Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Decor | Open closets

 1 / 2

 3 / 4

A friend of mine is moving in a few weeks, and is down about the tiny closet she is going to have in her bedroom. It reminded me of the many fabulous open closet pictures I’ve seen, and how mini-closets are a frequent dilemma in older homes. My favorite of the closet solutions pictured are the ones that incorporate branches. But I love the unobtrusiveness of #4 so much that it might win if I ever need a creative closet solution.
Do you have an open closet? Do you like the look? It would definitely be an incentive to keep your clothes organized and on the hanger!

images via pinterest

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Create | Paint, paper and baby toes

Need I say more? Art projects with little ones are the best, and here is a list of great art supplies to use with toddlers. Seb and I just made our first art project last week for Father’s Day. It was hilarious how he was so curious about the paints and so confused as to why I was sticking his toes and fingers in it.

Check out TinkerLab for some great kid craft ideas.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Husband | ...wore a bowtie

We attended the wedding of one of husbands dear friends/Young Life "sister-friend" this weekend. And guess what he wore? This bowtie. It took us both a little while to get used to the look, but we agreed that we really like it. Now I want to buy him this dark green candy striped one...

Does your man wear bowties? Do you like the look?

P.S. I love these sweet little boy versions.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mama | Able to give one hundred percent.

When you’re at work, you’re expected to give 100%. But when you’re a stay-at-home mom, the lines get blurred. Usually home is where one relaxes, chats with friends on the phone, watches movies, blogs, and shops for some new jeans on the internet (ok, and a little work, too!). Suddenly, when a baby enters the scene, home is a vastly different place. All of that freedom to unwind and do as you please flies out the window. For a mom, home is the workplace.
For quite a while I failed to see how far this analogy carries. For months I have tried to retreat into much needed me-time while Seb is awake, resulting in fussiness, flaring tempers, impatience, and resentment. And I’m not just talking about Sebastian. For a period of weeks I found myself losing my temper at him daily, only to be struck with guilt, afraid that Sebastian would grow up fearing my quick temper and harsh words.
The problem was that I wasn’t giving 100% while “at work.” Raising Sebastian is my job, and I was doing it poorly. It was similar to telling your boss to shush while you surf Facebook at work. Yea. That doesn’t really fly.
Be all there for your kids and still make time for relaxation. When Sebastian takes his naps, it’s my time to rest, drink some coffee, write blog posts, and do whatever else I need to stay refreshed and connected with people, as well as catch up on household chores and things that are hard to do while my baby is awake.
If you take time to refresh yourself, you’ll have the energy and creativity to juggle all of your responsibilities with patience and graciousness.

Decor | Room inspiration

I've been thinking of nursery ideas for quite some time, but since I actually know what his space is going to look like now (yay for signing a lease!), I can't stop thinking about it. I've been thinking American West, animal figurines/photography/art prints, and interesting textiles.

I'd love to know what your little one's room looks like!

images top to bottom: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Bub | I am the luckiest

Seriously, look at this kid. I can’t believe I get to spend every day with him. He is learning so much so fast that I am often overwhelmed with how much I don’t know about raising a little one. Cody’s parents were visiting us this weekend, and his mom knows simply everything about what to teach your children when, and how to teach it to them. I wish she were around more to tell me what to do next! 

Fashion | Do or don't: Worishofer Sandals

So apparently I'm a bit behind the times because I just found out about Worishofer sandals (pronounced worsh-ifer)   a few days ago when I saw a post about them by Leigh on Marvelous Kiddo.

I'm not so sure about all of the styles... I do think I like 251. But really, considering the comfort and German factors involved, how can I not like them? Plus, hello, that's Michelle Williams in the middle.

Would you wear them? If so, what would you wear them with?


Food | Rhubarb streusel muffins

I love Smitten Kitchen, but this recipe needs a little pick me up. I’m all about the rhubarb, and these muffins don't have enough. The recipe calls for 1 cup, but I’m going to double it next time. Otherwise, this is a fabulous breakfast muffin. It isn’t very sweet, so it’s not guilt-inducing. I misplaced my muffin pan, so I made it into two loaves and increased the baking time by 5 minutes until they were done. They were perfect.
Thanks to our neighbor, Flo, who gave us a big bundle of rhubarb from her garden!

