The end of summer and start of the school year can be so busy and messy as we settle into new routines, but it’s always good to pause and look at what is going well and bringing us joy! Here is what is making our lives easier, funner, prettier, and tastier.
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It’s time for another What I’m Loving post! Time to slow down and consider what is going well and what is bringing joy– for me, my kids, our home, and on our table. I love writing these posts and I hope that you enjoy them just as much. Getting fresh ideas and inspiration is always a good idea.
I had a difficult time paring down what to put on this list, which is a good thing I suppose. I didn’t mention how much we’ve been enjoying the Lumineers station on Amazon Music, or about how I have been turning on classical music through Amazon everyday during school. I also didn’t get to tell you how blown away I was by SNS nails– how I got my manicure before the photo shoot a month ago and they NEVER CHIPPED. Truly amazing.
I didn’t get to include those things, but I did get to tell you about lots of other great stuff. There’s always so much to be thankful for, isn’t there? We just have to be intentional to look. I would LOVE to hear from you, too. Share with us in the comments what is currently bringing you and yours joy.
What I’m Loving :: Edition 12
Getting my health back on track.
After a whirlwind month in August– full of long days, late nights, and poor eating habits– my body felt spent and like I had hit a wall. I was having daily headaches, trouble sleeping, and just generally felt off. I knew something wasn’t right.
I have read before about adrenal fatigue and knew that a few of the biggest triggers are too much caffeine, stress, and not enough sleep. Both the causes and the symptoms seemed to line up with me.
I decided to completely cut out caffeine. I had been caffeine free and the beginning of the summer, but had started drinking soda and regular coffee towards the end of the summer, and then was definitely having too much of both in August. I also asked my husband to help make sure I was drinking enough water (a lot easier when I wasn’t drinking much else), finishing meals (so easy to get distracted and leave meals unfinished with little kids), and that we were getting to bed a little earlier.
My constant headache went away within three days of putting these small changes into effect. It’s telling of how we can let outside pressures and responsibilities take priority over our health. I knew that I wasn’t making the best choices, but figured I would be okay for a while.
Well, I reached my limit and am now reminded of how important it is to prioritize healthy habits for both my family AND myself.
Another 5/5 Stitch Fix box.
Even though I had received a Stitch Fix somewhat recently on my birthday, I wanted to celebrate turning in my manuscript with another Fix. There were a few things I wanted for my fall wardrobe, and wanted to see what my stylist would send.
I asked for a kimono, colored denim pants, and for classic fall pieces that I could wear year after year.
I opened my box live on Facebook, and as usual, had a lot of fun hanging out with you and chatting about the clothes. I was even able to try a few things on while on camera.
For the second time in a row, Stitch Fix sent me another 5 for 5 box. I loved all five items and was able to get the 25% off discount because I kept everything. The box was a little of a splurge for me, but I had the money and figured it was well earned after so many long hours the past several weeks.
Now I just need the weather to stay cool so I can wear everything!
What do you think of my Fix? You can try Stitch Fix for free and get a box of classic fall pieces delivered to your doorstep too. Sign up and fill out your style profile here.
Miracle laundry soap/stain remover.
My baby is ten months old now, which means that she is full swing into the stage of food stains and dirty clothes. I honestly do not spend a lot of thought on our laundry. I don’t separate my colors, and everyone’s clothes get washed together. I do at least separate towels, kitchen towels, and clothing.
I have been using Fels-naptha on my baby’s clothes and it has been really effective. Her clothes can be soiled with food and dirt from dragging herself all over the floor, but they almost always come clean with this soap.
Fels-naptha is just a bar of laundry soap, but I’m told it’s what the pros use. You can find it in the grocery store with the rest of the detergents. Just rub the bar on damp clothes and wash as usual. Easy, peasy.
I’ve shared about Stories on Instagram on my last What I’m Loving post, but I’m still loving it so I’ll mention it again. Stories are fun because they are just little snapshots of people’s days, or quick tips that I can watch when I get three minutes to spend on my phone. I’m still loving Brittany from Instant Loss’ stories, and I’ve recently really been enjoying Merrick’s stories too. I always learn something new from her.
If you want to get more peeks into the day to day goings on at our house, from little chats about what I’m working on, to our homeschool day, or short recipe tips, be sure to follow me on Instagram.
For My Kids
Back to school & return of routines.
I can’t tell you just how ready we all were for back-to-school. My kids were absolute troopers this summer as I pulled a lot of long hours (I feel like I’ve said this a lot in this post) and spent a lot of time sitting at my computer the last few weeks. I am always so thankful that my kids have each other and enjoy playing together so much.
They enjoyed a lot of free time this summer, but we were all missing the structure and rhythm to our days that comes during the school year. Everyone’s attitudes and behaviors were starting to struggle, including my own and my husband’s. Writing a cookbook was tremendous fun, but there was a HUGE sigh of relief when I finally hit “send”.
