Archive for the ‘home making’ Category

I have yet to really decorate the house we’re living in now. You know, the one we moved into in March. I think that has something to do with the fact that Texas hasn’t felt like home. I love this house… Texas, I am still working on. But I am not helping myself by keeping my house bland. So I am going to start making some things for our home and start looking for some 2nd hand frames, prints and other decor.

Anyone have any advice on decorating on a budget with thrifted/ handmade items? I’ll hit up etsy.com too, but I am so impatient, I want this house beautiful yesterday!

I’ve also decided I need to get out and explore the Dallas area more. I am sure I would like it here better if I did. I want to start doing some day hikes. We’ll have to drive a ways for this, but I miss nature. In Washington state, where I am from, the nature is mixed right in with the city, at least more so than here. I miss all the tall trees and the beautiful Puget Sound. I am sure if I look, I will find the beauty here in Texas.

My kids are growing way too fast. Sweet little Eden is 15 months old now! Keagan is changing so much… every day he reminds me that he is not my baby anymore, but a big, smart boy who has a mind of his own!

Anyway, I will be updating on my decorating adventures. Hopefully with some photos of my no longer drab house!

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We don’t own a television. Any time this comes up, after whoever is hearing this for the first time picks his or her jaw up off the floor they ask me “What do you do all day long?”

Another shocker to many is that my kids won’t be attending school and that, at least for now,  I am “unschooling” Keagan. *and Eden, learning begins at birth, right?

So I thought I would show what it is we do all day long and how we learn without any sort of formal curriculum or lesson plan.

Our day in words and pictures 🙂

We planted a tree.

We learned that even big things start small.

We planned our garden. We learned that food does not come from the store and that hard work has its benefits.

We played on the playground.

We learned the being flexible comes in handy in life and that patience is a virtue. (It’s hard to wait your turn for the slide!)

We explored.

We learned not all who wander are lost.

We looked at bugs. We learned that ants “go really, really fast.”

We played in the dirt.

Mama learned to let things go.

One of us napped in the sun.

We all got our vitamin d the old fashioned way.

We picked flowers. We made wishes.

We learned the world could use more wonder.

We hugged trees. Literally.

We learned to revere nature.

Keagan cut himself.

We learned a deep breath and a good snack make most problems feel smaller.

We met our neighbors. We talked. We learned that a smile goes a long way in life.

We played. Keagan with a doll. Eden with a truck. We defied gender stereotypes…

and realized how silly they are.

Some seriously window coloring went on…

and we learned that art comes in many mediums…

Sometimes even baby sister’s face.

We relaxed.

We loved one another.

We learned that the little things in life matter the most.

We played. We laughed. We colored. We sang.

We read books.

We learned that fantasy can help us better understand reality.

We played with pom-poms. We counted. We sorted. One of us learned what fuzzy tastes like.

We learned that some items have any uses.

We cooked. Okay. I cooked. Keagan “helped” and Eden snacked.

We counted, measured and timed as we did so.

We learned that sometimes hard work tastes really good.

We ate. We laughed some more. We played and sang some more. We tickled and loved. We lived.

We learned that your family is the people who are there for you at the end of the day.

All in all it was a pretty good day.

I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the TV. I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the boxed curriculum or preschool.  I think we’re doing just fine and making the best choices for our family.

What do you think? 🙂

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So I’ve had a problem my whole adult life with laundry. My laundry room has ALWAYS been a mess. There have always been piles and piles of clothes everywhere- on the dryer, in the hamper ALL over the floor. Every time we’ve moved (and it’s been a lot) I’ve had to move big baskets of DIRTY laundry with us because I could just not keep up. Having two kids in cloth diapers has not helped, I keep up with the diapers, but I can’t keep up with the rest of the laundry. But today is a new day…

Today is the day I got the laundry room clean and de-cluttered!

It’s hard to tell in my dingy looking camera phone photo, but I went as far to clean the lint residue off the top of the dryer. I’ve never done that… I’ve not even seen the top of my dryer since the day we installed it. This is one clean laundry room!

