Masthead header

what we’re reading: these beautifully illustrated finds!

These books have become quick favorites for many different reasons – their smoothly flowing prose, their characters, their charm – but I have to be honest: I was drawn to them for their beautiful illustrations.

This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe

When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, Illustrated by Julie Morstad

Home by Carson Ellis

You Belong Here by M.H. Clark, Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts

This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary, Illustrated by Julie Morstad


Pick these up from your local library and you’re in for a treat!

What books have you fallen in love with for their illustrations?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

xoxo, hayley

peach jam

This time of year means many late nights in our muggy little kitchen, counters full of fresh garden produce, and every burner on our stove earning its keep!  We always look forward to buying a half bushel of Georgia peaches at the end of July from our friends who make the drive for a truckload.  Here is the recipe I used this year for jam – kind of a mash-up between the one from the pectin box insert and the one from Food in Jars – and I doubled it.

Peach Jam
makes about 3 pint jars

  • 4-1/2 cups finely chopped peaches
  • 3 cups sugar
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 box SURE-JELL less sugar pectin
  1. Sanitize your equipment, jars, lids, and bands.  For more on canning basics, check out this helpful guide from Simple Bites.
  2. Measure exact amount of prepared fruit into large saucepan. (I use my large, enameled cast iron dutch oven.)
  3. Measure the exact amount of sugar into a large bowl.
  4. Combine 1/4 cup sugar from measured amount and 1 pkg. SURE-JELL pectin in a small bowl.  Stir this mixture into fruit.
  5. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.  If you like a smoother jam, use an immersion blender to break down some of the chunks.
  6. Stir in remaining sugar, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
  7. Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads.  Cover with two-piece lids.  Screw bands tightly.
  8. Place jars in canner.  (Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches.)  Cover; bring water to a gentle boil.  Process for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove jars and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.  Store unopened jars (without bands) in a cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year.  Refrigerate opened jars.

What are your favorite ways to preserve Summer’s goodness?  

xoxo, hayley

what we’re reading: pretty summer non-fiction!

We’ve been enjoying some beautiful books lately, so I want to start sharing a quick list more often.  Here are some favorites as of late!

Above and Below by Patricia Hagerty, Illustrated by Hanako Clulow
Before After by Matthias Arégui and Anne-Margot Ramstein

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Aston, Illustrated by Sylvia Long

Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman

Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha

Don’t forget to talk to your local library about requesting books via InterLibrary Loan!  Check out episode #65 of the Read Aloud Revival podcast for great tips on how to best use and support your local library.  Happy reading!

xoxo, Hayley



I’m currently…

reading:  An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.  And friends, it’s so good.  She’s just a beautiful writer.  Every word and recipe and idea in here is both practical and lovely.  This is one that I’ll thumb through over and over, and mark up with sticky tabs, and recommend to everyone.

I’ve been reading along with the Homesong Book Club this Spring/Summer and it’s been so good to be pushed outside of my comfort zone.  I’ve read The Hidden Life of Trees and No Drama Discipline with them as well, and truly enjoyed them both.  Hop on over to Amanda’s page and join us!

I’ve also listened to quite a few audiobooks lately via my Audible subscription.  Right now, it’s The Lifegiving Home by Sally Clarkson.  The themes in the book go right along with one of my goals for the year – to have a space where we feel at home and can welcome people in.

playing:  I’m very into podcasts right now.  We listen to them while we drive and while we play at home.  Some of my favorites include God Centered Mom, On Being, Wild + Free, and The Read Aloud Revival.  Check them out!  If you have any podcast recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

watching:  Reign on Netflix.  And I’m obsessed, even though it’s kind of a cheesy CW attempt to make something like The Crown (which was SO GOOD).  It’s been a while since I’ve had a show, and this is dangerous because there are approximately one million episodes available.

trying:  to restore a couple very rusty, but very awesome old cast iron pots that I got from a garage sale for $4 each.  Any tips?

cooking:  with such a better flow and actually enjoying it most days.  Thanks, Tamar Adler.  (See above about her awesome book that’s changing my life.)

Also, I got in Instant Pot and it’s so cool!  I thought it might just be a fad, so I waited a couple years and finally got one on Prime Day and I love it.

eating:  way more veggies.  Thanks for that, too, Tamar Adler.  I’ve remembered my love for beets and eggplant and random leftover vegetable curry.  (And good crusty bread, but she says that’s okay, so we’re going with it.)

Really, though, after an attempted Whole30 back a couple months ago (that ended prematurely with with the stomach flu, which basically destroys my will to live, much less cook), I feel so sensitive to what I eat.  This is a good thing – knowing what makes me feel good and what doesn’t, but I’ve realized that sugar and too much dairy make me feel like crud, so I’m trying to limit those things.

drinking:  too much iced coffee and wine from Aldi.

calling:  Well, I don’t call anyone, but I get a call basically every day from our local library to tell me that I have new books from InterLibrary loan.  Do we all know that this exists?  I love looking at beautiful children’s & non-fiction books, so I request them from all over the land via the library’s website.  They’re usually available within days at the front desk, just like that.  And bonus: I get to talk with our librarians all the time and they’re lovely and now they even sneak a book or two on to my hold list if they think we might enjoy it.  <3  I’ll post more about pretty books here soon!

texting:  Always my girls.  With unimportant narratives/borderline inappropriate questions/parenting quandaries/ridiculous gifs.  We’ve also recently discovered Bitmojis, so there’s that.

pinning:  Clothes for James, as per usual.  Thinking about his 18-24 month wardrobe.  But what is the difference between 24 month clothes and 2T?  And shoes.  Basically as soon as they arrive via Amazon Prime, he’s outgrown them.

crafting:  I’ve sewn some, but like twice in the recent past.  I made a West Water tunic, which I really like, but it’s a bit too big and it still needs buttons.  

doing:  the CouchTo5K again.  I’m kind of stuck mid-week 4 because of this awful humidity (see hating), but I need to stop making excuses and just go to the YMCA and get ‘er done.  My goal is to run a 5k some time this Fall.  Hold me to it!

going:  camping!  Well, we went once.  For once night.  And it ended in a trip to the Pediatric After Hours clinic.  But it was an adventure that we’ll definitely take on again before summer is over!

loving:  Morning Time as a family – Bible reading, scripture memorization, singing and praying together – among other things.  More on this soon; it’s been a really big change and a discipline that, I think, has finally become automatic for us.  Many of the homeschooling families that I follow online have Morning Time together; that’s where the idea came from – and it’s something that I know will grow and change as our family does.  

