currently... spray Lysol in our wake

An untired mommy would come up with a really charming caption for this picture. Something about how cute she is; ain't she a stinker? And when she's sick how that cute face lets her get away with... being a dick? Whatever I'm a tired mommy. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Currently is a weekly link-up that I happily co-host with the fabulous and amazing  Randalin ♥ of Harvesting Kale. We hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using our themes or your own) and please join us by linking up.

psst. Randalin is taking a few weeks off from regularly scheduled programming in order to snuggle a newborn (coming soon) and do lovely nesting things while wearing sweat pants and eating pickle flavored potato chips. While she's away, we'll have two new co-hosts for Currently.

This week our co-host is Kate of Just Pirouette & Carry On. I adore Kate and you will too! She is the funnest, funniest, most earnest and honest and awesome mama of 2 adorable little lasses. They farm a plot and make their own elderberry liquor. I dream of one day sailing an ocean, just so I can hug her!

So! What have you been owning, wearing, thinking, drinking, dancing this week? Over here, we have been...

Otto has been Owning me when it comes to his hair. I can only say so many things about this. This is one of those pick your battles moments. A big part of my heart loves that he has made a decision based on his own personal taste (he's the only boy among his friends with a Rapunzel thing going on) and I'm happy to let him have control over his hair. I mean it's hair for crap's sake, who really cares? Another part of me, a part that really wants the hair out of his freaking eyes, wants to chop-a-lop that shag! Oh well. I kick his ass at charades. So I guess we are even.

Etta has just started Wearing hand-me-downs of Otto's that he was wearing when she was a baby. So it's like she's entered into the stage of hand-me-downs that overlap her own life. This is a crazy milestone that is freaking me out probably more than it should. It's just trippy, that's all.

I've been Thinking that Spring can spring already. Winter be gone! I hate you, Winter! 

and Drinking the tea from Aveda. Do we all know about this magical organic blend of sweet magic magicness? I'm a straight up coffee lover, no mistake, but this tea is amazing. And with all the coughing happening in my house this week, a little tea has been in order, and I just seriously love that stuff.

We've been Dancing to the Star Wars score channel on Pandora. It's super majestic and we're all super majestic battle dancers, so there are awesome kitchen ballets with wooden spoon light sabers happening over here nonstop. Um... It's cooler than it sounds.

That was this week and here are next week's themes:
watching, saying, losing, admiring, making 


currently... peacing out and puppy hats

Currently is a weekly link-up that I happily co-host with the fabulous and amazing  Randalin ♥ of Harvesting Kale each week. We hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using our themes or your own) and please join us by linking up.

In the coming weeks, Randalin will be taking a little break from regularly scheduled programming in order to snuggle a newborn, read books, eat lunch with friends, and wander around Target grinning. I = jealous. While she's away, we'll have two new co-hosts for Currently:

Kate of Just Pirouette & Carry On is someone I dream of one day sailing an ocean, just so I can hug her and Colleen of Mommy Panda is a vintage loving, crafting son-of-a-gun and I just love her!

So! What have you been reading, loving, cooking, avoiding, laughing this week? Over here, we have been...

Reading Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator to Otto at bedtime, as we finished the Chocolate Factory last week. I'm going to say something wildly controversial here. Elevator is a lesser Dahl. Gasp! But true. After this we're onto The Marvelous Land of Oz and I'm pretty stoked for it. Also reading and reading and reading to Loretta. She is gobbling up language so awesomely these days so she'll sit through the actual words for a bit but what she really wants is to have every picture in every book described to her. It's super fun and FORGETABOUTIT if any character in any book is eating anything that resembles a cookie. Because holy shit that's her favorite favorite thing.

Loving this little lull in life following the holidays. Our living room feels open and calm without the tree up. Our schedule feels uneventful and restful without hustle and bustle. Our fridge feels full of good leftovers now that there's a little time again to cook and bake. And I am just a boring person and love a good weekend day here or there where there is absolutely nothing set in stone on the calendar.

Cooking this rib eye roast, this pear & apple crumble, this weird bubble pizza thing, and this orange tofu. I've been leaning on Pinterest pretty heavy for recipes lately and so far it's done me solid. The tofu is the only one of the above that I haven't tried yet (but got the ingredients) and I'm pretty excited about it!

Avoiding work on Monday. Just kidding? Well Loretta's sitter had Monday off so it was up to me to keep her and we made the most. We did a girls' trip to Buffalo Exchange and she charmed the pants off all the cool kids who work there, meanwhile mama scored some new to me Lucky boots, a Free People poncho, and a handful of other tops all for trade! I love it when they buy things; when they don't I always feel all rejected even though they're rejecting my rejects. Here's my lady date, what a peanut.

