2021 / Mainly Marta :: A Motherhood + Lifestyle Blog

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Welcome

What started as a digital diary to document a newfound journey as a stay at home mom / wife has quickly evolved into my own little corner on the internet where I share all that life brings my way -- the good, the bad, and those "aha!" moments. All with a hint of sarcasm, a dash of truth and bold European wit. Thanks for following along!

7.01.2021

9 Places To Shop When Building Your Homeschool Library


Hey y'all, I thought I'd share some tips and hacks on where to shop when you're trying to build your homeschool library because books can be so expensive. If you're anything like me, collecting books has become a hobby and you're always looking for a good deal, so this post is here to share my what I do when I am in search of a good deal on some amazing books!  

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I just want to be upfront and say that this post has several coupon codes and some of the links listed are affiliate links which means that if you purchase through them, I do make a bit of commission! As always, no pressure, but if you do choose to purchase through them, I am so grateful as this passive income is helping me feed our family and pay the rent. 

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Amazon

I buy a lot of books from Amazon and by that, I mean a lot of books. I have over 100 books listed in my storefront and more than half of those, I've gotten from Amazon. If there is a certain book I have my eyes on, I will wait until the book I want undergoes a price cut. Every once in a while, they will have a BOGO 50% or a buy two get one free sale. For this reason, I check Amazon daily. It's a great place to get books and get them fast. Amazon also has bargain books section that I frequent often. 

Here is a sampling of some of the genres of books you can buy on Amazon. 


The only con to buying books off of Amazon is that sometimes you get them with dinged-up corners or scuff marks on the cover which can be annoying. If you don't mind a mark here and there, then Amazon is the place to get books quickly.



ThriftBooks 

The next place I go to buy books is Thriftbooks! I always come here before I purchase anywhere else to compare the price because you can get some amazing books for really good prices. After you create an account with them, with every purchase, you can rack up points and earn free books! 

Because it's a thrift store, I only buy books that are listed as "like new" or "very good." 

I've only been disappointed by the quality of one book and that was because the inside cover was messier than all the other books I had received up to that point. I've ordered over 30 books from them and more often than not, they come in really good shape.

I have a code for 15% off your first purchase -- click here to shop & redeem! 

* please note :: code is only valid for 5 of you, so it's a first-come-first-served basis. 


BookOutlet

Another one of my favorite places to shop is BookOutlet. I have bought some amazing books at some really good prices here. I've found popular books marked 57% off, so this is one of my favorite spots to check. They have new markdowns weekly, so I make it a goal to check the website every Tuesday and search keywords that pertain to what we're learning, what I'm planning, and the boy's interest. 

One thing I love about BookOutlet is that they tell you the stock count in the listing. I hate having things in my cart and then for them to disappear as I search, so I feel like the count gives me peace of mind and a sense of urgency in cases where there are only a few copies left. 

The only con to BookOutlet is that they ship with USPS and sometimes they lose things in transit. I had this happen to me once and I was so bummed. I reached out to their customer service and they were so nice. I had no trouble reaching them or getting a refund. 

To get $10 off your first purchase of $25click here.


Better World Books

Another great place to shop if you love the idea of thrifted books. I really appreciate the initiative behind Better World Books because not only do they recycle books, but they donate books and funds to low-income families, libraries, and literacy programs. 

Because these books are thrifted, I do what I always do and that is to only buy books that are listed as "like new" or "very good" quality. Another thing I look at when buying books here is making sure that the shipping is listed as free. I love comparing prices to other thrift stores and getting the bang for my buck. 

get $5 off an order of $30 by clicking here.


Costco 

As you can tell, I love books, so of course, you can guess that I always stop by their book table! I've found some amazing book packs that ended up being a really great deal. I've found the Botanicum and Animaliaum from the Welcome to the Museum collection in a pack for $30 -- just one of those books is listed between $33-$35, so getting two for that price was a STEAL. 

Some other books I've seen at (and bought from) Costco include:

The Magnificent Book of Animals and so much more! 

Costco.com is another great place to look for books that you may have spotted in-store but didn't have a chance to pick up. Sometimes, they can be spotted online a few months after they were in the store.

Some of my favorite sets include:


One thing I recommend when shopping in-store is peeking under the table because sometimes you can see books that haven't made it on top of the table. I've spotted several books under the table that were placed on the table a few weeks later! 

