RINGS & THINGS

December 4, 2019


Whenever Ben asks me what I want for some occasion, besides giving the “Nothing, I don’t want to spend” answer I’ve been giving of late (due to budgetary purposes), it’s usually something like, “Oh, you know, rings and things.” HA! And he knows precisely what I mean about “rings & things.” Rings means antique/vintage pieces, or really simple modern ones to mix in with my antique pieces, and “things” usually mean shoes.

I love when I see older ladies wear ring stacks on their fingers. They usually have some cool, eclectic style going on. It’s interesting to me the rings they pick out, and I want to know the story on each of the pieces or why they placed certain ones together.

Recently, a friend of mine told me when we were in college, that I was trying to get her to add more accessories in her wardrobe and said something silly like “Once you accessorize, you never go back!” Yeah, I guess I’ve been nothing but consistent on that. I’ve either got big statement earrings on, layered necklaces, or ring stacks. And sometimes, all 3 of those at once.

Though ever since I can remember, rings have been my favorite accessory. When we’d go on family vacations, I’d always pick out some trinket of a ring to commemorate it. When I was 16, at Disneyworld, I picked out a sterling Tinkerbell ring. The following year, while vacationing in the Bahamas, my mom let me pick out a ring with the country’s official flower. So rings have marked special events and occasions for me, which it makes it even more special. It’s kind of always been just a preferred go-to piece of jewelry. 

Are you a rings & things gal? If so, I put together some pretty rings I’ve seen floating around on the internets (and shops I’ve personally shopped from myself). Some of them are on my Christmas wishlist, so maybe some of these are just what you have been looking for too.

I love the simple rings from AU-Rate. The mini circle ring is one of my go-to rings to wear for stacking. There are so many simple rings from AU-Rate that are perfect for stacking.
Jean Jean Vintage is always a fave spot to find shiny baubles to add to my wishlist. I have this Skull ring in rose gold and wear it often. It’s my memento mori ring to remind me of the brevity of life.
My first antique ring came from Erica Weiner; Ben got it for my as a surprise for finishing writing my book. If you like antique rings, Erica Weiner has you covered, if you prefer new, she’s got that too.
I love the dreamy rings on The Moonstoned. Each piece seems so mysterious and full of stories to tell. A garnet band has been on my ring wishlist and the deep color on this one is so beautiful.
The One I Love NYC is another one of my go-to places to look for antique rings. Ben proposed (on our 10th anniversary) with a ring from here. I really love this flower in the hand ring. It’s such a unique piece.

MALEFICENT, AURORA, & THE MARVELOUS TRIO || HALLOWEEN 2019

October 31, 2019


Once upon a time, the powerful fairy, Maleficent, unexpectedly showed up at the christening of King Stefan’s daughter, Aurora.

She was clearly not welcomed, but she insisted on giving the sweet child a gift. For her gift, Maleficent gave her a curse and proclaimed, “Aurora will grow in grace and beauty, but before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Only to be awakened by a true love’s kiss.”

The MARVELous trio… Pepper Potts, Agent Peggy Carter, and Scarlett Witch, were there to give their own special blessings for Aurora, so they stepped in to protect the child.

Scarlett Witch tried to use her ability to manipulate chaos magic, and remove the curse, but Maleficent’s power was too strong.

Agent Carter stepped in to try to negotiate with Maleficent, but it would do no good. Maleficent was resolved in her hatred for King Stefan, and consequently, Aurora.

Pepper Potts attempted to fight Maleficent with her clipboard, but again, she was defeated by the overwhelming power of the great fairy.

As soon as Maleficent left the celebration, the MARVELous trio promised King Stefan they would raise and protect the child, and hide her until after her 16th birthday. So off into the hideouts of S.H.I.E.L.D. they went…

Of course, Maleficent, being the powerful fairy she is, was able to locate their secret location and would occasionally pay the child a visit.

What started off as strong disdain for the child, or as she liked to call her, “Beastie,” slowly blossomed into fond affection.

The jealousy and bitterness she once felt towards the child, was replaced with love and compassion.

Maleficent found herself slowly believing in the power of love once again.


“Beastie” had captured her heart. She tried to undo the spell she cast, but the curse was much too strong to be broken. Maleficent would spend the next 15 years trying to stop the inevitable. Maybe, if she worked with the MARVELous trio, they would be able to find a solution together. To be continued…

Want to see if the curse manifests on Aurora’s 16th birthday? Stay tuned for Maleficent & the MARVELous Trio II coming out Halloween 2034.

