Smoothies + Immersion Blenders

We like to make smoothies, but a while back my blender broke. So we took a smoothie sabbatical, and I figured I would eventually replace my blender.

Well, winter came and I ordered an immersion blender for soups. I discovered it totally works for sooothies. I've been using it for over a year, it's still going strong, and I feel no need to replace my big blender with all the cumbersome parts.

The Cuisinart immersion blender is super simple (3 small parts). They go in the dishwasher and I much prefer storing it to a big blender.

Did I mention it only cost $35 and comes in all kinds of fabulous colors?! It so much less expensive than all the fanciful blenders and juicers out there while still getting the job done.

The disadvantages are I usually have to make 2 batches of smoothies for our whole family, and if you overfill the mixing container it splashes over the sides. So don't overfill.

These smoothies are made of frozen strawberries, bananas, and milk.

My kids are freaks for smoothies.

If you want/need a new blender and don't want to spend a lot of money, this is the way to go! Also, these would be perfect if you don't have much kitchen storage.


Decor Book + Meal Planning + Socks + Georgie

Ya'll. I had the most relaxing weekend. Saturday afternoon, Stephen and Stephen went on a dove hunt, and once I got George down for his nap and Laurie in front of the TV, I got in the bed with a book and a cup of hot tea.

I had not realized how much I had been craving a little time to do nothing!

 {The Nesting Place}

I was reluctant to buy this decorating book because my taste and style are so different from Myquillyn Smith's, the author. But after a friend, who also has very different style, recommended it, I was sold.

You see, I have been paralyzed with what to do next in our new house. How do we prioritize?! The backyard needs sod. The master bath needs to be finished. The guest room needs a door knob and lamps. The kitchen, while very useable, lacks so many finishing touches. What area of the home gets the time and money first?

I don't know. But this book has inspired me to just keep going and chip away at all the projects one step at a time. I like what Myquillyn has to say because she's a normal person who has moved several times, been on strict budgets, and made mistakes. She's not a professional, just somebody who loves making her home beautiful, not perfect.

After reading a few chapters, I decided to move forth with the master bath. I finally ordered a light fixture.


Back tracking a little, Saturday morning, after I went on a great walk with friend, Laurie and I went to Costco.

I have been sticking with my philosophy of meal planning I came up with a while back: Just do it. Don't over analyze it. My main objective is to feed my family, not be a master money saver or gourmand or health nut. The goal is to feed the family. Yes, I take nutrition and cost into account, but I'm measuring my success more by if my family had yummy meals rather than if I did it for the tiniest amount of money or if it was the healthiest.

Cutting myself slack in this area has been so freeing!

Also, my love of Costco continues to grow. $2.89 for milk. You can't beat it.


In reference to my sock post, a couple of you asked me if our sock drawers were total chaos since I did a way with the sock box and started returning lone socks to their drawers.

No, I keep them neatly folded in my drawer and when the match shows up I reunite them and it feels so good.

Below is a pair of socks I reunited this very morning. Sock on left got stuck to a dish towel and for two weeks I thought she was gone. Her mate sat quietly in my drawer. The unthinkable happened and they are back together again.


Last, Georgie. Just because he's Georgie. I savor his baby-ness even though he's talking up a storm, moved on from footie pajamas, and climbed out of his crib 5 times last week.

And for crying out loud, he eats cereal.


Bead Necklaces

For weeks and weeks, Laurie has been asking me to make things. Nope, I don't want to make wings, or a yo yo, or whatever it is. YOU make it, I tell her.

She's always begging me to cut paper a certain way, draw a button to her liking, or get her some string.

Finally, she wore me down, and I thought...why don't I just get this girl some beads? Surely this will quiet her detailed requests.

And it has! This week, she has been making bead (or as she calls them - bean) necklaces with minimal help from me.

I rarely buy stuff for my kids to play with, but there was a real void in my girl's heart and it was so simple to buy these "beans" for her. Who am I kidding? Really, they are for me....so she'll leave me alone.

Stephen (small) has enjoyed the them too. He made me this necklace for me, and I really love it.

The gold owl necklace was my mom's in college, and I love it too!

Happy weekend. 