Book Warehouse

Another great place to get more books for your buck. The entire warehouse has books that are marked anywhere from 50% to 80% off. They have always had bundle deals available and a lot of times you can find 10% off books that have just been released! If you have a location nearby, then I'd check them out. I rarely leave this store without several books in my hand. 

Scholastic

I'm going to let you in on a little secret -- as a homeschool mom, I opted to try registering as a teacher and it worked! Once you get approved, you have books at 25% off at your disposal. Every few months they have packs of 75 books for $50 which is a great deal. 

I've read from other moms online that weren't able to get approved for the teacher's account as a homeschooler and I think that may have been for two reasons. 

1 | because they didn't have a school name. I've branded the homeschooling segment of my brand European Homestead, so I used that for the name and it worked! 

2 | if you're an early learning teacher, you probably won't get approved. I tried that first and it automatically redirected me to the parent's page. If you list any grade/age prior to first grade, you will get declined. I have two homeschooled brothers that I often teach in the 2nd and 3rd grades and once I listed them as grades I teach, my form went through. 

I think it is worth mentioning that most of the affordable books you purchase at scholastic are probably going to be paperback, so if you're okay with that, then I'd say sign up! They do have some hardcover books, but those aren't as heavily discounted as the paperbacks are. 

Local Thrift Stores & Secondhand Stores

I don't frequent these shops as much as I want to because I have fidgety littles who don't have the patience to wait on me as I ruffle through unorganized shelves of what seems like an endless amount of books, but if you have the time, I'd say go for it. I go book thrifting about twice a year and sometimes, you can find real treasures. 

Barnes and Noble

This is probably my last stop when I am looking to buy books because you're going to see books listed at their full retail price almost always -- especially the newly published ones. One place I frequent is their bargain bookshelves as well as the coupons + sales that they have online. Every once in a while, they have some good sales and if you're signed up for a membership, you can get 10% off on your purchase.  

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Soooo, there you have it -- these are my most frequented book stores + online shops! every once in a while, I'll be shopping at a small shop that I love and if they have books listed as items and it's been a book I've been eyeing, I'll buy it from them. I also frequent places like Target and Walmart (both online and in-store) when they have sales on books. Basically, book sales are the way to go when a book you want isn't in a discounted store or thrift shop. 

annnnnnd, that's a wrap y'all! I hope you've found this post helpful. I love you guys! 



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6.28.2021

Friendly Reminder | Drop The Stone


read this quote the other day and it’s been ringing in my head ever since.


just think —
a woman so immoral.
seen so low in the eyes of society.
a lost cause they said.
a sinner with no purpose.
when the justice of the world called for her life.

๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ.
it did not throw her faults in her face.
it did not compare her to the set standards of the world.
it didn’t confront, condemn and destroy.

y’all, He did not pick up a stone.
๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ.
He could have raised His righteous hand, but He ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏ’๐˜ต.
๐—›๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ผ ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜.

with
no harsh tone.
no mockery of what she was.
no condemnation for her faults.
no scoffing at what she had become.

how many times have we opted to take the road of the world. we judge harshly, we condemn, we scoff at someone’s theology and lifestyle, we hang onto what we think should be done rather than focusing on His heart for His children. we often forget that He does not seek justice the way seek it. He seeks to save, to touch souls, to love all His people in ways that the world doesn’t. He grants mercy to those who we consider lost, unworthy, or unmerited.

we often forget that to the people who had gathered to judge in what they thought was righteous, He turned and said, “if any of you is without sin, let him be first to throw the stone.” (john 8:7)

——————————————————  ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—น. —————————————————————— 

to those of you who feel like you’ve been thrown away and disregarded, please know that ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฟ ๐˜„๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ถ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—›๐—ถ๐—บ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—›๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ — ๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฒ๐—น๐˜€๐—ฒ.

it doesn’t matter how the most righteous of men on this planet see you, but how He sees you.

friendly reminder that:
๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜จ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ,
๐—›๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐˜๐˜€ ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜†.

and He looks down upon you with love every. single. day — you are worthy in His eyes no matter what the world has to say about it.

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Full Passage | John 8:2-11 

2 | Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.

3 | The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst

4 | they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.

5 | Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?”

6 | This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

7 | And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

8 | And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

9 | But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.

10 | Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.

