Friday, July 3, 2015

DIY Dollar Store Bins Makeover

I have a shelf above my washer and drier that was a plain old eyesore. It's the perfect holding space for my kids craft supplies, detergent, drier sheets, and other laundry paraphernalia. The problem was it was all stacked out in the open, which made it look cluttered and disheveled. Since my laundry area is right in my kitchen and I spend plenty of time staring at it, I wanted to make it prettier.

The Dollar Tree is the perfect place to pick up a few bins for a good price. Unfortunately the selection can be pretty limited. The best option I could find to fit my space was bright red. A nice enough color, but a little out of place among the more neutral, woodsy tones of my kitchen.

Enter modpodge and a few old books.

One of my biggest takeaways from reading Myqulillin Smith's The Nesting Place was the importance of infusing your own loves and personality into your space. She featured a bunch of pictures from a book signing party she threw for her sister, all with lovely bookish decor- book page wreath, garlands, etc.

I'm a big lover of the written word, and it inspired me to incorporate more bookish decor in my own home.

I found an old anthology of random classics, and tore the pages, applying them to the bins with mod podge. When they were dry I stuck chalkboard labels onto them for clearer organization, so they don't just become junk holders.

While I'm pleased with the final result, this was definitely the never ending project. Many nights were spent listening to podcasts or watching t.v. with the hubs and working on them. It took several layers of book pages to cover them thoroughly enough. I can't say I love crafting- but if gluing things is your passion, you might enjoy a similar project.

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Before Bed Rest Bustle

Nesting urges settled in early this pregnancy. With my last two babies, I ended up on bed rest in the 24th and 26th weeks. Come 22 weeks this time around, I was stocking my freezer and organizing my home with a fury.

As much fury as a woman who anticipates potential bed rest, but doesn't want to cause it, can muster.

Prepping bagels for the freezer
It feels so good- to have energy after the exhausting and nauseated first months. To be able to work and move and accomplish despite an ever growing middle. To see the fruit of your labors and the work of your hands.

Some seasons are for busy productivity. Other seasons are for resting, slowing down.

What two complicated pregnancies have taught me is to give thanks for today. The day in which you can move and be active and go about the blessing of your work. We have no guarantees for tomorrow, so today it is good to be faithful.
We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. -John 9:4
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. -Ecclesiastes 9:10
Work is a gift. Health and strength are great blessings. May God give you grace to persevere in whatever work He has called you to today... mundane though it may seem.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

26 Weeks

So, yes... this is happening.

Another little girl will be joining our ranks come Fall.

We are all terribly excited {especially the big sister!}. Niall and I are just very, very thankful. Each life is a gift, an opportunity to praise God with open hands, not taking it for granted.

Now you know why it has been so quiet around here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Our Summer Bucket List

Each season of the year is only here for a brief snippet- it comes, and then it goes with little fanfare. There are so many seasonal activities that I want to share with my children. Memories to be made, with only a short time to make them.

This year I am attempting to be a little more intentional and not let the seasons just pass me by. I've made a simple summer bucket list to 1) make sure I am doing the things with my kids that I really know they will enjoy and can only enjoy in the summer, and 2) to cherish the days instead of just letting them fly by unmarked.

I'm sure that everyone's list would look a little different, but I hope my lends you some inspiration if you're looking for it.