Laughing at my husband and kids and the horrible sounds they have been making with Garage Band this week. The (ahem) music makes my shoulders twitch but the joy they get from dancing to their homemade techno beats that include Etta saying, "Cookie." over and over is pretty much magic. Remember Ross Gellar on keyboard? Electrifying.... Infinite time time time time.

That was this week and here are next week's themes:
owning, wearing, thinking, drinking, dancing 


a DIY: I made my own non-aluminum deodorant (and I smell so good!)

I'm going to start with the "2 Weeks Later" on this post, because I made my deodorant a couple of weeks ago and I've been using it every day since. So, this is not a brag or anything, but I smell great. Honestly. I've been using store (well Amazon) bought non-aluminum deodorant for a while now (Lavanila is just wonderful) and so I got over the fact that we aren't talking about antiperspirant here a long time ago. But your body is meant to sweat, it's good for you, and the aluminum in antiperspirant has been linked to breast cancer (if you think about it you're shaving your armpit, creating tiny cuts, then smearing a known carcinogen onto the area) as well as other illnesses. No thanks. The funny thing I found is that not too long after going off antiperspirant I wasn't sweating as much. Yep, sweating less! With antiperspirant there was always a point in the day where I'd start mega-sweating and end up with pit stains. That hasn't happened to me in so long. I sweat a little bit, the deodorant soaks up the smelliness, and I end the day smelling good and without aluminum smeared near my boobs. All good things.

I've also come to realize that I'm crunchy as fuck. It's true. I spent a good few years saying things to people like, "I'm kind of weird about food," or, "haha yeah I guess I'm on the crunchy side!" ::adorable shrug:: but the truth is that the more I know about the food I eat, the things I smear all over myself and my kids, the more I'm just like, "to hell with this." I suppose a crunchy lifestyle is among the last things that's it's still OK to just make fun of super openly and we're all supposed to laugh and be cool about it, hello truck and beer commercials! But guys... I am uptight. There, I've said it. I have a hard time being super cool about it. Everything in moderation but come on now. Ok, this commercial is funny.

Welp! Has the talking-too-much crazy-eyed chia seed eating lady scared you away yet?

So! Non-aluminum deodorant, it turns out, is incredibly easy to make and it works! This is based off a recipe I got at Crunchy Betty. Here's what you do...

You need
- wooden spoon & mixing bowl OR mortar & pestle if you have one
- 3 deodorant empties
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 5 TBSP of coconut oil
- vanilla extract (for smell)
- essential oils (for smell)

Here's what you do

1. Melt your coconut oil down so that it's a liquid. This doesn't take much at all. I did 30 seconds in my microwave at half-power. You just need to get it to it's non-solid, oily state.

2. Mix in your baking soda, corn starch, vanilla extract (I am terrible about measuring, but I used about 1/2 tsp) and essential oils (I used honey buckthorn vitamin C serum because it is the only oil I own; it smells super citrussy and like honey which is awesome).

3. Here is where I'll do better next time. Really mix that stuff up until it's as smooth as possible. My deodorants ended up with the occasional little tiny lump in them which hasn't killed me yet, but it feels a little grainy going on which I will improve on next time.

4. Twist your empties down as low as they'll go. I didn't even clean mine first. And then just pour your batter directly into each, stopping when you get to the top.

5. Put in the fridge to set. It takes a couple of hours.

Once set, I've been storing mine in the bathroom just like store bought. I suppose in the thick of summer I might store them in the fridge but for now they've been doing great in the medicine cabinet.

I had my husband smell test me the first few days I used my homemade deodorant. What a champ. And he confirmed, I smell really good. Like end-of-the-day, one application in the morning, and I smell GOOD. Not just non-bad, but good. The deodorant smells like citrus scones or something yummy and so do I. Nice!

Finally, I hear you can add shea butter, avocado oil, argan oil, or aloe to these recipes to get a more soothing, skin-smoothing result. I will try the argan oil next time and just add a bit more of the dry ingredients to offset the additional oil.

ps. Thank you, Brandy (from heart and habit) for getting me started on my deodorant journey and inspiring me in so many ways, as well as sending me deod recipes. I love you, lady.


currently... chicken dreams

Currently is a weekly link-up that I happily co-host with the fabulous and amazing  Randalin ♥ of Harvesting Kale each week. We hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using our themes or your own) and please join us by linking up.