Tell me, do you enjoy baking with rhubarb?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home | Our new place

We just received word today that we got our apartment in North Carolina! It definitely wasn’t an easy process, and was disappointing when we lost two of the places we really wanted. However, we knew that God would lead us to the right apartment, somehow. Our place is just under 2 mi. from the divinity school, so Cody will be able to walk or bike, and it has wood floors, a balcony, 2 bedrooms, a newly renovated bathroom and even a den! We are so excited that Cody will be able to have a nice, private study space at home. After-all, we love having him with us. 
I am so thankful for the blessings that God has given us through this process. We are already making friends and connections in N.C., and though we are more sad about leaving Michigan every day, we are more encouraged that we are going to the place we need to be. 

Check out my Pinterest board Homeward Bound to see a collection of my home inspiration photos! I am excited to decorate our new place!

image, sorry if I've already posted this...

Mama | “The early bird gets the worm,” and doesn’t have an emotional breakdown when she gets back to her nest and her little nestlings are screaming for food.

If you’re a mom, and likely even if you’re not, you know how seriously overwhelming it is. I often wonder, is it a fault in myself that I can’t handle this 24/7 by myself without having a nervous/mental/emotional breakdown? And is it selfish and inconsiderate when I ask Cody to take care of Seb in the evening when he’s had a full day at work? This is the first of a short series about mama-time, which is a topic I struggle with in gigantic proportions. Let’s call this an exercise, through which I hope to figure out how to actually have and maximize some down-time.
Although I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop asking myself these questions, I’ve had a lot of great advice given to me by moms who have been there, too. The most consistent answer I get to the question, “How do I survive?” is, make sure you get up at least 30 minutes before your kids each morning. Are you laughing right now? If you are, that probably means you have an infant. When sleep is scarce, and your baby gets up at who-knows-when, making it impossible to plan, perhaps try this: get up early enough for husband to help. Baby may be awake, but if your husband is, too, give him the little one and sneak into a quiet corner of the house and do what you need to do to be ready for the day.
“But,” you say, “why morning?” Mornings are ideal because it allows you to start your day by taking care of your most basic needs, like eating breakfast, washing your face, brushing your teeth, and of course, drinking that huge cup of coffee before it gets cold. I have a friend who is a mom of three, and she gets up to run on her treadmill every morning. It doesn’t really matter what you do with that time, just make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Later in the day when your little ones are tugging on your shirt, crying endlessly, or just needing some mommy-time, you’ll be happy to give it and be just the mommy they need.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Decor | White walls

I'm most likely not going to be able to paint the walls in our N.C. apartment, and this photo makes that fact seem a bit more bearable.

What colors are your walls? Do you have any tips for making an all white/off-white apartment look fabulous?


Friday, June 17, 2011

Food | Fresh fruit

I love feeding Seb fresh foods, and fruit is one of our favorites. Picking the right fruits when you’re in the pureeing stage can be a little tricky, as some can bee too acidic. Apples and bananas were our go-to picks, and sometimes pears and peaches.
Right now, Seb loves eating grapes, blueberries, bananas and strawberries. And they make such great finger foods. At lunch today, I didn’t have to spoon feed him anything! It was so nice. For breakfast, we often heat up some dried fruit with a bit of water to make it softer, and put it with his oatmeal.
And I just have to tell you, while I was typing this post, I heard a small thumping noise. I looked over at Seb and he was dropping his fruit and watching it fall to the floor. I guess he’s done.
How do you use fruit in your baby’s meals?

