family life · holiday · home · kids · Ramblings · Uncategorized

This is Halloween

I cannot even believe that Halloween is just 12 days away!! Where has the time gone? October seems to be flying by, and I’m a little disappointed. October is my favorite month, but the dramatic shifts in temperature have left me feeling pretty lousy through most of it. Pull it together, Oklahoma!!

Anyway, twelve days away, and my children will not make up their minds about costumes. For months now, Addi has wanted to be an elephant and Chloe has wanted to be a bunny. Awesome. That’s not too hard other than making an elephant nose mask. Yikes. This month, however, everyone keeps changing their minds. Addison wants to be Marshall (from Paw Patrol), then a cat, then back to an elephant, well maybe elephant ears/cat face/marshall paws, just an elephant, OH WAIT I WANT TO BE A WITCH! Chloe has mostly stuck with a bunny, but then will pick other random things. They have to decide today so that I can get their costumes started and done.

Harper still can’t say what she wants to be, but LOVES puppies. Seriously, the kid is saying “woof” instead of words to other people. Scott had the really awesome idea for her to be Skye from Paw Patrol since she already has the pink glasses. (Skye wears pink goggles if you don’t know.) She is easy, and currently my favorite child. I’m just kidding.. she’s always the favorite. 😉

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I pulled out our decorations from the van today. Yes, our beat up white van is a storage area. (Just 23 days until our hopefully move-in-the-house date). The girls lost their minds. Everyone was so excited. I always let them pick where to put the pumpkins. I really don’t have a whole lot of Halloween decorations. I love decorating for Holidays, but usually end up buying fall things so they can be out for several months. Anyway, most of what I have is from Dollar Tree or the clearance section of Target post-Halloween. I always wanted to hang witch hats from the ceiling so it looked like they were floating. I finally found some for VERY cheap a couple of years ago after Halloween, and I love it.

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I wrapped cobwebs around the wooden map that is hanging up year-round. (I won this beauty in a giveaway, and it is my favorite piece of art that we own.)

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The girls love that our lamp now glows purple. What could be better?

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I also filled our giant pumpkin with candy. I saw these at Target several years ago and thought “I must have one!” It went on clearance and I bought it; immediately wondering what on earth I would do with a MASSIVE plastic pumpkin. Usually I put huge rocks inside of it so it decorates the outside. This year, we will actually get to hand out candy at home so it has a real purpose.

Am I the only one whose kids won’t decide on a costume? Do any of you parents dress up? My mom always took us out trick-or-treating and I don’t remember her dressing up, so I have just never planned on it. This is our first year actually going, and I’m out of my mind excited! Maybe we should dress up though? Let me know in the comments!

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encouragement · family life · home · kids · ministry · Uncategorized

Comparison

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Image via Pinterest

You have heard the saying that Comparison is the thief of all joy, right? Oh, how true that is.

I find myself getting caught up in the comparison game a lot. I mean, A LOT. We haven’t taken a real vacation since April 2011. A vacation alone just as us? A random two night trip to Kansas City when we were newlyweds. I see these families going on vacations and having a blast, and I start feeling really down. Will we ever be able to do that? Will we ever get to show our children all of the beauty in this country? I have to stop myself though.

We may not get to go on “real” vacations, but at least once a year we get to travel back to Illinois and spend time with our families. Scott’s parents just moved to Arizona over the summer, so that is making things a little more tricky. But, how blessed are we that we get to take our kids to see all FOUR of their grandparents?! They get to see their aunts, uncles, and cousins also.

I see people who own their home. They get to plant gardens and do whatever they want to their house without asking permission. I have to be honest, this is my biggest joy stealer. I have ALWAYS loved homes and home design. I watched HGTV with my mom ALL THE TIME. I took interior design courses at Missouri State University. I LOVE cozy spaces and pinning my heart out. In Michigan, we lived in a tiny little house that was basically a glorified apartment. Now, we live in a literal apartment, and it really put me in a funk. Again, I have to really stop and count my blessings.