What have you been missing, wanting, loving, preparing, regretting this week? Over here, we have been...

Missing my life idol, Tim Gunn, for MONTHS now and I'm so freaking excited that Under the Gunn starts tonight! May his poise and charm and good taste inspire my heart as I eat cake in my sweats this evening.

Wanting chickens and bees. Last Saturday some friends let us visit their chickens, feed them meal worms, gather eggs, and HOLD A CHICKEN and now I have chickens on the brain. Bees were already on the brain. Somewhere reasonable inside of me a little mini-me is saying I should hold off on this stuff until Rob graduates (in 2 years) and somewhere romantic inside of me a little-farmer-me is holding a little pitchfork and winking and smiling and looking damn cute in her fancy mud boots (no but really, chickens or no chickens, I want these).

Loving my kiddos' ages right now. 

Otto's imagination, at just 5, is enough to burst a heart. He'll spend hours creating scenarios for his stickers, figures, or just drawings. He's obsessed with superheros, super powers, villains, and adventures. I just love to overhear him as he plays out these scenes, with all the boy noise, "Oh yeah, well I'll freeze you! Pow! Ahhhhhh! It bounced off my shield! Now I'll fly! Whooosh!" Loretta is starting to talk in sentences, still mostly cookie demands, but we've graduated to really well put together sentences like, "No wait Mommy cookie! Cookie! Peeeeeees!" Um, no human can say no to this. Good thing she thinks granola bars and animal crackers are cookies.

Preparing to plan out my summer garden in the next month or so. I've never gardened with any intelligence and it shows in the fact that the fruits of my (ahem, cough cough) hard work have always been pretty meager. This year I'm plotting, planning, and spending time. I'm also only planting heirloom varieties this year, with a goal of saving seeds for next year. How funny that at 35 I find myself so connected to all these food ideas and the romance of tending and growing our own food. My dad was a farmer, my grandpa was a rancher, but it's only been recently that these interests have taken root in me.

Regretting nothing! I'm in the mood to not waste time on regrets. Let's learn from our mistakes and always try to improve and enjoy moments and plan for brighter futures. Regrets are for criminals, not moms who do all they can to keep food on the table, clothes on the backs, kindness in the hearts, and laughter on the lips. Am I right?

That was this week and here are next week's themes:
reading, loving, cooking, avoiding, laughing 


Loretta's Bookcase Dollhouse

For Christmas, Rob and I made Loretta her own dollhouse and she couldn't love it more. It's a pretty simple affair and the perfect little home for a budding Calico Critters collection. At almost-2, Loretta is already babies obsessed and loves to take care of all her toys. A dollhouse, something I always dreamed of as a child, felt like just the right move. Loretta will spend hours (well, at this point many minutes, but I am talking tens of minutes here) in front of her dollhouse, moving the "babies" "mommies" and "daddies" around. She loves to feed everyone and makes the cutest, "soup soup soup," noise when her dolls are eating. Putting everyone down for night-night is also a favorite. She has only misplaced a few pieces and it's been a month, which is all I can say for either of my kids, re: all their toys. She actually takes great care in playing with the dollhouse toys inside the dollhouse, at least most of the time. When we play dollhouse together her smile is so huge it goes all the way up to crinkle her nose! It's very peaceful play. And the only really weird thing she's done is remove the stuffing (a foam scrap) from inside the little mattresses to chew on it. Yipes! We've de-foamed the mattresses since that incident.

If you are interested in making a bookcase dollhouse for your kiddos it's incredibly easy to do:

The materials needed are: (1) bookcase with shelves that rest on pegs, (2) a can of spray mount, (3) light, non-elastic fabrics (quilting cotton is perfect) for the walls and floors.

1. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.
2. Use newspaper or other paper to make a template of your walls. 1 per floor. What I mean is it works best if you can cut 1 long rectangle to cover the side-back-side wall of each entire floor with 1 piece per floor.
3. Starting at the bottom floor apply spray mount to the wrong side of your cut fabric (it's fumey so I'd suggest going outside to do this step), then lay the sprayed piece into the bookcase and smooth until it's in there how you want it. You can adjust for a couple of minutes before the adhesive really dries. If you really botch this step you can always peel it right off and re-do.
4. Repeat Step 3 for each floor, layering the upper floor fabric over the one below as minimally as possible.
5. To cover the floors, lay the fabric wrong-side-up, spray with spray mount, and carefully roll your shelve along it so that the top/front/bottom (but not back or sides which will be against the inside of the bookcase) are covered. Once dry, trim the excess.
6. Put your shelf pegs back in by slicing tinily through the fabric. The spray mount makes the fabric plaster-of-paris-like so you can put the pegs in through the slit and then mold the fabric back around the hole.
7. Carefully insert the covered shelf onto the pegs going in at an angle towards the top, so that you're pushing back and down on the shelf to get it into place. It's a little tight, but if you press firmly and cautiously it should slide right down and into place.

