Creating with Cora

One day last weekend, Cora was the first one to join me in the morning (normally she sleeps in) and she requested that we paint. We laid out all our stuff and settled on a palette of cool colors plus yellow. Tip for creating with kids: choose a limited palette to keep things from getting muddy.

I started by putting some dots all over the canvas and we painted and chatted... and by 'we chatted', I mean Cora nonstop talked the whole time. We each did our own thing and we layered and layered more paint as the morning went on.

Last week, I was watching Alisa Burke's instastory where she discussed enjoying the process instead of worrying about the final product... and that is exactly what we did. We spent that morning enjoying the process of painting and spending time together and it was perfect.

I don't know if we're finished with this yet, but it's currently hanging in our living room. It reminds me of that quiet morning with my girl Cora as we enjoy the process of painting and reminds me when we used to spend our weekend days crafting just the two of us.



Yesterday, I turned 29! I enjoyed an ordinary day of work before I came home to a surprise cake from Ben followed by dinner and more cake at my parents. It was perfect! I have a big family party coming up next week for all the January birthdays, so we're not quite finished celebrating yet.

I have a lot of goals for the next year of life, but no huge bucket list before I turn 30. I'm looking forward to enjoying adventures with Ben and the girls, watching Cora start kindergarten in the fall, working on lots of projects, and hopefully taking a real vacation.  Here's to being another year older!


A Weekend Full of Snow Days

We had some snowy weather over the weekend and I had Monday and Tuesday off, so we have been enjoying the weather as much as possible. We enjoyed our weekend like it was a big long snow day. We headed outside and play a couple of times, enjoyed hot chocolate, made a big bowl of popcorn and watched movies as we cuddled up in bed together.

This was Ida's first experience with snow and she loved it. We bundled her up by layering her tracksuit over her day-to-day clothes and adding extra layers of socks. We really only stayed out long enough for me to shovel and salt the front steps and pathway, but it was enough for them to get a taste of snow... and by taste of snow, I mean figuratively... not like that time Cora brought a spoon outside so she could eat snow easier.

The first time Ida went out, she was a little hesitant to play in the snow, but she had her big sister there to encourage her and play with. Watching Cora cheer on some of Ida's firsts has been such a fun part of parenting two littles. The second time we went out in the snow, Ida flat out belly flopped onto the ground so she could immediately start playing then sat there digging the whole time.

It was the perfect first snow experience for Ida Rue and a fun snowy weekend for the rest of us. 

See here for Cora's first snow day!


Life With Ida : 16 Months

Ida is getting old and we're enjoying her so much at this stage. Last week, we got her out on a walk without the stroller or backpack. It was fun to see her slowly walk and observe everything around her. She held my hand the entire time and didn't stray from the sidewalk unless she was stomping on old wet leaves. (See more walks at #walkswithida)

I know this wasn't her first Christmas, but it felt like it because she was so young last year. She loved all the lights and music and playing with her new toys. She seems most excited about all the books she received and loves bringing them over to me to read. 
Ida has been doing more babbling and talking this past month. She says "yes" so quietly I can barely hear her. She is funny how she is so quiet most of the time, but then she'll be playing with Cora and running around screaming. It's always so loud that it surprises me coming from such a little quiet baby. They do lots of wrestling on the bed and there is constant giggling and screaming coming from the two of them.  Sidenote: yes, she is drinking from a bottle. We still keep a bottle of water next to the bed so she can help herself during the night.
Baby girl has started pumping her arms to get me to chant. When we go down the steps, she'll pump her arms so I start chanting "go! go! go!". The other day we set up the tent in the living room and she just stood in the middle of the chaos looking at me and pumping her arms. I chanted "tent! tent! tent!" and she just ate it up.
Ida (as always) is a big cuddlebug this month. I love getting home from work and having her run up for a cuddle. She's always lounging in my lap and I love having my hands free to play on my phone. Baby girl was sick most of winter break and when she's sick she wants even more cuddles than usual.
Ida loves to sneak into Ben's room and play music on his computer. She'll put on his headphones and play whatever song was playing last. She loves to steal the wireless mouse and find somewhere nearby to hide it. I love this sweet stinker and she makes me one lucky mommy!


DIY Mudroom Hooks

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This is just a quick post to share an easy DIY and the source for these hooks. Side note: I'm going to start calling our back entryway our mudroom because I don't want to keep calling them both entryways when they're actually two different places.
A couple of months ago, Lindsay from The White Buffalo Styling Co posted about her living room and I loved the hooks she used.  While I loved the ones she used, cheapo me went down a crazy black hole that is the internet and found these hooks and figured I could DIY the rest myself.

Luckily I'm a hoarder and I've been picking up old reclaimed wood through my town's spring cleanup and this place that recycles pallets. Cincinnati peeps, I get tons of wood at Lumber Jack Pallets and there is always stuff out there. They put out whatever pallets that are defective (in terms of recycling and resale, but totally okay for DIY stuff) and label free firewood for the pieces... which makes me assume that they aren't treated with a bunch of chemicals like some pallets. Sometimes there will be some rogue nails or staples in them, but I've snagged tons of pieces that don't have nails in them.