Check out Cindy Rollins’ little book on the subject – a really great resource!

hating:  I mean, not hating.  But it’s been in the mid 90’s and SO humid here and being outside just makes you want to die.  I’m not trying to wish away summer, but I keep having dreams about beautiful cozy fall days.  <3

discovering:  so much.  I love love love this season of life.  James is learning something new every day, and his excitement about the world has stirred something up in me.  I love learning alongside him.  We’re reading about bees and seeds and animals and the orchestra and European cities and the Bible and famous art work.  We’re discovering new (to us) poets and illustrators.  We’ve found a nature preserve that makes for beautiful hiking just miles from our house, that we never knew existed.  All of the sudden I want to know what kinds of trees and birds and even weeds are in my backyard.  In some ways, I feel awake and curious for the first time in a long, long time.

enjoying:  swimming!  What is summer without swimming?!

hoping:  to make some more progress on our house projects in the coming months.  Our second floor is still half under construction from the insulation we had blown in nearly two years ago.  Haha.  

celebrating:  our 5th wedding anniversary next month!  Best 5 years of my life.  <3

smelling:  very yummy smells wafting out of Uncle Billy’s Bakery.  Mmm.  (Great spot for a treat if you’re local!)

thanking:  God for the friendships he’s placed me in at this time in my life.  

considering:  limiting my phone time/screen time.  I go back and forth on this constantly, but I really want to be present with my people.  I would love an app that where I could set a time limit per app per day, and also have times of the day where it reminds me not to be on my phone (wake up time, dinner time, bed time).  Any suggestions?  Does this exist?  Do I need to code it up myself?  Haha.

finishing: listing a whole bunch of things for sale.  This is something we do a few times a year to keep things fairly minimal and save up for exciting new things!  We sold enough to buy a Yepp Mini Bicycle Seat for James (and a helmet, of course!).  I’m very excited for Summer and Fall bike rides to the library and on local trails!  Anything that gets us adventuring outdoors, right?!

starting:  to prep some beautiful Georgia peaches (thanks Tolley’s!) to make jam.  There’s something really special about opening a jar of that jam in January, and I’m already looking forward to it!

planning: a trip to Paris & London this fall for our 5th anniversary and Ryan’s 30th birthday!  Actually, it’s already booked, but we still have a lot to research.  If you’ve been, tell us about your favorite things!  James is coming along and we just got his passport photo; it’s so cute it kills me.  Also, please send me your tips for traveling internationally with a toddler.  Gah.

 What are you up to these days? Any good books to recommend? Anything exciting going on in your life? I’d love to hear about it!

xoxo, Hayley

My One Word for 2017

i’ve chosen one word to inspire me each new year for three years in a row now…

in 2015, I aimed to be present.
in 2016, my one word was simplify.
for 2017, i feel called to be still.

i’m over a week into the new year writing this post, but since christmas, i’ve been turning over possible words in my mind and nothing has stuck right away.  the past year has been filled with changes, all for the better, I think – and all of which truly did seem to simplify our life: paring back our commitments as we prepared to welcome & enjoy a new baby, spending slow days at home during my maternity leave, opting to move to a part-time schedule when i returned to my job, and as of last week, moving to on-call status at work which allows me to basically stay at home with james for now.  it’s taken time for us to make the switch to this slower pace, but goodness – it feels right.

this year, i want to challenge myself to try on stillness for size – especially in a few specific areas:

enjoy where we are

it seems like to this point, life has been a bit of a race.  hustle up & grow up. get your license. walk across that stage. go away to school. get that degree. get a great job. work hard. get married. buy a house. start a family.

and now we’re here.  and honestly, i’m so happy in this place.  for the first time ever, i don’t really know what is next and it’s really freeing, actually.  i want to focus on just being here & being grateful for this moment; this is the time in my life that i’ve always dreamed about and it’s more than i could have ever hoped it to be.

live with what we have

over the last year, we’ve simplified so much about what we have & how we live.  and when we see extra room in the closet or a blank wall or an empty schedule, i think our natural instinct is to fill it up, and quickly.  but not this year.  this year, i’m committing to working with what we have and being very selective and intentional about the new things we bring into our space.

hear more, say less

i’m aiming to be a listener this year – in my marriage, in my friendships, and especially in my relationship with God.  and that’s that.

be prepared to welcome

having more time at home has meant taking better care of things around here, which has been a relief (definitely still not anywhere near perfect – more like maybe-we-won’t-drown-in-a-sea-of-dust-bunnies status).  for a long time, i’ve used the house being under construction and not up to par, and my lack of time to justify holing up here, just us.  but i want to change that.  i want this to be a place where people want to be – a place that feels warm and cozy and inviting.  and i’m realizing that has less to do with everything being pristine and more to do with lighting a few candles, putting on a pot of coffee, and inviting friends in for good conversation.

i’m really excited to see how this word weaves its way into my year.

what is your word for the year?  let me know in the comments!