Done! From here you can decorate the walls (we hung little framed photos by pressing tacks through the back of the bookcase and then super-gluing mini framed pics to the tacks. We've also, since, resealed the front/sides of the fabric with clear drying super glue so they wouldn't fray. You can see in the top pic that the black fabric was trying to pull away a little on the right side. Fixed! And a final touch, we used electrical tape to outline a red roof and chimney on the wall over the dollhouse. So cute!


currently... cake and cuties

It's been a whiiiiiiile since we took a couple of weeks off from Currently for the holidays. I'm so glad to get back in the swing of things, missed this! Currently is a weekly link-up that I happily co-host with the fabulous and amazing  Randalin ♥ of Harvesting Kale each week. We hope that you can participate by writing your own Currently post (using our themes or your own) and please join us by linking up.

Hey we are looking for people(s) to cohost for a few weeks sometime soon as Ms. Randalin will need a break when she has her baby (!!!) (::fireworks all over the place::) so while she takes some time to settle into life as a mama of two, if any of you would be interested in co-hosting with me for a bit please let us know.

So! What have you been resolving, anticipating, eating, making, remembering this week? Over here, we have been...

Resolving quite a few things and I just love it. I've gone back on the Nothing New spending diet and so far so good, yo. Otto is taking on some new responsibilities in 2014 including a weekly list of spelling words at home and handful of small chores. He'll earn $2/week in allowance with a $1 spelling bonus each Friday. Miss Loretta remains staunch in her life mission to take over the world, one cookie demand at a time.

Anticipating Saturday and here's why! 1. Some friends of ours who keep chickens are letting me bring the kids over super early in the morning to gather eggs. Until I was 7 I grew up on a farm, surrounded by rows of corn & soy with cows, chickens, pigs, and (my favorite) goats either on our farm or on our neighbors' farms. One of my most vivid memories from super early kidhood is bottle-feeding a baby goat at our neighbor's house. So being able to get my kids into a chicken coop is going to be magic for them and for me to see. 2. First professional cut and color in over a year! I'm getting this blonde color-corrected so it's more champagne and honey, less tangerine. I've been gathering inspiration images on Pinterest here. Pretty right? Wish me luck! 

Eating leftover cake and cuties from Otto's party every day. We froze the extra cake and it's the first thing I do after the kids go to bed each night. Yum! Oh was I supposed to say eating healthy resolutiony things? Well I eat like a nerd granola 365 days a year and that hasn't changed, haha, but for the next month that's going to include some kickass leftover birthday cake in the nighttime. Cake cake cake cake cake!

Making project-per-month PROJECT progress. I owe a post here about the bookcase dollhouse we made Etta for Christmas. We finished it the night of the 25th I'm just behind on taking pictures and doing the post. Anyways, it's the cutest thing ever. And for January I think I may be making the guest room into a bedroom for Loretta. We're thinking of transitioning Otto back into his own bed but he doesn't like sharing a room with Etta because she sometimes wakes him up. I get it, buddy. So anyways, that's going to take more elbow grease than anything and I'm hoping I can just power through in January.

Remembering something that is helping me to be a less anxious person lately. Much needed, really. I'm kind of a basketcase on wheels. It's this little saying I stumbled upon that I really connected with, "All is well and All will be well and All manner of things will be well." I've also been trying to remember that other people's opinions are valid. Haha! It's true guys, I'm not the end-all be-all opinion of the universe. I was shocked to hear this too.... Um? Isn't it awful that I have to remind myself that. Oh well, sometimes I just do have to say to myself, "Even though I disagree with this, it isn't personal, or all that important." And then I can decide when to just make my recommendation and walk away versus which battles are worth waging.    

That was this week and here are next week's themes:
missing, wanting, loving, preparing, regretting 


I know a guy who is five...

