October has been a great month.  I feel like we’re finally getting into a rhythm with our schedule and a lot of great memories have been made.  The boys had their first sleep over, I had lunch/coffee with several new friends, our church small group started meeting at our house, and we had our first snowfall and turned on the fireplaces.

Calvin also had his first appointment at the Mayo Clinic (he’s a Type 1 Diabetic) and I am still getting used to the idea that we live less than 4 miles from one of the best hospitals in the world, including a top-notch Pediatric Endocrinology department.

We’ve been enjoying watching the leaves change, the cooler temperatures, soup on the stove, and watching football.  The month was closed out with having friends over for take-and-bake pizza followed by walking around the neighborhood, tagging along behind the kids as they trick-or-treated.

So, there were a lot of favorites, but here are some…

Jeff and I actually planned a day to binge-watch Stranger Things 2, which was just released on Netflix.  I was born in the late 70’s so the kids in this series remind me so much of my older brother and his friends… from the haircuts to the Trapper Keepers, the bikes with banana seats to the walkie talkies. It has a Spielberg-meets-X-files sort of feel to it and I thoroughly enjoyed seasons 1 and 2.  Now it’s going to seem like an eternity until season 3!

Several people asked me specifically about my purse that you could see in the pictures of the oak buffet.  It is the Made Well Prague Satchel and the leather is just as delicious as it looks in the picture.  I saw this bag in a Madewell store this summer, but decided to wait to purchase it until it was on sale or I had a coupon.  I received a 30% off coupon a few weeks ago, so I bought it.  I only wish it had more pockets/dividers, but it’s a good size and, as I said, the leather is beautiful.

They have lots of other great bags and I love their necklaces (you can layer pieces and most of them come with adjustable chains.)

You can sign up to be a Madewell Insider (it’s free) to get discounts and free monogramming.

I know I’m probably late to this party, but as a non-coffee drinker, I never had much of a reason to go into Caribou.  I met someone for “coffee” there last week and I got a Dark Hot Chocolate…hello!  Dark hot chocolate!

Definitely a new favorite!

I was sent a set of Saphyr Linen Sheets to try and share on Instagram and they are now our favorite set of sheets.  And, they keep getting softer with each wash.

I will say, the texture takes some getting used to, but Jeff and I love them now.

I get way to excited over “clean sheet day” and these linen sheets have taken it to a new level.

After a few weeks, I can report that I thoroughly love cooking on the beefy range.  In fact, several times, I have mentioned that to Jeff and thanked him for agreeing to go through the trouble of putting in the gas line, so we could get it.  We could’ve used the electric stove that was in the house for a few years, but he knew it was important to me, so we made it a priority and it was worth every cent!

Thanksgiving dinner, here I come!

Two of my painting buddies suggested I buy some fine art brushes from Rosemary Brushes, a UK-based brush company.  At first, I didn’t because I had been picking brushes up at Hobby Lobby when they were on sale and the price was pretty comparable.  But, I browsed their site one night and I love that they have brush sets, so someone who really knows what they are doing has selected brushes good for that specific medium and/or technique.  All of the brushes have been such a great addition and now I’ve ordered some more!

In October, I have been eating up art books, so I can learn more and improve my paintings.  Here are a few favorites…

Landscape Painting by Mitchell Albala

This is the most technical book, but it’s the one that introduced me to under-paintings, which has made a huge difference in the depth and warmth of my paintings.


Helen Van Wyk Color Recipes

This one is great for a lot of things, but I love that Helen shares specific mixes and techniques for different kinds of painting.  It’s helped me work through some of the things I struggle with and I am seeing improvement.


Daily Painting by Carol Marine

This one is super-practical and packed with all kinds of great information.  Carol also has a lot of ingenuity, so it was a helpful read for making my creative space more functional.

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

I don’t have a picture of this one, but it is so encouraging for people who are intimidated by drawing.

And, lastly, I’ve enjoyed working on the 100 Meadows Project myself, but I’m also enjoying watching others who have joined in!  Some are new to oil painting or new to landscapes.  It’s so inspiring!  Here are some of my favorites from searching #100meadowsproject on Instagram…







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What were your favorite things in October?


  1. lisa

    When I read “clean sheet day” I laughed out loud. We clean our house on Tuesdays. And my husband loves to soak in the bath … he calls it “clean tub Tuesday”.

  2. At Rivercrest Cottage

    My October favorite was traveling from Texas to Illinois to Trick-or-Treat with our 7 y/o grandson and 4 y/o granddaughter. First time we’ve done that because we usually come for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Loved watching the 4 y/o mop of curls pull up a camp chair inside to sit by the door when we got home so she could be the first to answer the door and give out candy. She only cried when she learned it was time to turn out the lights and quit giving away “Twick-or-Tweets”.

