the weekend...


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Our weekend can be summed up with lots of rain, indoor truck-crane play, chocolate cake, and watching General Conference.


Yep, it was chilly and rainy all day Saturday so we postponed Rowan's outdoor gathering and exchanged it for a morning at Chocolate World in Hershey, PA for their ever-exciting free ride (and chocolate!) + then to Costco for all the magic that can be found there. ;)

The truck crane.

I'm so happy with Rowan's [amazon_link id="B00006IJHY" target="_blank" ]crane[/amazon_link]. (Thank you FB friends that helped me out.)  Super impressed by the German company Bruder for their well built, real life trucks!  Rowan and his Daddy spent much of the weekend with a plastic cup (tied to a hook) scooping up lentils from one bowl and then "unloading" them in another bowl.

The cake.

I was pleased with this Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake; it was very moist and rich.  The great thing about making a construction site cake is that it's good if it looks messy.  Which was helpful in pouring my already thin frosting over the cake.  Because I added a little xanthan gum to the frosting it set nicely on the outside of the cake (so I could build on it) but was still moist once you cut into the cake.

I couldn't get myself to buy Oreos for dirt so poured a bit of the frosting on a few spots and topped them with whatever I had on hand: shredded coconut and my homemade dark chocolate chunks. (Chocolate chunks recipe on my Instagram feed @nshiffler.) And Rowan was very excited to see his trucks in action on his cake.


General Conference.

I've got to tell you--I needed this recharging, recentering of my soul this weekend.  I haven't felt so inspired to be better, be more patient with myself, and invest in what really matters this intensely for a while.  Our family spent many hours this weekend watching and listening to our church's annual worldwide conference from home and it truly was the highlight of the weekend.

If you need a real pick me up, here's an incredible talk about mothers from this weekend.


the sleepy time gal

almost 3



{Rowan--earlier this year.  Remember his Rice Construction Site?  He still loves it.}


This little boy turns 3 tomorrow.


He's definitely been one of my most tender, most cuddly and intense child.  He's a boy.  I'm his mommy.  He runs to me when I walk through the door in the morning with, "Mommy!" and wants me to scoop him up with a big hug.  He tries so hard to catch up with his sisters, their activities, and just wants to be big.


With fingers crossed because of this hurricane rain, we're hoping to have an outdoor birthday gathering tomorrow at a local orchard.  He's so excited that after the long year of watching his sisters and parents blow out the birthday candles it is finally his turn!


And so today will be filled with cake baking/decorating along with our "writing day" plans.


I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family.  See you next week  with (hopeful) pictures from a outdoor celebration. ;)



the sleepy time gal




IMG_3746 {O c t o b e r}

The sunlight continues to change throughout the day, the way it moves on my walls and counters.  I've been playing the familiar game with my camera's aperture + shutter speed that I do this time every year...


In the fridge I have these fall Pumpkin Pie Fat Bombs from one of my favorite health/recipe blogs, Healthful Pursuits.  They are made of simple homemade coconut butter (processed coconut oil + shredded coconut) with pumpkin puree, stevia, and spices.  I added a bit of blackstrap molasses to the recipe.

These are a great snack for us when we need something satisfying and quick--like before the girls' ballet with a glass of milk/almond milk. IMG_3758

I just finished yet another extra large legal notepad which is full of notes, daily schedules, and the likes.  Like most other things in our house since the "tidying" this summer, my precious notepad always returns to the miscellaneous drawer when not being used.  As the girls hear me remind often, "Everything has a place."  Maintenance is a million times easier when we all follow this.


The return of more countertop play time for my boy.   With girls gone every evening for ballet he likes staying close to my side while I make dinner.  He talks and sings and taste-tests with me.


And an exciting tutorial coming soon!


I love October.  


the sleepy time gal





their wedding + my advice


Page 1 Can I please bombard you with pictures?

I've poured over hundreds of photos all week as I've edited them.  And I'd rather just share these family moments from last weekend through my photos rather than text.  It is a bitter sweet experience being your brother's wedding photographer.  It is sweet to be alongside him and his bride for all of the emotions of their big day and witnessing so much love.

And it's bitter knowing that they are now hundreds of miles away in Mississippi.  That for one day I beheld something divine and another, they are far away from me.

But oh, what an amazing start to a new life together, just the two of them...




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To you, Travis and Meghan,

Marriage is absolutely divine.  It will make you more loving, kind, gentle, and lovable.  It can be one of the greatest sources of your happiness in this life.  Take care of each other.  Raise children together.  Treasure all of the moments you will experience together.

