Levi’s birth story

Our sweet 5 year old

On June 1, 2012 my mom, house cleaner, and I cleaned every inch of our first little 850 sq foot house, preparing for Levi who was due June 10th.  We went to bed that night and at 3 am I woke up Charlie telling him my water broke. This eager and excited first time dad pulled out his birthing class notes and went through “TACO”… Time, Amount, Color, and Oder. What a great dad already:) We had our hospital bag mostly packed, with a list on top of last minute items to grab.

Charlie was in charge of the items while I did my hair.

Well, I went to bed with it wet, so I had to make it look half way decent! Besides, the hospital was literally 0.3 miles down the road. So, 45 minutes later we were on our short little way to the hospital and family was informed. I was just feeling a little crampy as they were checking me, and we had second thoughts if we should be there. I wanted to deliver naturally and didn’t want to be laboring at the hospital for 24 hours. As we were about to sign AMA papers (leaving Against Medical Advice), the contractions started coming hard and strong. We looked at each other and decided to stay. At 8 am I was 3cm & 10:20am I was 7cm.

My partner in life
My partner in life

Somewhere between that time my sister, who was my assistant labor coach, arrived from 4 hours south to help Charlie and I through the process. So thankful she was there because she had done this naturally before, is a nurse, and is my best friend. My husband and sister make a great team 😉

A labor of love
A labor of love

So at 10:20 things got intense….transition was upon me. By 10:40 though I was 9cm and 20 mins after that it was time to push! I was so ready for him to come. I couldn’t wait to see my son, OUR baby. I also couldn’t wait for the pain to stop. As the doctor came in when it was time to push I asked my sister, “is it going to hurt?!” (I know, silly question). She said, “Yes, it will burn like crazy”. Honesty. After 45 minutes of pushing, we were parents, holding our baby… trying to study his little face between the tears streaming down our faces.

He was precious, all 8lbs 10ounces & 21 inches of him.

And there began our journey of parenthood.

Levi a day old with mom

LEvi a fathers love

levi first family photo

What a blessing we were given that day! Thanks for reading 🙂

DIY vintage green chalkboard paint

I have a space in my home where I want to make a large green vintage chalkboard. Finding a pretty green chalkboard paint has been little difficult though. I found a “recipe” on a blog for one but it required mixing different milk paints and each bag of paint was $25. I didn’t want to spend $50 on just the paint for this project! Then I pulled up on pinterest “How to make you’re own chalkboard paint” and I was shocked at how easy it was! All I had to do was find a green I liked and do a little mixing!

Here is what I did:

  • I purchased a sample jar of Valspar’s Hanging Vine green from Lowes. Buying a sample jar covers more than enough area for a chalkboard, is only a few dollars, and the amount in there is just about 8fl oz, which is the mixing ratio for the next step!
    Valspar: Hanging Vine green
  • Mixed 2 TBSP unsanded grout into the sample jar (1 cup of latex paint to 2TBSP unsanded grout).
    The paint seems a little thick after mixing but it paints on smoothly!

Done. Thats it. You have a pretty vintage green chalkboard paint!

I haven’t made the large chalkboard but I wanted to practice and experiment with the color. Now, I know this “Bind my Wandering Heart to Thee” is pretty, but its been in my garage too long collecting dust and its not really my style anymore…so I reused it.  😯

I taped the outer frame and applied 3 coats of the chalkboard paint mix to the main surface. Once the green was dry I mixed some white paint and water and brushed in on the frame to give it more of a white wash look. When both paints were dry I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over the surface.

Seasoning the chalkboard

 

And here is the final result! Now…just to work on my chalkboard writing 😉

Thanks for reading! Please ask me any questions you may have. Happy chalkboard making!

Capsule Closet- The Result

Now that the closet is purged, its time to start filling in the gaps by adding basic pieces.

It is important to key in on your own style and what works for you!

So, what makes you feel comfortable? I personally don’t like tight or restrictive tops, rather more flowy basic shirts that allow me to feel comfortable when I’m doing my “mom job”. And when I wear heels, I feel like an alien from mars and will probably end up with a broken leg so…definitely no to heels or wedges for me. I mean, I will if it’s an important event… like I’m meeting the president or something. Maybe you like wearing heels to the store and it makes you feel like you can conquer the world! By all means, wear those heals! I will admire you. Just figure out what works for you 🙂

Now, let’s talk color palette for a moment. I don’t think this should be complicated. I didn’t even plan mine, it just happened! Pick your favorite shirts from your closet and see what majority rules. There may be 3-4 colors that seem to stand out. Maybe they are bright, or more neutral like mine, but just stick with your colors so outfits will match. If that doesn’t work, start pining outfits you like on Pinterest and try to figure out what your favorites are! Below are a few palettes I like with similar colors in my closet:

Now I’m going to take you through my closet to show you what I have and how many I have to give you an idea. But remember, just figure out what works for you!