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6.11.2021

Sermon Share | Modern Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit

 


In addition to the digging deeper series, I want to start a little series where I share sermons that I love, from teachers that I admire, and the notes that I take on their teachings. Whenever possible, I will link the sermon and then the notes. I'd encourage you to print and read over the notes, listen to the sermon with the notes in front of you, and then jotting down anything else that stands out to you. 

So, with all that said, here is the first sermon I want to share with y'all -- on the Holy Spirit. I find this message so incredibly important. My husband and I have actively talked about the works of the Spirit this past week and so I thought I'd start to listen to some in-depth sermons on the Spirit because most of the time, it's merely a mention or a footnote. 

I invite you to study with me and let's get closer to God together. 






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6.02.2021

I bought a house!


wellllll, a dollhouse, but still it's a house and I bought it at such a bargain of a price off of FB marketplace -- shoutout to my husband for supporting this purchase and my new hobby. I've been looking for over a year for something like this, so to find a house that has the bones of a house without the need to patch up the interior or remove ugly carpet / wallpaper is amazing!

ya'll already know that I adore interior design, so I am so stoked to have this house with eight rooms AND a terrace to decorate. It's going to be so much fun. I am already so pumped about seasonal decor and revamping / refreshing it to match the seasons. 

Annnnd before you start with the "Marta, aren't you a little bit too old for this kind of stuff," remember that I live with 4 males. This is probably the only girly thing that I can do right now and I'm kind of hopeful that down the line, the Lord will bless us with a daughter too whom I can pass this down. Even if that doesn't happen, I'll be praying for granddaughters. LOL. Before I get ahead of myself, the boys are super excited about this house too, so either way, it's worth it. 

I've already been having so much fun with looking at miniature scales, styles and furniture, I just need to figure out what kind of house it will be -- I'm leaning toward a modernistic farmhouse with rustic touches here and there. so, yah -- I am pumped to get started. 

I plan on sharing the process and stages of this house project via the blog and I also created an Instagram to share it all in the form of a photo diary — you can follow along at @theminiestates.

Buuuuut first, what should I paint the outside of the house? I'm thinking white paneling and black trims. That's what my future farmhouse dreams are made of -- time to make it a miniature reality! Eeeep, so excited for this and to share it all with you. 

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5.26.2021

Digging Deeper | Introduction + Ruth 1

hey ya'll. welcome to my little bible study corner on the blog! 

I feel like I want to share, document, and make more faith-based content, so this is my first mini-study post. I'll continue to post visual verses as I make them, but I am wanting to share closer and deeper looks into the things I'm studying. 

I want to say that these will be consistently flowing, but if I'm going to be honest, they're probably going to be all over the place. I'll be sharing what God puts on my heart and that may mean I'll be in the new testament even though we're starting in Ruth.

These studies will reflect the seasons of life I'm in, the emotions I am feeling, and the wanting to connect with the Lord on a deeper level. 

I'm letting you know now that I want to share + show y'all that faith isn't just going to church and wearing Sunday's best. it's about a real relationship and pursuing Him in all that you do, in how you treat others, and how you allow Him to lead your life. 

Before you come at me, let me just say the church is important, yes, but the church, biblically speaking, is not the building -- it's the fellowship with your fellow believer. 

It's loving people around you, it's showing the world that you are set apart. It's gathering with a fellow believer in Christ and encouraging them in hard seasons. It's having dinner with the family next door and singing worship music together. It's gathering with your members of your community and praying. It's so much more than getting dressed on Sunday and listening to a sermon. so yes, the church is essential when it's about the jesus, community and fellowship -- 100% 

so long tanget made short, all I really want to say is that I want to help lead others to Christ in whatever form I can. When I was a teen, I made visual verses and posted them all over the internet. I stopped after I got married, but it's time to take that same passion, revive it and bring it here to the blog. 


