Saturday, May 31, 2014

Garage Sales!

We had a very full Saturday today!  It started with visiting a few garage sales:

$5 for some tools for Ayden to have at the building site.

$3 for some newborn clothes for Logan.  So tiny!
(The baby I bought these from was named Logan too.)

$5 for this Chicco booster.
I've had my eye out for one of these for a long time!

Then we were off to the farmer's market!


Whole Foods for lunch.
I think Ayden is having a growth spurt, he's been eating like a beast!
We ran a few more errands for my mom and then headed home.

Started his nap in the car, moved to his crib and ended in the bed with me.
Glorious!
The evening was pretty amazing.  David came home early from working on the house and the boys went swimming together.

Haha.
One of my errands was to pick up a new motor and chemicals for my parents' pool.  It will be open by next weekend so we'll be having real pool days very soon.  After dinner we went to a park to play and go for walk.  Ayden got to bed late but it was worth it for the quality family time.  Logan was a wiggler today.  I was enjoying his kicks and rolls all day long.  I am getting more and more excited to meet this sweet little guy.  I can't help but constantly wonder what he will look like, what his personality will be like, how crazy things are going to be while we adjust, etc.  I am definitely in nesting mode.  I have a strong need to start crossing stuff off of my list.  Glad it has finally kicked in because there is so much to do!

Have you been garage saleing yet this season?  

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Secret Excitement"
And two years ago today: "On Hold"



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Friday, May 30, 2014

Visual Clutter

Something I love is a space with minimal amounts of visual clutter.  I am most at peace in my own head when my eyes have a place to rest and I can look around without being visually overstimulated.  Lately I have been trying to reduce the visual clutter around our own home.  

A good example of reducing visual clutter is this before and after pantry photo:

{via}
When you look at storage spaces with minimal visual clutter, you'll find a lot of matching bins, jars, containers, etc.  Most people will transfer products from their original packaging to a matching set of visually appealing receptacles.  This kind of uniformity just feels good to look at.  While spaces with doors are not my personal top priority, I still enjoy looking at spaces that are organized in this way.


When trying to find a place to start in our home, I decided to begin with a spot that I clear off and "hide" what's on it whenever we were expecting company.  We use essential oils for a lot of things (David gave me the doTerra home physician kit for Christmas) so we like to keep them in an easily accessible spot.  Over time they ended up being tossed into a plastic green bowl and put on the shelf above my desk in the kitchen.  This is the room where I spend most of my time and it's one of the first things you see when you walk in our main entryway.  After I hid the bowl and box of oils for the 3rd time when expecting company, I decided to take the hint.  Something needed to change.  Why should we live with decor, or the lack thereof, that we wouldn't want guests to see?  We are the ones living here and are the ones who should enjoy our home the most!  So while I was out today, I kept my eye out for an alternative that would be a little more visually appealing:





Of course I didn't think to take before pictures but this little caddy is SO much cuter than the green plastic bowl!  The best part is that now when we are preparing to have people over, we have one less thing to hide.  Haha!  I just wrote on the little chalkboard label with a chalk pen that I already had and also labeled the tops of the oils so we could find what we were looking for at a glance.  The space still needs a little work but it doesn't make me cringe so that's a start!  Now if I could just keep the desk itself clean... Talk about some visual clutter!  That surface has become a hot spot for sure.  What can I say?  I am a work in progress.

What do you have to hide every time company comes over?  I think we probably all have something!

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Secret Excitement"
And two years ago today: "Belly Laughs"


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maintaing Harmony In the Home

If you know anything about huskies as a breed, then you'll understand the craziness of this photo:


That's right!  Maverick and the chickens live in complete harmony.  They don't snuggle up or anything like the cute pictures you come across on Pinterest but Maverick doesn't want to eat them so that is a HUGE bonus considering the direction we are going with homesteading.  Actually, he pretty much ignores them altogether.  He'll be sprinting around the yard and they'll think he's after them which makes them squawk and run away and even that doesn't catch his predator eye.  He went after them at first but over the months he has become desensitized and realized that they are supposed to be around I suppose.  

