Homemaking

Hiking With Kids: How to get started and what to bring!

One of our family’s favorite things to do together is go hiking! It’s something we’ve done together long before we had kids, and it’s been such a consistent part of our family’s routine that our kiddos have grown up hiking regularly. A lot of people are overwhelmed with the idea of hiking with kids, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds! Getting kids out into nature is an incredibly important part of their development and health, so I have some tips for helping you get started, including what you should bring along with you!

This post contains affiliate links

If you’ve never taken your kids hiking, you probably want to start small. Find a small trail at a local park and give it a whirl. Work your way up to longer, more challenging hikes. If you’re headed out for a short time, you probably won’t need all these supplies. But let’s face it, when we go out with little kids, it’s better to be slightly over prepared. ;) Depending on the ages of your kiddos, you might decide to leave some of these items out of your pack. Or you may add some more in depending on the weather or particular place you’re hiking.

Comfy, sturdy shoes – since it’s summer, Keens are my favorite shoes for shorter hikes. Longer hikes or cooler weather obviously require different shoes.

Baby carrier – the Ergo works nicely for us for the length of our hikes and having a small baby. It’s also great to stuff into a backpack for a toddler/preschooler who suddenly decides they can’t walk another step. If you’re going to hike really long distances or big mountains, consider getting a camping backpack carrier that gives more support.

Diapers and wipes (I like the Seedlings wipes, which you can buy here) in a pouch for easy locating in your bag

Portable changing mat, in case the ground is wet or rocky.

A baby toy or two for babies who are being carried is a nice distraction when they get antsy.

Sunglasses to protect those precious eyes!

Water bottles for the whole family.

Extra change of clothes for baby (especially little ones who are prone to blow outs!) During colder weather, you might toss in hats or gloves, long sleeved shirts or sweatshirts, or other warm clothing.

Burp rags – these are obvious if you have a baby who spits up a lot, but I toss them in even after we’ve passed the baby stage. They’re great for wiping up messes or big scrapes. Baby wipes are great, but these are so nice and gentle!

Snacks… because kids want to eat eleventy billion snacks a day, so they’re obviously going to be starving the moment you hit the trail.

Insect repellent, sunscreen, itch spray (the Lavaderm after sun spray is perfect for this), waterless hand purifier – all of these can be found here

Band-aids for the inevitable scraped knee, tweezers for slivers or ticks, and all the oils! These are my must-haves when we’re out for a hike:

KidScents Owie oil (for all those bumps and owies on the trail)

KidScents TummyGize oil (in case someone’s tummy feels icky)

Purification/Geranium (great for helping to keep away the creepy crawlies – add some to hair or shoes)

Basil (for those nasty stings!)

Deep Relief (for any aches and pains that happen while you’re hiking)

Lavender (to help calm any irritated skin)

Valor (for the inevitable meltdown … from you or your littles!)

*All these oils can be purchased here

I have to give a shout out to my girl Beth who has an amazing shop. Weepereas sells amazing oil pouches, baby shoes, and toddler backpacks. They are incredibly well made, and I carry my oil pouch with me all the time. It holds more than just oils too!

Not pictured: hats (especially for babies), baby bottles or sippy cups. I bring ours in a small cooler that fits in the bottom of my backpack. I usually toss some cheese sticks or other small snacks in, depending on how long our hike is. Then I also have an ice pack in case we need one on hand.

Pack it all in a backpack that’s comfortable enough to wear for a long time:

Now go off and enjoy the adventure!

What do you take along when you hike with your family? Happy hiking, friends!

Want to learn more about essential oils? Join my private group on Facebook!

Peanut Butter (and Jelly!) Granola Bars

 

If you’ve ever had a picky eater in your household, you know the angst of trying to get them to branch out. Our picky eater would eat the same meal for lunch and dinner every.single.day. if we let him: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Seriously, this kid LOVES his PB&Js. I’m constantly working to get him to try new foods or even a new way to eat a food he likes. You mamas of picky eaters know how hard this is! So for a healthy and fun twist on his daily PB&J, I’ve been making these super yummy peanut butter and jelly granola bars for lunch or snack time instead!

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I’m pretty choosy about what foods we put into our bodies, so I really enjoy cooking and baking from scratch whenever I can. I’ve made these granola bars for years, and they’re always a big hit. I feel good about my family eating them, because I know exactly what’s inside. Homemade granola bars are always better than packaged and processed! They are also really easy and quick to make, which is a necessity in this season of my life.

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Because we put Jif Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter inside the bars, they pair absolutely perfectly with our favorite Smucker’s Fruit Spread!

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We have used Smucker’s Fruit Spreads in our house for as long as I can remember. I absolutely love their “Simply Fruit” line – no added sugars! I’m a big fan of short ingredient lists. :) And the Fruit and Honey Triple Berry spread… oh my, I could eat it on its own, it’s so yummy.

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We spread the jelly and peanut butter on top, and then – to make it more like a true PB&J – we put another granola bar on top.

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This “sandwich” is easy to pack in a lunchbox, or put some jelly in a reusable container for dipping your granola bar. Pickiest eater approved!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you won’t be surprised that one of my favorite places to shop is Target. We go through a loaf of bread in like five minutes, so the fact that I can pick up our PB&J supplies and this adorable basket and PINK rolling pin, all while drinking coffee (bonus points if I’m alone!)… well, I’m sold. ;)

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And I love love LOVE the Cartwheel app! Last month, I forgot my login password, and seriously spent an extra 20 minutes in the store trying every password I could possibly have used, then reseting my password, just so I could use my coupons. Ha!! Right now, both Smucker’s Fruit Spreads and Jif Peanut Butter Spreads have Cartwheel savings – which I totally used. Because seriously, five kids is kind of a lot and any little bit I can save makes me a happy mama!

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Ready to make your own??

Peanut Butter (and Jelly!) Granola Bars

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground flax
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 – 1 cup raisins/chocolate chips/chopped nuts *optional

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
generous 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

optional toppings:

jelly
creamy peanut butter
bananas
chia seeds

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Combine all wet ingredients.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until evenly moistened.
4. Spoon onto 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper – press evenly into the pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown (27 minutes is the sweet spot for me!)
6. Let cool completely before cutting into pieces. If you don’t, they will be crumbly and not stay formed into bars. They will still be yummy, but they may be more like granola instead of bars. :)
7. Top with Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Fruit Spread, and maybe some bananas or chia seeds too!

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My kids could NOT wait for this batch to cool, so we ended up with a lot of bite-sized pieces. Luckily, small pieces make the perfect snack.

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How do you combat the boring lunch blues??

15 Sewing Projects to Help You Get Organized!

Happy New Year! I love when things start fresh… new years, new seasons, new school years, new notebooks. As we’re starting 2017, I’m doing a huge purge of my house. We moved into our new (old) home last February, and in that time I’m realizing all the stuff that we don’t need – or want – encroaching on our space. I’m also looking for pretty and functional ways to organize the things we do have. So today I’m sharing 15 sewing projects that will help you get organized!15-sewing-projects-to-help-you-get-organized

Floor cushion with hidden storage

This floor cushion was an easy way for us to store stuffed animals and other soft items when we needed to corral them. We’ve simplified the stuffed animals collection, so I think we’ll repurpose this one for blanket storage this year.

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Nesting Baskets

I was eyeing up some fabric baskets at the store the other day, when I realized I’d rather have handmade ones! These from Jess at The Sewing Rabbit have a free pattern, so I’m going to use some of these to corral toys and baby blankets.

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Puzzle envelopes

I love these puzzle envelopes from my friend Jodi at Sew Fearless, and I think they’d work great for organizing some of our homeschool supplies.

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Essential oil travel case

I need to make a few more of these essential oil travel cases, because one just isn’t enough for the oils I want to carry with me out of the house!

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Zipper pouch

This is my current favorite type of zipper pouch to make and use. I’m finding them so handy that I need at least two more.

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Rolled camp kitchen

I’m not a big fan of junk drawers, but I need a place to put miscellany – items that don’t seem to have a home, but should. I think this rolled camp kitchen from Sabra at Sew a Straight Line would be great for hanging in the closet and collecting those items.

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Trading Card carrier

I made this carrier for my boys’ football cards last year, but I think I need to make a similar one to hold playing cards and other little card games. It would make it super easy to grab when I know we’re going to need a distraction at an appointment or when we’re headed away for the weekend.

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Fabric Tray

I hate how dresser and table tops are stuff collectors! I want to make a couple of these fabric trays from Anna at Noodlehead for our night stands and other places that seem to collect all.the.things.

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Clothespin Bag

This clothespin bag from Melissa at Melly Sews is the perfect solution for housing plastic grocery bags in our basement by the laundry!

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Simple tote bag

A lot of our reusable grocery bags have gotten dingy and just need to be tossed. I’m going to sew up a few more of these tote bags to replace them!

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Gym bag

New year must mean new health resolutions, right?? Everyone and their mom is heading to the gym. This baby weight isn’t just going to melt away. ;) I love this gym bag from my friend Melissa at Sew Like My Mom!

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Bedside pocket organizer

My boys love to take books to bed, and I think this bedside pocket organizer from Sew Can She will help keep them from becoming a giant pile next to their beds!

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Wet Bag

I need to make a larger version of this wet bag. I still use this one in my diaper bag (SO handy to have, along with this changing mat!), but my large wet bag has seen better days and needs replacing.

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Vinyl Lego Organizer

Any other moms have a love-hate relationship with Legos?? Okay really, we love Legos in our house. They provide my boys with hours of creative play. But organizing them… YIKES. I love this vinyl lego organizer from Emily at Nap-time Creations, and I think it could be a great solution!

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Crochet hook case

Okay, so I don’t actually crochet (ha!), but my mom recently taught my oldest how to knit, and my knitting needles aren’t very accessible. I want to make a case like this one from my friend Delia at Delia Creates to put all the needles, so he can get to the ones he needs on his own, without me digging through a bin in the basement!

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Here’s to getting organized in 2017! Happy sewing!

Real Mom Confessions: How to End the Toothbrushing Battle

                                  

I think it’s fair to say that parents everywhere have experienced the same struggle at least a time or two: the dreaded tooth brushing battle! Whether it be a toddler who refuses to open her mouth or a preschooler who hates the taste of toothpaste or an older child who just can’t remember to brush, the struggle IS real. With four tooth-bearing kiddos, we’ve gone through our fair share of brushing battles. If you’re nodding your head, saying “Yes! This is me!” I have some toothbrushing tips to make brush time a little easier.

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Some of my kiddos have fought tooth brushing more than others, so I’ve used my fair share of tricks to try to get them to brush. I’m sure you parents can relate to this video:


(Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the video)

Here’s how we ended the tooth brushing battle in our house:

1. Make it silly

When you make a silly face, act like a monkey, or bring out the goofy voices, your toddler will have a hard time holding back his smiles. This relaxes you both and makes it more of a game, less of a battle.

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2. Don’t push it 

It’s important to brush your kiddos’ teeth,  but sometimes we just need to back off for awhile. If your little one is suddenly refusing to brush, take a few days off (her teeth won’t fall out!) and come back to it with a fresh approach.

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3. Give them control 

Kids love to be in control! Let your preschooler squeeze the toothpaste himself. Ask your elementary aged child to be the tooth brush monitor. Give your toddler a choice of toothpaste flavors.

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4. Buy a really yummy toothpaste

This kind of seems like a no-brainer, but honestly? Some kids’ toothpastes don’t taste good! Many have a fake taste that I wouldn’t enjoy using, so why would they?  Some of my boys are really picky about food, and they don’t care for traditional toothpaste flavors. I’ve truly never seen my kids like a toothpaste as much as they like this hello toothpaste. Sometimes they brush their teeth three times a day, without me even asking. What?!

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The unique flavors (watermelon and bubble gum are the kid favorites here) really get them excited to brush. And the toothpaste is naturally friendly, which makes this mama excited! I love when our personal care products say no: no dyes, parabens, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, triclosan, or microbeads. I’m super conscious of what we put in our bodies, so that’s all really important to me.

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Something else I love? These toothpastes have fluoride and fluoride free options. Personally, I love the natural sweet mint flavor (fluoride free!)

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I love anything that can make my mom life a little bit easier (can I get an Amen, mamas??), and eliminating brush time battles with hello toothpaste has made a huge difference in our house.

So time for your own real mom confessions… what crazy things have you done to get your kids to brush their teeth? What tips do you have to share??

Wrap Around Gallery Wall {a how-to}

We moved a few months ago, and with moving comes the much-anticipated decorating. A house doesn’t really have that homey feel until you have pictures on the walls, but sometimes that can be the hardest part! Deciding where everything should go in a new space can be an exciting challenge. In our previous home, I made a gallery wall in our living room that I absolutely loved. In our new home, however, there isn’t a wall large enough to re-create a similar wall. So I wrapped it around the corner to create this wrap around gallery wall – it’s perfect for the space!
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The goal of my gallery wall is to fill the space with photos and art that reflect our family and the creative spirit of our home.

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Some people like to cut pieces of paper the same size as the frames, tape them on the walls, and see how it works. That’s a little too Type A for my personality. ;) Instead, I lay everything out on the floor and rearrange it until it has a good feel.

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I take a picture of the layout on my phone so that I can reference it as I’m hanging everything up on the walls.

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I don’t measure, though that might work best for you. I just hang them up one by one and move if necessary. Don’t be afraid of nail holes! As Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) says in her book The Nesting Place, “Is there anything in life less risky than creating a one-millimeter hole in a wall that can be filled with your finger and some putty in two seconds?” I ended up with extra nail holes in the wall due to a few minor adjustments, but no one knows they’re there but me.

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My wall has a mixture of fabric, art, Scripture, and photos. That’s a pretty clear representation of our home and our family. You can find the tutorial for the bunting here.

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Not everything has to match or be the same color! Over the years, I’ve collected about 14,000 picture frames of various sizes and colors, and when thrown together in a gallery wall, they create a great eclectic vibe.

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Have an extra space to fill in your wall? Grab a small embroidery hoop and a scrap of fabric to add some texture and color.

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I love how this wrap around gallery wall turned out! Decorating isn’t about following rules or spending lots of money on coordinating items, but taking risks and having fun with what you have.

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Have you made a gallery wall? I’d love to see it!

Happy decorating!

Essential Oil Travel Case Tutorial

I’m an essential oil girl. I love having a natural alternative for taking charge of my family’s health. But when I leave the house, I throw them in my purse, and they just end up rolling around at the bottom. I needed a way to safely carry them – and find them – when I’m on the go. So I sewed up this Essential Oil Travel Case, and they’re super easy to make!Essential Oil Travel Case Tutorial

This post contains some affiliate links. Purchases made won’t cost you any more, but make me a small commission to run this site and help my family. Thanks for your support!

Supplies:

  • Fat quarter of woven fabric
  • Scrap of quilt batting
  • KAM snaps
  • Sewing machine, thread, scissors, etc.

**This makes a travel case that perfectly fits 5ml bottles. If you want to make one for 15 ml bottles, you will need to alter the size by lengthening the short side of the fabric.

1.Cut two pieces of woven fabric 10in x 5 in. Also cut one piece of quilt batting the same size.

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2. Place the fabric right sides together, with the quilt batting against one wrong side. Zig-zag around all sides, leaving a small opening on one side. Clip the corners.

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3. Turn the fabric right side out. Press and topstitch around all four sides, closing the opening you left for turning.

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4. Fold the bottom of the fabric up about 3/4 of the way. This will create your pockets. Using your essential oil bottles as your guide, pin between the bottles and pin/clip the fabric together at each end. *You want to leave extra fabric at each end, as shown in the picture, for your snaps.

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5. Stitch down where you pinned, to make your pockets. Also stitch down the fabric ends.

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*You will have an extra “pocket” at each end that is too small for an oil bottle. This is important!

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6. Attach your snaps, one at each end, in that extra space. I use a KAM snap pliers to attach my snaps.

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Now slide your oils in, and you’re ready to go!

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Roll it up, snap it, and toss it in your purse.

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This case is a really fast sew (I think I made it in 30 minutes, including the time to take pictures), and so practical! The quilt batting gives your oils a little cushion, and the pockets keep them snugly in place.

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No more digging around in the bottom of your purse (amongst the raisin boxes, old receipts, and baby wipes) to find the one you need!

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This really is the perfect travel accessory!

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At least there will be one aspect of my purse that’s organized. ;)

DIY Essential Oil Travel Case

purse: Better Than Basic Bag by Sew Fearless
wallet: Cozy Cameras
sunglasses: Target

*I use Young Living essential oils. If you’d like to learn more about essential oils, please join my Facebook group! If you are interested in purchasing and joining a community of people who will encourage you in your wellness journey, click here or email me at ifonlytheywouldnap@gmail.com*

Finding the Lovely in the Chaos

Motherhood is a chaotic business. Each day is filled with noise, lots of messes, and countless challenges. The days can be monotonous and exhausting. When faced with all the chaos, sometimes it can feel anything but lovely.

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Some days it’s easier just to focus on the challenges. To simply clean up the messes, change the diapers, and do the same things over again the next day.

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But every day has something lovely. Every moment. Even in the midst of a tantrum-throwing toddler, there is something lovely. The tear-stained hug when the crying stops, the laughter during the tickling that diffused the moment, the triumphant moment of standing your ground and not giving in to the kicking and screaming.

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“There is a correlation, I’m finding, between beauty and perseverance. It feels like beauty might be knots in the rope you are climbing, gas stations along the cross-country journey, the water stations strategically set up on a racecourse. Beauty is what makes it possible to keep going. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? It’s not just in the things everyone sees, but it is what YOU see, what sticks out to you, the unique moments God gives you to collect up and hold and draw strength from.”
-Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely
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Motherhood is a long-distance marathon. A test in endurance. An uphill climb. When you’re in the middle of the race, you feel tired. Your feet hurt. You can’t breathe. But as you keep going, you see the beauty in the persevering. You find your stride, you get your second wind, you drink some water and feel refreshed.

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Annie F. Downs recently released her latest book, Looking for Lovely. It is, in every sense of the word, lovely. I read it in two sittings, absolutely unable to put it down. This book reads a little like a memoir, as Annie shares her struggles and the loveliness she fought to find in the midst of them. Because sometimes you need to actively pursue the lovely. You have to ask the Father to show you all the good gifts He has put in your life, to open your eyes to what’s around you that you maybe haven’t noticed yet.DSC_6251-2 copy

That doesn’t mean that the chaos disappears or that suddenly life and motherhood become a walk in the park. Or that the messes are magically cleaned and the kids will never fight with each other. But looking for lovely can give you – give me – the change in perspective you need to embrace the chaos.

I don’t know about you, but I can always use more lovely in my life. Looking for Lovely is all about collecting the moments in your life that matter. In these days when I’m knee-deep in motherhood, I would much rather set my mind on what matters – the lovely, not the chaos. The snuggling on the couch, the basketball in the driveway, the “I love you” scrawled across the heart-shaped paper.

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Will you look for the lovely with me? Check out Annie F. Downs and her new book Looking for Lovely. I promise, you won’t regret it.

I received this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sewing an attitude change

With all the beautiful home magazines and blogs out there, it’s so easy to fall into the comparison game. My house isn’t big enough, it’s not the right color, my couch isn’t the right color, blah blah blah. I do it. You probably do too.
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It’s even harder when you aren’t living in your dream home. We’ve been in our house years longer than we expected to be, and some days it’s really hard to focus on what I love about it, instead of what I wish were different.

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But a house is just a house. All of my babies were brought home to this house. I’ve watched them take their first steps, speak their first words, and grow and change everyday. This house full of memories and stories, and sometimes those are physically reflected in the floors or the walls! As the Nester says, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

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When I feel myself getting into a funk about my house, sometimes a simple change is all I need to get a new perspective. New pillows are my go-to attitude changer.

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I’ve been hoarding this Anna Maria Horner print for awhile, and these pillows make me happy every time I look at them. I tucked away the summer pillows, and these feel so perfect for fall.

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I used this method for making the pillows and backed them with a dark blue sweatshirt fleece (cozy + kid friendly). In just 15 minutes, I felt a little lift in my spirits.

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I know that pillows won’t change the world, but I do think they can change your attitude!

Happy sewing, friends!

Sewing in a small, shared space [Sewing room tour!]

We live in a pretty small house. Not tiny house movement small, but still small, especially when it’s shared by six people. As our family has grown, my sewing room has moved around – the basement, the office… currently, I’m sewing in part of our bedroom. Sewing in a small space can be a challenge, but it’s still possible to have an inspiring place to create. Sit back and take a little tour of my sewing room!

Sewing in a small, shared space

When you sew in a shared space, you probably don’t have a lot of room to spread out. You need to be efficient with your storage and your usable space. It also means keeping your space a lot cleaner than you would if you could just close the door at the end of the night. But when you sew right next to your bed, you’ve got to keep things at least a little bit organized!

*This post contains affiliate links*

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I have enough room for two tables. I have a low table where I keep my serger, coverstitch, and sewing machine. I also have a counter-height cutting table.

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Since I’m not a quilter, I find that I usually have plenty of space on the table, even with all three machines. I can easily shift one over a bit if I need to. I can also quickly switch from serger to coverstitch when sewing with knits, which I find super convenient.

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I keep my thread spools close by, but I will fully admit they are NOT rainbow-tized. Seriously, I do not have time for that, friends! I’m just happy they make it back on their little rack. ;)

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Small spaces don’t have to lack personality. Since this one little corner of the house is just mine, I wanted to feel good every time I’m here. These sweet hoops are from my friend Alyson, and the print is from Mandy England (whose shop appears to be closed now).

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On the table, I keep things I don’t like to get up to find when I’m sewing: seam ripper, bobbins, scissors, tweezers, button-hole foot, tube turner, etc.

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I recently found these divided containers in the Target Dollar Spot, and they’re perfect for organizing my needles. I keep them in the basket, too.

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I picked up a handmade, magnetic pin holder at a local quilt museum, and it’s become one of my absolute favorite tools. I keep my zipper foot on here too, so that I can grab it easily.

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Behind the table is my big fabric shelf. I keep my knits in the baskets. This is new since reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and so far I really like this system! I can’t see all the fabric at once – I have to pull the baskets off the shelf to see everything inside – but it has definitely kept me from throwing everything on the floor in search of the perfect fabric. ;) I keep vintage sheets and bottom weights on the bottom shelf, and the bin underneath has clothing to upcycle. (I also have a bin with some jeans and sweatshirts in the closet… since I’m telling all!)

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When it comes to why I organize the way I do in this space, many decisions are kid-driven. For example, when you have a two-year-old who loves to turn on and off the printer all the time, moving it to the top shelf just makes sense. I try to keep most of my sharp things up high, as well as markers and paint. Because toddlers.

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I also have a small cabinet where I keep the rest of my woven fabrics. I recently went through all my fabric and took out a lot of things that I just didn’t love anymore. It gave me a lot more space for the fabric that I do love, and I can find what I need much more easily now. I also keep some more not-kid-friendly craft or office supplies in this cabinet. Like fabric markers. Because seriously… toddlers.

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On top I have a basket of knit scraps. I got rid of a ridiculous amount of scraps, because they just kept piling up. These are all good sized scraps, and most of them could make a toddler tee or baby pants.

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On the wall across from the bed, we have these built-ins. I keep most of my other supplies here. Bias tape, piping, hardware, extra scissors, cone thread spools, elastic, zippers, snaps, etc.

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I’ve been storing things in these Clementine boxes for years, and I have found a way to incorporate them in every sewing space I’ve had. The contents of the boxes change occasionally, but I’m not sure I’ll ever give them up.

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Across from my sewing machines, I have my cutting table. This is a recent purchase, and I l.o.v.e. it. My three-year-old pretty much built it on his own (seriously), so it’s incredibly easy to put together. It’s sturdy and has all these great cubbies. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I really do love this table!!

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Usually this table is pretty well covered with a project of some sort. Or something I’m hiding from the kids. Just out of the picture are the tools I use: rotary cutters, Gingher shears, rulers, pens, tape, etc.

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Because of the limited space in our house, we don’t have an office. So the computer sits on the end of the cutting table. It actually works really well, because if I need to look at pattern instructions or if I just want to watch something on Netflix, I can pull it right up. But it’s also easy enough to move, should I need the extra space. You can find a tutorial for the wall art here.

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Behind the table is where I keep my patterns and blogging/pattern shop papers. I also keep a lot of homeschool papers and books in this corner, because… I have no where else to put them. :)

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My sweet sister-in-law gave me these hoops that were used as decorations at her wedding. I love them just as they are, so they were an easy addition to my space! The fabulous prints are from Mercy Ink (top right) and Pen and Paint.

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Having my sewing space in the bedroom can sometimes be a challenge – if I relaxing in our room, I do have moments where I get distracted by all the projects I could be working on. It also makes late night sewing tricky, if my husband wants to go to sleep. No, it’s not perfect, and while I certainly would love to have my own sewing room again, I’m so happy with the space I’ve created!

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It’s easy to assume that everyone else has a gorgeous sewing studio, or to see beautiful sewing rooms on Pinterest and get frustrated with your limited space. But wherever you sew – on your kitchen table, in a corner of the basement, or anywhere in between – that space becomes yours once you sit down at that machine.

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In this season of my life, in my house that often feels too small, I’m choosing to be grateful for the space that I do have. For a husband who doesn’t mind that I set up shop in our bedroom. For kids who are thankful and excited for handmade clothes. For a fabric stash that certainly isn’t wanting.

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What do you love about your sewing space? Share a picture of it on my Facebook page! I would love to see it :)

Happy sewing, friends!

Create your own Summer Essential Car Kit

Summer days in our house are filled with play dates at parks and splash pads, zoo days, road trips, and spontaneous stops to get frozen custard. Over the years, I’ve gotten smart and have begun carrying some essential supplies in the car for the inevitable messes and to avoid as many meltdowns as possible. Because nothing can make a day go sour like a toddler melting down because his shirt is soaked or his hands are sticky or (Heaven help us) we forgot to pack a snack. My mom secret to disaster-less days is a Summer Essential Car Kit!
Summer Essential Car Kit - help curb all the mini-disasters that happen away from home

Every Essential Car Kit will look a little different, because each family has unique needs. And as the summer goes on, you’ll probably find that you don’t need something you thought you would or that you need to add something. I like to use the reminders app on my phone when I’m out of the house when I think of something that I need to add to the bin.

What to put in your Summer Essential Car Kit

  • Paper towels
  • Extra clothes
  • Snacks that won’t melt
  • Sunscreen
  • Huggies ® Wipes – even if your kids are out of diapers, wipes are a must. I can’t tell you how many times I’m so grateful to have them!
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Band-aids and/or first aid kid
  • Extra diapers, if you have littles
  • Water bottles (we prefer reusable bottles, but no one wants to be stuck without water on a scorching hot day!)

DSC_6785I put everything in a bin with a lid that snaps on, but you could also make a tote bag to put everything in. This is especially helpful if you want to carry your supplies with you when you arrive at your destination. I like to know that when I put it in the bin, it’s going to stay in there, and not fall out as the car moves or if it gets kicked around the car.

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One of my kiddos does NOT like to be messy. Anything sticky or muddy can turn into a major disaster. So carrying wipes with me is a non-negotiable. Huggies ® Wipes have Triple Clean Layers for handling even the biggest of messes. A change of clothes is also necessary to avoid meltdowns. I add clothes that are in the middle size range, since my kids aren’t all that far apart in age. They might be a bit too big or small for some kids, but will fit the kids that are most likely to make a mess and will work in a pinch for the others.
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Here are some other ideas you can put in your Summer Essential Car Kit:

  • Bug spray
  • Larger first aid kit
  • Bubbles (for when you arrive at the pool before it opens and have to wait!)
  • Sweatshirts for cool summer evenings
  • Blanket
  • Instant ice packs
  • Extra sunglasses or hats

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Stock your Summer Essential Car Kit before your summer gets too busy, Because Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes*
Here’s to a meltdown free summer!