Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When Your Marriage Gets Real

Yup, I'm going there. 

In the beginning, you get married. You are madly in love (or something) and you firmly believe the other person can do no wrong. In our case, we decided we were going to date, be in love, and get engaged on the same night. Picked out my engagement ring a week later. Got married six months later (and we only waited that long because we were living in different states at the time). Not weird at all, right? It was a whirlwind. Andrew's idiosyncrasies were adorable, and I'm sure he felt the same about mine. He was the tall, dark, quiet, passionate, brooding type. I was the energetic, creative, slightly crazy type. It was all hand holding and walks in the park and romantic gestures. Fast forward five years. Three kids and one miscarriage later, student loans and a mortgage and things started to get real. Sure, you are 'really married' from the start, but the actual feelings start happening at some point in that first five years. Like... "PLEASE PUT THE DISHES IN THE DISHWASHER STARTING FROM THE BACK OF THE RACK TOWARD THE FRONT." You start to do things that annoy the other person. You are annoyed by the other person. "ARE YOU CHANGING THIS POOP DIAPER OR AM I?!" You get into an argument, or two. Maybe you even go to bed angry (heads up- not a good idea. That's what everyone says anyway). And in the middle of one of the arguments, you think "What in the world is happening? Who is this person? Who am I?!" And that's when it hits you. Things just got real. This is what people were talking about when they said marriage was work. It isn't just first dates and I do's. This person I'm married to is a real person- a really complicated human person- and as it turns out I am really complicated too.

So at this point you have a choice. You can a.) start to resent this human you share a bed with and question whether or not you are 'meant to be' and if you really are 'soul mates' after all, then possibly consider running away to an island somewhere or b.) work it out. Realize this isn't a 'bad marriage,' it's a real marriage! Keep talking, keep kissing, keep loading the dishwasher from the back of the rack to the front, even though you are well aware that isn't the correct way to do it. And you feel everything and you know their faults aren't anything personal against you. You start to notice all the great things they do, and you appreciate the little ways they put aside their own desires to make you happy. You watch them tuck your children into bed, night after night. And then you watch them patiently re-tuck your children into bed, because they keep getting out and running into the living room for a drink of water. (!!!) You defend them and you pray for them. You love them in a way you will never love anyone else. You realize this person is your partner for life, despite the disagreements and the imperfections. That's the moment when you know- your marriage just got real.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Recycled Art: Flower Wall Hangings

How do you get your ideas? When I get an idea, it's usually a whim or a picture in my mind. Then I wait until I have time or energy and think about how I can make it happen. Maybe you're inspired by Pinterest or pictures in magazines or images on television. I often find inspiration from all of those places! My husband knows that look in my eye when I'm thinking of an idea- especially an idea for our home. It's usually followed by a pretty big mess and an afternoon with my helpers cutting, gluing, painting, etc at the dining room table. :) Sounds like fun to me!

After the UPS man came this morning and delivered a package of soap supplies, I decided I could use the box and the recycled brown paper wrapping to make my 3d wall art. I cut some triangles out of the paper and cardboard circles out of the box my shipment came to me in. Then we taped the triangles to the circle with packing tape and colored with sidewalk chalk on the front of the cardboard circle for a little pop of color. I hung it up on the wall with long strips of the packing tape- now that's my way of turning trash into treasure! Best part is, when I get sick of my new flowers (which is bound to happen in the next month or so) I can guiltlessly toss them into the recycling!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Teaching Kids: Mixing colors

Today the beautiful light coming through the dining room windows inspired me to do something bright and cheerful with the kids. We learned about mixing colors- what happens when you combine blue and yellow- and the shades of the rainbow. Zion, who chronically forgets her colors, (she is a two year old, after all) even got the hang of it! They had a great time mixing food dye to make primary colors- red, yellow and blue; then we combined them to create the rainbow effect. It was so pretty the glasses are still hanging out on my windowsill!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Three Holiday Decorations to Make at Home!

