-written fictionalization of the life of Mitza Einstein, Albert Einstein's first wife.  It is based on many true events and letters the couple wrote back and forth. She was a brilliant physicist as well, and there is some speculation that Einstein stole the Theory of Relativity from her.  This book is a version of what could have happened if that were true.  It feels so real that I found myself getting angry at real-life Albert Einstein.
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Friday, March 10, 2017

Five Things for Friday

1--Me: Go get ready to take the big kids to piano lessons.
Two minutes later...
Him: I'm all ready, Mama!

 Looking back through my photos from the week, most of them are of trouble Elijah has gotten into.  Getting himself a "little snack" (aka a giant bowl of mini chocolate chips), eating his morning smoothie with a paintbrush (where did he get that?!), etc. Oh, this boy.  He is such a delight and so exhausting all at once.  He's smart and opinionated and fun.  And I am firmly convinced that whoever named them "The Terrible Twos" never had a three-year-old.

2-- This.  You're welcome. 
A post shared by Heidi Kindlespire Hillman (@alivelyhope) on

3-- We're planning a little trip to California to visit my dear cousin and her kids.  And also to camp and enjoy the sunshine and the beach.  I added a simple planning page to my bullet journal this week, which makes me feel like it's really going to happen.

4-- Kid activities.

The boys started swimming lessons last week.  Indoors, of course.  The girls and I hang out by the pool and work on projects (my latest embroidery pattern will be in the shop soon!) and chat.

Miss Ellie is moving up to the Gold team at her swim club, which means 2 hour practices every afternoon. She's been making such huge progress lately, and it's so fun to see her love the sport that I loved so deeply at her age.  Watching her has brought back many memories for me.  

Our local (amazing) homeschool community held a History Fair last week. Ethan's presentation was about medieval castles and weapons.  And Ellie's was on Illuminated Manuscripts. 

Notice the adorable photobomber in both pictures. :)

5-- Jason is a big fan of the Judge John Hodgman Podcast and he often shares the funniest bits with me.  He saved a hilarious snippet from this show for me to listen to, and I literally clapped at the end.  

"With beekeeping, you just have to get your work out there. You know what I mean? Like...yeah, you might have a day job for a while but you're gonna have to beekeep at night. You're gonna have to get up in the early morning and beekeep. You're gonna have to beekeep even on your birthday. And for a long time you're going to be rejected a lot for your beekeeping.  People are going to be saying no. But in beekeeping, as in all the arts, persistence is almost more important that talent. If you just keep keeping, eventually you're going to be a beekeeper."

I love this sentiment so much.  

Keep keeping, friends.
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