P.S. Remember my post about mailboxes for your little ones? Here it is in action! via

Food | Coconut cream pie

It was Cody’s birthday party. Almost everything went wrong as I endeavored to put together a coconut cream pie worthy of eating. It took 3 tries to make the pie crust; one ending in a tragic, slip-out-of-the-pan kind of way. And then I burned the nice peaks of meringue and coconut I had been so proud of. It was the lowest point of my life in the kitchen. But in the end, it tasted great... a small miracle, really.
For my crust, I used lard. I’ll be honest. It wasn’t my favorite, but I know that some people prefer it. For the meringue, my only tip is make sure not to over do the egg whites. I did that my first time making a lemon meringue pie and it was terribly sad looking because the meringue was too stiff to spread.
Thanks for the recipe, mom! Seb loved the filling. 

And happy birthday, sweet husband. We love you! Here are a couple pictures from our little gathering.

Coconut cream pie
Pie Crust
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 c. + 2 Tbsp. shortening or 2/3 c. lard
mix flour and salt
cut in the shortening or lard until crumbly
add 4-5 Tbsp. of cold water, then mix.
divide into 2 pieces and then roll out. you will only need half for this pie. you can either make two pies now, or freeze the second half and save it for later!
when you roll, flatten, don’t stretch
prick with fork on bottom and sides. be thorough
bake pie crust
475 degrees for 8-10 minutes
mix cooked vanilla pudding w/ 1 c. coconut
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter
6 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
beat egg and cream of tarter until foamy
beat in 1 Tbsp. of sugar at a time
continue beating until stiff and glossy
add vanilla right at the end.
let pie crust cool
put pudding in then meringue
bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until the top is browned.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Decor | Changing tables

I've been getting baby fever—baby fever of the home decor/nursery variety. It just kills me that my Sebastian is one and I still haven't been able to decorate a nursery. My ideas book is full, but as with any fever, the more the better, right? Lay Baby Lay is the most fabulous one-stop nursery decor site I've found and probably will ever find, and this collection of changing tables from The Boo and the Boy is delightful as well. What type of things inspire, or will inspire, your nursery?


Home | Fresh things

After planting my little garden—if two pots can be categorized as a garden...—I can't stop being enamored with fresh things. I would love to have a raised bed filled with a plethora of different greens.

P.S. We are officially moved! But it's just too boring of a topic to dwell on for long. So I will just briefly share one thing that has been essential for a smooth transition, and one thing that has been our greatest challenge. 
First, have a packing system. This one has worked beautifully for us. When I realized that I actually couldn’t live without my coffee maker, it took me all of 60 seconds to locate the box, rip it open, and start brewing. 
Second, Pare down. I have been challenged through this move to recognize the things we live with that we really don’t need. I’ve hated the feeling of wanting to get rid of something, and then turning and putting it in a box anyway. Since I know we did this far too much, we plan to go through several of our boxes with a more critical eye.

Oh, and I love this organization system that Kaite found. I'll have to use it for our second move. I feel like it could be adapted to any number of things. I have a few boxes I categorize as "craptastic." Maybe this would help. How oh how do you avoid just throwing random things into those last few boxes??!

image, via

Friday, June 10, 2011

Mama | Supermom

Often when life gets crazy, like right now with our move, it is easy for me to feel suddenly helpless, like, "I have a baby! How am I supposed to get anything done with this little guy hanging on my leg?" Multitasking with a baby, or child of any age, is certainly an acquired skill. Today I am inspired by this supermom. Next time I feel overwhelmed, I'll remember to be thankful. 

Let's not hinge our Joy on circumstances.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Fashion | A Merry Mishap

1 | 2
Have you seen A Merry Mishap on Etsy? It takes a lot for me to want new jewelry, and this shop has it. I love these earrings. How about you? Have you snagged any new jewelry lately, or have something on your wishlist?

And, my new obsession: A Merry Mishap, the blog.

Toys & Books | Indestructibles

I don't know why, but babies are obsessed with paper. 

Sebastian loves to rip and eat it (of course), and will sit for 5 minutes thumbing the pages of a book. When he was an infant, I wanted so bad to give him an old J.Crew catalog and let him "go to town." Of course, I didn't, because I knew that the rumpled pages would go straight into his mouth. That is when I remembered that one of my friends gave me a book by the company Indestructibles. I went searching amongst our shelves of children's books and found it, and let me tell you, I had one happy baby.