«s h i r t s»

For tops I tend to go plain, with a little flair. Like an oversized baggy  pocket, a high-low (longer in back), or your good ol’ v-neck. Its just what I gravitate to and makes me feel comfortable! Plus, they go with a lot. So how many do I have? About 12 spring/summer shirts and tanks hanging in my capsule section. I also have my comfy, around the house shirts…which I will talk about another time.

The picture below is a more realistic view of what my shirt section looks like. I did, however, leave some long sleeve shirts in the mix since we haven’t quite reached summer yet.

So, does my shirt section surprise you? Did you think you could only have 5? Maybe I’m not a strict capsule follower in the capsule world, but this works for me right now! I’m sure I’ll be tweaking it even more. I’d also like to add that I kept a few more in the mix because I still have young kiddos that get me dirty. So if one gray top gets dirty, I’ll just grab another gray top! Another reason why its nice when the color scheme stays similar. One winter day I was wearing black skinny jeans and a chambray top and both were spilled on…so I went to my closet and put on the exact same outfit! I love not thinking about what I’m going to wear. There’s too many other things to think about!

«s h o r t s»

These are my shorts for the capsule. I do have a few others from the past, just in case. (See, its hard to let go!!) We live in the middle of sunny california, so we reach many over 100 degree days. H O T.  The green and pink shorts fit well and were on the longer side for short shorts so…I bought two colors. The top jean shorts I made from an old pair of flair jeans. Reuse and recycle  😉 I think this will be a good base for summer (those times I’m not splashing in the pool with the kids)…and the colors go with a lot!

«f a n c y»

As I was purging my closet I realized all my skirts were super outdated. And honestly, I don’t really know what skirts are in style now, so I decided to stick with dresses. For churches, weddings, or…if I meet the president of course. When I got rid of my 100+ pieces of clothes, I found a few dresses I had forgotten about! Another reason to keep the closet clean.

«S h o e s»

 

These sandals are my staple. Thank you Marshalls. I mean, its these 85% of the time and other than that its my rainbow sandals or my workout shoes. I do have high heels stored under the bed (for when I meet el presidente). I think its good to have 2 capsule shoes for the season, but I just have one for now. Guess I better go shopping 🙂

I will say, while the weather is cooler in spring, I will still where one of my two staple winter shoes…these Lucky brand lace up booties. They go with everything! Thank you Marshalls, again.

My spring go-to crop leggings and booties

«A c c e s s o r i e s»

This is my capsule necklace. It is simple and goes with everything. I think I paid $3 for it at Forever 21! I do have more necklaces hanging in my closet, but honestly, a lot were gifts and I don’t want to get rid of them! I decided because they don’t take up much room, I’ll let myself keep them;) But when I’m in a rush and need a necklace, this is “the one”.

«C a r d i g a n s»

I usually don’t need a sweater with the kind of summers we have, but I like to keep my lighter cardigans out. For those few cool summer nights or when buildings crank up the A.C! I ended up with 6 because a few are very light and 3/4 sleeves and a few are long sleeve and a little heavier.

«Mix & Match»

Here are a few examples of outfits I can make with my capsule clothes!

So….what about the non-capsule items? This would include comfy clothes, work out clothes, and pajamas. I have downsized a lot in all of these areas and try to keep it simple. I decided to go all black bottoms for work out clothes and buy tops that match black. I chose about 5 or 6 of my favorite comfy shirts to keep around. I mean, comfy clothes ARE my staple;) There are no rules, but just be mindful with everything you keep!

In summary, chose quality over quantity. Be strategic when you make a purchase and be sure it will match with what you have. If you put a new item in your closet, look carefully through what is already in there and see if an item or two can be removed.

If we can do this with our wardrobe we are one step closer to simplifying life.

And a simple life gives us more time with things that really matter. I think we are all about that, right?! Thanks for reading my little capsule series! If you missed the first and second post, click them to read!

 

Below I did a little shopping for you with (similar) items in my wardrobe..just click on the photo and it will take you to the link where you can purchase them!

