Learning to see the good in the everyday is CRUCIAL for a joy-filled life! I love reflecting on what I’m loving– and love sharing it with you! So check out what is currently making our lives easier, tastier, prettier, and funner!
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Time for my every-so-often What I’m Loving post! These are some of my FAVORITE posts to write because they’re all about what is making our lives a little more delightful.
I’m still not sleeping through the night, my kids are just getting over a stomach bug, and there’s drama and issues running amok in various areas of life….but these posts give me a chance to see the glass as half full. There are ALWAYS things to be thankful for!
As always, I hope that you find fresh inspiration here, maybe a new idea to make your days easier, tastier, prettier, and funner (yes, I know that’s not a word, but it works).
And I would LOVE to hear from you too! So after you read what we are loving, share what you are loving in the comments too!
What I’m Loving Edition 10 :: Making Life Easier, Tastier, Prettier, & Funner
LOTS of Water
I am still not sleeping through the night, but I AM drinking a lot of water. For the most part, I have plenty of energy through the day, even with drinking decaf coffee in the morning. I contribute a lot of this to my water intake!
If you have a hard time remembering to drink water, then maybe associating certain tasks with drinking water would help. I start every morning with a full glass of water. I drink an entire glass whenever I wash dishes. I bring along a cup of water when I shower. And then try to remember to drink while I’m doing certain chores. Drinking water has simply become part of my routine.
I am not always the best about reading books, but I have a MUCH easier time when the chapters/books are short. Hashtag, momlife.
Two of the books I am currently reading are written by friends and fellow bloggers. I have had the opportunity to be a part of their book launch teams, and I am so happy to be able to share their books with friends and readers because I know they are both genuine and full of wisdom and experience!
Each of these books I’m reading are very new releases (like, within the last weeks), and one (You Can Stay Home with Your Kids) has not been released yet– meaning you still have time to take advantage of the pre-order bonuses and giveaway worth $1,000!
- Heavenly Minded Mom :: This is a 90 day devotional book for moms to gain an eternal perspective in their motherhood and life in general. It’s deep and gospel-centered. Plus, each day’s devotional is just about a page and a half meaning I can easily finish the readings and also spend time reading the scripture references.
- You Can Stay Home With Your Kids :: This is an AWESOME resource for anyone looking to save money. And since saving money isn’t always my forte, this book will prove to be very helpful. I’m especially excited about trying out Erin’s “recipes” for DIY household products.
- The Read Aloud Family :: Sarah Mackenzie’s Read Aloud Revival podcast for years, and have enjoyed her books in the past too. This book actually just arrived in the mail yesterday, so I will be starting it asap. As Sarah said recently, the book is worth it just for the book lists and conversation prompts.
For My Kids
Warmer weather = LOTS of Outdoor Time
This may be the thing I am loving the most in this list. We are doing all the things outdoors. I even went outside to brush my teeth on the hammock a few mornings ago.
Not too long after breakfast, I am shooing my kids outside to play. They then spend a couple of hours outside, with me in and out as I can. I am seriously counting on the extra outdoor time to help minimize the clutter and mess inside. The more we can do outdoors, the less they play indoors, the better.
I also bought
the family myself a new hammock over the weekend. This hammock is now my place to be outside. It’s stretched on a stand and can be rolled around to wherever I want to hang out. We’ve already eaten lunch together on it, read aloud together, enjoyed audiobooks and podcasts while relaxing, and you get the picture.
If you have multiple young children, you know how important a good stroller can be. With our fourth and fifth babies, we used a double stroller for a while. We bought a used Joovy Caboose and I loved it. We could put our baby’s carseat in the front, let a toddler sit in the back, and then occasionally, an older child would even stand and hold on too. Or, the baby in the front, a cooler in the seat, and then the toddler standing on the back.
The pack mule of strollers– holding a baby, a toddler, our picnic blanket, our bag of library books, extra clothes, my purse, and the ring sling.
Even though the double stroller is great, I was ready for a smaller option for going out. My baby no longer needs the carseat to ride in a stroller so I had more options. The umbrella stroller we used with our first four kids was functional, but not the best. Mainly because the handles were too low for us tall parents, and it didn’t excel at turning either.
We found this Chico Liteway stroller on Amazon and I LOVE IT. It really is the perfect size for us right now. I can easily switch from baby to toddler (the baby uses the shoulder and waist straps, the toddler only uses the waist straps). When I need the toddler to be strapped in (i.e., it’s time to go or we have a long stretch to walk), I can just carry my baby in the ring sling.