Digging Deeper into Ruth 1

๐—ฎ ๐—ฐ๐—น๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—น๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ ⁣
one thing I love about the word is the way it stays relevant and parallels throughout the entire text. here’s a conversation between Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth that has withstood the test of time and is still so relevant. ⁣

๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป⁣
Naomi: go, return each of you to her mother's house (v.8)⁣

Orpah & Ruth: no, we will return with you to your people (v.10) ⁣

‭‭Naomi: turn back, my daughters (v.11)⁣

Orpah: kissed her mother in law and left (v.14) ⁣

Ruth: do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God (v.16) ⁣

๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†⁣
Orpah did what was expected, but what beautiful words from Ruth! I feel as if they are the perfect examples of believers today • Orpah was eager at first, but then times got tough and she went back on her worldly way... but Ruth? she would not be moved even though all their provisions were gone, their was security gone, and comfort was found only in each other. ⁣

today, let us be like Ruth and stand firm on Him and His word even when we are left wondering what comes next. be assured that He has a plan & that you are a part of it. ⁣

๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐—ฒ๐—น ⁣
๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜บ ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ, ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ซ๐˜ฐ๐˜บ, ๐˜บ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ง, ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ข ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ, ๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜บ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ด ๐˜ข๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜บ ⅃ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜„‬ ‭๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฏ:๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฌ-๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿญ‬ ‭• ex. orpah

๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ญ, ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด ๐˜ช๐˜ต. ๐˜๐˜ฆ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ด ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜บ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ๐˜ด ⅃ ๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐˜„‬ ‭๐Ÿญ๐Ÿฏ:๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฏ‬ ‭• ex. ruth

5.10.2021

Mood Board | Spring Themed Rooms


Hey friends! 

It's been spring for awhile now, so I thought it would be fun to create spring themed mood boards for a living room, kitchen and patio. As always, all things presented in the board will be linked right below. I had such a fun time creating these spaces and love how they turned out. 


Sven Sofa | Colorful Wall Art | Pouf | String of Hearts Plant | Lamp | Sideboard | Birds | Accent Chair | Flower Vase | Rug | Vintage Floral Pillow | Accent Table | Book Bundle | Yellow Throw Blanket


Cast Iron Pot | Carafe | Medallion Dinner Plate | Floral Glass | Wooden Serving Bowl | Floral Oven Mit | Serving PlatterBee Trivet | Yellow Jute Runner | Bowl Set | Life Gives You Lemons Sign | Clean Slate Cookbook | Tulips in Vase | Market Dish Towels | Berry Boxes


Bird Runner | Wooden Bench | Round Side Table | Rocker | Black Wire Lanterns | Round Fire Pit | Copper Chime | Bird Bath | Round Cusions | Fringe Throw Blanket

4.04.2021

resurrection sunday; the message.



it has all led to this moment.

He tore the veil on Friday.
He conquered death on Saturday.
And today, the tomb is empty.

HALLELUJAH.
we. are. free.
y’all, death could not hold Him.
and that means we are accounted for — always.

the word of God is eternal.
the rock of ages fulfilled the prophecies.
and mercy came cloaked in glory.

from here on out, the precious blood of Jesus hovers over you. you are washed white as snow. you are alive in Him.

goosebumps.

what makes this act even more amazing is that you have the choice to walk towards the alter or walk away from it.

the law no longer forbids it.
the veil is no longer there.
death is no longer taunting you.
you get to decide how you react to His mercy.

to know that my Savior died for the world knowing full well that there would be people who would reject Him still — there is no other love like the love He holds for us.

so today, I implore you to draw near to the one who set you free. He is standing at the door of your heart, knocking — answer that call.

once you do, there will be a shift.
because there is power knowing that He is walking alongside you.

I’m not going to tell you that once you start walking with Jesus, things will fall into place and life gets easier because it won’t.

the world is a dark place filled with trials / tribulations. Hardships will still come, but I can promise you that no matter what evil / dark season you may encounter, from here on out, He will shine light on your path.

when you are weak, you can lean on the One who paid it all.

when you want to give up, He will carry you through.

when there seems to be no way, God will make a way.

and when death creeps at your door, you don’t have to be afraid because He conquer it all.

so choose love today, friends.
let that cloak of mercy wrap around your shoulders.
may you be finally be free.




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4.03.2021

the world in waiting on Saturday; a reminder.




as we're waiting for resurrection Sunday, one thought comes to mind. 
it seems to be a repeated theme in the Bible that God will make a way when there seems like there is no other way.

๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ช๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข ๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‹๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‘๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ฉ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‘๐˜ฐ๐˜ฃ ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ต ๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜”๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ข.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜‘๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฃ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜™๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ’๐˜ด ๐˜ฉ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ต ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜š๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ, ๐˜”๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ธ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ.
๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ญ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข ๐˜š๐˜ข๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ช๐˜ณ.

all of those moments signaled the end.