Capsule Closet- Down sizing your wardrobe

 

Hello friends! I hope that by sharing my experience with the capsule closet you  will realize the process doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. It takes a little time, but it will pay off in the long run!

So lets talk about purging. I think it is really beneficial to go through your wardrobe a few times when trying to down size.

Purging is like peeling back layers of an onion. You might cry as you peel back the layers to get to the core (or your capsule clothes), but the final result will taste good in the end.

Ok, maybe thats not the best analogy 😉 , but if anything you can think of onions when you purge. And maybe it will remind you to keep going…keep throwing into the give away pile! Purging in stages gives you time to figure out what you really like and what you can live without.

«Purge #1»

First, I got rid of all the clothes that didn’t fit (post partum, maternity, pre-baby) or items I knew for a fact I didn’t like. This weeded out a good little chunk and I felt just that much better about my closet. Well, fast forward a few weeks and I realized that made a little dent, but I still had a mountain I needed to say goodbye to.

The dent

«Purge #2»

Purge two happened a few months later. (Hopefully you won’t wait that long for yours!)

It was actually a little harder than I thought to let go of so much. I didn’t realize I was attached to my clothes!

During this purge I got rid of…100+ pieces of clothes!!! This was by far the bulk of my purges. I went through my socks, underwear, pjs, workout clothes, shirts, pants, shorts…the whole gamut. As you’re doing this remember the point is to simplify and make more time for things that matter. Maybe it will help you decided if you really need that shirt or not 😉 I did make a little “will be replaced section” in my closet for clothes that I didn’t really want for my capsule, but needed to keep until I found replacements.

«Purge #3»

Purge 3 happened once I had found those spring/summer replacements (thanks to a little pre Mothers Day alone time shopping!). Now I was able to give away the clothes that were in the “to be replaced” section. I also purged my jewelry and shoes, again.

My closet was actually starting to become a space I enjoyed looking in! That was a totally new concept to me.

Here are some before and afters:

During purge #2
Utter chaos…and dirty mirrors 🙂
After purge #3

My kids could actually explore in there now!

What a difference, right? Maybe your closet doesn’t look as bad as mine did (or does it?!). …but I hope this inspires you to minimize the amount of clothes you own. Besides saving time, money, and hassle, its just nice to open an organized closet and like all you own! I even thought about adding twinkle lights inside.  😯  And you know what, I just might!

Ok, so, are you ready to purge now? In my next post I will talk about how I pulled my capsule closet together, what is in my capsule (how I can mix and match), and you will be able to easily shop my basics! If you missed the first post, Why the Capsule Closet, click here. To read the next post, “The result”, click here!

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

My Lived in Closet- Why the Capsule Closet?

There are beautiful messes within the home. Messes that are left by our loved ones living in it…making sweet memories.

Then there was my closet. Not such a beautiful mess.

I’d rather spend time with these kiddos then fuss about my clothes!

The past year or so I’ve become more aware of trying to make life more simple. The first few years of motherhood were a survival blur, and things accumulated. We moved into our 1400 sq ft home with 3 people, and then there were 5. More clothes, more shoes, more toys, more food, and just more stuff. I also let my closet accumulate. I had high school clothes, college clothes, maternity clothes, post partum clothes, nursing clothes, and then whatever other things I would randomly snag when I was out shopping. You know, those impulse buys that you make, hoping that it will make your post partum self feel better.

I have a normal sliding door closet and I found myself wishing a had a big beautiful walk- in closet. Well, I could dream away but no walk-in closet would magically appear. Then I kept hearing about… The Capsule Wardrobe. My sister and sister in law started dabbling in it and there were a lot of pinterest articles about it. Hey! Maybe that would solve my lack of a walk-in closet…I could just get rid of some clothes! Genius. Not only would it solve my space problem, but it would solve the “having so much to wear, yet nothing to wear” problem.

Never in a million years would my husband have been able to pick out an outfit for me. This shirt wouldn’t work with those pants…and those pants definitely wouldn’t work with that shirt! And with this problem, it also took time to pick outfits to wear. But I didn’t want to spend extra time trying to figure out what to wear. My babies were (are!) growing every time I blink.

I wanted to free more time and space for things that really matter. Simplify life. Sigh. Sounded life a breath of fresh air.

So, the whole capsule wardrobe intrigued me and I decided to give it a try. I was a little nervous, picturing myself only have 5 shirts. Could I do it? But with further thought and research, I realized it wasn’t about numbers. I could own more than 5 shirts. Phew. I just wanted quality over quantity. And to be mindful of what I keep in my closet.