In January, we were facing homelessness. The church we were at had to cut Scott in order to afford survival. We were heartbroken and honestly afraid. We would be moving in with one of our sets of parents. When we were able to move all of our stuff into our “own” space, it felt so good. I was so incredibly grateful to be able to set furniture up however I wanted, and have space to somewhat spread out. I cried tears of joy. Now that the newness and excitement has worn off, I have allowed myself to feel ungrateful for what I have.

Isn’t this all so silly? We live in a world of social media where we can see everyone’s perfect outfits, homes, and projects… and post-baby bodies. It’s nearly impossible to be bombarded with the temptation to compare.. to be perfect.

May we never forget…

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Stop comparing yourself to someone else. God created us all with different talents and abilities. As long as you use those talents and abilities to glorify Him, that is all that matters!!!

I can make my tiny apartment a welcoming space to love on others. It doesn’t have to be huge and immaculate to be hospitable. It is still a daily battle; but one that I am willing to continue to fight.

 

Do you struggle with perfection and comparison? What have you done to overcome that battle?

 

family life · home · kids · natural living · Ramblings · Uncategorized

Taking Inventory

I really don’t have anything interesting to say, so I thought I’d give you a round-up of what is going on in our house and my brain. Welcome.

 

Making: I ate an apple with almond butter for lunch and have taco meat going in the crock pot. Tuesdays are always a little hectic with the timing of dance class, which makes the crock pot an excellent tool.

Drinking: Coffee.. It’s been a tough week. I should probably drink some water at some point.

Reading: I am still reading “Someday, Someday Maybe” by Lauren Graham. I am no farther than the last time I posted about it.

Wanting: November to be here. We should be moving out of our apartment, and I truly CANNOT wait.. I will have a fireplace, a bigger kitchen, and a yard!!

Listening: I can hear Harper babbling through the monitor. She has been refusing to nap, and I refuse to let her win, so “quiet” time in the crib it is. Also, I have our window open, and every car in town is driving by right now.

Looking: I just started researching ways to raise hormone levels naturally. Pre-menopause sounds great at the age of 28 and all (SYKE!), but hormone replacement therapy does not. I have been looking at essential oils that can help regulate it all. Any tips? I’m all ears!

Playing: The “what if” game. haha! Addison has been sick, and our options have become lyme disease or west nile virus..which both sound really fantastic… I would share pictures of her leg, but I’ll spare you. The doctor is now leaning towards it being west nile along with an allergy to mosquito bites, but she is being treated for Lyme just to be safe. This kid is so tough and brave, and she doesn’t even realize it.

Wishing: That the weather would cool off! It’s cool in the mornings, but still gets up near the 90’s (or above) in the afternoon.

Enjoying: The coffee mug that I don’t remember ordering. I have terrible insomnia and occasionally take Ambien to help me fall asleep. Don’t take it and start browsing Etsy. Bad idea..or brilliant. I can’t get enough of Winifred staring me down.

Loving: We have this old chair that was given to us by Scott’s mom and dad. It was actually part of a matching set, but our dog Daisy ate one. I wish I was kidding. Anyway, it had the skirt-like thing around the bottom that was really common in it’s day. I LOVE the chair. It is so comfy, but the skirt was really dating it. The girls also thought they could hide things under there without getting caught. *eye roll* Scott removed the skirt (what is the real name?) and it looks SO much better. Now, we just need to get it re-covered. There’s a hole in the back to go along with the scraggly cushion. Here’s a Pinterest-worthy visual for you.

Feel free to pin that. I know you want to.

Wearing: I desperately need to fold the laundry.. What I am wearing is not pretty.

Watching: I’m not really watching anything at the moment. Next week is the big premier week for most of the shows I enjoy! Blue Bloods anyone?

Browsing: I stumbled onto various blog posts from many sites about farmhouse decor on Amazon. I keep browsing and adding more and more to my wish list. This Salt & Pepper set is one of my favorites; along with this two tiered tray. Imagine it covered with fresh produce!

 

Happy Tuesday, friends. May your toddlers actually nap and give you some peace and quiet!

holiday · home · kids · natural living · recommendations · Uncategorized

Favorite Things- Earth Day Edition

Happy Fri-YAY! Usually, Fridays are extra thrilling around here, because it is actually the start of our weekend. Scott typically has Friday off, which is his only FULL day off. He had to take Monday off for Harper’s eye appointment, so he is working today. Sad. Really sad, because I am T-I-R-E-D. But, I am so thankful for the flexibility of his work schedule (especially because the girls were CRAZY on Monday at the eye doctor).

