Friday, January 29, 2016

Simple Homemaking || The Kitchen Sink

This little area of the home is central to homemakers.  We log a lot of hours here at our kitchen sinks.  We clean and prep, we scour and scrub, we fill and rinse.  This little area is a powerhouse of activity.

We are still living in our town home and our kitchen is small.  Not as small as some, but there is no real area to spread out.  Cupboard space is a hot commodity and I have to think through what is absolutely essential to have on hand.

The Essentials | I always have out hand and dish soap.  My favorite is Mrs. Meyer lavender scent.  I love having these out and close at hand.  I use microfiber dishcloths and I use one a day.  I start with it at the beginning of the day and launder it at the end of the day.  I use a long handled scrub brush to rinse dishes, a quick rinse goes a long way in the dishwasher.  I also use  a nylon scrubby and a stainless steel pad for all the hard to clean pots and pans.  I store these under the sink.

Washing Dishes, A Daily Practice |  Each day I wash dishes throughout the day.  I usually do the dishes after breakfast, while I'm preparing dinner, and before bed.  Below are a few tips on daily dishwashing.

|| I will load the dishwasher once a day and run it once a day.
|| If I have extra dishes that day, I try to fit all the smaller dishes into the dishwasher and save the larger pots and pans to wash by hand.
|| I never run my knives or wooden cutting boards through the dishwasher.
|| Even if the dishwasher is not completely full, I will still run it once a day.  This saves us from running out of spoons and bowls and keeps the whole system moving forward.
||  I have a child unload the dishwasher as a daily chore.  I'm also working to have family members rinse and load their own individual dishes.

When I Get Behind || During the week I'm pretty good about staying caught up with the constant flow of dirty dishes but after a busy night of being out or on the weekends the pile can grow.  If I only have a couple of minutes or I'm feeling overwhelmed I have a few tricks to get it done.  Sometimes I'll set a timer for 5 minutes and just get as much as I can accomplished.  It is amazing what you can do in 5 minutes and it makes the whole process feel less daunting.  Sometimes I will just scrub out the big pan or wash off the cutting boards.  This decreases the pile by quite a bit and makes less work for the next day.  Taking advantage of small chunks of time has been a saving grace in this stage of life.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Simple Words || The Road Downhill

"May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
and the road downhill all the way to your door."

Monday, January 25, 2016

One Little Word | Calm

My word for this year is calm.  We have a lot going on this year, plans and goals to keep us busy throughout the coming months, adventures and activities to keep us in motion.  We will be moving and remodeling our new to us home, we will be off on a handful of traveling adventures, we have goals for our business, we have goals for our children, and for ourselves as parents.

When I thought of my one little word for the year, I really didn't want to add one more thing to my plate.  I decided on the word calm to encompass how I want to move forward through this year of change, progress, and moving forward.  I want to be the calm in the eye of the storm, as the commotion of change comes, as wave after wave of activities and must dos move us along, I want to stay focused and calm.  I want to be the calm in my family, reminding my husband that it will all work out, teaching my children that simple is best. Calm through the trials that will come our way, calm through the changes, calm through the chaos.

So I'm hoping this one little word will inspire me to keep this feeling front and center throughout this year of change and progress.

I created this stitched reminder, to keep me focused on this word.  You can find these available now in my shop here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Portland Oregon Restaurants and Attractions

We love all the fun things to do in our nearby city.  Thought I would share some of our favorites.

Yummy Eats
Salt & Straw (Steve's favorite is the pear and blue cheese.)
The Screen Door
Pine State Biscuits
Papa Haydn
Portland City Grill
El Gaucho (There french onion soup is divine.)
Blossoming Lotus
Pok Pok

McMenamins (This restaurant offers dinner and a movie.  There are may located throughout the Portland area.)
Keller Auditorium (We saw Wicked here this last summer and loved it!)
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Places To Shop
Buffalo Exchange
Hippo Hardware
23rd Street
The Pearl District
Powell's Books
Camas Antiques

Great Crafty Locations
Acorns and Threads
Knit Purl

Museums and Attractions
Portland Rose Garden
Portland Spirit Lunch and Dinner Cruises
Portland Zoo
OMSI | Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Portland Aerial Lift

Hikes & Parks
Pittock Mansion Hike
Walk or Bike Across Bridges
Washington Park Hikes Behind Oregon Zoo

We love our city!  If you have any other suggestions of places you love in Portland Oregon, add them to the comments, I love suggestions on new places to visit!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Simple Words || When Life Stretches You

 “Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

--C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Winter Round Up

Winter is such a lovely time of year.  Once the holiday season is over, we settle in to the slows days of winter.  Here are a few things that I've gathered to share with you today, a winter round up of sorts.

My skin needs extra attention during these dry, cold winter months.  Some of my favorite lotions you can find here, here, and here.  They have been amazing to use on my naturally dry skin.

Reading is another lovely winter pastime.  Here are some great picture books to read with your little ones.  I'm also planning to share another set of winter picture books here soon.
Winter Picture Books
Jan Brett's books are a perfect winter read.
Here is another list of winter reads.

A couple of my favorite winter chapter books you can find here and here.

Here is a happy reading list for us adults who want to cuddle up with an uplifting book.

Winter is a great time to clean and freshen up our homes.  Here is a great blog post about getting rid of winter clutter and another about creating a cozy winter home.

Start a cross stitch.  These are a couple of my favorites, both ABC samplers, find them here and here.