I find it interesting that in the moments leading up to these crucial climactic points in their stories, God seemed to be silent.

we see in moments of hardships that no one understood why or what was happening.

evil looked like it had won.

and then,
the glorious, miraculous, splendor of His plan starts to unravel in a way that no one saw coming.

throwing the evil one off its course.
showing darkness that Light will always triumph.

Saturday in the Easter story is such a great reminder of this. I’m sure the disciples felt like their world was crumbling on Saturday, like their very purpose was dissolving before their eyes as they remember what they saw the day before.

and though Jesus assured them that this was God’s plan, the human flesh just could not understand why death played a part.

the earth was silent on Saturday,
but the gates of hell were broken on this day.
death no longer held a sting.

& tomorrow, the Savior would once again appear, having overcome the world, that we may have a personal relationship with Him. He paid the price so we may approach the Father and feel the goodness of God.

so in earthly seasons of despair, may we hold fast to His promises and trust His plan. Sunday is coming friends, are you ready?



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4.02.2021

good friday; a reflection.

it's good friday.
and I keep thinking -- how many people in positions of “power” do we know of that would give up their lives to save the world? how many kings would leave all the splendor of their kingdom knowing full well that they would be mocked, beaten, and killed?

I don’t know about you, but I only know of one.

His name is Jesus.

the story of Jesus is full of miracles and wonderful things, but one of the things that consistently leaves me in tears is thinking about this moment.

imagine.

it’s dark outside.
on a cross next to two criminals.

one of which is taunting you.
the people who are watching below mock you.
the government officials are laughing at you.

your earthly mother watching alongside your brothers with tears in her eyes.
your closest friends are standing there in disbelief.
your Heavenly Father, though you know He is there, has fallen silent.


“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”

chills.
tears.
overwhelmed.

I cannot imagine how He must have felt. the whole world on His shoulders. how much love must have been pouring out of His heart to pray for those who were persecuting Him at that moment? 

His heart must have been shattered into a million pieces as He watched those He came to love and save scoff at His suffering.

a lion-like love pouring out of the Lamb of God to a world so undeserving. 

that love was meant for you and me friend.
I hope you choose to come to the altar of God and feel His love today, tomorrow, and forevermore because He loves you so very much.



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3.15.2021

Homeschool Diaries :: Spider Unit (+ Free Printable)

hey y'all, happy monday -- today I thought I'd share a more in-depth look at the spider unit we did the other week. I like to pull resources from all over the place and curate a mini-unit to help guide the lesson. I'm not the kind of person to stick to one set curriculum because my boys are still super little and their attention spans aren't fit for page by page curriculum. So, I try my best to cater to everyone's learning style especially when two of my students are under the age of three. 


One of the first things I do as an introduction to the weekly lesson / nature unit is to create a habitat sensory bin / tray for the boys to explore. It really gets them pumped up for the whole unit and allows for them to start formulating questions and areas they want to learn about in the coming days. 


Next, we grabbed our Big Book of Bugs and took a look at some spider facts. I love giving them their little magnifying glasses and let them take a closer look at the pictures of spiders as I read the text. I prompt them to find the spider picture that a specific fact is referring to. It's one of their favorite parts of the lesson. 


Other Books We Read In This Unit 

▣ The Brilliant Book of Bugs

▣ The Encyclopedia of Animals

▣ Nature Anatomy 

▣ Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature


Then my goal was to focus on the different type of spiders and their life cycle. I got a spider nature study off of Etsy from Stephanie Hathway's shop because her art is absolutely gorgeous. In addition to the study, I purchased several spiders from Safari Ltd because my boys are hands-on learners. 


Extra Tools 

▣ Black Widow 

▣ Tarantula 

▣ Life Cycle Tray :: the one I own is no longer being sold by the small shop I bought it from, but another one of my all-time favorite shops (Jack and Link) came out with their very own version of the life cycle board and I love it. That's the board I linked because I would purchase -- it's double-sided!

▣ Life Cycle Figureines



Next, I took the flashcards from the spider nature study and cut them out. Then, I created a spider web printable that showcased all kinds of webs. I had the boys pick their favorite spiders and we glued them to the web while talking about spider body parts, the kinds of webs they spin, and where you can find them. 

I'd love to share that printable with y'all

If you'd like to use it, you can find it at the end of this blog post -- scroll down to right-click, save and print! 