Speaking of harmony, I've had a couple of folks ask me lately about my routines and how I manage my days as a stay at home mom.  A fellow mom at story time was telling me last week that she was considering becoming a stay at home mom and I've had one of you all message me about it as well.  First of all, I don't have it together everyday.  My efforts to focus on the positives of my days probably makes it appear that most days go well.  Today was actually a day where I put Ayden to bed early because I just didn't have it in me to be the mom I wanted to be for the rest of his usual awake time.  I also had a pretty huge organizational task that has been eating away at my nesting soul (our shed in the photo above, actually) that needed to be done.  I attempted to get it done this morning while Ayden was awake but between the chickens trying to get in (and probably poop on everything) and Ayden's inappropriate way of dealing with them (he tends to try to hit them with objects if he's not well supervised) I wanted to pull my hair out!  Needless to say, Ayden was asleep by 7:15 and I spent about an hour and a half crossing that beast off of my list.  I feel SOOO good now.  It was just what this mama needed.

Anyway, though I do have rough days or even rough patches during good days, overall things run pretty smoothly around here.  There are certain things that I make a point to accomplish everyday and because of that our household keeps swimming right along with us and anything extra that I cross off of the ever-growing to do list is just an added bonus.

First is my morning routine.  Before doing anything else for the day I like to make our beds, put in a load of laundry, put away all of the clean dishes/clean up from breakfast, get myself ready for the day, get Ayden ready for the day, take care of the pets (food, meds, walk, etc), switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer, taking meat out of the freezer for dinner and doing the chicken chores.  We wake up between 6:30 and 7 and I try to have all of this done before 10:00 am.  On a great day it's all done by 9 which makes a huge difference in the level of awesomeness for the day and allows for some extra playtime outside for Ayden which he loves.

Usually anything we have planned for the day starts around 10 so from 10-12 is typically when we do scheduled activities or appointments . Play group, story time, intentional educational activities, outdoor play, visits with my parents, chiropractor/doctor appointments, etc. usually take place during this time frame.  

The afternoons are pretty flexible but on average we try to be home for lunch around noon and then have a little bit of quiet playing (puzzles, audio books, etc.) or reading. Ayden is usually in the mood to do this independently these days which is really nice.  Nap follows and Ayden goes down around 1:00.  He usually sleeps for about an hour and I usually plan 2 or 3 household tasks during this time.  This can be anything from folding/hanging the laundry out of the dryer, kitchen cleanup, preparing snacks (baking muffins, putting stuff in the dehydrator, etc), a deep cleaning task, etc. I'll usually put on a Netflix show or watch something on YouTube while I work which makes it feel like me time even though I am staying productive. On a rough day this time is used for vegging out on Pinterest, Facebook, other mindless internet surfing or napping myself.  It's really about priorities here.  If I'm feeling good I keep swimming, if I'm tired or spread too thing I take a "lunch break" to rejuvenate.  No pressure.

Once Ayden wakes up, he has a snack while I put away the load of laundry I did that day and then we usually play outside (or in his playroom if weather is bad).  Occasionally we might run an errand during this time frame but mornings work MUCH better for this.  I start dinner at around 4:30 and we eat at 5:30 when David gets home.  If David is working on the house he leaves to do that at around 6 and is gone until dark (around 9 or so).  In between that time we either go visit my parents, go hang out at the building site while David and his dad work or we stay home and play outside, water flowers, etc. If he is not working on the house, they have some quality time after dinner while I take some time for me.  Sometimes we all play outside together, sometimes I get a head start on kitchen cleanup to allow more time for relaxing after Ayden is asleep. It all depends on how our day went, how much energy I have and what I'm in the mood for.  

We start bedtime routine around 7 or 7:30 and Ayden is usually asleep between 7:30 and 8.  Once he's down I clean up the rest of the kitchen, put up the chickens.  Sometimes David is home by now and does this and he always does it in the evenings if he's not away working on the house. Then I write my blog posts.  Depending on the time, David and I might watch something on Netflix and we usually are in bed ourselves between 10 and 11.  The last thing I do before getting ready for bed is to jot down a quick to do list/meal plan for the next day if I didn't already do it throughout the day.

Side note: I do teach dance from 3:30 - 6:00 every Wednesday so obviously things look different on those days.  I usually plan a crock pot meal or make extra earlier in the week so we can have a left over night (my favorite!).  We eat late and Ayden usually gets to bed late on these nights. Wednesdays are LONG days...