And most of all, trust in each other with all your heart.


(P.S. I can't wait to see how beautiful your children will be! ;))


the sleepy time gal












meghan + travis






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Witnessing and photographing the last of my siblings to get married this weekend was amazing.

I don't even know where to begin...

The rainy weather created much anxiety for me and the bride and groom leading up to the wedding day and precise moment of the wedding.  And, what do you know, my prayers were answered in that there were pockets of overcast skies that allowed us to shoot without the rain.  The mist made for a dreamy day of photography, exactly what my little brother would have wanted to create an old-fashioned appeal to the day's photography.


So many little miracles and so much love and sacrifice put into the beautiful day by many people.  I absolutely loved being a part of it.  I loved capturing--through my camera--the incredible wedding cake my sister-in-law made.  The linen napkins my sister sewed.  The food and details that Meghan's family put hours into making.  And the extended family and friends that came from out-of-state to support and witness this grand moment.


I'm excited to share more special moments of the day tomorrow...


the sleepy time gal



a family day


IMG_3730 Thank you for all the well wishes for our special weekend of Johanna's baptism.  It was a wonderful, beautiful baptism.  I sure love that girl, her quiet nature and inquisitive mind.


{Helping Johanna fill out her awesome Baptism Day Memory Book that her Grandma gave her.}


{Glad my mom got a few photos of our family--sun in our eyes + a lion for a son, so it seems!}

Today I'm enjoying our "family omelettes" after working out, cleaning the basement (I have help today!), and looking forward to a church Labor Day picnic.  It's going to be a nice day.

Hope you have a wonderful day today!

the sleepy time gal

right now...





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Right now we're...


  • enjoying giving extra attention to our Johanna with her special day around the corner
  • making new job charts for the girls to maintain the dishwasher + help regularly in the kitchen
  • remembering to use the slow cooker at least once a week--sometimes using it for a hot breakfast
  • baking the awesome ultimate keto buns weekly (the whole household loves these slathered in butter or with burgers or grilled chicken dinner sandwiches) and [amazon_link id="0984755195" target="_blank" ]Primal Cravings Cookbook[/amazon_link] Chocolate Coconut Scout Cookies--but sweetened with stevia + blackstrap molasses--yum!
  • slowly carving a new routine to our "homeschooling" day, like the official reinstitution of "reading time" on the couch in the afternoon--some sit as close as they can to me to see pictures, others make dolls on the floor and just listen
  • patiently waiting for inspiration for Plan B of potty training a boy (those darn pull-ups + underwear are so hard for him to pull down when he needs to!)
  • reading [amazon_link id="0399535667" target="_blank" ]The Gift of Dyslexia[/amazon_link], learning more about the "gift" and understanding so much about why my sweet girl has always creatively done everything different--in coping and understanding her world--from her sisters

Have a wonderful day, friends, and weekend.  I'm looking forward to a simple and special baptism weekend with family + friends.  And I'm hoping for a date night out before the shift in focus towards a family wedding.

Go out + live boldly!

the sleepy time gal

strengthen your home



 When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home's potential for positive influence.

Stephen Covey

I hope you were inspired by yesterday's post of 5 Ways to Inspire the Love of Learning in your children.   Our state of our homes are so important for us and our families.  No matter the chaos, insecurities, and vulnerability of being out in the world from day to day, the home is, and will always be, our haven and safety.

When your child returns from school, a trip, or any other time away, their very own home should be the place they can let down their guard and be their true selves.  They should feel loved and not judged--secure in who they are.

So here are a few personal questions about your HOME:

  1. What is one word you would use to describe your home/home life right now?
  2. What are two things that are working well in your home right now (i.e. order, kindness to each other, family dinnertime, etc.)?
  3. What are two things not working in your home right now (i.e. contention among siblings, rushing, no family time together during the day, etc.)?


Take a few minutes and jot down some ideas of how you can focus one week on improving those weaknesses.  Bring up the two weaknesses at breakfast/dinner when the family is together.  Ask for suggestions.  Involve the family.  Include every member of the family in resolving the concern with real ACTION.  Soon, little by little, day by day, you will see progress as everyone consciously works toward a goal together.  And those particular weaknesses can eventually become strengths.  There is such a powerful force among families that when members work together great things can take place.


Take the challenge and strengthen your home.  Make it a place where confidence, love, and goodness grow through constant effort.


the sleepy time gal