The idea behind Indestructibles is that they are made to allow your baby to safely explore books. Babies learn by tasting, and touching and crumpling, and Indestructibles allows them to do this, without harming the actual book. They are made with a rip and water resistant material, so no mommy supervision needed! 

If you have a baby,  this book falls in the same category as diapers and burp cloths. It's probably not something you want to do without.


P.S. Handy moments to introduce reading

Monday, June 6, 2011

Home | Mixing chairs

Growing up, we each had a different wooden chair around our kitchen table. As a child, I loved that I had my very own chair, and it was different from all the others. In the Summer months, when I wore shorts, it would pinch my leg if I wasn't careful, because there was a crack in the seat. I think it made me love my chair even more. It wasn't perfect, but it had character. Only I knew just how to sit in it.

I would love to give our children that experience, and enrich their day to day with simple things like having their own chairs at table.


P.S. Speaking of chairs, isn't this such a sweet idea for a little one?

Create | Mail box nook

Apparently, mailboxes in the playroom or kids room is a growing trend. And I love it. This is definitely something I'm going to do just as soon as I can. Imagine how sweet it would be for each of your little ones to have his very own mailbox, and find special treats and love letters from mommy and daddy.

I can't wait.


Textile | Mum's

I randomly found this shop called Mum's, and was instantly intrigued. The handmade goods are lovely, and aren't those covered pilates balls amazing?

Read more about Mum's, and how it started, here.

via (scroll down for the translation)
bottom image

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Home | Summer planting

After a day of amazing worship, lunch and rug shopping on the front porch, golden oreos, packing, and cleaning, I potted basil and tomato plants while Cody ate his dinner. I bought them at our greenhouse a couple days ago, but hadn't yet had the chance to properly tend to them. I am so excited for them to get huge and bushy with lots of goodies for me to eat!

Tell me, did you plant anything this Spring?

As you can see, I have more pots and more plants, but the sizes don't coincide. I need to find some little plants to pot. I have my eye on a lovely variegated pothos. I have two (one that I'm kind of in love), but this other kind is mostly white with just a little green. I might just need to get it so as to complete my collection...

Wear | A sleeper of many colors

I love the details and the patchwork/striped pattern of this sleep sack from Teeny Tini. It reminds me of the colorful, crazy quilt pillows my grandma had in her house. It's a bit (okay, a lot) on the pricey end of things, but I bet you crazy knitters out their could whip up one of these in a matter of minutes. Yes, mere minutes. If you do, make one for my bub, pretty please.

via and images

Textile | Handmade Uzbek Ikat fabrics and pillows

I'm in love with these gorgeous fabrics, pillows, and scarves. The colors and patterns are so captivating, like a Rothko. I would love to get some of this fabric for a few home projects, and tie one of these scarves in my hair. Visit SilkWay.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Home | Prized possessions

As I was packing yesterday, Cody told me to take pictures of anything highly valuable.


Fashion | My turban

I never made it to Salvation Army to find a silk scarf, but since I got what I consider to be a fairly butch haircut on Thursday (eek!), I was desperate for a little cover-up today. I snagged a bit of fabric from my scrap pile, and did a knot above my forehead, and tucked the ends under the band.

Little man liked it, too.

Happy Saturday!

