Friday, June 22, 2018

No.147: Farmhouse to Home // What I Bought (Vol.2)

This post contains affiliate links.  

Do you ever read home decor blogs and wonder how they have the time/money/focus to do entire makeovers of certain rooms?  Part of me wishes I could do the same, but another part thinks my slow-as-molasses approach to decorating is much more meaningful and fun.  Slowly but surely, we're making our house a home that (hopefully!) feels welcoming and warm.

Below are seven new additions to the farmhouse.  (Check out the first installment of Farmhouse to Home here.)  I search widely and go for a mix of more expensive, less expensive, vintage and handmade.  You know how much I love the look of a collected home.  Linking up with Kelly's Quick Takes!

1 // WHITE BATHMAT
Do I dare admit how long we needed a new bathmat in our master bathroom?  At one point, we were even using a beach towel!  #classy  I ordered this simple white bathmat during a sale and geez, what was I waiting for?!  It works great, washes well and the price isn't bad either.

2 // VINTAGE EXPANDABLE WALL RACK
The wall by our front door needed something, but since it isn't a frequently used area (we use the side door and the mudroom 99% of the time), I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do.  I stumbled upon this picture on Instagram and set out to find a vintage wall rack of my own.  I ended up purchasing one from Lititz Carriage House on etsy.  I love the well-worn look.

3 // STRING LIGHTS FOR THE BACK PORCH
This has been on the wishlist since the day we moved in!  I decided to go with these black string lights and bonus!  The company offered a discount if you purchased two sets, which we needed anyway.  We hope to install them in the next few weeks, but so far, I've been impressed.  Packaged securely and the customer service was great.

4 // BLUE STRIPED DUVET COVERS
The two little boys will eventually share a room and I spent entirely too much time researching matching quilts for their twin beds.  I never really found exactly what I wanted, so decided to just buy my go-to duvet covers from Ikea.  The three bigger boys have the same in their room and they've held up well.

5 // WHITE TERRACOTTA PLANTER
I bought myself a houseplant for Mother's Day this year and this planter to keep it in.  I think I may have already killed the plant (did I over-water? not enough light?) but the planter sure is cute.

6 // CARPENTER BEE TRAP
We had a big carpenter bee problem this spring, but learned about a trap you can install to catch them.  (Thanks for the tip, Rosie!)  We're at the tail end of the season - apparently, they're much less active when the weather heats up - but I'm grateful that we're prepared for next year.

7 // USA PLEATED FAN BUNTINGS FOR THE FRONT PORCH
I've always wanted to hang flag buntings in July and this year, we're finally going to make it happen!  Can't wait to put them up this weekend.



BONUS // OUR NEW FRONT FLOWER BEDS AND WALKWAY!
This was our biggest house purchase so far!  We saved a chunk of our tax return to have a landscaper come and install a brick walkway and flower beds.  We were so impressed with the work!  Well worth the investment.  Now to save up for beautiful shrubbery in the flower beds and lots of terra cotta potted plants on the steps.

What about you?  What great finds have you added to your home lately?


P.S. Etsy is having a big sales event and I've been sharing great deals over on my Facebook page.  
Come on over and check it out!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

No.146: Read With Me // How to Raise a Wild Child (Part 3)

This post contains affiliate links.

Quick recap: I assigned myself a summer reading book, How To Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature, to help me have a better relationship with nature and encourage that relationship in my children.  I'm jotting down some notes and thoughts as I read through it this month and sharing them here.  Maybe it will inspire you in a new way too!

The book is divided into four sections.  (Find my notes on Part One here and Part Two here.)  Part Three contains Chapters 6, 7 and 8 and is called "Life Stages."