Ben thought it'd be easier to screw the boards into the wall then the hooks. Our hooks screws were slightly longer than our board and we didn't want to poke into our kitchen table. This logically made sense, but the screws that are sent with these hooks are super crappy and we had a lot of issues with them immediately stripping. I would 100% recommend getting your own screws for these hooks which I plan to do for the remaining 4 hooks. Having lower hooks for Cora to hang her book bag and coats herself has already helped out a lot and we're loving the switch up from the previous hooks.

We'll eventually get this area painted and probably replace the back door, but I'm loving the little functional upgrade for the space. Having lower hooks for Cora to hang her book bag and coats herself has already helped out a lot with the coat and bag clutter.


DIY Lavender Rose Petal Sugar Scrub

Like a lot of other people, I'm working on some self-care this year. This is such a quick and easy DIY that also makes a perfect gift. I love the smell and it leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed.
+ 1 cup of coconut oil
+ 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
+ 20 drops of lavender essential oil
+ 2 Rosebuds **There is some opinions about using non-treated roses for skincare to avoid the chemicals. I know we expose ourselves to so many other chemicals through our food, beauty products, and day-to-day life that I wasn't overly concerned that I didn't know how my roses were treated. If you are worried about it, get organic roses or buy dried organic rose petals online.

1. Dry rose petals (I dried mine out on a drying rack over cookie sheet at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes) and chop up in food processor
2. Mix all of the ingredients together
3. Put in jar for storage.
4. Exfoliate everything!


Planner and Resolutions

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Tuesday, I posted a quick video in my Instagram stories of last year's planner and this year's planner and I got a ton of messages asking about them so I wanted to share a peek into my planner/journal... I'm also really nosy so I love when people share stuff like this or peeks at their sketchbooks. I have the Moleskin weekly planner (large) and I love it!  All the dates are on the left and then the right page is left blank (lined) for other notes. This first picture below is from my 2016 planner the week that I found out I was pregnant with Ida... It's fun to see how my planner/journal style has changed since then.

I include things in here like plans (duh), bills, meals and grocery lists, cute quotes from Cora, growth and development stuff for the kids, gratitude practice, to-do lists, and other ideas. I've tried doing bullet journaling before and this feels a little more organized and less work for me. I don't like blank days so I'm almost forced to journal each day so I can fill up the page. It has been fun to look back to get ideas (meal planning) or see what we were doing the previous year... which sometimes is very similar to what we did this year (I'm looking at you pizza picnics and movie nights). I also like looking back and seeing what quotes spoke to me at certain times. A year before Ida was born, I was writing bible quotes for the weary and burdened because getting pregnant was taking forever, but I had no idea what awesome gift was coming the following year.
This past year, I knew I wanted to do something a little different so I made sure to add a picture that sums up the week and do some kind of doodle each week. I also used highlighters to add in some color and it was interesting to see what I did with a limited supply of office supplies. On the last week of the year (second picture below), I wrote down these 10 questions to end the year intentionally and I think that will be something I continue each year.

There are also full month calendars in the front. I use this to plan or keep track of blog posts (working on getting back to posting twice a week) and write down monthly goals or to-dos.
There are also some blank lined pages that I use for my ongoing house to-do list. I just transferred the list over to my new planner and edited some of the things I no longer want to do or simplified them to reflect short term goals rather than long term goals (like 'work on renovation plans' instead of 'replace everything about the house'). I also have a page for garden notes because there is so much involved with that and I have a lot to learn after my first season of gardening. Cora also used some of these blank pages to draw some awesome drawings in.

For my resolutions this year I'm really just hoping to do more of what I've already been working on lately. I want to do more meal planning and home cooking, more rest, more healthy eating, more working on fitness, more reading, and on and on and on.  What are your resolutions?  Do you have a specific type of planner that you have to use?


Holiday Break

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We enjoyed a jam-packed couple of days around Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, we go to church and do a large family dinner and gift exchange. It's always filled with lots of laughter and chanting. ("PRESENTS! PRESENTS! PRESENTS!) We also do a family get together Christmas night that is a little more relaxed where we play with our new toys, watch movies, play games, and hang out with each other

This was the first year that Santa visited our house (he used to go my parent's house), so it was fun to get that all set up and see Cora open her presents in the morning. We kept our Christmas list down to the bare minimum because the girls already have a lot of toys and we knew they'd receive a lot of gifts from our family. Santa got Cora some play-doh toysa Berenstain Bears book, cute socks, and some hair oil (for some reason she was super excited about this one) and Ida received a touch-and-feel book. Both the girls received the cutest matching sweatsuits that I have yet to get them to wear at the same time. Also, I started a little tradition of getting coordinating ornaments that are hung on our stocking from Santa. I put initials and the year on them and love adding to the tree each year.
The week after Christmas was pretty mellow this year. Ida was sick 99% of our break, so there were a lot of cuddles and movie watching.  Because of the constant cuddling, I didn't get nearly as much done as I hoped to on my week off, but I did get a couple small projects done that I'll share later.

Cora and I did manage to go on a date to Target and the movies to see Ferdinand, which be both loved. Throughout the break we also did a lot of pizza picnic dates in bed and watched some older movies like Space Jam and 3 Ninjas. The last couple days of break we started to be more productive and did some cleaning, took down our Christmas decorations, and played in the snow, and prepped everything for back to school/work.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and are gearing up for whatever awesomeness that 2018 has in store.

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