I also had the boys create their own spidey friend. We decorated the spiders with markers, glitter, and sequins and used colorful pipe cleaners as legs and googly eyes to bring them to life. They were so proud of their little spidey friends and couldn't wait to hang it up on our school work board! 

I love wrapping up the week with a fun craft because we can admire it all weekend. Our school workboard is placed in the kitchen, so we always see + walk by it. I often refer to the work on the board and ask the boys to tell me what they remember about what we learned the past week. It's also a great conversation piece when guests and family members come to visit. 

But, yah! that's a wrap to our spider unit. I like to keep things fairly simple and easy as I have three little pairs of hands that always want to get to the next part of the lesson. 


About That Free Printable 

so here is that web printable that I was telling you about / you saw pictured above. 
if you'd like to save this and use it in your own spider units -- right-click, save to desktop, and print. please note that this print is for my readers and is not meant to be sold / redistributed; personal use only, please.

if you do end up using this print, don't forget to snap a picture and tag me on @mainlymarta / @europeanhomestead on Instagram.


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3.08.2021

Recipe | Gogosi (Romanian Doughnuts)

hey ya'll, today we're talking about one of my very favorites -- gogosi! they're homemade romanian styled doughnuts and they're delicious. I asked my mom to show me how to make it awhile back, so I could tell you guys all about it, but she refused. She's an eyeball(er) when it comes to recipes, so she couldn't tell me the quantities. The problem was officially solved because I brought my digital scale and we were able to measure it for you guys. 

Before I share the recipe, I want to say that even though this recipe looks super lengthy, it's not that complicated. I've done my best to show you all the steps through the photos and videos, but at the end of the day, it's waiting for the dough to rise that's the most tedious. 


What You'll Need

Flour
Canada Bleached All-Purpose | 60 ounces

Red Start Quick Rising Yeast
2 packets

Lukewarm Water 
1/2 cup

Sugar

Eggs
5

Salt 
1 tablespoon 

Greek Yogurt 
1 cup

Orange Zest

Milk 

Butter 
2 sticks at room temperature 

Cinnamon 

Canola Oil

How To Make

step 1.
sift all your flour.



step 2.
in the cup of lukewarm water, mix in two regular sized spoons of sugar and the two packets of yeast. let this mixture sit until the water starts to bubble (aka: rise) yay! you’ve just proofed your yeast. if the water doesn't bubble or rise, that means that either the water was too hot or the yeast is old and not good for use, so you'll need to go ahead and restart this step. 


step 3.
mix 1 cup of greek yogurt and 4 cups of milk in a glass container and then warm the mixture to a temp that you can place your hand in it. careful with this step because you don’t want it to be very hot because the yeast won't rise the dough. 

note: we like to mix greek yogurt into the milk, but the yogurt can be skipped if not on hand.

step 4.
place the yeast mixture in the sifted flour, in the middle, and mix. then, add five whole eggs.
slowly add the four cups of milk to the mixture -- don't add it all at once. mix in and start slowly kneading as you're mixing.


if you've added all the milk to the mix and you see a lot of flour left, heat up and add more milk until the mixture is just right. you’re going to have to eyeball this step — you want the dough to be just right which means that it's not very soft, but not very stiff. it has to be somewhere in the middle.

we ended up using five 5 cups of milk total in the entire process.
this is a complicated step as some types of flour absorb liquid differently, so pay attention to how the dough is feeling and how the flour is mixing into your dough mixture. 

✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸ this would be the time and place to mix in your orange (or lemon) zest ✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸✸

note: this time, I didn't add zest because we used the same dough to make Langos -- Romanian style stuffed fried bread. but if you're only wanting to make gogosi, then the zest would be mixed in at this point in time.

pro tip: a few days before you make gogosi, zest several oranges and place the shavings in a small glass jar with several spoons of fine sugar. mix together and then seal the jar, placing it in the fridge. when making the gogosi, use a few spoonfuls of this in your dough to give it an even sweeter taste. left over zest? no problem -- this sugary zest can stay in the fridge for up to a year if sealed correctly. it's ready to be used in other cakes and muffins! 

step 5.
then take your two sticks of butter and start incorporating it into the dough. buuuut, wait, don’t place all it at once. you want to take it in sections and knead it in. like you did with the milk. 