Chapter 6: The Playful Scientist

Young children are like wolf pups.  They long to venture outside, but not too far from Mom and Dad.  They're all about exploring and pushing edges close to home, yet run back regularly for a dose of security.  As a nature mentor, the key is to give young kids plenty of time in natural places - backyards, beaches, forests, deserts, creeks, parks - where they can play with all those loose parts until exhaustion sets in.  Show interest when they bring you some random object for inspection, but otherwise feel free to let kids hang out and explore with all their senses.  The end result for the child will be an amazing experience in which she deepens her bond with you and with nature. (p.169)
 Notes and takeaways from this chapter:
  • This chapter focuses on children ages 2 to 6, where the goal is just to play.  Play with rocks and sticks, play in dirt...it's all healthy and good.
  • This was fascinating to me: "Ilkka Hanski and colleagues at the University of Helsinki conducted an intriguing investigation of allergies, comparing adolescents living in neighborhoods surrounded by natural areas with those in neighborhoods landscaped in concrete and neatly trimmed lawns.  They found that people immersed in more natural settings, places home to greater varieties of native plants, were themselves covered with a wider range of microbes and were far less likely to exhibit allergies than folks in the more sanitized settings." (p.164)
  • To read: Rachel Carson's 1956 essay, "Help Your Child to Wonder"
  • To try: seek out opportunities to take children on nighttime adventures

    Chapter 7: The Age of Competence

    ...an important element of nature-mentoring children of this age is to loosen the reins enough that they have the freedom and access to find their own place and visit it often. (p.180)
    Notes and takeaways from this chapter:
    • This chapter moves up to middle childhood, focusing on ages 6 to 12.   
    • Sampson shares stories of two adults who brought their kids along as they fished, camped and hunted.  This paragraph really stood out to me: "The key here is that both men took their kids with them while they pursued their own outdoor passions.  The children, feeling that longing for competence, picked up on these passions and unknowingly used them to deepen their own nature connection.  The lesson is that while it's important to observe children closely and support their individual interests, as a nature mentor you need to be authentic in your own interests as well." (p.182)  I may not fish or hunt, but I can see how even gardening with the kids can be beneficial to all of us.
    • How can we reduce risk and manage our fears while still getting our kids outdoors and giving them some meaningful autonomy? Two strategies:
      • Go with them
      • Put outdoor time on the calendar and make it a priority
    • "hummingbird parent" = giving kids space and autonomy to take risks, staying on the periphery and only zooming in when necessary
    • This chapter really inspired me to research what's available around us.  A simple search of our county on Facebook was all it took to find what's happening with Parks & Rec and a handful of new trails to hike.  Why didn't I do this sooner?!

    Chapter 8: The Social Animal

    If beauty is symbolized by the heart, and truth by the brain, goodness might be considered the domain of the gut - a moral compass guiding our decision-making.  It is during the teen years that we begin to fine-tune our moral compass. (p.211)
    Notes and takeaways from this chapter:
    • The teenage years are just around the corner for us, so I was very interested in this chapter!  
    • A handful of tips:
      • Make time for nature: limit screen time and encourage teens to get outside, bonus points if you can get peers involved too
      • Make nature the place for adventure: pick an activity that they're passionate about and get out there regularly (examples: biking, hiking, snowboarding, camping, etc.).  I really liked the idea of picking a specific activity for each season.  Such a great way to make memories, build traditions, and get into nature all at the same time.
      • Nature-related service is really powerful among adolescents: I need to see what's available locally!
      • Rites of passage mark the transition from child to adult: I love this idea so much!  Need to brainstorm with Mark exactly how we'd like to do this with our boys.  And something special for Sophie too. 

    Wednesday, June 20, 2018

    No.145: Highs and Lows // June 2018

    a random assortment of this month's highs and lows

    HIGH // A BRAND NEW BABY COUSIN! 
    My cousin just gave birth to her first baby, two weeks early!  (Such a lucky duck - she didn't have to suffer through those unbearable last weeks.)  We are all smitten with his pictures and can't wait to meet him.  Which leads me to...

    HIGH // A  LONG WEEKEND TRIP ALONE 
    My generous dad cashed in his frequent flyer miles so I could spend four days in July visiting my cousins and helping out with the new baby.  This will be the first time in over a decade that I am traveling all by myself, no pregnant belly or baby along for the ride!  I am so, so excited.

    LOW // BURNING MY HAND
    D and I were about to make sourdough waffles and due to miscommunication, he turned the wafflemaker on without telling me.  I grabbed the side to push it out of the way and woo boy!  The pain was intense!  I spent the rest of the day gripping icepacks like they were strapless handbags, hah!  Thankfully, it has healed quickly.

    HIGH // SOURDOUGH BREAD
    I feel like I've reached "Bread Making 2.0" level since starting with sourdough.  The first few loaves were intimidating, but with practice, it's gotten so much easier.  I now keep my starter on the kitchen counter and make a loaf almost every day. 