  3. Crystal

    Hi Marian, I didn’t receive this post via email as usual, so went to the web to see if you had posted, and there you were! has anyone else notified you of a “failure to receive?” I look forward to your posts every day and hope this was just a fluke. Thanks for anything you can do. I’ve been a subscriber for awhile now and don’t want to miss a post!

    • Marian Parsons

      I was off of my usual posting schedule, so my e-mail feed missed a day! 🙂

  4. B. Folk

    I’d forgotten about Trapper Keepers! 🙂

  5. B

    Well now I have to try that dark hot chocolate – I haven’t had a tasty one since Borders Books closed. I still miss that place.

    • Patti

      I miss that store too!

  6. Melissa

    Now you’ll have to try the white chocolate at Caribu, so creamy and rich!!!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ooo! I’ll have to try that.

  7. Melissa

    OOps, so sorry I misspelled Caribou.

  8. Carla from Kansas

    Not too long ago I failed to get a post one day but it was just a one-off cyber weirdness. You are certainly settling in Marian.

  9. Anna

    I’d love a set of pure linen sheets…..but not really sure $300 is in my budget. Still….they do wear extremely well for the long haul…or so I’ve been told 😉

    When summer comes to MN again, let us all know how they feel when line-dried. Even line-dried cotton sheets are amazing, done that way. (This from a ND native.)

    A pure linen sheet set is something hubby and I may have to get/give each other as a gift ….one of these days. 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, I know they are expensive. I’m hoping they will last longer, though (that’s what I’ve been told).

  10. Marlene Stephenson

    I am not a coffee drinker either so thanks for sharing this, i like dark chocolate but, never thought about a drink.

  11. Elizabeth

    This was such a fun post! Enjoyed it very much.
    I am not a coffee drinker either, but I do drink tea and hot chocolate. Going to have to try that hot white chocolate soon!

  12. Susan Guillebeau

    Are you going to sell any of your paintings?

    • Chris Moore of Seattle

      I have been wondering that too!!! Good question!

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes! I just photographed them today and am working on the post sharing 41-60. They will be listed for sale shortly after that post.

  13. mary

    My mother in law used to have a race with her neighbor back in the day to see who could get their sheets out on the line first on Monday morning. Monday was wash day, Tuesday was ironing day. lol

  14. Misty

    You mention your son is Type 1 in your post. Mine too!! He was diagnosed at 10 and is now turning 21.
    I promised myself that I would share some things that worked for us with other Type 1 families if the opportunity presented itself.
    Doctors always told us to stay regimented. No room for excuses not to check sugars and stay on top of blood sugars. We were very consistent and now he follows the same regime without even thinking twice about it.

    One thing that I have recently learned from another Type 1 family is that it is important for the parents to help take the burdens off of their child when they can. We didn’t know that getting up sometimes 5 times a night to check sugars took a lot of the pressure off of him. A family I knew took another route and made the child handle all of the responsibilities. This is what the doctors had suggested they do. Now as a teenager she is rebelling. She is tired of all it and has given up doing what she needs to do to stay healthy. I can promise you at the time I didn’t know what to do I just did what I felt was right for us and what helped me not stress out so much. Turns out god was pointing us in the right direction.

    I hope this helps. I know this disease is exhausting and some days you don’t know what to do. Advice from those that have been there really helped me!

    • Marian Parsons

      My son is 9 (dx at 5), so we manage his care at night still. He has started to manage his care more during the day, but still under supervision. He just sleeps too hard at this point, to wake up to the alerts. And he needs to be fresh for school. I can handle getting up and functioning the next day. It’s a balance, though, because he will eventually have to do it on his own, so he can be independent.

  15. Kim

    I got mine via email

  16. Lori in Missouri

    Hi Marian,
    May I quote you? I SO relate to your “sheets” comment! ha! I’m thinking of making a sign of it and hanging it in my laundry room — hey, you should too!
    Thank you for this inspiring post… For all your inspiring posts!

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, of course!

  17. Norma Rolader

    I am glad you had a beautiful October and prayers for Calvin…I have so busy with taking care of very sick husband whom is bedridden and my mother who just turned 81 which she lives with us … But prayers of strength is what keeps me going God bless

  18. Stacy watson

    My daughter is type 1 also. It’s been a struggle. I’m so glad you are near an amazing endocrine center. How is your son doing adjusting to type 1 or was he diagnosed long ago? Much love, mama.xo

    • Marian Parsons

      He was dx at 5 and is now 9, so he’s been dealing with it for almost half of his life. He’s a real trooper.