Other perks: all of my kids can push it, there is basket for storage, a large canopy, and a cup holder that I can fit my coffee cup in. AND it’s just at $100.
The stroller has already been used at the zoo, parks, science center, and on a few walks!
Calvin & Hobbes
My kids, but especially my oldest who can read proficiently, are in a big Calvin and Hobbes stage. Which is great, because the comics are hilarious, intelligent, and full of great vocabulary and references. We have several volumes at home from my husband’s childhood and there is almost always one or three laying around the house.
For the Home
Gardening & Landscaping
I am so, so, sooooo excited about gardening this year. We didn’t garden at all last year and I really missed it, though I know I wouldn’t have done much since I was pregnant through the summer.
We have already planted blueberry and blackberry bushes, and will plant our vegetables in a week or two after the last cold spell.
I am also super excited about doing some landscaping around our yard this year. This is something we have NEVER done since moving into our house. Everything else has taken priority, but this year, I’m making planting flowers and making our yard look nice a priority. It’s truly going to bring me a lot of joy to see pretty flowers in our yard! Let’s just hope the chicken don’t eat them all and that I can keep them all alive!
AND AN ANNOUNCEMENT! My extremely knowledgeable friend has agreed to write a series of posts on gardening to share here on the blog! She knows what she is talking about as her family has a homestead and dairy farm. I figure I am going to be asking her all of these questions anyway, so now you can benefit from her wisdom and experience too!
Simplified Laundry Routine
Laundry or dishes. I’m not sure which piles up more in our home. They both can be quite overwhelming at times. I am trying something new with our laundry, and I think it’s making a big difference in being able to keep up with it.
I used to be a “wash everything one day a week” girl. However, the piles just became too big and ended up sticking around for almost the whole week, after which the process was repeated again.
Laundry is now banned from our couches.
Instead, I am *trying* to wash a load or two every evening, and then make sure it’s dried before going to bed. Then in the morning, my kids fold their own laundry and put away their own clothes. My two oldest boys are also responsible for my two youngest kids’ laundry.
Another thing that is really working for us right now when it comes to laundry is a centralized place to keep my kids’ clothes. I emptied out the dresser in our living room (called our TV dresser because the TV sits on top of it). Each of my five kids has a drawer to keep their shirts/shorts/pants, and there is one drawer to keep their socks/underwear.
The one drawer system in the living room means a couple of things. First, they can’t have too many clothes– if they don’t fit in the drawer, they have too much. (Excluding the button-up shirts and dresses hanging in their closets). Also, folded clothes never make it to a basket to be put away later. The clothes are folded and immediately put away.
On the Table
Now that the weather is more agreeable for spending time outdoors, we have been getting out at least once a week to picnic and play. I am using this list of healthy grab-and-go picnic foods a ton to think of things to throw into our picnic basket. Once picnic weather arrives my grocery list changes a little to allow for more convenient lunch foods.
You can also check out this video where I demonstrated prepping several lunch foods for the week (chia seed jam, tuna salad, Instant Pot tea, hard boiled eggs, and more).
Carrot Soup & Banana Bread
We had this for lunch today. Outside, of course. Half of my kids were getting over a very short stomach bug, and a simple soup and bread sounded like a good introduction back into eating. 😉
I made the soup in the Instant Pot and finally used up some VERY ripe bananas to make this delicious bread. This soup is delicious, but I love it all the more because it uses such simple ingredients that I almost always have on hand.
We have been eating a lot more salads thanks to prepackaged salad greens, simple toppings, ready-to-go homemade ranch, and this quick and easy way to cook chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. I love a good salad, and love how easy it is to put together and take along on a picnic!
What We’re Reading
Dad’s Family Read-Aloud: We have not been doing an evening read aloud recently. I’d like to get back into the habit, but evenings have been too crazy this past several weeks for much reading in the evening.
Homeschool Read-Aloud: I am reading Fablehaven aloud to the kids right now. It is a fantasy book, which is usually a genre we really enjoy. I have never read the series before, but halfway through the first book, my kids are following the story well and begging for “just one more chapter”.
Mountain Born is a book assigned in our homeschool curriculum. I plan to start this week.
Audiobook: We just finished book six in the Little House series, The Long Winter. This week we started listening to Wonder. This book is leading to many good conversations on how we should treat others. We plan to watch the movie as a family after we finish listening.
My husband and I are also enjoying Jim Gaffigan’s audiobooks. He’s listening to Dad is Fat again (HILARIOUS), and I just started Food, A Love Story. We love Jim Gaffigan’s humor and the break it affords from more serious things.