    HIGH // PORCH FANS
    The weather turned a corner this week and it is HOT.  Coupled with the humidity, it's just unbearable to be outside for more than a few minutes.  (See yesterday's post for my Googling and screenshot-ing of inground pools for the backyard, hah! #dreams)  Fortunately, this house came with fans on both the front and back porches and if you sit directly underneath them, they do give you some relief.  I've been taking advantage first thing in the morning and when we eat dinner outside.   

    LOW // FLIES ALL OVER THE HOUSE
    I guess it's part of country living and the fact that the kids rarely shut the door on their way out, but the flies are everywhere!  I've become that crazy lady tiptoeing through the house with the swatter in hand.  I may need to invest in the classy sticky fly trap soon.

    HIGH // A NEW ACTIVITY FOR NEXT SCHOOL YEAR
    We're joining a homeschool co-op next fall!  It's a bit of a drive, but the classes sound fun and I'm going to be helping with TJ's preschool class, so little stress for me.  The missing piece to this year's homeschool puzzle was helping everyone find non-family friendships and I think co-op will really help. 

    HIGH/LOW // THE BABY HAS OFFICIALLY WEANED - I THINK?
    As of this writing, we'll have officially gone 72 hours without nursing.  So I think we're done.  It's exciting and surreal and just a little sad.  So many emotions all rolled into one.   

    Tuesday, June 19, 2018

    No.144: Finding Inspiration in Social Media // My Latest Saves

    This post contains affiliate links.

    Do you save or screenshot all the things like I do?  I seem to find inspiration everywhere and don't trust myself to remember them!  Today I thought it would be fun to share a mix of random saves from my phone, Instagram and Facebook.   

    SCREENSHOTS FROM MY PHONE


    • Chloe May Brown: a potter I just found on Instagram and would love to support.  Her bowls are beautiful!
    • Youtube videos to help with praying the rosary through the Apostolate for Family Consecration
    • a tick remover card we need to buy
    • average postpartum cycle lengths, thanks to the Facebook Marquette group
    • denim shorts I'm debating purchasing
    • I already have a sunscreen that I like, but am also intrigued by Beautycounter's mist version
    • I'd really like to try to sew a piece of clothing and this skirt pattern was recommended - looks easy enough!
    • Talk about an interesting viewpoint!  I can't wait to read American Radical: Inside the World of an Undercover Muslim FBI Agent
    • a farm relatively near us I'd like to visit
    • new Birks I'm saving up for
    • a DIY spray to combat stink bugs
    • my dream pool
    • a state park in Virginia Beach I'm adding to our travel list
    • sad news that there won't be Social Security left by the time we retire
    • I'm trying to veer into natural deodorant, but having trouble with ones that are heavy on the baking soda.  Maybe this one will be better? 
    • Jen Fulweiler's husband's queso recipe - must make soon!
    • Homesteaders of America conference in October: this looks amazing
    • peonies I'd like to plant somewhere around the house 
    • lists of deer-resistant plants

    BOOKS ON INSTAGRAM



    FACEBOOK SAVES


    What have you been screenshot-ing lately?

    P.S. Etsy is having a big sales event this week and I'm sharing great deals as I find them over on my Facebook page.  If you need ideas for gifts or a treat for yourself, I'm your gal!

    Monday, June 18, 2018

    No.143: Intentions for the End of June


    My big goal: WRITE EVERYDAY FOR A MONTH.  I'm more than halfway there!  This has been fun and intense and just a little bit crazy, but I'm not quitting yet.

    Quick recap of my goals from the first half of June:

    my summer plans for the kids 
    ✔ an "official" post about the African Geography Studies curriculum I created this year
    ✔ our favorite homemade granola recipe
    ✔ thoughts on a new book I'm reading
    ✔ 10 podcasts I've been listening to
    ✔ another round of bread recipes for Homesteading 101
    ✔ a project I've been quietly working on since January 1st
    ✔ some of my favorite things related to running

    And a few more on the plan to write:
    • great recommendations I've recently saved from social media 
    • another "official" post about the science curriculum we used for school this year 
    • another round of things we've purchased for Farmhouse to Home
    • June's Five Favorites linkup
    • a six-month update on my 2018 Goals and Projects list
    • June's latest reads

    If you have any post ideas, let me know.  Thanks for sticking around and reading!
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