Myquillian Smith (The Nester) talks about how we are home curators. She says, “My job isn’t so much an organizer of clutter, but a curator of things we need and love and a get-ridder of things that no longer serve us.” We have things for seasons, but then need to let them go.

“There is more joy to be found in owning less than can ever be found in organizing more.”

-Joshua Becker, (Clutterfree with kids)

My heart’s desire is to have a peaceful home. I don’t want it to be filled to the brim with stuff that I have to spend time organizing and re-organizing. I want to be mindful of what I keep and what I get rid of. I want to be an example to my children that memories are more important than things. I’m still a work in progress, so please don’t open my junk drawer…or guest closet.

What do you think? If you haven’t already done this, are you willing to give it a try? I think we have to determine what kind of life we want to live, and then we can feel more committed when we choose to do things like downsize our wardrobe.

In my next posts I will talking about the purges, yes multiple, I did over a few months and how I reached my final capsule result (and how you can too)! Click here to read about the next step, how to downsize your wardrobe, and click here to read the last post!

Please leave any comments with questions or ideas you may have!

Muffins & Motherhood musings

 Children really help teach patience. They help you learn what things in life are really important and what things can wait, they teach you how to give up your own interests for the sake of others (your family), and…did I say patience?! I’ve had to scale back in life recently to deal with attitudes. For some reason we are in a season where on some mornings, by 8:30 am, I’ve dealt with more attitudes and meltdowns than I should have all day. I was getting so burnt out and frustrated. Then I realized I just needed to scale back on life. I needed to allow myself to be more available to my children to deal with the attitudes on hand.
I haven’t been scheduling play dates or planning a lot of extra things, I haven’t been as focused on Instagram or planning what to post next, I haven’t been on my phone as much… and when I do have down time, I try to fill myself up. I’m in the Word, listening to relaxing music, working out, and staying on top of the house so I’m not stressed about that. And you know, its helped so much. Just letting go of things and focusing my attention on my children. The ridiculous meltdowns and tantrums aren’t as stressful and I’m able to collect myself and face them head on, with more patience. Well, sometimes I want to walk head on into the wall and repeatedly bang my head on it…but, not as often as before. (May I add, I still lose my patience, daily.) Its so easy to get too busy and forget that we are raising little sinners who needs to be taught, disciplined, loved, and reminded of things over and over again…and again..and then one more time. But thats our job, our calling. So, sometimes things in life need to wait, and we need to put all our energy and effort into the most important things…our littles!
So, speaking of trying to fill myself up, I decided to bake on this rainy afternoon while the kids were napping. I turned up the tunes and got to whisking! Here’s what I whipped up…they were pretty tasty!
I used a recipe from Pinterest, and my own modifications are in parentheses.

Maple- Sweetened Banana Muffins

INGREDIENTS
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil or (extra-virgin olive oil, because my coconut oil was expired 😯 )
  • ½ cup maple syrup or honey (I used honey)
  • 2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1¾ cups whole wheat flour (I did 1 cup whole wheat and 3/4 cup almond flour)
  • ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado (raw) sugar or other granulated sugar, for sprinkling on top
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease 11 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray (my pan is non-stick and didn’t require any grease).
  2. In a large bowl, beat the coconut oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins, like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 11 muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon), followed by a light sprinkling of sugar (about 1 teaspoon). Bake muffins for 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  5. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. Enjoy muffins as is or with a spread of nut butter or regular butter.

I hope you’re able to make them and sit down with some coffee for a little “recharge” time! Thanks for reading, friends!

xoxo

Danielle

Styled Sign

After
Before

A few years ago I built this large wooden “board” (I’m not sure what else to call it?) over our couch to help fill the large wall that the couch rests against. My husband helped me add spotlights on either side, as we needed more lighting in this area. We fed the lights’ cords through the metal pipe you see on the right side to help hide them. I loved the whole idea of it, but I recently decided that this space was just too dark.

So how could I lighten this space? A white couch? Absolutely not. Three little kids and a white couch just doesn’t sound fun to me. Not to mention the cost. So, I opted for painting the board white instead 😉 I came across the beautiful “It is Well With My Soul” sign (see here for where to purchase) and knew I wanted it in my home…I had the perfect spot in mind!

I lightly sanded the whole board
…and painted it Swiss Coffee

Its amazing how much paint can change the looks of things! I replaced the brown (slightly sparkly) spot lights with these black farmlights from Home Depot! We have had one in our nursery/guest room for a while and I liked it so much I decided we could use a few more in our home 🙂

I am so glad I decided to lighten this space. It didn’t take much work but feels so much more open and cozy to me!