step 6.
then after you’ve incorporated the butter, take half a handful of oil, and rub it on top of the dough and the sides. you do this because we’re gonna put some plastic wrap on top as we wait for it to rise and we don't wang the dough to stick to the plastic.

step 7.
place plastic wrap all around the bowl and then take a warm blanket, fold it in half place it on the table. place the bowl of dough in the middle and then cover up the bowl with the other side of the blanket, making sure that the entire bowl is covered.

step 8.
let sit to rise.
this takes a few hours -- ours took about 3 hours to rise! 
this is the perfect opportunity to wash dishes, tidy up and run errands even. 


step 9.
after your dough has risen, go get your frying pan and fill it up with oil about half way.
you want your doughnuts to float, so the amount of oil depends on the size of your pan.

step 10.
turn on the stove to heat medium heat.
then, wait about 7 mins -- it's time to test the oil. 
to do this, drop a little bit of dough in the pan.
if it starts to bubble and rise quickly, your oil is ready.

if it doesn’t, go ahead and wait a few more minutes and try again. 
repeat this process until the little piece rises to the surface right away.

step 11.
now, grab a large plastic board placing it on the counter. 
and then take a little bit of oil and spread it all over the board and your hands. 
this helps move the dough and not get it stuck to your hands.

step 12.
now, let’s make the doughnuts!
grab a bit of dough, place it on the board and flatten it with your hands. 
now get a regular-sized cup and start cutting your circles.
if you want them to look like American doughnuts, 
then go ahead and get a milk gallon cap to cut out the doughnut hole.

step 13.

place doughnut in oil and wait until you see the edge get golden brown. then flip over with a spoon.
step 14.
when the entire doughnut is golden brown, place a paper towel on a plate and then let your doughnuts cool on top of the paper towel — this soaks the excess oil from the surface.


step 15.
next, in another plate mix fine sugar and cinnamon together. 
after the gogosi have cooled a bit, roll it in the sugary mix and place on serving platter.

step 16. 
serve and enjoy!

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3.01.2021

After the Historic Winter Storm | Update

hey hey hey y'all! I'm baaaaaaack. I've had such a turbulent couple of weeks and it's shown because I've been MIA on the blog. I feel like I haven't talked to you guys in ages! 

Soooo... my laptop broke the day right after Valentine's day and then a day after that, we lost power due to a huge winter storm. We didn't get power back for 8 days y'all. It got so bad that we had to go stay with my parents for the week because it was that cold in our house. At one point, it was colder inside than it was outside. 

When we finally got power back, we came home and spent the remainder of the week cleaning out our freezer and fridge, trying to restock it, tidying up the house, doing laundry, and unpacking before my husband had to start working again. 

It's been a wild ride, but things are finally back to normal, so I thought I'd share some pictures of our snowy weekend. Going forward, I'm hoping to go back to one post per week if not more. Oh, and happy March first y'all! Is spring here yet? Because after all that snow, we are so ready for consistent bouts of sunshine!




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2.15.2021

The Blog Hotline: 3 Instagram Story Hacks


Hiiiiiii loves! A few months ago, I shared an Instagram story hack that helps spike up profile views --I've linked that post here if you're interested in giving that a read! It got amazing feedback and I was so happy to hear that a lot of you found it useful! That's exactly why I started this mini-series: to help you become the boss babe you were always meant to be! So, with that being said, I wanted to write a little more about Instagram Stories from a creative creator perspective and share some fun little hacks + tips.


Stories are the perfect way to engage your audience and keep them coming back for more! Now I have a confession to make -- as an influencer and an introverted personality, I find a hard time when it comes to stories. I want to share my life, but have a hard time consoling the idea that sharing isn't oversharing.

While I love influencing, I am just not the type of person to just blab to my phone for the views. There are several amazing influencers that I look up to that have this gift of getting on their stories and making ramen sound like gold. It's a gift that I wish I had, but I don't and I have to force myself to show my face.

This is where influencing gets "hard" for me, so I do what I love most and try and make the stories pretty because graphic design is where I geek out. I love making them pretty and neat, hoping it keeps y'all coming back to watch.

My Favorite Apps For Editing Instagram Stories

Here's a little list of some of my favorite apps to help me edit stories and make them look a little pretty. Some of these are now apps that you have to subscribe to because they've become so popular. They have a few free features to them, but the prettier you want to make it, it ends up costing a $20 a year fee to use all the features. In my opinion, it's worth it, but it's up to you if you want to invest in the subscription!

