Friday, December 19, 2014

guest post // novelties and trinkets...

Hi guys, I’m Meagan Palmer, the writer behind the blog Novelties and Trinkets. I started blogging almost 2 years ago. Ever since my first post, the whole world of blogging has mesmerized me, encouraged me and inspired me. I've focused my blog on recipes, travel and life experiences. There's something for everyone at Novelties and Trinkets and it's growing each day. This space on the internet has been such a blessing to my life. My whole goal with Novelties and Trinkets is to connect like minded people who love what I love: simple, traditional arts and practices that can be passed down and enjoyed by all generations. I hope you stop by sometime and enjoy the great food and travel with me.

Because of how much Novelties and Trinkets has grown over the last two years I've been able to launch a sponsorship program which will help fund the expenses associated with my blog! If you are interested in very affordable advertising, please visit here. Through this program I hope to provide you with opportunities to reach new people for very affordable prices! Anyway, that's not why I'm writing today. I'm writing to share with you guys a personal look into my life: I was sitting on our couch watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix when my husband burst through the door. I knew by the look on his face there was something he needed to tell me.  He sat down next to me, turned off the television and took my hands. “We’re going to Nicaragua,” he said. I immediately started asking so many questions. When? Where? How long? How much? Who? As he began to answer all of these
questions, a peace came over me. I’ve never been on a mission trip before. I’ve gotten close to going so many times but each time something stood in my way. This time, I knew it would be different.  

My husband and I are going on this mission trip on the last week in May. We have already sacrificed so much for this trip, but it has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve been forced to put all of my trust in God and I’ve been able to see what it means to lovingly submit to my husband. He has prayed over this trip and knows it is what God wants for our family. I am incredibly humbled and excited to see how God uses me to glorify Himself and also how He will use this trip to change my life. 

We are going to Nicaragua with a group of friends from a few different colleges in Kentucky. We are going to be partnering and staying with an organization called Partners in Christ. They will host us while in Nicaragua and they will also help us navigate and travel from Managua (the capital of Nicaragua) to the village we will be ministering to. 

While we are in Nicaragua, we will be visiting a school and village that has never been helped before. Our plan is to teach at the school each day we are there. We will be teaching the students stories from the Bible and ultimately sharing the Gospel with them. We will also be doing street ministry throughout the small village as well. Overall, we will be showing God’s love through our teaching and spending time with the students throughout the whole week. I am already daydreaming of the students I will meet and love I will be able to show them. 

We are so thankful for this opportunity to serve our God. This is where I humbly ask you for your prayers. We cannot do this without prayer and I am a firm believer in the great power prayer holds. Pray for my husband and I as we mentally, spiritually and physically prepare for this trip; pray for our team as we plan and raise money for the trip; and pray for all we come into contact with, that they may see the love of God shine through us in our words and actions.

My husband and I are also in need of financial help to pay for our trip. We are two married college students who cannot afford the $3000 it will take to send us both to Nicaragua. We believe God will provide the money we need and we are not worried. If you would like to give to help us out, please visit our Go Fund Me page. We will be forever thankful for your kindness.

Thank you all so much for listening to our story. We are incredibly thankful for the body of Christ! Also, I want to thank Christina for allowing me to share this exciting opportunity for the Gospel on her blog, she’s been such a great support.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

baby update // 30 weeks...

Hey guys! It's been a whole month since my last baby update! I kid not- time is seriously flying by! I meant to do this two weekends ago...and then the weekend after that. Then before I knew it, it had been a month and I knew no matter what, this HAD to be done! I'm going to blink and Baby Main is going to be here!

Not without another baby update though :)

As you can clearly see, I'm at week 30!!!! 10 MORE WEEKS TO GO! This means I'm in my third trimester! 3RD guys! That's the last one! Baby Main is weighing about as much as a cabbage- so around 3 whole pounds! I'd like to say my massive weight gain was because I had a 20+ pound baby in there...but no...he's just a tiny 3 pound baby face. 3 pounds...that's incredibly cute. Too bad they still need to grow more. I'd love to have an itsy bitsy whittle 3 pound babylove. Of course if that was a healthy thing to do. Which it isn't. So grow baby, grow! 

This time I wanted to spice up the old routine and let my husband answer the questions from his perspective- a guy's and daddy-to-be's insight! Fun right? We'll see ;)

Week 30. I had to ask Christina what week she was even though as I'm typing this, the post title is, "baby update // 30 weeks..." Because, you know, guy stuffs.

Hmm, let's see. Christina has been super diligent about eating right even though I've been trying to ride her "GIMMEE ALL THE SWEETS" hormonal pregnancy craving coattails and call it sympathy eating. In all honesty we've been pretty good considering Thanksgiving and its double dinner delights. We do both families so it's a sight to see. Oh! Lots of alliteration up in this mug.

Smoothies abound in our household like no other beverage. Is it a beverage? Is it a meal? Yes. Yes it is. 

We've been reading a lovely devotional together many nights. It's a good opportunity to talk to our little manchild. Although I feel like my voice just freaks him out because every time I talk to him he tries to punch my face. That's fine, I'll show him...just wait dude. On the playground, three o'clock.

