Archive | December, 2014

Fingerless Gloves Under Your Christmas Tree!

I had a burst of motivation last night and finally finished a bunch of fingerless gloves! They are all hand-knit from beautiful blend of Chinese Tussah silk and merino wool, and they feel like a soft cloud wrapped around your hands. When you’re texting or driving or working with your fingers, they keep your hands and wrists cozy and warm.

Can you think of someone you’d like to give them to? Would you like a pair in time for Christmas? Order by Saturday, DECEMBER 20, within the U.S.A. and you get your wish! You can contact me directly, or I will also be listing them in my Etsy shop very soon. Only these five pairs are available this year!

Each pair is $25 each. Shipping will be $5 per order, which is a discount from the true Priority Mail cost, but I want to be sure you get them in time!

Bright yellow and deep purple, size small (fits most).


Fuchsia and yellow, size small (fits most).


Colors are brighter on your screen than in real life. These gloves are a beautiful peachy-red and sea blue. Size small (fits most).


Gray and deep red, size small (fits most).


Bright blue and yellow, size medium and extra long.



Update: All these gloves sold within 36 hours of me writing this post. Thank you, friends!!!

5 :: in knitting business, Making Room {Handmade}

A Hike at Torrey Pines + Contentment & Wealth

This week we’ve had the huge privilege of my mom and brother visiting! We had so much fun with them, and the kids especially were over the moon.

They left at 5:30 this morning, though, and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so here I am sharing some of the best photos of their visit over a hot cup of coffee.

(P.S. It’s R A I N I N G which never happens in San Diego which therefore equals extra cozy!)

Yesterday we went to Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve, a beautiful park on the wild California coast. Even though it was blustery and about to start raining, the scenery took our breaths away. I remarked that it reminded me of our honeymoon down Highway 101, and then Gil said — for the first time ever — “Honey… moo!”


On another note… I had a conversation with someone recently about contentment vs. striving for more. My friend said — aptly, I thought — that if you’ve got a Honda and you’re content and happy with your Honda, what does that mean about hoping to own a Lexus one day? Does that mean you never want anything more than your Honda? You have a Honda and that’s all you’ll ever want? Or are you falsely thankful… like you’re just pretending to be thankful for your Honda when you’d really like a Lexus?


It’s a tricky question. We do want to be thankful for all God has given, but we also know He wants us to work hard and that wealth is a gift from God. There is nothing wrong with any kind of car, it’s just how we view and use these things that matters. How do we remain thankful today while working hard for tomorrow?


One thing that has helped me and Elliott, I think, is to set life goals and discuss what our priorities are. Elliott has read various books (like this one by Dave Ramsey) and then sat me down to discuss where we want to be in five, 10, and 20 years. What are our goals as a family? What will we regret never doing in this life?

For us, our goals involve traveling and living overseas, being close to family, writing books, having a home that is welcoming to visitors, and one day having some kind of farm of our own. Our ultimate, overarching goal is to glorify and enjoy God, even if that messes up all our other plans. I’ve shared a longer and more specific list of our life and family priorities here.

As I talked to my friend, I realized that these life goals help Elliott and me to have tunnel vision in some ways. In GOOD ways! Because we know what we want in life, it makes a lot of other decisions about what we DON’T want very easy.

For instance, our car. We needed to buy a car when we moved to California. We wanted and knew we would be getting a lot of guests, and we wanted to drive them around without always needing a rental car. So we decided to get a gently used minivan, and we chose the safest one on the market.

However, once we chose that particular minivan, we had a host of other decisions to make. Did we want a DVD player? Leather seats? A back-up camera? A built-in GPS? And on and on!

We went back and reviewed our goals. We wanted a minivan for the extra space, not for the other luxuries. We don’t want our kids to watch TV in the car. We don’t want a fancy car at this stage in our lives. It didn’t match up with our life goals and priorities. So we chose the basic minivan. And we really, really like it!

Another example is our house, which you can read more about here.

Tunnel vision is a good thing sometimes. It helps you block out the extra noise, the flashing lights, the bling, the fun distractions that keep you from your ultimate goals and dreams. These dreams help you to budget and to plan ahead.

But they also help you to enjoy what is happening RIGHT NOW. I can sit with my visiting family in our house and praise God because of His goodness in giving us these things for which we’ve hoped and dreamed. I can thank God for the children He’s given us. I can thank God for the travel we’ve already been able to enjoy. Of course I hope for more of ALL of these things ;), but setting manageable goals for our hopes and dreams gives enormous, my-cup-overflows contentment right this very moment!