  • Go strawberry picking. At time of posting, the window for this year's strawberry crop has ended, but we did it- yay! Add it to your list for next year if you missed out.
  • Make strawberry freezer jam. I've been wanting to try my hand at homemade jam for years, so it is now or never. I'll be following this recipe found on Pinterest
  • Go blueberry picking. Can't wait to fill my freezer with these goodies!
  • Visit as many local playgrounds as possible, as often as possible. My kids love running around at a good park, and it is a great way to spend a few hours and use up all that blessed energy they have. Exploring new play equipment and scenery adds to the adventure.
  • Purchase a Popsicle mold and make them often, try as many flavors as possible. Kind of vague, I know, but I'll be keeping a list of the flavors we have made and our thoughts on them to help keep me accountable, and to make it a reality {same goes for my park goal}. I'm starting here for a list of flavor ideas
  • Take the kids swimming at least a couple of times. Sadly I have gone entire summers without swimming once... but now that kids are involved I think that would be a tragedy for their childhoods. This should be an easy goal to hit- we plan on spending a week at my parent's home in Kansas later this summer, Lord willing, and they have a pool. Also my sister got the kids a kiddie pool for their birthdays, one of our local parks has a splash park, and we are hoping to take a day trip to the beach at least once. 
  • Visit the ocean at least once. Living only a couple of hours away from the Jersey shore leaves us with no excuse! My husband and I both love the beach, and our kids have been clamoring to go. Thank you for the increased motivation, Summer Bucket List.
  • Go on lots of picnics. Heaven knows why, but eating outdoors is just more fun. Combined with our playground resolution, we should have plenty of opportunities to meet this goal. 
  • Have as many BBQ's as possible. One of my very favorite things to do in summer is to have friends over for a barbecue. You can't beat the food- burgers, pasta salad, baked beans, watermelon, chips, grilled veggies... and again, something about eating outside is magical, especially when you're with a group of fun people. If we don't do this at least a dozen times, I'm going to be lamenting lost barbecues come Fall. 
  • Buy a lot of local produce to preserve for the winter. I'm no canner, but I can dice tomatoes and peppers to fill my freezer for soups and chilis all winter long. We have a great family run farm near us with unbeatable prices. 
  • Catch fireflies in a jar with the kids. My kids are usually in bed for the night before dark, but at least once I want to let them stay up late to experience this magic. 
  • See a fireworks show. Hello Independence Day!
  • Hit up the zoo. There is a very nice zoo by my parents house, so I think this might be another good activity for our Kansas trip. 
  • Go to a fair. Mostly for the food of course :), but I think the kids would also enjoy seeing the animals and checking out a few rides.

So what are your summer must dos? 

Monday, June 29, 2015

4th of July for Preschoolers

My daughter is {almost} four. She is constantly wanting to create, craft, read, do new things, explore. All of this curiosity and energy and interest is sometimes the kick in the pants that I need to make effort as a mama. Ha.

So I've been cruising Pinterest, and we've been enjoying all sorts of Patriotic goodies. Here is a round-up to keep your busy preschooler happy and learning this Independence Day.

Flag Toast. Who doesn't love a mini fruit salad in the morning??? Both of my kids thought this was a pretty fun treat. Even if they did proceed to take it apart bit by bit and paint our table with cream cheese. Ha!

Pom-Pom Flag Painting. Clip a clothespin onto a craft pompom for a fun and unique paintbrush. Pinspiration found here.

Printable Coloring Sheets. I love these vintage Americana printable coloring sheets. My kids also had fun coloring these pictures.

Scissor Practice. Perfect for hand-eye-coordination practice, this file can be donwloaded and printed also for free. S had a blast, it kept her busy for awhile- and I can't believe how much her cutting skills have improved since the last time we tried a similar activity!

Patriotic Straw Necklace. I had some old blue and red paper straws from previous parties, which I cut into 1/2 inch pieces and had S string into a necklace. It was a great opportunity to develop that hand-eye-coordination, and talk about patterns {red, blue, red, blue, red}. Pinspiration found here.

Library Goodies. When it comes to holidays {Christmas excluded} I would much rather borrow a stack of on-topic books from the library than take up valuable shelf space year round at home. Some patriotic titles we've enjoyed include John, Paul, George and Ben by Lane Smith, A is for America by Devin Scillian, Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet S. Wong, and Fourth of July Mice by Bethany Roberts. Find more quality, festive book ideas here and here.

Listen While You Work. While working on our 4th of July crafts, we've enjoyed listening to patriotic tunes on Spotify. Head to their site, do a quick "4th of July" search, and enjoy free music on your phone, tablet, or computer. We also listened to this 4th of July Read Aloud playlist on YouTube. I just flip the screen so my kids don't see it, and they enjoy listening to the books being read. Not of professional quality, and one of the books in particular is a little lengthy, but it is still nice in our opinion.

For Grown-Ups. I can't believe how much early US history I've forgotten... or just never even learned. Reading our library books to the kids was just as much of an education for me as for them. So in an attempt to remedy this, I've picked up Washington's Spies by Alexander Rose. So far I am really enjoying this intriguing look into the Revolutionary War.

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!