Christina wants every baby outfit her eyeballs see. Well, just the good ones, she'd say. ;) We've been working on self-control. We've been so excited to be blessed by so many friends and family members that want to hook us up with boy stuff though. Cute stuff, so it's been good.

We've been doing a lot of praying! A few things have been persistently bugging Christina as of late. A pesky pain in her right, front rib, back pain, and hips that don't lie. They also don't feel good when she sleeps on them so there's flip flopping all night long.

I sleep like a baby. That's a dumb analogy. I sleep like I'm under general anesthesia. That's more like it. If I were to count backwards from one hundred after my head hit the pillow, I'd get to ninety-five and then be dreaming of myself sleeping in a hammock with sheep jumping over me. Christina, on the other hand, has really not been sleeping well. Said discomfort in the "praying for" section is the culprit. I'd trade our sleep schedules if I could but alas, I'm powerless to do it.

Comfortable clothes. For her: dresses, workout pants or pajamas. Me: I'm only happy in my cutoff Rat Fink shirt that no matter how many times you bleach it, still kind of smells like a gym bag.

Shirt // Gifted. Pants // Old Navy Maternity.
Ready to meet this guy!!! I think we're also feeling a little pulled all over over the place with all the doctor appointments, lab tests, pre birth classes and whatnot. A long weekend would be awesome. Or peoples, just hanging out with peoples would be good. Yup...gotta love them peoples.

We love to pretend to know what he's going to look like. Over dinner tonight we had a conversation of what features from each family member he might have. That's a favorite game. I keep meaning to make a little drawing template of baby Main that we can doodle on and come up with different mixes of what he might pop out looking like.

Welp, I really hope that I didn't just lose my lovely wife hundreds of followers. Be kind, don't unfollow her. She's cool peoples.

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

12 christmas cookie ideas...

I can't get enough of the holiday cookie baking right now. It was pies and now it's cookies for me. I find myself dreaming of cookies, craving cookies, eating all the cookies and then needing more. It's an insatiable appetite! 

They're just so fun to make, the perfect size for individual snacking (or binge eating) and make such great gifts for loved ones. Plus Christmastime is like total cookie baking time! Win. Win.

Here are 12 of my most favorite cookie recipes- some I've made literally 20 times because I just can't get enough. Oh and those vanilla bean shortbread cookies- they are my top viewed, baked and loved cookie of all time. It never fails- every Christmas season they skyrocket up to the top. They're pretty dang good :)

Hope you'll make some cookies this holiday season and try some new recipes while you're at it!

Happy baking!

Friday, December 12, 2014

things I'm loving right now // christmas gift ideas...

Today's installment of beloved finds is purely inspired by my own personal Christmas wish list. Goodness are there some gorgeous things out there! From copper measuring cups to a counter top popcorn maker (we Mains LOVE us some popcorn), you're sure to please anyone on your Christmas gift list. 

I hope you'll be inspired by these amazing pieces (and maybe even snag a few up for yourself or loved ones!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

an interview // little city adventures...

Photos courtesy of Marisa Albrecht

I so love featuring other amazing bloggers on this here space of mine. There are SO many wonderful women out there, with their little space, writing and creating some great blogs and posts daily, that I want you guys to see and read about! Some of the tastiest recipes, coolest DIYs and tear jerking posts about Jesus and faith have come from the women in my blogging community. There certainly isn't a lack of creativity in the air, that's for sure. Oh, how I love it so!

Which is why I'm super stoked to introduce you to a young woman named Abby, of Little City Adventures. I recently fell in love with Abby's space after finding out she was a mama and I was a mama-to-be. I just love her mommy posts! Full of fun and practical advice, I find myself heading over her way all the darn time. Plus her recipes look to die for...I've got a bunch pinned! 

Tell us a little about yourself! What are some of your passions outside of blogging?

My name is Abby and I blog over at Little City Adventures, a lifestyle blog full of everything from food to faith to motherhood to adventures in my little city. I am a stay-at-home-mom with a passion for baking, reading, serving in the church, and baking (yes, baking is on the list twice). My husband, Seth, and I married on June 21, 2013, when I was 19 and he was 20, and three months later we got pregnant and on June 29, 2014, our son William was born. As you can tell, we are not very patient and love new adventures. On the few days when I am not at home, you can probably find me shopping at Target with my mom and grandma (and William of course) or helping out at church. Even when I am at home for the day, William is an absolute monkey who ever stops moving so he keeps me pretty busy in between blogging and baking.

Where did your love of blogging come from? What kind of pushed you in that direction?

I have blogged off and on for the last few years, in middle school I blogged a lot about fashion and then took a bit of a break for some of high school and got back into it during my senior year. I think for me, blogging was a natural progression. I have always loved writing but never really found my niche. I have also always had a bit of a hard time in social situations (I am very much a homebody and like to have a few close friends rather than a crowd of friends (my husband is the exact opposite and really helps push me in that area)). Blogging really helped to close gaps in both of those areas and allows me to have a healthy, creative outlet.

When did you decide you wanted to get serious with this passion?