Things do not always run this smoothly but for the most part, this is what our days look like. It took a year and a half or so after Ayden was born for me to find such a comfy groove and I know that Logan is going to come and stir things up big time.  It will probably take me another year and a half to figure out our new groove and that is okay!  There is so much that goes on in the first year of a baby's life that I feel like it is really important not to try to force strict routines and cause unnecessary strain on the household. It's all about survival and enjoying your days as much as possible. The good thing is that the chaos is temporary and there will be a time when you find harmony in the household again! (At least that is what I am trying to convince myself.  Haha!)

Are you a stay at home mom?  What does a typical day look like for you? 

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Summer Routines"
And two years ago today: "Reach!"

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Feeling Good

Not a whole lot of excitement to report today and honestly, I like it that way!

Play group was moved from Monday to today due to Memorial Day.
Lunch on our patio.

Insulating around the basement.



Playing in puddles!
We've found a groove and it feels pretty good to have settled into a new normal.  Adjustment periods are always taxing but it is amazing how quickly we adapt!  

The nesting bug has started to bite me.  Today I made room for Logan in Ayden's dresser.  The dresser and hutch combined have 6 drawers and 2 shelves.  Each boy will get 3 drawers and a shelf each with 3 bins.  I have done a pretty good job of filling all of the drawers for just one boy but I am all about challenging myself to limit myself to an available space and downsizing to make it work.  The biggest challenge will be during season transitions when you kind of need a double wardrobe but we'll figure something out.  There is also room on top of the hutch itself where I can put 4 more bins if needed.  We'll just have to see how it goes!  The next step is to get our newborn clothing tub down from storage so I can assess the contents and see what we'll need for Logan.  The only con of having babies in opposite seasons I suppose...

Do your kids share a space?  What are you best tips for making it work?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Toddler Travel Tips"
And two years ago today: "Little Fish"

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

Spring brings a lot of gift giving opportunities for us.  Lots of birthdays and special holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  If you've been following me for a while then you know how much I love making homemade gifts for my loved ones.  There is just something about carving time out of my busy life to sit down and create something for someone from raw materials.  For Mother's Day, I decided to make my mom a set of wool dryer balls.  These are a 100% natural way to replace those plastic spiky dryer balls and also chemical filled dryer sheets.  They fluff your laundry, reduce static, help air circulate through the fabric more efficiently and soak up excess moisture (which decrease drying time and therefore save energy).  The more you use the more time and energy you will save.  If you are taking steps to a chemical free home, or have a friend or family member who is, this project is one for you!



Here are the supplies you'll need.

To make a set of 6 dryer balls you will need 3 skeins of 100% wool yarn.  Each skein will be about 210 yards and it is important that the wool is NOT washable (so that it will felt properly).

Step 1:

Wind the yarn around 3 fingers about 10 times.
Step 2:
Wrap around the middle 3 or 4 times.
Step 3:

Fold in half.
Step 4:

Start winding...

and winding...

and winding until you have used half of your skein.
(You ball will end up being about the size of a baseball)
Step 5:

Take your large yarn needle and thread it with the tail of your yarn.
Step 6:

Push it through to the other side.
Step 7:

Pull the needle off and...

Snip the excess.
Step 8:

Repeat until you have 6 balls of yarn.
Step 9:

Time for felting!
To felt your wool dryer balls, use a pair of panty hose or some old socks.  Tie knots between each ball (if using socks, turn them inside out so that you don't get fuzzy sock pills).  You do this so that the yard doesn't come unwound in the washer.  You don't want that because it will just rewind itself around the agitator and waste all of that precious time you spent winding in the first place!  Then you just run them through 4 or 5 HOT wash and dry cycles.  I forgot to snap a picture of the finished product but they look pretty much the same as the ones above only instead of individual strands of yarn it somehow looks like all one piece.  Life fabric almost... Very cool.  I wrapped them up all pretty with a little bottle of lavender essential oil.  She's been using them ever since Mother's Day and said that they work wonders and that they make her laundry smell delightful.  I'm so glad she enjoys them and the next time I see some pretty wool yarn on sale I am definitely making myself a set!  If you are wondering how I found the time to make these, it just two family movie nights for me to complete them.  There was a small learning curve on the first one but then I found a groove and was able to wind pretty efficiently for the rest.  