What To Do With Lone Socks

I used to keep a sock box for lone socks. It sat by the washer and dryer. I'm pretty sure some socks sat in that box for more than a year. Before that I kept a pile on my dresser. The laundry always felt half done because of these lingering socks.

One day, I read about not keeping a sock box. The idea was to have a zero tolerance policy for lone socks sitting around in a pile (or a box). 

When we moved, I did away with the box and I started putting lone socks in the drawers with other paired socks.

All the loose socks have a home in their wearer's draw even if they don't have a mate. And you know what? It seems like their matches find their way home more often. The best part is I don't have a junkie sock pile or box.

It's tidy and makes me feel like there are not so many loose ends with the laundry.

{mini Boden}

What do you do with lone socks?


Three Ways We've Saved on Dental Care

This boy. Over the weekend, he had a minor bike crash and knocked a tooth loose. I had to snap a picture before the tooth falls out because I'd be shocked if it re-implants.


It got me thinking about our dental expenses. Here's how we've handled our dental care over the past few years.

I'd like to think doing these things has saved us some money.

1. We self insure. Every time we run the math, it is cheaper for us to pay our for our dental bills, regular cleanings and check ups out of pocket. My husband is self employed, but even when I was employed by the hospital and they offered dental coverage deducted from my paycheck, it was not a good deal. I think it was about $100/month. At that rate, I could have had my teeth cleaned every month and paid out of pocket.

2. We skip the routine X-rays. I'm not a dentist, so heed this advice at your own risk: skip the X-rays. One day I came clean with my dentist and said, I just don't want to pay for them. He said that's totally fine!

If there is a reason or a problem, sure, X-ray my teeth. Otherwise, I'm good.

3. I only take my children for a cleaning and check up once a year instead of the standard two. They are young, they have lots of space in their mouths, they brush their teeth (almost) every day. In my non professional opinion, once a year is enough assuming there are no issues.

Again, I was honest with our pediatric dentist. I explained that it was our preference to only come once a year. He was supportive.

I wanted to float these ideas out there because over the years we have spent very little on dental care and maintained healthy teeth. These things have worked for us. But it took me a while to feel like I could just be honest and say, "Hey, we don't have dental insurance and we just don't want to pay for this/that unless it would be harmful."

We may pick up an insurance policy in a year or two since our kids are getting older and will likely need more dental work, but these little years we have managed fine by doing the things above.

And, no, I did not take Stephen to the dentist for his tooth. He's fine.


Brie Cheese + Apples + Wine

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

I'm kicking it off with apples, white wine, and a wedge of Brie cheese. Sometimes you just need a little sophistication in your life!

I love a simple appetizer that is impressive but requires no recipe. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top and warm in the oven for about 5 minutes. Easy.


Every Household Needs a Box of Rubber Gloves

A little GI virus has been making the rounds through town. And our littlest one got it. Thankfully it wasn't too bad. But still, a 20 month old + tummy bug is still bad at best.

The worst went down in the middle of the night one night (of course). So Stephen let me sleep in the next morning and he fed the boys leftover pizza for breakfast.

{his Instagram}

Anyways, my point is.... go buy a box of rubber gloves. Every household needs some. I always have a box. I had some the other night and I was SO happy.

It makes the task of cleaning up vomit and/or diarrhea a thousand times better [than it would be without gloves].

$9.34 off Amazon 
How to Keep the Stomach Bug from Spreading Through your House


Sorting Kids Art, To Keep or Throw Away?

Today, I tackled my huge Rubbermaid tub of kids art. It was time to make decisions! Do I keep all of this fabulous preschool art or do I throw it away? And how do I decide what to save and what to keep?

Here are the conclusions I came to....

1. Unless I build a small museum, I cannot keep it all. 

2. If it came out of their precious, creative little mind...I'll keep it.

3. If the art is made from a teacher's template and essentially just assembled or stamped or not really their creation....I'll throw it away (even if it's cute). 

4. I'm allowed to make a few, careful exceptions to #2 and #3.

Let's look at a few examples...

Stephen's turkey, Laurie's apple tree. Both adorable and colorful, but not their creations. Though making these was a great activity, they are impersonal...because every one in the class made these and they do not reflect their ideas or creativity.

I threw them away.