I wasn’t really ready to start school when we did. But I figured starting and just doing something was better than waiting any longer. So we just dove right in. I did sit down late one night this week and put together a rhythm and checklist and other organization that will help our days run a little more smoothly.
You can be on the lookout for a few new homeschool resources and school-related posts soon. You’ll also be seeing some quick and easy lunches and dinners coming at you because this mama needs some simplicity this fall.
With the start of school, we have a regular art time everyday now. This is nice because while my kids would spend all their time doodling and drawing, I want them to have the opportunity to use a variety of mediums and to spend time creating more than just dinosaur drawings.
One of our favorite types of mediums is watercolor. I love painting with watercolors because I can start and finish a painting in one sitting (potentially). Watercolors are easy, quick, and very kid-friendly.
Because we are painting almost daily right now, I figured it was time to graduate my kids to some better supplies. I bought my 4-year-old a new palette with MANY more color choices, and I bought my 8- and 6-year-olds new palettes like mine. They were thrilled. I also bought a book (Everyday Watercolors) for us all to go through to learn a better watercolor technique.
I asked on Instagram, and there was a lot of interest in a post dedicated to watercolors with kids, so if you have anything specific you’d like to hear about let me know in the comments.
One day this week my toddler was being extra toddler-y and I knew I needed to figure out something to keep him happy if we were going to get any school done. Thankfully, I have a stash of craft supplies in our closet, including cheap flour and salt.
I used this recipe to make play-doh (it only took about ten minutes), and mixed in some essential oils with the coloring. I used Serenity for my toddler’s dough, Balance for my four-year-old daughter’s dough, and Wild Orange for my older boys’ and my dough.
I’m definitely a homemade play-doh convert.
For Our Home
This one is a little forward thinking, because it’s more something that I’m really anticipating loving. I visited Hobby Lobby one day this week while my big kids were visiting with their grandparents. It was just me and the baby (who fell asleep soon after arriving) browsing the store for a couple of hours. It was glorious.
I wanted to get a few new pieces of decor that I could use with what I already have, that would work for fall and then could be reused in other seasons. I love changing my house up every season. It helps keep things fresh and interesting. And, since I never do things the same twice, it is always a fun challenge.
(I hope to decorate tomorrow, so I’ll just drop in a picture of my sweaty, sleepy baby).
Too much stuff/ Need for new cleaning routines.
So I had a thought that I should add in a few things here and there that I’m struggling with, not loving. #keepingitreal
Our house isn’t big and there are 7 people who spend almost all their time in it. So it’s no wonder that at times it feels like an impossible task to keep things picked up. But I’m not giving up. Constant purging and organization that work are my go-to strategies for managing the chaos.
That said, I do need to figure out a new cleaning routine because with starting school back, there is not much time at all to take care of laundry or much else during the week. A friend had a very helpful thread on Facebook last night basically sharing the same thing (homeschool + cleaning the house + cooking = how in the world to get it all done??).
I will keep you posted if I find something helpful that is working for us, and if you have any great tips, please share them in the comments!
On the Table
The newest Instant Pot recipe is for homemade chicken stock because it is an ESSENTIAL fall/winter recipe. Just last night I used eight cups of stock making a double batch of sausage and kale soup for dinner. Plus the butternut squash apple soup I made earlier in the week.
If you haven’t made stock yet, it definitely needs to be on your to-do list asap!
Again with the back-to-school theme. I’m a broken record. But when we are schooling before and after lunch, I don’t have a lot of time to cook a big lunch. So I have been keeping things simple. This week we had soup, leftover pizza, canned salmon & homemade mayo on crackers with fresh fruit, and pesto honey mustard ham sandwiches (recipe coming soon).
After a couple weeks of seeing what is working, I plan to share another lunch list. (You can find 100+ Lunch Ideas here, and this list of grab-and-go picnic foods is also really helpful).
What We’re Reading
Dad’s family read-aloud: Father and I Were Ranchers, the first book in the Little Britches Series. (The Little Britches series is included in so many lists of great read-alouds, and has been compared to a boys’ Little House series).
Homeschool read-aloud: Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne
Audiobook: On The Banks of Plum Creek, Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Me: Spurgeon’s Sorrows by Zack Eswine, “Realistic hope for those who suffer from depression”. I’m also starting Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin.
Husband: William Grimshaw of Hawworth, Faith Cook
8 Year Old: A Dog Called Kitty, Bill Wallace (This was a childhood favorite of mine, but my son isn’t thrilled with the break from fantasy. Hoping he will love it like I did.)
You are so talented and I love reading about your great finds!!! I am hoping to make the kale and sausage soup this week and get some of your freezer meals in my freezer too!
I love the mustard sweater in your stitch fix… I’m on the lookout for that color this fall. Thanks for sharing the play dough recipe! Glad you enjoyed it!
I am loving the audiobook Unbroken! SO GOOD!