(minus the random stains on the floor that were there when we moved in and don’t seem to want to leave no matter how hard I try… )

As sad as it is, this is huge for me. The laundry room has been my Achilles’ heel of homemaking. I feel like if I can declutter my laundry room I can actually be a half decent homemaker. Hooray!

A big part of what helped me do this is that I’ve really simplified our wardrobes. We don’t need ten pairs of jeans a piece. So now, with less clothing in the house, I must wash more often.

Just more motivation for me to keep pushing to live simply and declutter more. I can’t imagine how wonderful it will feel to have my whole home feel like this!

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There are downsides to living in a 700 sf house with two small children, two adults and two dogs. It gets messy SO fast! Off to clean and see what we can take to Goodwill.

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We always do our big shopping trip the first weekend of the month, so I’m doing some recipe planning. I’ve had a few friends ask how we manage to eat healthy foods inexpensively, especially since we have lots of food allergies and sensitivities in our family. (No wheat, soy, shellfish, citrus, dairy or nuts in this house!) We also limit meat (Americans eat WAY too much, it’s expensive and most animals are not killed humanely.) So I thought I’d share a few of the recipes I plan to cook this month with you.

Now this is a pretty inexpensive recipe to start with. And big, we can freeze the leftovers for future lunches. I’ll make two changes, however. We’ll use dried beans (canned are so much more expensive!) and we won’t use beef stock, we’ll use vegetable. Did I mention we don’t eat beef or pork? Because we don’t. We’ll also cut the turkey to 1 pound and up the rest of the stuff because meat is expensive and we won’t like it that much anyway.

(goat) Cheesy Baked Salmon
We got a screaming deal on local wild salmon at the farmer’s market. We got six pounds a few weeks ago and still have a bit left, so we’ll be trying this out, but with goat cheese. I’ll probably have a brown rice side.

A “Martha” take on (rice) spaghetti
This one has to be altered as well. We’ll use organic brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s as we can’t eat wheat. And instead of Pecorino Romano, we’ll use crumbled goat cheese on top. Also purchased at Trader Joe’s. Very simple. This will be a good dish for one of those nights when I just don’t have time to cook.

This one, we once again have to alter, but it’s simple and will cut out an expense and save us from an allergen: no lime for us. Quinoa is a wonderful grain, by the way. It is a complete protein! That’s great for those who don’t eat meat or don’t eat much, like us. If you live near a Costco, you can get a big (4lb) bag of organic quinoa very inexpensively – our last bag lasted for more than two months and that’s with me accidentally spilling about a pound. Oops.


Once again, we’ll use dried beans instead of canned. We’ll also use a half pound of mushrooms since I’m not a huge fan and add more beans. And I’ll dice my own tomatoes. I always use fresh veggies when I can. We’re joining a CSA so we’ll have lots of fresh ones around. We have some time left in tomato season.

I haven’t tried ratatouille before, but we have most of this on hand, so I am going for it! This will result in plenty of leftovers, which we always use for lunches.

Cickpea Pasta http://cheaphealthygood.blogspot.com/2007/08/quiet-mastery-of-sara-moulton.html
We’ll substitute rice pasta again here, and goat cheese once again. And dried beans. I never pay for canned beans, especially with bpa in almost ALL linings of cans!

Pan Roasted Chickenhttp://www.recipezaar.com/Pan-Roasted-Chicken-and-Veggies-78707
We bought some chicken breast at Costco last month and still have quite a bit in the freezer (we really do not eat much meat!) so I will use breast instead of thigh. Plus dark meat makes me want to gag. I’ll double this one so we have plenty of leftovers to freeze and I get that chicken out of there.

So there’s what a week of dinner looks like in our home. Well eight days. We’ll probably do a few more pasta dishes (so easy to come up with!) and a few more chicken (since we have so much) and more quinoa as well. It’s healthy and easy, why not?!

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I finished Keagan and Eden’s room! Well. It’s mostly finished. We got rid of a few more toys and some of the stuff in the closet after these photos were taken… and we have to decorate. The walls are sad.

I can’t wait until the rest of the house is so free from clutter!