Of course we are not perfect and get distracted all the time by all kinds of things: pretty things on blogs, authors who make millions, friends who are traveling overseas while we’re “stuck here,” and so on.

But when we come home, sit around our dinner table together, and bow our heads to pray, there is a prevailing sense of contentment. Contentment because we are living the life we want to live right now, not tomorrow or when we have a million dollars or when we retire. We have chosen these things in life AND we have been richly blessed.

And then we snuggle up together against the cold of the world and thank God for His goodness!


9 :: in family, home sweet home, hospitality, thoughts

From Nap Time to Quiet Time (+ Lena’s New Room!)

Lena is officially A L M O S T done napping here, if you know what I mean. Sometimes she’ll surprise us and sleep for two or three hours. But most of the time I tuck her in at 1pm and hear a little voice calling about 15 minutes later:

“Maaaaa-ma. I can’t sleeee-eep!”

For the first few months we lived in this house, Lena slept in her crib in the “kids’ room,” and Gil slept in a playpen in the bathroom. Then one day we bought Lena a little wooden toddler bed, and I realized I could tuck it right beside the guest bed, and a new plan was born.

The guest bed is covered with a rotating assortment of books and puzzles for Lena to enjoy. I’ve discovered her curled up there, asleep, at the end of rest time, so it’s a handy second bed, I guess!

She also has a basket full of dress up clothes (all donated from my incredibly generous 10-year-old cousin Ashley), and she has her very own desk.

The desk belongs to our landlords, so I want to be very careful with it. I covered it with heavy-duty parcel paper before giving Lena a pile of craft activities. Here are a few of the things Lena has on her desk:

Here is Lena’s little bed, which I bought for $25 from someone in our neighborhood, but which was originally from IKEA. I still search Craigslist for this bed, though, which I would love to get for her one day! All the bedding is from IKEA as well, and I love it. The sturdy duvet makes bed-making a breeze, and the cover can easily be washed.

Over on her desk, Lena has this clock which turns green at 7:00 am so that she knows it’s time to get up. We love this thing.

Our sweet little neighbor gave Lena her doll bed, and Lena loves that thing more than I could ever have anticipated. She lovingly puts her baby to bed with songs and prayers, tucking her in so she’ll be warm, and then gets her up later to feed her and carry her around. Such a good little mama!

We don’t have rest time down to a perfect system yet, and there are definitely some improvements I’d like to make. One is to purchase a timer so that Lena can know herself when her rest time is over. Sometimes the end of the 45 minutes turns into a game of whack-a-mole.

I’d also like to extend the rest time into an hour or an hour and a half. Currently it varies, depending on how long Lena tries quietly to sleep. Right now I want to try for a nap as long as they are still happening a couple of times a week, but I know those days are limited. How long do your kids “rest” in the afternoons?

I’ve been looking for a small CD player so that Lena can listen to books on tape or quiet music CDs; I know she’d love that.

And one last thing: I’d like to become more efficient with this rest time myself! Once upon a time she slept for two hours twice a day, and now… just an hour a day?! I don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done!

And now rest time is over and this little lady is sitting by my side, so the computer needs to go away. If you’re a mom, how do you handle rest time for your kids? I’m all ears!


The Tara Montgomery Jewelry giveaway ends tomorrow! Visit this post to enter and win!

13 :: in Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom Series, Lena, motherhood

A Giveaway from Tara Montgomery Jewelry! {closed}

I’m thrilled to bring you the best of the best today: my dear friend Tara Montgomery‘s lovely jewelry! Tara and I went to nursing school together (almost 10 years ago… gulp), and even then Tara was making and selling beautiful earrings and necklaces. Her pieces always had sorority girls ooh-ing and ahh-ing at her trunk shows, and understandably so!

Tara went on to marry her high school sweetheart, a talented designer, and together the two of them have built a beautiful home. My kids and I visited her and her second little baby this summer, and I loved every detail of their beautiful house. The Montgomerys’ love of beauty, light, and natural materials was evident everywhere. Perhaps my favorite things, though, were Tara’s sunlit studio and their ducks and chickens in the backyard!