Sometimes you find yourself with so many words for how you're feeling and sometimes you don't. I am so proud of this little man. I'm a little numb with wonder that he's five. But I haven't found tears in ringing in Otto's sixth year, just peace. He's been a baby for a long time and he's ready to graduate to being a full fledged school-aged kid. A great little kid. I may not be ready to let go, but we'll find our way (haha). This little sweetheart is so smart and caring and fun and funny, he's wild, he's tenacious, and he's just totally and completely ready to take on all the things that 5 will bring: kindergarten, karate classes, reading, earning allowance, having chores, being more thoughtful in his actions (this is a gentle way of saying Less Whining, More Please and Thank Yous) learning guitar, tying his shoes (already mastered, what a champ!) and deciding if it's time for a haircut (which he is adamant it is NOT because he wants to look like Mick Jagger and because, in his words, "I want the girls to like me.")

I love you my little man. You gave me my greatest gift: motherhood. You taught me to find joy in the best and most trying of moments. You gave me a reason to better myself. You inspire me. You make me belly laugh. You are nothing but the best kind of potential and I won't let you down, I'll do everything I can to help you along, paving the way and helping you pave your own way, as you grow into an amazing adolescent, teenager, and adult. My little man. Ok, now I'm crying.


a resolution with a laundry list of caveats

Happy New Year's 2014! Around our house we are all super excited for Otto's New Year's Baby birthday and have kind of let the whole actually-a-new-year thing play second fiddle to household birthday excitement. I mean look at this kiddo, all jazzed up on New Year's Eve for his birthday dinner. Nobody in this picture is thinking about anything but being FIVE (5!) the next day, udon noodles, and mochi ice cream. Well, someone in this picture *might* be thinking, "get a grip, foo, you're ruining my rep."

I have a whole backlog of posts I intend to write in the coming weeks, about Otto turning five, about our project-per-month PROJECT for December, ok maybe I have two in the backlog but that feels overwhelming, anyways, this is the other one. I'm bringing back Nothing New, a resolution I've done in the past that always inevitably fizzles out, but while I'm doing it forces me to be more thoughtful of how I'm spending our money and the garbage things I'm bringing into our home.

Here's the Resolution in All Its Glory, May I Hang in There The Whole Year Through

It's not simple at all, really. The idea is to spend no cash money on anything that's new. Except groceries and toiletries and health and beauty stuff of course. If I want a new tshirt or a new cookie sheet, I have to either find a used one or spend non-money on it (like a gift card or a trade). This goes for items for my family too, like the kids' clothes and toys, but not underwear, there is an underwear exception to this rule. I've also made a Kate Quinn monthly grab bag for Etta exception to this rule because those clothes are cheaper in the grab bag than they'd be used at a consignment shop AND, if I'm being honest, because this is my resolution and these are my exceptions, and I stinking love that grab bag. I've also made an exception for home-schooling supplies for the kiddos; we don't full-time home school but we do work on reading, math, art, and comprehension projects in a casual way and I don't want this resolution to get in the way, although I guess if we're in the market for supplies we can always try the thrift store first... anyways, this is a minor exception since for the most part this is the occasional box of markers or glue stick. Another exception for gifts for friends and family, because as much as I wish I was a gifted crafter, or that our friends and family were bohemians, no one we know would want to deal with gifts of anything I made or found. Perhaps I will realize my dream of becoming an expert canner in 2014 and then pickles for Christmas! Or perhaps not... For those items where I just cannot or do not want to purchase the item used, I'm going to force myself to use gift cards. If none of the above is an option, too bad so sad I'll have to do without. I'm going to try buying a lot of stuff with our Discover card this year, pay it off immediately, and use the cash back bonus to hoard gift cards just for this purpose.

See, not simple at all, but even with all of these exceptions and rules (pssst. I LOVE living life by self-imposed rules, it could possibly be one of my favorite favorite things) I think this weird little resolution is going to benefit our home in some real ways.

I'm going to have to become more thoughtful of my purchases.

Instead of just running to Target for every little thing I think I need or want, I'll have to hunt these things down. It'll force me to think about every purchase and decide if the item is valuable enough to spend TIME (this is what we're even more scarce of than money in my house although neither is growing on trees around here) finding it. And then when I do find the things, they'll cost less money which is a bonus. We'll end up introducing less clutter and junk into our home. We'll save money, go on thrifting adventures, and be forced to make do with what we've got sometimes.

I've done this resolution a couple of times before and each lasted for months. The 2011 Easter basket I made Otto that arose out of this challenge goes down in history! I'd love if I could go a whole year this time. That's the goal. It feels do-able. And I wish you loads of success in your resolutions, guiding words for the year, and general to-do lists. Happy New Year!