True as Agent Peggy Carter…

Brave as Maleficent…

Soul as Scarlett Witch…

Glow as Pepper Potts…

And Red as Baby Aurora…

We’re 13 years strong with these Halloween stories of ours! The girls are still into it. They decide their character/costumes and we come up with a story together. Thankfully, it was mainly one costume I had to make (Maleficent’s) and the rest were pieces that had been thrifted. Whew! Halloween prep for 5 kids in intense!

Have a look back at our past Halloween stories…
2018: The Greatest Showman
2017: England News & Beyond
2016: Cutthroat Kitchen: Bratcher Edition
2015: The Mystery of the Missing Leia and Yoda
2014: The Zookeeper’s Wild Day
2013: The Mystery of Pinkie Pielilocks and the Three Bears
2012: The Adventures of Spider-Girl & She-ra
2011: Barbershop Quartet
2010: The Three Little Piggies
2009: Hannah and Gretel
2008: The Untold Story of Oz
2007: Little Red Riding Hood

Happy Halloween!!!


KITCHEN REORGANIZATION

October 25, 2019


If you know me, and how I get mess stress easily, then you know how happy I am to be a Brand Ambassador for The Container Store. Life is full with a family of seven, and things have felt extra full lately, so certain areas and spaces in our home  have succumb to disarray. So I’m looking forward to partnering with The Container Store to get these spots organized and back under control.

This month, I’m tackling my kitchen cabinets and drawers. Earlier this month, I did a major clean and purge of our pantry and fridge, so it feels good to move on to the drawers and cabinets. The girls are always baking, and with life being as full as it is, our cabinets and drawers have been filled with a mishmosh of things. It definitely needed to go through a deep purge and some organizing. Finally, after a free afternoon of going through everything, I’m so excited to share how organized everything is.

Before:

After:

The Container Store has thousands of kitchen products designed to be efficient with your space and make things easier to stay organized. I’m loving the extra space we get now using the Cupboard Chrome Shelf, I get all my plates and bowls in one cabinet, instead of spread out between two. The Single Corner Shelf is especially helpful in maximizing our space, and the Undershelf Basket also provided more organization and gave us another row inside our cabinet to store goods.

I used The Everything Drawer Organizers (and mixed and matched it with this one too) for our drawers. You can mix and match the containers to get the configuration that works just right for your space. Our drawers look so much better, and everything just makes sense now. With everything now having a place, instead of all simply being tossed in the drawer together, will definitely make for better kitchen efficiency.

I enjoy organized spaces, but the kitchen is one of the first things to go when life gets chaotic, and it’s probably because the mess is hidden behind cabinets and drawers. This challenge was exactly what I needed to take back control of my kitchen. With all my girls cooking and baking all the time, I think all the organization will lessen some of the fighting and bickering as they’re looking for things. This mom is all about that! Plus, the holidays are coming up and there will be even more baking and cooking, so we got everything organized just in time.

This post is in partnership with The Container Store as one of their Brand Ambassadors. The opinions and text are all mine. I appreciate the time you spend in this space, the support you give me, and the brands I partner with. If you’re in need of some kitchen organization too, take advantage of their kitchen sale going on now through November 10!


RED LENTIL AND BULGUR SOUP

January 29, 2019


 

3 from 2 votes
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RED LENTIL AND BULGUR SOUP

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Author Rubyellen

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. In pot, cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, stirring until softened about 3-5 minutes.

  2. Add the carrots and cook for another 3-5 minutes. 

  3. Add the broth, lentils, bulgur, tomato paste, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 

  4. Cover and cook over low heat until the lentils and bulgur are very tender, about 25-30 minutes. Discard bay leaves after. 

  5. Add salt and stir in lemon juice. Add pepper to taste. 

  6. Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top.


This recipe was shared with us from one of Ben’s co-workers, who is a master at making delicious food. I changed up a few things to the recipe and I hope you give it a try. It’s quick and easy, and that’s all I can do these days. The meal is very healthy, so Ben adds some greek yogurt to a bowl of soup for some added bulk and calories. It makes it extra creamy and delicious.

Bulgur can be difficult to find. We drove to a few grocery stores looking for it, until we succumb to ordering it from here instead.


