Thursday, January 30, 2020

Family Vacation in St. Louis (with video)

Back in October, we went to St. Louis for a few days for a little family vacation and to celebrate Harlow turning five a few days later.

What we did (in order in the video):

--Grant's Farm: It's technically free, but you have to pay for parking (sooo, it's not really free). It was cool to see the horses, but most of our time was spent waiting in line to get in and waiting in line to get out. You can't just walk in and out like a theme park. You have to ride a tram through woods, which means you get to see wild animals, but we felt a little trapped once we got in. The food choices weren't great for people with food allergies or children, and it was very crowded. We probably won't be back.

--St. Louis Zoo: We loved it and spent a full day there! We have a Little Rock zoo membership, so we got a discount to the things that cost money (children's zoo, train, pet stingrays, ride carousel), but entry to the rest of the zoo is free for all. Check to see if your hometown zoo membership gets you perks to other zoos like St. Louis. We would definitely go back.
--Fozzie's Sandwich Shop: I got the Club Veg sandwich, and it was one of the best things I've ever eaten.
--St. Louis Science Center: Admission is free, and we parked for free on the planetarium side. We explored that side first then walked the sky bridge over to the other side. There's so much to do, and I couldn't believe it was free. The food was expensive and terrible and they didn't get our order right. We were starving and had to have lunch here, but I would try to plan around not being here during a meal.
--Gateway Arch National Park: We went into the basement to see the museums and visit the shop. We didn't go up into the Arch, because it was pricey, and I wasn't sure how we would do in the little pods. We might try it when she's older. There was still a lot to see, and it was free. We got yummy snacks while we were here.

--We drove over the state line to say that we had been in Illinois..haha. There wasn't anything on that side of town, and it was sadly pretty rundown.

--Trattoria Marcella: Colin got lasagna and loved it. I got fried chicken livers on risotto, and I still dream about that meal. It was a cozy atmosphere, and our waitress was incredible. I want to go back to St. Louis just for this meal.

--The City Museum: This was the most we spent on an activity (since the rest were free or discounted!) on this trip. It was so fun! We could have spent more time there. We were there more than half a day, and it wasn't enough, but we had to drive back home. We should have dressed in clothes that we didn't care messing up and should have brought knee pads and gloves (they sell them but we didn't buy them). We would definitely go back. We didn't pay extra for the roof, because we were told it was for kids that were a little older, and it turned out we wouldn't have had time.

There weren't any baseball games when we went, but that would be a fun thing to add to a trip. They were also about to open the new aquarium right after our trip. We had a hotel room with a fridge and microwave so some of our meals could be had there (leftovers and trip to grocery store) to save a little money. I also brought snacks and bottled water to keep in my backpack/purse to have at all of our outings. We would 100% go back for another family vacation to St. Louis.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Books: Read in 2019 + Goals for 2020

In 2019 I set a goal of reading 24 books (shooting for 2 books a month). I wound up reading 60 books if you include what books of the Bible I read. If you take out the individual books of the Bible I read at the beginning of the year and only count me reading the Bible once through as a whole for the year plus add the fiction and nonfiction books I read, it means I read a total of 34 books in 2019. I was really motivated to read as much as I could. I definitely could have read more if I had put down my phone more often or watched zero tv. Overall, though, I'm happy with how I exceeded my goal.


What I Read in 2019:
The Message Solo Devotional (Bible readings plus devotional readings)
The Knowing Jesus Study Bible (It took me three years, and I finally finished it in 2019. It's a Bible with daily devotions and study notes.)
1 John
2 John
3 John
2 Peter
1 Peter
2 Timothy
2 Thessalonians
1 Thessalonians
2 Corinthians
1 Corinthians

2020 Reading Plan:
For 2020 I have decided not to necessarily set a goal or fret about numbers. I'm going to shoot for at least one book a month. I know that's half of last year's goal and even further behind what I actually read last year. This year I want to focus on some other life goals, and when it comes to reading, I want to dig even deeper into Bible study. That means my overall numbers will be lower, but I will probably be spending the same amount of time reading if not even more.  I also plan to read books that have been on my shelf that I haven't yet read or haven't read in several years. If there is a new book (or new to me) that I want to read, I first have to see if it's available for free on Kindle, Overdrive, Hoopla, Apple Books (and so on), or see if it's available to check out at my library or request that my library get it. I don't want to read less, but I want to spend less money and use free resources.