Now, let's take a look at this bird below. I love this bird. One evening while I was cooking dinner, Stephen was sitting at the kitchen table cutting and pasting like crazy. I did not know he was really making something until he announced that he was finished! and he held up that so stinkin' cute bird!

Keeper. It's his work, his ideas, his creation. I love it.

But the tree on the right, another cute one, but un-original to him.

Threw away.

Below is Laurie's signature ballerina. She's drawn at least 40 of these recently. I did not keep them all. I kept one. Probably a framer.

Stephen's snowman. Everyone in his class drew a snowman, but the work is entirely his. No pre-fab cut outs or stamps. Keep.

I reduced my huge pile of papers by more than half. I feel like I have a manageable amount of art now. But oh I know there's more coming, so much more. And that's exactly why I had to come up with a system.

What do you do with kids art?


Birks are Back!

Can y'all even believe it? Birkenstocks are back in style.

My sister-in-law told me it was coming. She spent nearly a year in Japan and said they were everywhere. She explained that fashion starts in Paris, then moves to Japan, and eventually the US. She was right.

I blogged earlier in the summer about my favorite sandals, but a small case of sciatic nerve pain left me wanting for more arch support. Hello, Birkenstocks. The dreams of the 90's are still alive in Portland!

{What kind of blogger would I be if I did not regularly take photos of my feet?}
{Mayari - love em.}

{photo bomber}

Quality won out in my search for summer sandals. I've learned that I need good shoes for the sake of my knees, back, and feet. Sadly, the Saltwater sandals just did not stand the test of time for me. Lesson learned.


My Super Simple Daily Housework Routine

I've shared my simple housework routine before, but it remains so tried and true I think it's worth sharing again.


A- Awake, body and mind.
B- Make the bed (or beds).
C- Clothes, start a load in the washing machine.
D- Dishes, unload/load dishwasher.
     Dinner, start dinner prep and whatever that entails - chopping, removing meat from the freezer, or
     throwing something in the slow cooker.

My mom taught me this method. It's not fancy and no cleaning chart is required! I love it because it helps me stay focused on the areas of the home that really need to be constantly in motion. Making the beds is more of a morale booster than a necessity, but is there anything worse that getting truly behind on laundry, dishes, and dinner plans?!

This routine helps me work past the toys and shoes scattered throughout the house and ignore the kitchen floor that needs sweeping and focus on the areas that need daily attention. Typically, I start this routine in the morning, but if we have a busy day the I can jump right in sometime during the afternoon.

Here's what ABCD looked like this morning.

5:30 am A: Sat on the sofa, drank an entire cup of hot, black coffee completely free of interruptions and read a Psalm.

(made lunches, did some school related paperwork, sent Stephen off to school with dad, and got dressed)

7:30 am B: I made our bed while the preschoolers were sitting at the table eating breakfast.

C: I moved a load out of the dryer, onto my (freshly made) bed. Moved load from washer to dryer. Started new load.

(cleaned up from breakfast, spent time with preschoolers, I have no idea what exactly happened with all this time)

9:45 am D: All kids finally at school, I unloaded/loaded the dishwasher and for Dinner I started the Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast in the crock pot.

The mess I let be to get the really important things done. I'm saving this for 5pm and making the kids help me pick up.


Tip for Wearing Button-Down Shirts

My college roommates all said they were coming to my closet if we had a barn dance. What can I say? I love button-down shirts.

One tip I've found for rolling the sleeves up is to roll them before you put the shirt on. Don't button the arm buttons or anything, just roll. The sleeves stay put so much better with this method, and has a tidy, yet relaxed look. Why did I not know this until last year?

I especially love a button down when transitioning into fall. They give a fallish look without being too warm. I like to wear them with shorts, too.

(old J.Crew factory)



Well, I sent my preschoolers off to school last week. I am so blessed by this time I have without my children. Just a few hours of quiet, not negotiating every little situation, not answering questions, not having them at home making a mess and constantly asking for milk - it really benefits us all.

I tell myself "I must put the oxygen mask on myself first." That's what this time is, time to catch my breath. Meanwhile, they are off learning and having fun.

Don't let that pic fool you. Preschool is George's happy place. 

I'm using the quiet hours to get us settled in our new house and to clean, cook, and maintain what needs maintaining.

Three cheers for preschool teachers!!!
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