Story Templates

▸ Unfold
▸ MADE
▸ Over
▸ Canva
▸ Mojo
▸ Tezza
▸ Story Luxe
▸ Dazzle
▸ StoryArt
▸ StoryChic
▸ Instastories

Adding Text To Your Slides / Photos

▸ A Design Story
▸ Word Swag
▸ Story Swag
▸ Phonto
▸ Hype Type
▸ Type Art
▸ InFont
▸ Typorama

Cool Instagram Built-In Features

If you're not into having a bunch of apps on your phone and spending a ton of time going from app to app, here are small things you can do to make your stories in the app. I'm going to make these tips pinnable sheets, so you can save them to your phone and have a step by step guide at your fingertips.

Feel free to share these tips via pinning them on Pinterest or sharing them on your own IG stories to spread the word -- but please tag me if you do share! I'm @mainlymarta on all social media platforms.

Copying Photos From Photo Album and Pasting Them to Your Story 


This is a perfect way to make collages without using any other apps besides Instagram! Another feature I really love is that you can do so much with colors in stories!


See How Many People Reshared Your Post On Their Story 



Change Background Color of Stories


want a better color selection? I got you... 



so these are three little hacks that I use all the time. I have a few more tips up my sleeve that I will share with you all because it makes me so happy when you guys reach out and let me know you're using my tips or respond to a sticker asking me to cover a certain topic. I know that some people charge for this info and keep it secret, but I'm out here trying to be the change. I really believe that there is room at the table for everyone to succeed and am honored to be able to be a helping part of your story. I really appreciate the DMs, emails, and messages you send my way. thank you so much for being part of my little community. 



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2.09.2021

Last Minute Valentine's Day Basket

Y'all Valentine's day is on Sunday and if you're anything like me, you're scrambling. Maybe it's been the never-ending quarantine and all this social distancing, but my usual on top of everything self has been procrastinating to the point where it's less than a week and I'm here writing this at midnight. Trying to find things that will arrive in time and that everyone will love is the goal. 

My rushed brainstorming session is telling me to go simple this year -- the baskets will consist of books, pajamas, candy, toys for the boys. I'm getting them all the same things, but catered to the stage their in, if that makes sense. When it comes to my husband, he's getting some snacks, self-care items, a glass tumbler, and a love note because that will have to suffice. I'm not trying to be too fancy, just thoughtful with these baskets.

I'll be linking the items below, so ya'll know where to go to find them if you want to go shop and make your own basket -- hint, hint, it's Amazon Prime and Target.

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DEAL  ALERT 

target currently has a buy two get one free deal for board games, activity & craft kits, puzzles, video games, movies, music & books annnnnd you can mix and match, so there really is something for everyone. I grabbed several books for the boy's basket and for our homeschool studies.

deal expires on 02.13.2021

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shop the baskets


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2.01.2021

Bohemian Home | Inspo / Mood Board

y'all it's feburary and that means it's basically spring. if you're like me, you're looking for any reason to update, rearrange, or refresh any space in your home. nothing makes me happier than dreaming up spaces and then seeing them to life -- in my home or on the blog in my mini mood board / inspo series. I love browsing the web and looking at furniture and home decor elements, putting them together, and sharing them with you. so, to ring in the new month, I thought it'd be fun to dream up some room round-ups for a  bohemian styled home. 

The Living Room 


rattan diffuser

faux rubber plant

terra cotta speckled vase

rattan serving tray

natural himalayan pink salt candle holder

round jute rug

set of velvet pillow covers

leaf trinket dish

farmhouse bead garland

rattan basket

pouf

wooden candle holders

macrame wall hanging mirror

desk lamp

leaf stems in glass vase


The Bedroom 

palm vase

desert scene trio 

rattan tray

wicker wall clock

wood lamp

eucalyptus stem

small grid vase

rug

dark rose bedding

cactus

wood and gold hanging


The Kitchen



black and white canisters 

sun plate

stoneware black plate

seagrass coasters

woven grass vase

catus cookie jar

glass / pour over coffee maker

modern slate board set

stoneware baker

hobnail drinking glass

nesting bowls

round cutting board

matte flatware

bistro bowl

oversized latte mugs

wooden cooking utensils

gold smock

waffle weave kitchen towel


More Decor 

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