A couple of months before my son was born I got this burst of energy and passion for Little City Adventures and started working towards making it more than just a hobby. I am really excited for the direction that my blog is headed in, there's no where to go but up!

What encouraged you to start Little City Adventures and what's the story behind the name?

I wanted to start a blog that encompassed all of my passions that also represented me as a person. I was tired of writing one niche blogs that didn't allow any wiggle room for expressing myself so I decided to start a general lifestyle blog where I could write a little bit about everything. I landed on the name Little City Adventures because I started the blog just before Seth and I got married and right after Seth moved into what was to be our first home together, in Lancaster City, Pennsylvania. My last two long term jobs were located in the heart of downtown and I really learned to love our little city and wanted to include it in my blog. Plus, the name Little City Adventures is just adorable. To read more about why I chose this name, you can check out my Behind the Name page.

Are there any specific bloggers or sites out there that help keep you motivated and inspired?

One of my all-time favorite blogs is Maiedae. Jenny and Savannah not only have a gorgeous blog, but the quality of their content is mind-blowingly awesome. They blog about everything from motherhood to beauty to faith and they never cease to inspire me.

Do you ever struggle with or feel the blogging competition rise around you? If so, where do you find the encouragement to keep going on those "hard" and "discouraging" blog days?

I think it is natural to start compare our blogs/content/recipes/photos/number of views to other bloggers' and I do catch myself doing it every so often. I just keep reminding myself that ultimately, my blog is a place to record my favorite recipes and new adventures, sort of my digital scrapbook, so the numbers don't matter.

What is your favorite thing to blog about?

I really enjoy writing about anything related to motherhood but strangely enough, that is the topic I struggle with coming up with post ideas for.

I love when bloggers write about Jesus and their faith in their posts, and you're one of them! Do you find it hard to share about your faith openly and publicly on your blog?

I didn't start out "labeling" Little City Adventures as a faith-based blog. I just threw in little tidbits of Jesus here and there but lately my passion for Christ has been relit, for awhile I sort of let life get ahead of me, and I can't help but blog more about faith related things. One of the reasons I struggled with really focusing on Christ in posts is because I didn't want to offend anybody and I didn't want to turn anyone away just because I was blogging about faith. But that reasoning is ridiculous. Jesus is the main point of my little world so why would I ignore Him on my blog? I've decided that if I offend someone, I'm sorry, but if I don't blog about faith and I miss the opportunity to share that with somebody, than I will be far more than sorry.

Take us through a typical day! Do you work in an office, living room, comfy bed, etc? How do you go about writing and creating your beautiful posts?

My typical day is probably boring to most people and pretty much revolves around my son's sleeping and eating schedule. If I'm not already up, I get up at 7:30 and get William out of bed as well. I change is diaper and his clothes and then we head downstairs so I can eat breakfast while nursing him as my husband eats breakfast before heading off to work at 8. William usually plays either on the floor with toys or in his exersaucer for about an hour in the morning and will take a catnap at some point while I get some computer work done. Whenever William is awake during the day, he loves to just play nonstop or watch Curious George so I do get a decent amount of time to work on my computer or clean the house. Although it is hard to bake when he is awake. William naps for at least an hour at 1pm and that is when I photograph items for blog posts or bake. My husband comes home from work at 5:30 and we have dinner and hang out as a family before starting William's bedtime routine at 8pm. We finally have got William on a consistent bedtime routine and he finally goes to bed around 9:30 (which is a huge improvement). Seth and I get about an hour together before bed and then overnight I get up once or twice to feed William. Fun day, right? I like it though.

As for writing and creating my posts, the first thing I do at the beginning of each month is fill out my editorial calendar with post ideas. Then I make a day to day to do list to make sure that I can realistically get all of those posts done each week. If I am working on a recipe, I first do some research to see how other bloggers/bakers/cooks build similar recipes (so I can make sure that I don't completely fail when I make it, with a baby I don't get too many chances to cook so I need to get things right the first time around). After making the dish I photograph it on my make-shift white background/flooring (it's just white yardstick paper!) and write it up in blogger. Recipes are my favorite posts to write because I get to be really creative when coming up with recipes. Most of my posts are created in steps and often those steps are spread over a few days. I've learned to be flexible in scheduling and to do a little bit at a time, so I can focus on my son.

Describe yourself in three words.

Compassionate, sassy, and creative.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

When I'm not blogging I love to read mystery novels, watch tv (I'm working on watching less tv), bake just for fun, read other blogs, and reorganize anything (rooms, notebooks, my computer, etc). Seth and I also spend a lot of time at our church and working on church related items at home. Seth is actually on staff part-time at our church, he's the AV Director at our campus and we both work with the Young Adults ministry, working on the planning team and helping to organize any young adults related small groups.

Any new or exciting news you can share with us about Little City Adventures?

I am working so hard on my blog and have so many awesome ideas for the next few months. In 2015 I will be opening up a shop on my blog selling simple blog graphics, e-courses, and e-books and I am so excited! I am also changing my newsletter from a weekly feature to a monthly so that I can really focus on creating high quality, cohesive content. Aside from that, I am just going to go with the flow and waiting to see what God puts in my path.

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