Spaghetti Squash

The other day I was baking a spaghetti squash in the middle of the day for a casserole I was making that night. As it was baking and playing with my daughter she decided to say “I don’t want spaghetti squash right now.” I told her she did not need to eat the spaghetti squash and I would set aside some dinner sans spaghetti squash so she didn’t need to worry. She was still pretty concerned about the whole spaghetti squash thing and couldn’t let it go. No matter what I told her she spent a few minutes worried about the possibility of having spaghetti squash at some future time. I wanted to just tell her that she didn’t have any need to worry, I was not going to feed her spaghetti squash, so she was worrying about absolutely nothing. I also want to tell her that even if I did feed her spaghetti squash it wouldn’t be for a long time so she really didn’t need to worry about it right now. I also wanted her to understand that if I did serve her spaghetti squash, it would be because spaghetti squash has nutrients inside of it that help our bodies stay strong and capable, and so even though spaghetti squash is not her favorite thing, it would truly be good for her.

And then I thought about me. How much I worry about things that may or may not happen in a future date. Things I don’t need to worry about – one, because they may never happen, two, because if they do I really don’t need to worry about until they happen, and three because I have faith that God has a hand in my life and all things that do happen in my life will be good for me. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, and as a child of God I sometimes struggle in the same way my daughter struggles with things in her life.

When I struggle it is hard for me because I feel like should know better, and do better, that I should not succumb to worry or fear. Then I remember how I feel about my daughter, I wish so much that she would not worry because of all the things I know, but she doesn’t understand. I recognize that she does not have the understanding I do, and even though she is having a hard time when she really doesn’t need to, what I do is just love her through the struggle. And I believe that is what Heavenly Father does for me. Sometimes I think He loses patience with me, but I believe the truth is that, no matter how I struggle, He is always just willing to love me through everything.

Thank goodness for that truth.

S L O W

I have been feeling it in my heart, “slow down” it speaks again and again.

Slow. I do not do slow. Slow is emptiness and quietness and stillness and I am not sure what to do with myself but just be-ness. I don’t like to feel empty, or quiet, or still, and I really love to know what I can do with myself, I like to keep my hands and mind busy, and occupied.

But it keeps coming back- “slow down.” Invite in some empty, quiet, still, times. Just be.

And I have tried, and keep trying. I worry about what I will have to give up or miss if I live in the slowness. What will be left undone or incomplete. I don’t want to leave things incomplete. Incomplete=Failure.

Maybe failure is not = incompleteness. Maybe failure is completing things when you feel a pull to live differently and let go.

The invitation to slow has been coming for a long time, and I have tried and tried to slow down, and slowing down has been a slow process. Giving up a little at a time so I could have more room to slow, but I am finally feeling the peace and joy of slowing down and setting aside.

Some things have become so much more important. Conversations with my husband before bed, sitting around the table as a family as I prepare an evening meal, setting the table together, eating slowly with more intention and joy, and always at the insistence of my little one we play a game. Quiet mornings rocking my baby who has been waking up far too early, and just being with her. Listening to her breath and cuddling in the dark stillness. Reading my scriptures and really pondering the Book of Mormon. Making time to go to the temple where I feel the ultimate sense of peace and slow. Being with the people I love, being in the day I am in. Slowing down means experiencing.

Some things have become so much less important. Phones, social media, trying to fill every hour of the day with something whether it be noise or activity.

So I am practicing slow.

Today it was lovely enough outside to walk to the library. It would have been too cold in the fall, but my desperate need for sunshine in the winter made me brave. My daughter insisted on having ponies in her hair today so I put two little buns on top of her head. One immediately became lop-sided when we left the house but they were so cute, and I love being able to see her face, happy and bright. She pointed out dogs and pinecones to me as we walked. It was slow and quiet, and so beautiful and rich.

Slow might just be good for my soul.

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter N

N is for nest, night, and ninja. It has been a little hard to keep up with teaching my little one the past few weeks, but hopefully we can get back to work, I love watching her learn and her excitement about all the letters is so fun!

teachingmytoddlerthelettern_malloryhazel

The Letter N Booklist

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein- I really enjoyed this beautiful book about what the world looks like at night just before the sun illuminates it. And when the sun comes out the colors are beautiful.

Ninja by Arree Chung- This is a cute story about a brother that dresses up and becomes and ninja and he sneaks through the house to obtain some cookies and milk. It is a fun book.

Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol- This book is really beautiful. The words are lovely and paint a beautiful picture and the illustrations are perfect for the book.

The Letter N Printables

This week we have The Letter N Notecard and The Letter N Do-a-Dot.

The Letter N Activity

This week for our activity we made a little night scene. One piece of black paper and hand cut stars and a moon made a perfect little activity for my two year old to paste together.