KUMQUAT MOMENTS

January 28, 2019


Last week was a hard week. I started last Monday feeling encouraged by the events of the previous weekend, but by Saturday night, I was defeated. Some relationship trials, a couple sleepless nights, getting sick for a couple days, then crazy winds in our area that forced my car door open wider than I wanted, which resulted in some of my white car paint scuffs on a clean, black car, and a lady yelling at me then asking to exchange insurance information for said paint scuffs. I was immediately apologetic, but didn’t anticipate it would escalate to wanting my insurance info. I was crying at this point, but she didn’t understand why and said it was no big deal, and so I didn’t comprehend why were we exchanging insurance info if it was no big deal. That just pushed me to my limit for the week and I was on edge the rest of the day with tears and anger to anyone over anything. I texted my accountability group everything I was feeling, which certainly made for a messy read because I wasn’t even sure I was making sense at this point. I had anger, sadness, and frustration all bubbling/bursting inside me.

On Saturday night, I didn’t even want to go to church family gathering the next day. I knew I’d be encouraged hearing the word and seeing church family, but my soul and body were too physically exhausted to go. And I was just getting over a cold/sinus infection, so I knew I could get away with just saying I needed rest if I really wanted to. In the end, there was a church meeting in the afternoon I didn’t want to miss, so I sucked it up and went. And yes, I was encouraged hearing the Word. The reminder to “wake up and stay up” based on Revelation 3:1-6 was the rebuke and encouragement my heart needed. I was refreshed getting hugs from sisters who knew exactly the kind of week I had and I was excited to jump back into the week with a renewed spirit ready to conquer another week’s of life’s trials.

Then, today hit. Big parenting bumps this morning. The defeat returns. That anger, sadness, and frustration combo hitting hard. Learning how to disciple your kids’ hearts is some messy business, especially when you’re a big mess yourself. So when I’m at a loss, and don’t know what to say or do, I can at least turn to what I do know… Jesus took my mess with Him on that cross, and because of that God looks at me and sees Jesus’ righteousness instead. That truth ought to direct my parenting. Well, pretty much all my life. That sets me free. At least it ought too when I’m letting that truth massage its way to the depths of my heart.

As far as trials… relationship bumps, car bumps, or any other kind of life bump… when I’m seeing clearly, I can thank God for the place they have in life. Trials refine my heart, cause me to re-examine my heart and its idols, and push me to cling to Christ. Yeah sure, there are some days when I just want to give up, and I’m totally over it and would rather use distractions to numb myself (today is one of those days), but it’s the sweetness of Christ that pulls me out of that. That sweetness gave me life everlasting and that sweetness reminds me to praise God for these kumquat moments… when the sourness of life is covered and overwhelmed by the sweetness of Christ. Maranatha!


HER NAME IS RED

November 26, 2018


Her name is Red Elizabeth.

If you follow me on ig, then you know about 6 weeks ago, we welcomed another sweet little girl into our lives via adoption. We are definitely in that newborn haze and still trying to figure out how to balance 5 kids (not easy!), four of whom I am currently responsible for their schooling. It’s been pretty silent in this space and I had thought I would share more seeing how November is National Adoption Month, but we’re too busy adjusting and enjoying this sweet little babe of ours. Plus, I’m still trying to figure out what and how to share. There are so many hearts involved; adoption is joy and loss existing simultaneously together. It is Red’s story to share, so I don’t want to overstep because this belongs to her. But just like I have shared the birth stories of our other girls, how she entered our lives is something we take joy in too. I will share what I can in time, which probably won’t be much, but for now, let’s start with her name…

Red symbolizes blood, life, and family. It’s sort of a different take on the name Scarlett. We are so thankful that her birth mom chose life for her. While she didn’t grow in my belly, from the day we found out this possibility, God started growing her in our heart. All 6 of our hearts. She is part of us. We went from 6 to 7. Also, our prayer for Red is Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” We pray that she would ultimately find her identity in the REDemption of the blood of Jesus and what He did for her on the cross.

Elizabeth is birth mom’s middle name, so we gave her the middle name Elizabeth to honor Red’s first mama. Her name is something that we discussed with her first mama prior to her arrival, and it was the name she was given at birth. Our adoption is open adoption, and we will always celebrate her unique story, so it is special that her name is a reflection of that.

My mother-in-law put all the girls’ names together in a way that’s easy for people to remember. She tells people, “A true, brave soul glows red.”


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