Things have been REALLY busy around here (hence the two week break from posting). I have been up to my neck in Happy Goats Soap Co orders and loving every minute of it. Oh yeah also feeding, clothing and playing with my three kids, plus hiding Lorky the Christmas Elf which is like a career all its own. In the midst of all of that, I realized I couldn't do everything I wanted to and that something had to give. SO... my kids have been introduced to Ellio's pizza, their new obsession. Its a decision I may come to regret as I discover that they reject all other foods in favor of the boxed frozen pizza slices. Insider tip- if you're going to feed your kids frozen food be sure to thaw a bag of those microwave steamed vegetables. In my opinion, they have redeemed many-a-meal around here. If its green its good, right?

Even though we're busy, we've still been decking the halls. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen #deckthehalls2014 posts. Here's how some of those ideas happened!

 Paper Mache Stars

to do:
1. Cut out star shapes from cardboard. (I used diaper boxes...naturally.)
2. Mix one part glue to two parts water in a large bowl.
3. Rip strips from news paper, and dip the strips into the glue. 
4. Place newspaper dipped in glue all over the starts and let them dry for at least a few hours. 
5. I poked holes in the stars to string and hang them.

Salt Dough Ornaments

I already posted my recipe for these here. So easy and fun!
I painted over them with glitter glue after baking to add some shine.

Dried Fruit Ornaments

Do you have a food dehydrator? I do, (awesome yard sale find!) but if not, you can still make these very pretty dried fruit ornaments! Just slice and put them in the oven on a greased baking sheet at 200 degrees for about 8 hours or until they are thoroughly dried. I used apples, pears, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. I also sprinkled them with cinnamon but it does make them a bit darker. They smelled amazing.

Other Ideas:

Here's what we do- bundle up and go out into the back yard. Look for any evergreens you can get your hands on. We have VERY slim pickings on my property even though we live back in the woods.  I'd have to trek back pretty far to find anything which didn't happen this year. There are some holly trees and bushes, but that's about it! So we use what we have and trim and hang greenery.

We also string fresh cranberries. You will probably need two bags from the grocery store to make a garland long enough for your whole tree.

Hang ornaments made of cinnamon sticks, cinnamon dough ornaments, and the salt dough ornaments on your tree. My kids love the traditions we are beginning, and the familiar smells every holiday. It's one thing I set the time aside for and make sure it happens, no matter how busy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Favorite Christmas Gifts for Young Kids- 2014

Presents can be so hit or miss, so I wanted to make this list of some of the things my kids have received and actually loved and played with on a regular basis. I'm not necessarily recommending the exact item, but more of an idea. Some gifts I'm absolutely sure the kids are going to love, but then they rarely play with them which is so disappointing (especially if they are on the expensive side). Whether you are buying for your own child or for someone else's, the following are both parent and kid approved ideas that have been successful with my two, three and four year olds.

Melissa & Doug Fold & Go Dollhouse
I like that this is both very pretty and also easily moved from one spot to another.
It isn't too big but there's plenty of space inside.
Also comes with accessories so there aren't tons of extras to buy.

This is one of the kids most played with toys. 
They like reading through the booklet it comes with and matching up the bugs.

Art Supplies: pipe cleaners, construction paper, glue sticks, glitter glue, washable markers, crayons, kids scissors, STICKERS.

Kid sized garden tools. Especially large shovels, rakes, and buckets for digging.

This is a play food dish set from Target. All three kids like this.
We have a really nice wooden play kitchen but these dishes can also be played with in our full size sink and in the bathtub! The pitcher is good for learning how to pour.

A baby stroller and baby carriers.

Play Doh!!!

Very cool gift for a kid who likes to build. 
These sets are extremely well made and worth the money, in my opinion.

Books-at the top of our list are "The Little Blue Truck," "Where the Wild Things Are," 
"Brown Bear Brown Bear," and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

There you have it, my kid and parent approved gift list for 2014!

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