Category Archives: Homemaking

getting crafty for Lent

“Lent summons us, and enables us, to come back to the Lord wholeheartedly and in every aspect of our life.”

from Pope Francis’s message on Lent

One of my resolutions for these forty days is to craft with my kids. (Ronan too!) In a way, it’s part of my prayer and almsgiving.

This creative time makes me a more present and loving mother. (My IG fast will help with being more present too!) Even if all we make is a popsicle-stick house with globs of hot glue on all sides, the energy engaged in a shared activity is what I’m going for.

(We will even do some Lent specific crafts, like these!)

This quote by St. Teresa of Avila resonates with me, “God walks among the pots and pans.” My sister-in-law introduced me to it with her print (which hangs next to my sink).

It reminds me that each plate I wash, each toy I pick up, diaper I change, and TP-roll tower we build is an opportunity to experience his presence in prayer.

Praying for YOU this Lenten season. <3

 

Before and After KonMari, photos + experience

Every year of our relationship we’ve moved – twice cross-country; twice cross-town. This Sunday we will say goodbye to the Midwest and head for Texas, setting our longest period of time in one home at 15 months.

During our last couple weeks of living in a mostly packed space I always have the same experience. Clear countertops, closets with room, empty corners – all open spaces. I look around and think, “this is actually so nice.”  Even still, I never questioned why we didn’t always live this way. Instead, we’d move, unpack, and continue on this cycle of needing, buying, and cleaning.

This all changed last December when one book turned my idea of organization and keeping house on it’s head. During one of our biweekly trips to the local library, I picked up Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tyding Up. 

We had such a positive experience. (I tell anyone who will listen about it.) So, I wanted to share/archive it here.

Here are the bullets.

Tangible impact:

  • Trashed, donated, or recycled over 70% of our belongings
  • Donated over 60 garbage bags and boxes filled with good condition clothing, appliances, home goods, etc.
  • Profited $1200 from consigning clothing, DVDs, and furniture
  • Used part of profits to upgrade from a floor bed to the frame I dreamed of (and watched, and watched, and watched on Wayfair) for a year+ (it’s this one, by the way)
  • We open any closet/drawer without things falling out on us- we comfortably get what we need
  • We are much more discerning about what we buy and bring into our home
  • More time for what’s important: cuddling Ronan, playing with Evelyn, relaxing with Bradley, prayer, exercising, writing, journaling

Mental impact:

  • Free/ lightweight/ peaceful feeling
  • Less budget stress

I picked it up the book the perfect moment. We were in a season of transition. I was 20 weeks pregnant and while nesting hadn’t hit in its full intensity I felt motivated to prepare our space so to welcome our second child.

It would be a lot of work, but my vision was simple, and vivd.

I envisioned myself criss-cross on the carpet, our son cuddled up in my arms while my daughter and I enjoy a play tea party. I saw toys shattered about the room as we play but there’s no looming stress about cleaning because I know that everything has a place and it will take no longer than three minutes get everything there. When the party is over and we’re on to the next thing I open closets to put away everything with ease (no more stuffing!). Being in my home is joyful because only things we love are in it. Life is simpler, freer, and easier.

With this vision calling to me and lighting the way through a dark tunnel of sorting through SO MUCH STUFF we donated and recycled over 70% of our belongings! I lost count of the hauls we made to the donation center. My vision became our reality. We’ve eliminated so much excess. We reclaimed our time to focus on each other.

We didn’t do anything special. We followed her process faithfully. Start to finish it took us two weeks. (Plus, with this current move we’ve eliminated another 10%.)

^Said goodbye to *most of* these clothes + the wardrobe rack.

^^ I originally went from five storage tubs to three much smaller pull-outs for off-season clothes. With this move, I’ve pared down even more. Now all of my clothes (on and off season) fit in these three pull-outs (with the exception of my parka, shoes, and maternity clothing).

At first, I was skeptical. Kondo’s method is almost totally insane. She talks to her clothing………… Before I followed her method I questioned her sanity. After questioned my own. Why is this so freeing? Am I losing my mind? It just works.

With each bag that was added to the thrift store haul I chimmed to Brad, “I just never knew you could do this!” I never thought of just getting rid of good items merely because they do not spark joy. I kept things for good reason and they built up/out/over/under/all-over.

^^^Girl clothes – so excessive. (FYI: that’s 6-12 months, not years! I’m not that nuts.)

Purging our home of the excess has left us feeling totally lightweight. It’s created a  blank space for me mentally to just be at peace.

Another big change for me is our budget. (While I’m only mediocre at it, we try to follow the Dave Ramsey method.) I used to save all of my receipts. I had a 1×1 bin filled with papers, a filling cabinet, and another overflowing storage bin. Everything was out of control and all my bills (save the auto payments) were late. Kondo’s method of paper storage noteably increased my efficiency. I’m much more productive, organized, and no longer mentally stressed about managing bill pay and paperwork.

We aren’t true minimalist – we value the warm feel of home that a true minimalist home might lack. (Plus, I’ll never give up our keepsakes. Ha! Have you seen this book I made Bradley for Valentine’s Day? We also have two storage bins of college t-shirts, Bradley’s rugby swag, and my favorite dresses and blouses that I’m too old for but save for Eve. Sentimental hoarder 4 life.) We feel like we don’t have too much or too little. What we have is just right.

Packing this time around has helped us to eliminate even more. (I also recommend this documentary) In a few weeks, once we are settled in San Antonio, I’ll post a little apartment peak with what just right or “minimal-ish” looks like for us right now.

boy! boy! “nursery” planning

When expecting our first, the husband and I were cozied up in a one bedroom apartment.
 
Eve never had a nursery. When we moved into a two-bedroom apartment there still wasn’t much to her room. Just: one Pack-n-Play and an Ikea dresser (which we hated – because it was flimsy). The first 14-months we co-slept – so, it never mattered, anyway!
 
Where Eve napped:

You probably want to contract me for interior design support. I’m not taking on new clients at this time. I’m sorry.

Today we have three bedrooms and I’m so excited to have a space in our home to welcome our baby! (It sounds huge to me, but we actually have less square feet than our Arizona apartment.) 
 
Right now, we use the third bedroom as the toy room. I hope to convert it to a cozy little “nursery.” I type nursery in quotations because I’ve set my expectations pretty low. A crib, rocker, and all the other beautiful nursery bits don’t quiet fit into our Dave Ramsey budget.
 
I simply want a warm, cozy space. I envision one large shag rug – a place we can roll around on and play. I envision a dresser, a simple gallery wall, and book corner (which is already set up).
 
Here’s where I’d love input! This morning, I bought a dresser! I looked for ages and finally found one at our local South Bend thirft store. My hope is to paint it tomorrow morning during my free mama time. (Once a week my sister and I swap kids so the other can have some self-care time. It’s amazing!)
 
Initially I thought I’d add a dark stain and new hardware. But now, after jumping into the Pinterest rabbit hole, I’m digging these ideas.
 
What do you think?

Here is the piece as-is. *Sigh* I love mid-century modern furniture. You can’t beat the study hardwood. I’ll definitely replace the hardware on the bottom drawers!

Option #1: I love this, especially for a boy’s room. If I’m ever over the white/wood contrast, I can always strip the piece and stain it all dark.

Option #2: Again, digging the contrast. The navy is fun.

Option #3: I love this. My only hesitation is the white top and sides (similar to Option #1). I’m looking at you, future toddler running around with that marker that you found in the couch cushions!

Thoughts? #1? 2? 3? Good tutorials you can point me too? Pointers from the pros? Thank you, thank you in advance!