Cloth | A review of our first year using cloth diapers

Month 1.
Disposables. I was so tired I just couldn’t take the cloth diapering plunge. We tried, but I thought they were too big on Seb. Turns out I just didn’t have a very good understanding of how cloth diapers are supposed to look. Vanity and sleep deprivation triumph.
Month 2.
We start cloth part time. I definitely have Cody to thank for ever truly starting us down the cloth diapering road. During month 2, he used cloth and I used disposable. Ok, sometimes I used cloth.
We also realized the sheer insanity of using disposable wipes with cloth diapers. We bought our first supply of cloth wipes and the world was a more peaceful place. Our wipe solution is just one drop of tea tree oil mixed with water and put in a small spray bottle.
Month 3.
Cloth full-time. So what happened between months 2 and 3? I really don’t know, to be honest. Towards the end of month 2, I decided to use cloth at home and disposables when we went out. This worked as a great transition time for us, but I honestly can’t imagine doing that all the time. You find yourself playing a guessing game of “Now when am I leaving the house, and when does his diaper need changed? So, if I’m leaving at ___ o’clock, then I should change him into disposables at...” You get the picture. I know this works for many people, but it was too much of a hassle for me.
I think as I started cloth diapering more, I realized the beauty and simplicity of it. I also realized some of the practical benefits of cloth. At first, it was just and economic decision, i.e. cloth diapers = cheap. But then I realized a few other things. 
  1. Cloth diapers don’t smell nearly as bad, or at all, when they’re on your baby or when they’re in the pail. First, I learned that urine interacts with the chemicals in your baby’s disposable diapers to produce that rancid pee-diaper smell. Second, not only do you not have the pee-diaper smell with cloth, you get rid of the poo in the toilet and aren’t storing it in your house. Our diaper pail is a simple, no frills metal garbage can (that we keep in our bedroom!), and we’ve never been able to smell it. But oh, when we used disposables, my sister would come into our apartment and say, “Wow, it smells like poopy diapers in here.” That’s not really something you want to hear.
  2. Less, or no diaper rash. We’ve all heard it, but I was surprised at how bothered I would be any time Seb’s bottom was even a little red. When my friend who works in the NICU saw my baby’s tush, she said, “Wow! His cloth-diapered bottom looks so good!” Now that’s a nice thing to hear.
  3. Poop. Whether it’s cloth or disposable, you will have to touch it. So don’t let that be a hang-up. I have a gross story, but I’ll spare you.
  4. I hope to talk about this more in depth later, but using cloth diapers as a stay-at-home mom has really helped me feel like I was doing something beautiful. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re choosing the harder thing for the sake of your family. I’m not able to work outside our home and thus help bring in an income, so knowing that I’m saving our family thousands of dollars is wonderful. 
Months 4-10ish.
On a roll. Cloth diapering continued full-time for us. We switched varieties of prefolds somewhere along the way, which made things much easier. Bonus: the ones we use now are way less expensive. Probably the most difficult part for us has been traveling (although our moms, who both used cloth diapers, are very supportive and let us wash them at home), and the squirmy stage, which never seems to end. It’s hard to put a cloth diaper on a baby who has just discovered how to roll over...
Months 10-12.
The experts & wool. After months of cloth-diapering, we have a pretty flawless system, and we both love it. In fact, disposable diapers are very unappealing to me now. I’m already trying to figure out how we’re going to cloth diaper during our week-long trip to Seattle... in December.
We also discovered the beauty of wool diapers covers/soakers. Not only are they irresistibly cute, they are breathable and naturally regulate temperature. This means that they are great for Winter and Summer. With a simple lanolizing treatment, wool holds up to 30% of the moisture that it comes into contact with. It was difficult at first to know how often to change Seb, but we have a rhythm now, and I think he’s better off for it. We change him a bit more often, now that we know the wool will get damp if we wait too long. This makes him more comfortable, and take “diaper rash” out of our vocabulary. Wool is also great, because instead of wetness just leaking out at night, the wool helps absorb it, so your baby and the sheets stay dry.
So here we are. Seb is 1 year old, and we have had an amazing experience with cloth. Don’t let the ins and outs of it scare you. I won’t lie and say it’s easy, because it’s not (at first). But if you really want to do it, and you stay committed, you will be so happy you did. You can love cloth diapering, too.
There are so many online resources (my favorite) that have really helped us navigate the world of cloth. I hope you’ll consider giving it a try!
Our first prefolds (I don’t recommend these) 
Our current prefolds (I love these)
Thirsties PUL covers (We used these for the entire year, but are now exclusively using wool)
Our daytime wool covers (we have 3 and will use these as training pants later)

image one: My sister "eating" Seb. He is wearing his daytime wool cover.