 

January 2017 Reading List | What I’m Reading

I really love reading. Non-fiction is probably what I read the most. Well children’s books are actually what I read the most, but when I am reading just for me, I read a lot of non-fiction. Which is fine, but lately I wanted to go back to the realm of stories, told just for fun, or to send a message, stories that are more light-hearted and just a joy to read. Stories that teach lessons through the medium of storytelling. We will see how I do with that goal in 2017, but I wanted to at least write down some of my favorite books I am reading each month and how I liked them.

readinglistjanuary2017_malloryhazel

Girl in the Blue Coat – Set during WWII this story is a mystery and so thrilling. There were some twists and turns and each chapter made me want to keep reading to solve the big mystery and all the small mysteries that were within it. After reading stories about WWII and Nazi Germany I am always a little emotionally exhausted and need something a little more fun, but this book is worth reading if you enjoy history and mystery.

The Crossover – This book is something I would probably never pick up and read, but it won a Newberry and I have been trying to read a few more of those books recently. The whole time I was reading the books I just kept thinking how unique it was and how perfect it would be for boys especially. I really enjoyed the story for myself too, I love when stories can take you on a journey to see the world from a new perspective, and this one did that for me.

In Defense of Food – I have heard a lot about Michael Pollan and his books and so I finally checked this one out. I have been trying to move to real food for me and my family for a while now, but I really loved his common sense outlook and approach. Sometimes I feel like eating healthy has to be extreme or demanding, but I think he does a really good just of keeping it casual and manageable. I also really liked his Food Rules book.

French Kids Eat Everything – Another book that I wanted to read as part of trying to figure out how to feed my family healthfully. I love the way the French approach food. They seem to really understand all aspects of food, the nourishment and pleasure that food can bring, and not in a scientific way, in a very human way. I have been trying to make dinner and all of my meals slower and more intentional as a result of reading this book, and so far it has been a good change for our family.

 

Teaching My Toddler | The Letter M

The letter M is my favorite letter. I don’t know if everyone feels this way but I think M has been my favorite letter since childhood since my name starts with the letter M. M is for moon, and monsters, and monkeys.

teachingmytoddlertheletterm_malloryhazel

The Letter M Booklist

Love Monster by Rachel Bright-One of my favorite books, I love this cute monster and how he struggles to find his place in the world, and finds a great friends along the way.

If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff- Classic books, and a perfect addition for learning about the letter M.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires- This book is so cute, and I love the determination of the little girl as she tries to make the most magnificent thing!

The Moon Inside by Sandra V. Feder- This is a beautiful story with gorgeous illustrations. It is perfect for any child that is a little afraid of the dark.

Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson- This is just a really fun and cute book that is a joy to read.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis- This book is really lovely in it’s writing and message.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans- I remember reading and watching Madeline as a girl, and it was fun to pull it out again to share it with my daughter.

The Letter M Printables

This week we have the The Letter M Notecard and The Letter M Do-a-Dot.

The Letter M Activity

This week for our activity I drew a monster for my daughter to color in. Super simple is what we do, but she loves it and loves showing off her artwork to Dada when he gets home.

The Diary of Mattie Spenser

A few of my closest family members started a little book club last January for fun. We have enjoyed reading a variety of books and discussing the themes surrounding them. It has been good for my soul to have a book to read with others and check in together to discuss and ponder these books.

This month we read The Diary of Mattie Spenser and I just loved it. A fictional story written in journal/ diary format, this book follows the life of Mattie Spenser, as she marries and moves from her hometown to Colorado in the middle of the 1800’s. She overcomes so many things during this time from the harsh environment, to the loneliness, to bearing children and losing children. It had me feeling so thankful that I live in a different time and have so many luxuries that she could never dream of. At the same time, although our lives are completely different, I found myself relating to her on so many personal and emotional levels.

If your looking for something quick and enjoyable to read, I highly recommend The Diary of Mattie Spenser.

 

Empty | Filled

There are moments in life where I feel empty. Like I have drained my energy, capability, faith, or hope. I feel like I have done all I can do and I am still in a place where my personal challenges and trials still exist. I look for the miracle, a miraculous kind of miracle where every hard thing heals and I am made whole. The kind I hear about daily or at least weekly. The kind where people have sickness or pain or heartache and then they experience the miracle of healing. People able to overcome hard things. And I sit here and wonder, where is my miracle? Why am I still struggling. And my husband wisely tells me to not compare my trials with others and I know this because I have no idea anything besides the fact that they feel like they have had a miracle in their lives. I don’t know the depth of their personal trials. Yes, I should not compare. But can I wonder, why am I still struggling and where is my miracle?

And then I realize that my miracle is not the end of struggling or pain or trials, at least not yet. My miracle is currently the hope that fills me when I am having a hard time. My miracle is the fact that my faith in Jesus Christ is being strengthened every day. My miracle is that I am able to learn new things from the scriptures because my trials give me a new lens through which I see life.

I kind of always hope for the miracle of overcoming, and being free from the trial, and maybe some day I will experience that miracle, but today I am thankful for the miracle of being filled when I feel empty.