I keep track of what I read on the Goodreads app. Come find me and friend me if you also use Goodreads!

And head on over to Facebook and Instagram to share what you loved reading in 2019 or what you plan to read in 2020!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Video: Hot Springs, Arkansas

We went to Hot Springs, Arkansas for a couple days/nights back in June 2019. Yep, I'm just getting around to editing and uploading the video. #busylife

If you're wondering why we didn't do a bath, it's because I have a health condition that's aggravated by heat. It was already hot and humid in June, and we spent most of our time outside. I didn't need to add to my swelling and pain with a hot bath. Even a warm bath at home causes me to swell, and it's not near as hot as a thermal bath! If you're visiting Hot Springs, you should definitely visit a bathhouse. The baths are affordable and something you definitely should consider!
On our trip, we checked out Bathhouse Row, shopped all the local stores down the strip (Bathhouse Soapery is a favorite of mine), ate at Steinhaus Keller (and loved it), The Pancake Shop, an Italian restaurant in another part of town that we disliked so much that I didn't show it, Will's (yum!), and Superior Bathhouse Brewery (get the pretzel!). We also spent several hours walking around Garvan Woodland Gardens. It's such a neat place.
We stayed here: airbnb near Bathhouse Rose, and you get can get $55 off your airbnb stay (anywhere you'd like!) by clicking this link and signing up (new accounts only): discount on your first airbnb stay
Arkansas adventure playlist: see more of our Arkansas adventures

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Are You Following Me?

Are you following me on Facebook or Instagram? If not, let's be friends! I post there pretty often, sharing craft projects, travel adventures, recipes, home decor, and Bible study notes. Just click the links to find me and come say hi!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Psalm 145: Adore the Depth

Last month I was working my way through Psalm 145, studying everything I could about it. One Bible study tool that’s extremely helpful is to define as many words as you can in a passage. Look up words you don’t know, of course, but also look up words that may be familiar. We sometimes have a wrong idea about a word, and we can definitely always learn more about a word. Verse 3 of Psalm 145 says, “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” My idea of the word fathom was to imagine or to understand. When I looked up the word, the definition for fathom as a verb meant to measure the depth of, to penetrate the truth of, to comprehend, and, yes, to understand. As a noun, fathom is a nautical measurement. It’s a way to measure the depth of water. Doesn’t that have so much more meaning than just “imagine” on its own? God’s greatness cannot be fathomed— cannot be measured, understood, comprehended. I started thinking of it in nautical terms and the fact that humans are still trying to explore, measure, and learn about the bottom of the ocean. There are sea creatures yet to be discovered and depths that we cannot see. Even as we fathom and understand what we see, there is so much more than we cannot fathom or measure. The thought of too-great-to-measure greatness describes God. Even when we see his greatness, it’s just a glimpse, just a small amount of what we can measure. There is more to Him than we can ever comprehend.

Matthew Henry says of Psalm 145:3, “When we cannot, by searching, find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink, and adore the depth.”

When I cannot see the bottom of a vast canyon that seems so overwhelming and awe-inspiring, I can sit at the edge and revel at what I see, knowing there is so much more. When the ocean seems to never end and the depths seem so deep, I can sit at the water’s edge and absorb the fact that there is so much beyond my knowing and grasping. And I can be amazed. I can adore the depth. That is God. Amazing, deep, beyond my grasping. That’s the God that loves me. That’s the God I love.

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