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So, here are some awesome products and links to check out on this earth day!

If you have kids, you are probably overwhelmed with snack cups, sippy cups, plates, and on and on. Have you seen the brand Re-Play yet? They have EVERYTHING. It is all made from recycled milk jugs, AND is BPA, Phthalate, PVC and Melamine FREE!!!! How awesome is that?! We have to pack dinner every Wednesday for the girls to eat at church. I am really thinking about this three pack snack stack

Also for kids, I really Green Toys. They are also made from recycled milk jugs!! I really want to get this big pink dump truck for the girls to play with! They love cars, but we don’t really have any big ones.

I have become really interested in composting. I know that growing your own food is best, but if your soil is completely deprived of any nutrients, so will your food. I like how this chart breaks it down. However, if a cockroach comes crawling out of my compost pile one day, I’m out. (Kidding.. I think.)

I don’t wear a lot of makeup. In fact, I usually only wear makeup on Sundays. I love EcoTools line. I have their makeup brushes and LOVE them. They are so soft. Plus, I love the look of bamboo. Bamboo grows very quickly, so it’s a much more sustainable wood than other types.

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I really love Grove Co.  Above is my most recent order. Their products are amazing, and by shopping through them, you are helping save the planet!! Here is my referral link that you can use to get $10 off your first purchase. You aren’t obligated to buy something every month, and you can buy as little or as much, as you’d like. I love the Full Circle brand of cleaning tools! (Can you tell I am trying to pick which toothpaste I like?)

This book looks adorable to teach kids about recycling. There are actually a lot of cute books.

How are you “celebrating” Earth Day? I think it’s important to teach your kids about recycling and the importance of taking care of this beautiful planet that God created for us.

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**All Amazon links are affiliate links. You can see my disclosure statement in my “referral links” tab.**

 

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Small Space Organization

Organization has always been important to me. Now that I have three children, and the five of us live in a small space, it is even more important. Here are some tips that have helped me.

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  1. Clean Out  It is time to evaluate what you really NEED. Anything that you haven’t used in the last year- get rid of it. Those jeans that haven’t fit you since high school? Buh-bye. I know that sometimes it’s nice to hang on to smaller clothes in the hopes that you will get to wear them again. I have found that seeing those types of clothes causes me to get really down on myself. Get rid of them!! Don’t get caught in that trap. The one thing that I refuse to get rid of is clothes for the girls. I have SO many different sizes boxed up right now, but it is worth the lost closet space to save that money.
  2. Baskets Kids= little stuff. Little stuff makes me crazy when it is scattered all around the floor. I have baskets for EVERYTHING. Probably too many. I love baskets that fit on the cube shelves, or in our TV stand (which is a neat bookshelf from Ikea turned on it’s side). I have baskets for all of our toothpaste, deodorant, hair stuff, etc. in the bathroom. They are just so handy. We have baskets to hold chips, snacks, etc. since we don’t have much cabinet space. Plus, when you have specific places for things to go, clean up is a breeze.
  3. Simplify This goes back to cleaning out, I guess. Before we moved, we got rid of A LOT. I had two garage sales and donated a ton more. However, once we got settled in the apartment, I realized that the girls were STILL overwhelmed with toys. They would play with something and move on to something else without putting anything away. I think they just didn’t even know what to do with it all. I know that everyone means well buying toys for their grandchildren, etc. Their room was such a disaster, and they refused to clean. I ended up bagging up and taking away EVERY toy. Literally. They had to earn them back through obedience. Now, they have just their favorite things (legos, train tracks, blocks) and things go so much better. I love how much lighter I feel (and they feel) without all of the STUFF around.
  4. Under-the-bed Take advantage of the nooks and crannys that you have. We used to store our suitcases in our basement. Now, they are tucked underneath beds. There is a dress-up clothes box that fits under the bed. Our electric griddle is under the bed. Since our closets don’t store as much, we have just had to get creative. Sometimes these spaces slip our mind. Flat things can even be stored behind the couch or headboards (kids pop-up-tents, home school posters, etc.).
  5. Compromise Ultimately, I would rather not have my desk crammed up against the side of my bed. Would I rather deal with that, or have the girls messing with my pens, post-its, and tape in the living room? Sometimes you have to compromise and do what works best over what you really want. I would rather not have our homeschooling materials in the kitchen (in baskets), but we don’t have a good place for it anywhere else. Do what WORKS.
  6. Command Hooks hang up coats, pot holders, purses, etc. so that they don’t take up as much space in the closet or on shelves. I am a huge fan of these hooks because they don’t damage your walls and come in several styles, colors, and weight limits! Winning!