Here are a couple of other homemade gifts we have made recently: 

A birdseed wreath
{using this tutorial}

A cement garden stone
{using a stepping stone kit from Michael's}

Have you ever made or used wool dryer balls?  What did you think? I hope that you found this tutorial useful!  I had a lot of ammonia issues with Ayden's cloth diapers once we moved in with my parents and I am wondering if dryer sheet residue had something to do with it...  I am excited to make myself a set and to see if it prevents that with Logan's diapers this time around.

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Play, Play, Play!"
And two years ago today: "Keeping Things In Harmony"


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Monday, May 26, 2014

Fun In the Sun

We had such a fun day outside today!  

I may or may not have added a bucket of hot water to the cold hose water for my baby.
David spent almost the whole day working on the house.  Yesterday he finished the waterproofing on the basement walls...


Then a friend came to help him spread the gravel around the footers today.  We are almost ready to backfill which will be amazing because as of right now this mama is constantly on edge with a toddler running around the huge hole surrounding the basement.  Filling it in will make it all so much safer and Ayden and I can start spending even more time out there with David while he works.

We had a Memorial Day cook out at my parents house this evening.  My parents, David's parents, my sister's family, two of my aunts, one of my uncles, and my dad's best friend and his wife came together and had a great time.


Everyone needs to wear a bike helmet while grass sledding!
The day was beautiful and we got to enjoy so much of it outside!  This time of year is great because it was hot enough to feel like Summer but we could still find relief in the shade.  That good old Kentucky humidity has not graced us with its presence quite yet.  I'm sure this Summer is going to be a hot one for me!  I need to find a good maternity swim suit because as soon as my parents get their pool open, I have a feeling that Ayden and I will be spending a lot of time in it!

Where are the best places to buy maternity swimsuits?  Did you have any fun Memorial Day plans?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Easy Beet Chips"
And two years ago today: "Summer's Here!"


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Sunday, May 25, 2014

CSA: Week 1 Recap

Well we made it through our first CSA week and all we have left is a bag of spinach!  We got a full box because we wanted to be able to preserve some but that's difficult this early in the season when you get so many leafy greens!  Here was what we got again:


And here are some of the meals that we made:

My first quiche.  It was AMAZING!  A new fave for sure.
{recipe}

incorporated a full bag of spinach along with a bag of salad greens and one bunch of radishes.

Fried eggs over salad greens.  The yolks act as dressing.  Delish!

And more salad..

And MORE salad.
{These were shrimp salads}

Smoothies too!
I wasn't as good as I wanted to be about snapping photos of all of the meals.  We also had braised greens with chicken thighs one night {recipe} and a venison rump roast with sauteed greens.  The green onions we got were two HUGE bunches.  I put some in a couple of salads and they would have been great in the quiche but I didn't think about adding them until after I made it.  When they started to wilt we just took some kitchen scissors and cut them into a freezer bag and tossed them into the freezer.  We also made our usual weekly kale chips.  I think that covers it.  It was a challenge but I enjoyed a reason to spice up our meal plan.

I picked up our 2nd box on Saturday and will start digging into it tomorrow:


Looks like a lot more of the same this week but starting next week we should start seeing more variety.  Luckily salads are super easy to throw together.  I'm going to explore more homemade salad dressings to spice things up a bit. 

What is your favorite homemade salad dressing recipe?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "5 Happy Things: Balanced"
And two years ago today: "A World Of Wonder"


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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Strawberries, Naps and Bluegrass

I kind of took a break from swimming today...

Farmer's market!
(fresh organic strawberries = happy boy!)

Napped with my girl.
(she really likes my new napping in daylight policy)

Ayden woke from his 1.5 hour nap
and fell back to sleep on me for another 1.5 hours.
I soaked up every moment.

This is what David did while we were resting.
(water proofing around the footer)

It was messy stuff...

My parents joined us for dinner at our new favorite spot.

A little blue grass music.
The girl out front got up and clogged a little.

The proud horse shoe collector.

What happens when I stop swimming for a day...
There's always tomorrow.  I'll get caught up again eventually.

It's nice to take a breather once in a while but it is crazy how quickly things fall apart when we don't constantly stay on top of them.  The extra snuggles are totally worth it but sheesh!

How quickly does your house fall apart when you take a break?

~Sarah

Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Farm Field Trip"
And two years ago today: "Precious Moments"


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