Games are another great way to spend a winter evening.  I need to share some of our favorite games here on the blog soon, my kiddos are at the perfect age and games have become such a great way to enjoy time with them.  Until then, here and here our a couple posts that I found that share some great family games.

I found a couple kid activities that would be great to try on a cold, wintry day at home.  You can find a fun activity the goes along with the book The Mitten.  Find it here  Gather some items together and create this winter wonderland.  These beautiful, simple paper lanterns would be fun to create with your kids.

After crafting with the kids, you may enjoy a little crafting just for you.  If your not interested in cross stitching, try doing one of these.  Here are a couple wreaths that you could try your hand at, A Yarn Wreath and A Rolled Flower Burlap Wreath.

Watching a movie is always a relaxing way to spend a wintery evening at home.  Find a few of my favorites in these posts, my Favorite Girly Movies  and my Favorite Shows and Movies.

Make your home pretty.  Freshen up a corner of your home like this or create a winter matel like this.

And we'll end with this winter manifesto.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

5 Favorites || Blogs That I Adore

Here are 5 of my favorite blogs that I'm enjoying right now.  Simplicity and reading seem to be the theme of these favorite blogs.  Love the photos and words that are shared from each of these bloggers, a great dose of daily inspiration.

You can find my other posts on favorite blogs here and here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

14 Years

"Every love story is beautiful, 
but ours is my favorite."

Steve and I celebrate 14 years of marriage today.  We are celebrating with our little family, choosing new doors and windows for our new home, and going out to lunch.  In the next couple of weeks we are hoping to catch a night out, just the two of us, but it didn't work out for tonight.  We are looking forward to spending today with our crew, they really are our greatest accomplishments.  They provide our biggest challenges and most importantly our greatest blessings.  These 14 years of family, home, trials, accomplishments, conversations, and laughs have been a roller coaster.  I feel crazy blessed through it all to have this guy of mine by my side.   Love you babe, happy 14th. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Daily Scripture Reading

This is my daily challenge I will be working on throughout 2016.  My daily goal is to read at least one chapter of scripture or one conference talk once a day.  This is the minimum requirement, I actually am hoping to read more each day.  Family scripture study doesn't count and reading from a gospel base book doesn't count.

I've always loved marking my scriptures and writing things that stand out to me in the margins.  I have a new set of scriptures I received las year and this year  I've enjoyed finding new ways to mark them and making them my own.  I'm using watercolors, colored pencils, and fine tip black sharpies to mark them up.  I'm sharing some of my pages on instragram.

I'm also using the lds app to listen to magazine articles, conference talks, and chapters from the scriptures.  Its a great way to listen anytime, anywhere.

To track this I'm using Elise's Daily Goal Tracker.  I've loved this visual reminder, it is completely motivating to me.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Simple Days


Right now I have been using my planner and loving it!  (I use this one!)  I'm jotting down, planning, and crossing off daily.  Its keeping me on track.

Right now I am driving and commuting back and forth, I'm logging quite a few hours in my car each week, traveling from our old town to our soon to be new town.  We are still working on getting into our new town.

Right now we are gearing up to do some major work on our new home, saving our pennies is crucial, and so we are only spending on what we absolutely have to.  Its a good practice, only spending money on what we absolutely need, and its been teaching me a lot about how I've been spending money in the past.  I've been asking the hard questions and hope to continue to limit spending even after the home improvements are completed.

Right now I'm working on completing my monthly goals.  January goals are looking good and I'm already thinking of what my February goals will be.

Right now we are playing lots of basketball.  Our three oldest are playing this season and its been fun to watch the them play.  Its been busy, practices every night, and games on Saturday, and its not something I want to keep up with forever, but it is working for us now.  

Right now after a few months of off and on exercise, I've started up again.  Its feels good to get back into a consistent exercise schedule.  Its an effort to take time out of my day to make it work, but its worth the effort.

Right now I've been weaving and stitching and even doing a little scrapbooking.  I don't have time for long creative sessions, but I'm doing a little here and a little there and it adds up.

Right now life is full, we are heading towards less fullness in our days, but for now we are looking to be the calm in the eye of the storm.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Simple Homemaking Series

"There is nothing like 
staying at home for 
real comfort."
Jane Austen

Today I'm introducing a new series on my blog.  The Simple Homemaking Series.  I'm a homemaker, I've always wanted to be a mother and homemaker, and I most definitely consider it my profession.  I love taking care of my home, I love spending time here, and I love creating a place where our family  can feel comfortable and inspired.  In my opinion, home is where it is at.  It is where our family starts and ends our days and where we connect in the most meaningful ways.

I plan to share homemaking ideas and inspiration, practical tips, posts on homemaking routines, corners of our home, what works from me as a homemaker, and I even hope to interview a few amazing homemaker to share even more ideas.

I love being a homemaker and feel privileged to do this everyday.  What a blessing to create, curate, and care for our homes.  We have such power to support and inspire the people in our lives through the homes that we care for.  I'm thrilled to start this new adventure and to share here on the blog this year through this series.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

One Little Word Cross Stitch

 I've written about choosing a word for the year on the blog, you can read about it here and here.  Basically it is the idea that you choose a word to embrace throughout the year, a word to guide and influence your everyday life.  I will share my word for 2016 on the blog here soon.

Today I'm sharing a new cross stitch that I have listed in the Lemon Verbena Shop.

This cross stitch is for those who want to focus on a word throughout the year.  I have listed a few examples of words in the shop.  Obviously your order would be custom made with the word of your choice.  You can find the listing here.