Her days are full of caring for her family and working as a much-beloved oncology nurse, but Tara has also continued to build her jewelry business. Her website is a delight to the eyes. Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

tara-montgomery-jewelry-1 …because time flies. tara-montgomery-jewelry-3 tara-montgomery-jewelry-7 tara-montgomery-jewelry-4

Aren’t they all so lovely?! One of the most beautiful things Elliott has ever given me is a pair of Tara’s earrings, designed by both of them especially for me.

Tara is giving away her Turquoise and Dark Wood Necklace to one lucky reader!


Wouldn’t you love this statement piece?! Or if it’s not your style, I know you’ve got a friend or sister or mother who would be thrilled to open this pretty package under the tree on Christmas morning.

To enter, visit Tara’s website and tell us which is your favorite piece of jewelry!

For additional chances to win, you may:

  1. Like Tara’s beautiful Facebook page
  2. Follow Tara Montgomery on Instagram
  3. Share this giveaway on Pinterest
  4. Follow me on Instagram
  5. Sign up for my blog mailing list (look in the left sidebar of my blog)

Just let me know what you have signed up for in your comment. Giveaway closes next Tuesday, December 15th, at midnight PST!

P.S. Tara has also generously offered 20% off all orders with the code MERRY20! Good through Dec 15th as well. Happy shopping!


Update: The winner according to is #97, Sarah T. The winner has been emailed. Thank you all — especially Tara! — and congratulations, Sarah!

70 :: in giveaway, wishlist

On Becca’s Bookshelf // November Edition


November was a good month! I read a diverse bunch of books this time: one teen fiction, one mystery, one historical novel, and two memoirs — one that takes place in Paris and one that takes place in prison. Without further ado:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I read Landline last month and didn’t love it, so several of you told me to try Fangirl. It’s the story of a college girl who writes wildly successful fan fiction in her spare time, and there’s a sweet love angle in this coming-of-age story. I breezed through the book (easy to do with Rainbow’s novels!), but in the end I was left with a flat taste in my mouth. This typically happens when I don’t end up admiring or wishing I knew any of the characters. Fun to read but not much substance. Eleanor & Park still wins. — 3 stars
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. Harry Potter for grown ups! J.K. Rowling (Robert Galbraith’s real name) has got a good thing going. Her flawed hero, Detective Cormoran Strike, feels real enough to walk off the page, and Rowling paints layers of detail and intrigue with her trademark skill. I loved the first Cormoran Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, and this second one did not disappoint — although the premise of the murder was more disturbing than the first. I’m not much of a mystery reader, but and I’ll be reading every installment in the series. — 4 stars
  • The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes. If I’ve talked books with you this year, you know I love Jojo Moyes. Me Before You broke my heart and One Plus One stole it away completely. Therefore I was excited to learn that some of Jojo’s earlier novels were being reprinted in the States. I loved the premise of The Ship of Brides: the journey of the British soldier’s new wives from Australia to their new home and husbands after WWII ended. However, despite the alluring title, it was a dull disappointment. I felt like I was wading through a mud of research and inexperience with the author, and even the most intense parts of the novel felt heavy-handed and underwhelming. Skip it and focus on her later novels. (Although I am trying another of her first novels — Silver Bayin December and will report back!) — 2 stars
  • The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. Simply delicious, but unexpectedly so. It started off slow: David Lebovitz, a famous chef I had never heard of (my bad!), recounted his rise to fame in Alice Waters’ kitchen and eventual decision to move to France. Blah blah blah. But then the memoir took a fascinating turn as David arrived in Paris and began the all-too-familiar journey of making a foreign land his new home. I laughed out loud at his fascinating cultural observations, delighted in his transformation into a true Frenchman, and took note of restaurants and shops to visit on my next trip to Paris. (A girl can dream.) Refreshing and beautifully written, and includes recipes! — 4 stars
  • Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman. Fascinating premise: a successful New Yorker with a handsome fianc√© suddenly finds the Feds on her doorstep, charging her for a 10-year-old drug offense from the days when she was living in Southeast Asia with her drug-dealing lesbian lover. I kid you not. It’s all true, and Piper is real, honest, and just the kind of girl you want to know in prison. She’s adaptable, kind, cautious, and observant. Her experiences in both minimum- and maximum-security women’s prisons provide an unparalleled look inside the U.S. prison system. I hope most Americans read it, if only to start a grassroots movement to improve the terrible state of our rehabilitation system. — 4 stars

Which of these books would you like to read? Or have you read them already and agree or disagree with my reviews? Please share, or tell us what you read in November!

See all my book reviews and recommendations here.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
13 :: in book reviews, On Becca’s Bookshelf

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes