Thursday, July 28, 2011

L.A.U.N.D.R.Y

Clean and awaiting folding and putting away!

My weakness.  Definitely not something I am on top of or good at.  It piles up in what seems like a blink of an eye.  I make big goals to stay caught up and guess what?  I fall quickly behind.  As in today is laundry day (it’s a dirty word to me- no pun intended) and I am currently on load 6.  The whole washing and drying part doesn’t bother me, and to be honest neither does the folding.  It’s the actual putting away that gets me muttering under me breath.  I know I should be thankful we are blessed with so much (“Should” being the key word here) It’s just that as soon as I am caught up, there are piles waiting again! 


All Folded!
Anyways, enough of my grumblings… what are YOUR laundry tips that help?  What have you tried that actually works for helping you keep up?  What system do you have in place to help you stay on top of things?  We installed a laundry chute (“we” being my sweet husband) and that has been something I absolutely LOVE.  All the clothes land 2 feet away from the washing machine, no more hampers or piles in every room… the one problem is, is that now it’s in the basement where I can (in my lazy ways) easily avoid it all together… yeah, you are seeing a really bad side of me today!  Laundry is seriously not even close to being a strength of mine.

I am going to choose to have a good attitude about this.  I am going to choose to serve my family by washing their dirty clothes and making sure my husband (he is really patient) has socks again!  I am going to choose not to let this get me down.  Maybe that’s my system… to at least make the most of it and not let the task ruin my day.  We all have areas in our responsibilities that weigh us down… so here’s to clean sheet night! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Time Scraps


Life.  It can get busy in the blink of an eye.  Days are filled with teaching, training and spending time with 3 boys.  Housework.  My Etsy.  Cooking.  Dishes.  Laundry.  My husband’s days are filled with an hour commute one way.  Clocking a minimum of 9.5 hours. Part time college. Lawn. House.  Garden.  Daddy time with those boys mentioned earlier!

Where does marriage fit into the mix? 


Sometimes we are left scrambling for leftovers. Scraps of time here or there that aren’t already spoken for.  It might be a ½ an hour at the end of the day after the boys are sound asleep and school work is finished for the day.  It may be a rare (as in not nearly often enough) actual planned date night.  It may be catching up over the phone on that long commute home.  Or a quick call to check in at lunchtime.  However the amount, we need to stay connected.  We need to keep working at this and not let our marriage fall in the cracks. 

Is our marriage always excellent?  no.  Do we always feel close in midst of all the responsibilities?  no.  Do we sometimes take each other forgranted? yes.  Does life get so busy that we, at times, go far too long without connecting?  you bet.  There are very real demands that need our time and attention and sometimes that leaves us completely beat at the end of the day. 

So how can we save and guard time for each other?  Some simple ideas that have worked for us:
* Plan a movie night in. No babysitters required!
* Work together to get caught up around the house so we are free and ready to relax
* Appreciate even those tiny little scraps of time here or there. That hug. A kiss.
* Thank each other for all the work that goes into each day. Can I change that long commute? No, but I CAN thank him for being such an excellent supporter and provider for us. Does that make the hour any shorter? Probably not, but I bet it’s better than if I get bitter about him not being around.
* Leave little notes
* Bring flowers home just because! (I love when this happens)
* Remember all the things you love about them

* Forget all the things that bug you
* Put each other first
* Choose each day to be married!
* Get a babysitter

Realize that life can be challenging:  It’s not always going to be a piece of cake.  There are going to be hard days.  You aren’t always going to like each other or be perfect.  Be understanding.  This is THE ONE!  The person that you chose to walk through life with, to share in the joys and trials.  What an amazing gift!  Bask in the security of knowing that they love you, at your worst and at your best! 

How blessed I am to have someone who will share even their little, teeny scraps of time with me! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Flexible Structure

I love structure.  I am a firm believer that kids (and adults) need it.  I know my boys, and let me tell you, I know they do better when they know what is expected of themselves and of each day.  We have a daily schedule hanging on our fridge that is our map for success.  It is split up in 30 min. sections, outlining what needs to get done and what we want to make sure we squeeze into each day at home together.  I found awhile ago that if they are left in “free play” for too long they start bugging each other, getting into mischief and feeling kinda bored.  I also realized that I simply can not spend my whole day entertaining them.  I have things I am responsible for and although I love playing with my kids, I can’t do just that all day.  Alternating back and forth between chores, and play has worked wonders in our home!  They don’t feel neglected.  I don’t become Mrs. Lazy Housekeeper.  They get the attention they need to get their own imaginations working.  I get the time I need to get things done.  They get time with their mom reading books, playing games, folding towels together and hanging out!  I get to have happy, content boys (for the most part).  Balance.  Ahh!  Soak that up.  Say it again!  Balance!  Added bonus: My husband gets to come home to smiles-  not the overwhelmed wife and whiny kids. 


A portion of our daily schedule
Now although our days run smoothly with this in place, not all days are sunshine and rainbows.  Some days I need to be thinking on my toes and know how to change it up or throw them a curve ball to get things back on track.  Sometimes that means a surprise trip to Gramma’s (We are blessed to live in a 15 minute proximity to their grandparents making this an option for us)  Sometimes it means a trip to the library.  Sometimes if we are into an art project or they are so snugly sitting by me reading books it means lingering and not rushing on to the next thing.  I have to be in tune with my kids and with their responses to what we are doing. This morning it meant a 2 year old out digging in the sandbox wearing only underwear, a 5 year old coloring at the table and a 1 year old playing with balls in a rare moment by himself.  They were peaceful, happy and content.  I ditched the schedule and let them be.  We hadn’t eaten breakfast, brushed our teeth or gotten dressed (hence the underwear/sandbox situation).  But I took the privilege to let them finish, to allow them to continue what was holding their tiny little attention spans.  Eventually sand got into eyes, the picture was finished and I had a hungry 1 year old at my feet… so back on track we got!  We kept moving forward.  I could have called in the 2 year old and given the "we don't play outside in our underwear" speech.  I could have packed away the crayons until coloring time or scooped up the balls in our daily pick up the family room routine, but I didn't.  I was in tune with them and that moment. 
 
The uninterrupted art
I don’t know if this trick would work in every home, or if everyone works well with structure.  I do know it works for us.  I have gone through periods of time when things at home are overturned.  I am behind on every single type of chore, the kids are testing all boundaries and limits and I spend my days playing referee instead of mom.  Its up to us how our days will run- how to make the most of my time with my boys.  I want us to experience success.  I want us to enjoy our days, live in a home that feels like a home.  Make time for the things that are priorities and know when to switch things up, to learn something new.  Parenting is an ever changing thing.  The challenge of today will soon be a thing of the past and a new one will be waiting on the doorstep.  Don’t let the tough parts overshadow the blessings you have been gifted! Don't let the challenging days become the norm. Find a way that works for your family, for your own unique situation to help you experience each day to its full potential! 

I would love to hear your tricks for seeking out balance and success.  What has worked?  What was a total flop?  Looking back what would you do differently?  What are you so thankful that you took the time to focus on?  Learning from each others experiences is a great way to support and encourage one another!  Happy Flexible Structure to each of you! 



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The "girly" need


I live in a small house with my husband and 3 boys (ages 5, 2 ½ and 1) To say that I am outnumbered is really an understatement- but to say that I am blessed is also a great understatement!  My husband works and I am thankful to be able to spend my days with my little loves.  Being that they are boys, they are naturally drawn to gross and disgusting things… burps could make them laugh forever, finding a worm outside is the thrill of the afternoon.  Being the only girl in my house I long for girly things- that’s where my hobby has come in.  I love  crocheting the head wraps that I sell on my Etsy site. 

Sewing helps me find balance


It is a connection with my inner girl that is sometimes rather smothered by my little guys.  I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but I also love having a way to do the things that define who I am as a woman.  I love painting my toes, decorating our home, sewing throw blankets, visiting over coffee, and wearing jewelry.

 What are your ways you keep your identity when surrounded with the responsibilities of life?  What helps you feel like YOU?  They are blessed to have a mom! To be the best at that role that I can be, I need to make sure I am true to myself, the woman that I am! 


Me with some of my most favorite girls in my life


Friday, May 27, 2011

Do it yourself coasters for around .30 each (yes, that's 30 cents!)

reception favors

These coasters are made out of a 4x4 inch tile, decorated with craft paper or fabric and sealed.  The possibilities are endless- I have done our boys’ handprints for the Grammas for Mother’s Day.  Photo ones for a girlfriend (of her and her fiancĂ©) for her shower, and reception favors (with the bride and groom’s names, date and a Bible reference printed on a clear address label) for my sister’s upcoming wedding. 

How-To

  1. Hot glue felt, cork or fleece to the back of the tile.  This prevents it from scratching the table it will sit on.  You can also use the little circles that go under chair legs, they work really well too.

  2. Pick your paper or fabric and decoupage it to the tile- It takes more glue than you would think, so be generous

  3. If using a picture, handprint or other type of art layer it on. 


  4. Let dry and then give it a good coat or two of acrylic spray sealer (found by the spray paints)
Tie a ribbon around a set of 4 and they make a great gift!


My 3 little loves' handprints

Ideas for coaster making:

Host a coffee date with your friends and make them together (that’s what we did for the reception favors.  We managed to knock out 210 in about 3 hours and it didn’t even feel like a job because there were 6 of us catching up and 10 kids running around playing)

Let your kids do their best artwork- a useful keepsake that captures the cute way they draw people or their adorable lettering.  They love the gluing mess! (tip: a quick layer of newspaper or a paper bag on the table makes clean up a breeze) 

Find pictures of people who inspire you, encourage you and love you. What a great place to rest your morning coffee each day.

Use old maps, recycled newspaper, t-shirts, holiday cards, ... anything!

photo coasters


Have fun with it and let them reflect your own uniqueness!


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Greeting!

This is my official "hello".  I have been tossing around the idea of starting a blog for awhile and decided to commit to it for this summer as an experiment.  My goals and vision for it are:  Craft ideas you can do on your own. Decorating tips with upcycled, repurposed and unique items.  Parenting thoughts, and married life.  I don't claim to be an expert at any area but I enjoy learning from other people's experiences and sharing my own personal story. 




Me with my 3 little loves on Mother's Day




I also hope to continue working on and expanding my etsy shop PortalElements.  I refer to this as my tiny little hobby that helps break up the daily life of being wife, mom and homemaker. 


I hope to meet people and connect, and to learn a lot along the way!


Thanks for joining me on this mission!  I would love to hear your thoughts, input and ideas.


Me in one of my Etsy creations