  19. Chris Moore of Seattle

    Loved reading about your art books and seeing others work on the meadows project. When reading about the books it made me think of the book/film Girl with a Pearl Earring and how the ancients had to grind their pigments from shells, stones, soil etc. Can you imagine having to do that BEFORE even thinking about technique? I remember a scene from the book where she talks about learning from Vermeer how many shades/tones of white there are. Whew! Aren’t we lucky other people have written books to share their knowledge? And I loved the meadow from pancakehill. It’s so hard to believe that impressionism was the bad boy of art, that people were protesting and writing letters to the editor that it wasn’t really art/painting back in the day. Oh to be a time traveler! It makes me wonder what the bad boy is of modern art. Probably something digital. Good post Marian. Really stimulated the little gray cells!

  20. Michelle O

    I think it is wonderful how this move has been going for you…new friends for the whole family, wonderful church life and a wonderful hospital so close!!! The Lord gave you the path and you took it! Did I miss who won the giveaway?

    • Marian Parsons

      I notified the winner via e-mail.

  21. Carole Prisk

    Just saw your Christmas decor in your last home in the new Romantic Homes. Very nice article. Love the purse. How do you get a discount coupon?

  22. Robin

    Recently, I got hooked on Stranger Things and binge-watched both seasons. My daughter and I are awaiting Season 3 now! Great show!

  23. Cathy

    My daughter used to live in White Bear Lake, a suburb of Minneapolis-St. Paul. What a beautiful, quaint small city it was! Especially covered in snow. We used to frequent Caribou Coffee when I visited and my favorite was the White Chocolate Mocha, although the Dark Chocolate sounds great, too!


  24. Melissa Joffrion

    I didn’t realize that your son was T1D as well! My 6-year-old was diagnosed when she was 2. Would love if you wrote more about your daily life with T1D, but I can certainly understand if you prefer to keep that to yourself. It’s just great to hear about others living with it. Love your blog!

    • Marian Parsons

      Since November is Diabetes Awareness, I am going to write a post about it. If you search “diabetes” in my search bar, though, you can read about his diagnosis and some updates. He’s 9 and was diagnosed at 5.

  25. Dannette

    Hello Marian,
    I have followed your blog for several years. For the past 2 weeks I haven’t been able to read it on my iPad because it freezes up every time. Has anyone else mentioned this problem?

    • Marian Parsons

      Sorry about that! I haven’t heard of anyone else having that specific problem, but usually it’s a rogue ad that’s slowing things down.

  26. Jeanie

    Love your posts and seeing what all you have done in such a short time. I have been wondering about Jeff’s new pastor duties and how the church has welcomed you!! glad to hear you have had new people over. Good luck with the diabetes…..thank you.

  27. Kelly

    Thanks for sharing your daily life! Mayo Clinic is indeed one of the best. My husband received his heart transplant there in 2009. In addition to the great medical care they have the most beautiful flower arrangements and musical performances in their lobbies. It was always a treat to enjoy when we were struggling with health issues. Best wishes for good health to your son and your family.

  28. Mary

    Hi Marian,
    Just wanted to tell you I covet your stove (in a good way). I too converted to gas after many years trying to cook with electric. Yours is extraordinar;y and I LOVE it. Just sayin’

    And, by the way, your landscape painting gets better and better! They are truly beautiful. You have a talent for all things paint!

  29. dolores

    You are good with the sewing machine…make a lining for your bag with pockets and hand stitch it around the top!:)

  30. MaryLisa Noyes

    October is my birthday month so it is my FAVORITE! I love binge watching on Netflix. I watched all the seasons of NCIS and hated to see it end but now I’m caught up to this season…

  31. Linda

    So glad that you’re enjoying your new gas range which will be so great to make your Thanksgiving dinner! I love coffee but it’s not part of my diet that I must follow for a health issue but that dark hot chocolate sounds delicious which would be especially nice on those cold snowy Minnesota days! Your paintings are beautiful that you’ve shared along the way, I wish I had that artistic gift that you have!

  32. Holly

    I have so enjoyed watching your painting progress. They are so charming. Recently a Seattle Wa. artist, Molly Hashimoto, a watercolorist, teacher, & gallery exhibitor released a beautiful book. ” Colors of the West: An Artist’s Guide to Nature’s Palette.” The subject matter is organized by hues. She also documents the entire palette she used.. she also shares a list of materials, her techniques, even bits of poetry. A 192 pg bargain for $24,95. Holly


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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