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So I don’t really push my son to learn to read or anything of that sort. He’s young and I know he’ll learn. But today he learned a few letters because he kept asking me to draw for him and I ran out of ideas. So I wrote a “k” for Keagan. He picked up on it really quickly. So I did a few more. Now he knows four letters and he learned in in five minutes or so. It seems to have stuck. He is happily pointing out “k’s” to me.

Now I feel torn. I am all about natural, child-led learning. But he so enjoyed learning his letters this way. Maybe since he is enjoying it, it is child-led in a way?

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At a recent event with my church, someone said that being disorganized is a sin. It hit me hard. I’ve already been wanting to declutter, organize and basically get my life on track, but that really put a fire under me.

I had big plans for a yard sale, but I decided to just give away all the “stuff” instead. I may not be loaded, but I don’t need money that bad, and others could use my “stuff” better than I could.

So I loaded up the Saturn and had to make TWO trips down to Goodwill. This is after a recent trip (maybe a month ago?) where I filled it to the brim as well. HOW ON EARTH DO I HAVE SO MUCH STUFF??!!! Oh, and I will probably have about this much to take in tomorrow too. Ack!

And that’s just ONE load!

I am on a mission to get my life together, not just in the decluttering sense, but also in the sense that I should really be a less selfish person and should be living my life for Christ and for others more than for myself. So I am on a mission for change. If you are one of the few people who reads this, you can come along for the ride. Hopefully, I will learn a lot and be able to share some with you.

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check out
http://storyofstuff. com

It’s 20 minutes, but it’s worth it. I never realized the extent of the wastefulness of America until I watched this. I am in awe. It really makes me think about what I should be doing on my own without comercial influences and it makes me want to figure out ways around the system as much as I can. I don’t want to be part of that problem.

It seems sad to me that while Americans are convinced that we need so much stuff that both parents in most families are forced to work so that they can keep up with all this “stuff,” somewhere across the world, someone else is paying for the pile of crap I don’t need in my garage.

I am to tired to get into it any better than that right now.

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I know before I was a mother, I had quite a few thoughts on parenting. I thought I had a good ideas as to how I would parent and I thought I had good reasons for these ideas.

For example: I thought that letting a baby cry it out for awhile was a totally normal, healthy practice. After having a child, I ended up hating “cry it out” and I actually ended up co-sleeping with my son. Co-sleeping scared me before I had a baby. But I don’t think I would have ever been rude to someone who chose co-sleeping for their family.

I also used to think that the baby DVD’s on the market were great and thought I would be using them when I had a child. Instead, we got rid of cable and my son has never really watched much tv/ movies. We have no plans on getting cable back. The more research we do on kids and TV the less we want Keagan around it. I know I would have thought someone who made this choice was a bit weird before I had my son, but I would not have tried to tell them they were parenting wrong.

I also thought breastfeeding a toddler was a bit odd. I knew I would nurse. I planned to for at least six months and probably about a year. Now my son is 13.5 months old and we have no plans of stopping any time soon. I educated myself about the benefits of nursing and I changed my mind. I know that being around nursing toddlers surprised me a bit. I found it a bit off putting, I will admit. But I never would have been rude to someone who chose to breastfeed beyond infancy. I think I have always understood that every family functions differently.

This weekend I came across someone who was downright snappy with me about nursing my son. I won’t get into details about it, but I was shocked at how rude this person (who does not yet have children) was to me. I know it comes out of fear and ignorance, but wow. I just tried to smile and reminded this person that the benefits of nursing don’t end the day a child turns one and refererred to the WHO’s recommendation to nurse until two. The person stopped talking but glared at me the whole time I nursed my son.

Maybe I am remembering myself a better person that I was, but as ignorant as I was about parenting before I was a parent, I NEVER was rude to someone. I know that it’s hard to understand how other families function, but I can’t imagine being rude to someone over something that didn’t affect me at all. I get plenty of flack for nursing my son from multiple sources, and I try to keep my head up. I know that what I am doing is right. I tell them the short version of why I am still nursing and most people just shut up and get over it. Most are just confused, not rude. This was different though. This was flat out rude.

I really hope I was never like that. Being a parent changes you. It’s changed me so much that I can hardly imagine ever being the person I was before I had my son, but I have always valued respect. I don’t care how ignorant someone is on a subject, they should always be respectful.

/end rant.

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