 

Thank you so much for reading about my little face lift of this area! Please let me know if you have any questions about the process!

xoxo,

Danielle

DIY Cozy Blanket

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I was cruising instagram and kept seeing all these cozy wool blankets. I looked into buying one and was a little shocked at the price! So, I went to my mom….”Mom, do you think you could make me a blanket for my birthday!?” And, she made it happen! I haven’t really tried my hand at crocheting, yet, but I wanted to share with you how my mom made this. Because if YOU crochet, you should make one. This would make a great Christmas present to someone special…or a present to yourself! 😉

Supplies (both from Michaels):

  1. 10 Balls Bernat Blanket Big. This made approximately a 55x70inch blanket with some yarn left over. Its not wool, its polyester, but its super soft and cozy! Each skein was $9.99 each but it was 40% off. (They have great coupons..and you can make several trips to get them with the sale price!)

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2. Jumbo Crochet Hook– US/50 (25mm) 10” longcrochetHere’s what pattern my mom used:

Cast on 40 stitches plus 1 chain.

*1 single crochet (sc) into 2nd  chain from hook.

Crochet 1 chain and then sc into 2nd chain from hook.*

Repeat * this pattern* until end of row. Chain 1 and turn.

Crochet this pattern row until you have desired length.

Cast off.

Attach yarn and single crochet into each chain around the perimeter of

entire blanket. If desired, may crochet second row for a wider border.

*Note:  at each corner of blanket sc 3 times into same chain so as to

create a squared corner.

(There are numerous crochet websites that will explain in detail stitches, casting off, finishing off where balls of wool are joined together. Two helpful sites are Crochet for dummies and YouTube: Crochet Guru).

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img_9504img_9393img_9633Now, go make a blanket of your own and share pictures of your creation with us:) Please contact me if you have any questions!

xoxo,

Danielle

Canvas Joy Sign

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I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep my house with neutral-traditional Christmas decor or bright and colorful! Such a dilemma! I decided to go with the fun colors in the kids play area and keep the rest neutral. I thought it was a good compromise and allows me to dabble in both…since I’m indecisive. 🙂

This “Joy” sign sees almost too simple to even blog about, but I’ll show you how I did it! img_0069I took an 8×8 canvas from Michaels and wrapped it with some merry & bright (thats what it made me think of anyways!) wrapping paper from Target’s dollar section. I used some strong clear packing tape to secure it.

img_0070I also had some adhesive letters stashed in my closet, from Target’s dollar section, and decided to spell out “joy”. I peeled off the backs and stuck them on the front.

img_0077And that’s that. Easy peasy, as my 4 years old says.

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This is a fun, easy, and cheap way to add some Christmas cheer! Thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Danielle

paper product table setting

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If you’re like me you might not like doing dishes after hosting a party. Because of this I decided to create a cost friendly, paper product table scape… with a presentation that will make your guests take a second look! I will go through each item numbered and share where I found them:

  1. The square white paper plates are so unique, sturdy, and simple! I just love them! The large ones can be found here and the small ones hereimg_7680
  2. The “placemat” is just a large piece of paper! Michaels or Hobby Lobby have good selections! img_7684-2
  3. The faux eucalyptus leaves were taken from a stem I had purchased from Hobby Lobby. img_7664
  4. The mini pumpkins are from Walmart. I bought a bag in the produce section…5 for about $2.50.img_7660
  5. I laid some fabric across my white table cloth to act as table runner. The fabric is from Walmart, $6.50 a yard. img_7675
  6. The wooden cutlery is from Michaels. I’m not sure how practical it is for cutting turkey, but I love the look  😉 img_7676
  7. I made the “I am thankful for” card and the name tag from navy blue and white card stock. I copied the font from a Pinterest picture! dsc_0090
  8. The wispy eucalyptus clippings are from my mom’s yard. They are my favorite! You could use whatever is in your yard or add some faux greenery. img_7682
  9. The napkins are good ol’ white paper napkins that can be tossed after dinner!
  10. The stainless napkin rings are from target. They are in the dollar section, a pack of 4 for $5. img_7684-2

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I hope this helps you as you plan for a dinner party! Paper products can look pretty too  🙂

P.S. As I was setting up this table my daughter did her own tablescape and I just have to share it! It is so precious  🙂 dsc_0127