Tuesday Links

So many times I have sat down to write a post and my brain is just fried. Pretty sure I use up all my words and thoughts on my kids. And the interruptions...don't get me started. I'm working on sending them outside to play and "do not come in unless you are bleeding." For some reason I'm terrible at enforcing these boundaries.

What about you? Do you have any resemblance of quiet built into your day? Even 15 minutes to work on a hobby? This has been such a challenge for me with school age children.

My babies have always napped, but these big kids, well, they are always there and they are loud!

So until I get a little serenity built into my routine I'll share some of the best of the internet I've come across recently.

Have you seen this? Hilarious.

How to Frame Big Art on a Small Budget - great idea!

I bought this dress in 2 colors, the green and the pink- love it.

My Mini Fridge Taught Me How to Cook

Five Tricks: Five Years Younger

We tried this pasta recipe last night and it was a huge hit.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - I just started reading it. Have you read it?

I wish I had a legitimate need for this quilt.

31 Things Your Kids Should Be Doing Instead of Homework I'm going on the record and saying it. I don't like homework.

Caught a miracle moment of Caroline actually playing with toys instead of body slamming me or running into the street. She. is. wild.

 That's all I got.

Some links are Amazon affiliate links.


January Declutter

Every January, I do a big declutter. I love it. I live for it. 

I get out trash bags and boxes, and I get after the toys, the clothes, the pencil drawer, the bathrooms...everything! I declutter like mad.

This all started 7 years ago when my mom came to visit while she was on a decluttering kick herself. She suggested I get rid of a few toys and a bulky coffee table that was not suited for our house. I was liberated by her suggestion. It had never occurred to me get rid of stuff we didn't care for. The concept of decluttering was a revelation.

Well, I have not been the same since. I'm addicted to decluttering, not irresponsibly, but as needed. Trust me, it's needed. With kids, the stuff pours in like the air we breath - clothes, party favors, birthday gifts, trinkets from school, goody bags from the dentist office, Sunday school papers, rock collections, hand me downs, books, sports equipment. You get the idea.

What's left after the big declutter is a home that feels homey and is full of all the things we love and actually use.

Don't tell my kids I got rid of some children's books this year that were the worst. The results, we read more! When our lovely, curated collection of books is out on the coffee table, it's much more appealing (to both kids and adults) than a bookshelf crammed full of sub par literature that came with a kids meal at Chick-fil-a!


 books out temporarily while I sort - most will go back on the shelf

It feels good to have what we love and love what we have.

It's okay to enjoy an item for a time and then part ways.

It feels good to have space. It's easier to clean. It's therapy. It makes for a more beautiful home in my opinion.

My biggest tip and strategy for decluttering is lay it all out there - whatever category you are tackling - and decide what you want to keep. I call this "shop your own stuff." What would you buy again today? What would the ideal be if someone gave you permission to be honest and just keep what you love and use?

Those questions give me freedom and help me decide what should stay and what should go.

What about you? Do you enjoy a good purge? Do you want to declutter but just can't seem to get a grip?

I'd love to continue this conversation. Please ask questions and I will do my best to be active in the comments.


Baby Girl Winter Wardrobe Update

We are having a legit winter over here, and it's awesome. Where we live, it has not been properly cold in two years. Winter is a means to coziness. I'm relishing coats, soups, fires, hot tea!

Even though I welcome winter, the last burst of cold temperatures exposed our wardrobe inadequacies, especially for Caroline. Girl needed some boots! Also, I was kinda embarrassed because everything she was wearing was so small, old, or inappropriate for the weather.

Though I was not planning on buying anything but groceries in January, I found myself click click clicking away on Amazon. I've written about Fiream clothes before and have had a few questions since.

So I thought I'd update: I love them. I find the quality to be good. I'd say they are comparable to Old Navy or Target. I like that all items are 100% cotton. My girls love the fun prints. They do fade over time, but so do the nicer brands of clothing we own like Boden, Gap, and Hannah Andersson. For the many many times I have to wash these clothes, I think they have held up just fine.

And the coat?! How cute. It's reversible.

I often find myself conflicted about children's clothes. One one hand, kids are so hard on clothes I don't want to shell out the cash. On the other hand, this is their one childhood and I want them to dress adorable. This brand has really solves my dilemma.

We are in a much better place with Caroline's clothes, and I did not spend a fortune. Win-win.

Have you tried this brand?
I think their boy stuff is adorable, too.

Links are Amazon affiliate links.


January Goals + Simple Green Smoothie Recipe

I'm not making any resolutions this year, but I do have 2 goals for January

1. No alcohol

2. Drink a green smoothie every day

Here's my favorite recipe for 1 small green smoothie.

1/2 unsweetened almond milk
small handful frozen kale
(Blend these together first. Very important step. It really blends the greens nicely so you don't get any large bits of kale. No thank you.)

add 1/2 cut up banana
some frozen mango, about 5-6 large pieces

Blend and maybe add a tad bit of water if it needs more liquid. That's it!

Podcast: The Lazy Genius Makes a Smoothie
A Drinking Lover's Guide to Temperance 


What Worked in 2017

Happy New Year! I adore this season. The serenity and calm of January is glorious to me after the hustle of Christmas.

But before I dive into the new year, I enjoy a look back at what worked the year before. This idea was inspired by Anne Bogal of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

What worked in 2017

1. The fruit bowl. Mid year, I started keeping a huge bowl of apples, bananas, and clementines on the counter. My kids ate so much more fruit as I made these items grocery staples. And it looks pretty, too!

2. Sending throw-away bottled water in school lunches. A pack of bottled water is $2.00 a week and I don''t have to worry about kids keeping up with their water bottles, which was a huge problem at the beginning of the school year. They have plenty to keep up with, especially in winter with coats, hats, etc. For some reason they could not handle the water bottle situation, and they were always losing their nice water bottles.

3. The 10 item wardrobe. I have written about this many times. The 10 item wardrobe is a small collection of clothes that is very well curated and suited to my lifestyle. Using this method I shop less and feel so much more put together. I bought Jennifer Scott's e-course and loved it!

4. Walmart grocery pick up. Need I explain? I saved so much time, money, and energy by picking up my groceries. Sick kids, rowdy kids, too many kids - we just sat in the car and waited for the lovely Walmart employee to load up the car. This service ministers to my soul.

5. Audio books for kids. When school started this fall, there seemed to be no time to read aloud. So I downloaded 19 hours of the Ramona books, and we listened to the entire series just going back and forth to school. It was a big win!

A couple things that did not work in 2017

1. Jeans. I do not feel comfortable in jeans! Is is just me? Do I need to try a new brand or is it all jeans?
My aunt says these are great. Maybe I'll give them a try.

2. Blogging. I just could not keep up a blogging routine. Hope this changes.

What about you? What worked? What didn't?
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