 

The media baskets on the left hold most of our movies. We don’t have cable, so we have a lot of kids’ shows and movies on DVD that we have collected over the last 6 years. The baskets on the right hold bathroom supplies. We have three of those small baskets, and the large one holds my hair drier (obviously), straightener, curling wand, and other hair things. I got them on clearance (like $5  a piece) with free shipping, so I was pretty excited!!!

 

What are your organization tips?

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Mini Makeover

Our bedroom has been in need of some serious TLC. When we lived in Michigan, our bedroom was in the basement. We literally only drug ourselves down the stairs when we were ready to go to sleep. It got neglected because we hated the room. Because we have had three babies, our comforter was old, stained, and had holes all over it. There was even permanent marker on it from one of the girls.

I have said for years that I want our bedroom to be a retreat for Scott and I. The rest of the house is covered in toys and kid stuff; we need one space that is all US. Our bedroom is now right off the main living space. We see it more often and it is off-limits to the kids. We decided to give it a mini-makeover. The furniture is still the same. It is beat up from three moves, but it is ours and tells a story.
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I hate that our bed has to be off-center from the window. It drives me nuts! Ahh cramped apartment living. 😉

We finally bought new bedding to make our room a retreat. I love grey. It is a such a calm and relaxing color. I have been eyeing this quilt from Nordstrom’s for MONTHS; maybe longer. It is just a basic dark grey quilt, but the little pom poms around the edge are such a fun detail!  Since the bedroom is OURS, not just mine, I have never wanted to do a super girly theme. This quilt is the perfect blend of masculine and feminine.

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I searched for the perfect pillow shams. I wanted something that was visually interesting since the quilt is grey and our curtains are grey. When I found these at Urban Outfitters, I know they would be a winner.

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The color is not at all what is in the picture online. In fact, it looks nothing like in this picture either. I contacted Urban Outfitters about it. They sent new shams, since I was sent “maize” instead of mustard. I got maize again, so apparently when they say “mustard” on the website, they main “maize”. It’s a dull color, and I am not sure if they are going to stick around. UO gave me a 10% refund, but I still might send them back again. I put them on to see what they look like out of the package. I love the tassels, but I just am not sure.

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I found our throw at Dillard’s on super-clearance. I love this one, but definitely need to learn how to make it on my own. HA! I love that you can put a monogram on this one. I am cheesy, but even after 7+ years of marriage, I love items with our monogram or names on them.

We spent more money than we typically spend on anything for our bedding. However, we wanted to be sure it would last. The comforter that we had before was from Khols and immediately started falling apart. I love quilts like this because you can throw them in the washer and dryer (on delicate) and they will stay strong. Our bedroom finally feels like a space that we want to be in. I think that as parents, we too often neglect our marriage. The kids and their many demands come first, and our spouse gets whatever is left 0ver at the end of the day. I am so grateful to now have a bedroom that I never want to leave. It brings me joy to walk into.

I still would like to purchase some throw pillows to add some more dimension and texture. I just haven’t found any that I like in a low price-range. I really like this one a lot. It would add an extra pop of color(s) and I love the pattern. This is also really beautiful, but unrealistic for us! Could this one from Target be pulled off? I really love it! This would work also. Basically, almost anything MudhutTM would work.

If you find anything, let me know. 😉

**Edit: I am returning the “mustard” shams. I left them sitting there all day to see how I would like them. With the natural light, they are tolerable. Once it’s dark out, they look.. well, they look like a breastfed newborn’s diaper.. gross. If I am spending THAT much money on something, I have to love it 100%. The beauty of free returns!