Monday, February 1, 2016

february goals

The first month of the new year is gone and past. Honestly, I'm glad. It was a good one, don't get me wrong, but it was a hard one. We were able to get into a really good groove in our marriage following winter break, I went back to work after two weeks off, and we had Austen's sister + boyfriend come out for a long weekend. But Sophia also got her first sickness (roseola) the first week I was back at work, and there were a lot of sleepless nights for us during Sophia's teething. I can look back on the month as a positive overall, but am glad to be moving forward! Onto Sophia's birthday month (& Lilly's, because we're that kind of dog parents) and a really crazy busy one at that. 

My January goals were: 

1. Finish my b&c swap blocks, and begin b&c farm girl vintage swap blocks
2. Continue reading (because clearly other hobbies trump this, but I do enjoy the quietness of a book)
3. Begin the She Reads Truth Genesis bible study
4. Finish little brother's quilt in time for his second birthday
5. Take donation bags to the thrift store + get a tax write off 

I managed to finish my blocks for one swap, and have the others cut (just not sewn). I started the SRT Genesis study, but it wasn't really grabbing me. I find myself dipping in and out of the Word lately but praying all. the. time. Just sort of my season of life spiritually right now. Little brother's quilt is done (just needs its binding) and I'm bringing it in person when we go back for Sophia's birthday. Also, all the praise hands for people unloading your very full truck bed of donations for you! And a baby who sleeps through the whole thing. 

For February, my goals are:

1. January + February swap blocks
2. Begin reading a new book
3. Host two parties for Sophia's first birthday (and consider crying in the fetal position that we have a one year old)
3. Spending freeze for me 
4. Cut down on sugar (aka: no ice cream after work and before bed...)
5. Technology free evenings 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

essential oils, a year later

It's been over a year since we started using essential oils in our home, and I'm amazed at the change we've made in that short amount of time. In the past few years, we've been really conscious of what we put into our bodies, so it was a natural progression to be conscious about what we put on our bodies. My goal by the end of 2015 was to have a chemical free home, and aside from a few areas (cough cough - anthro candles) we have really made such a huge improvement towards that goal!

We love love love to diffuse in our home. Some of our favorites in the family room area include thieves, purification, and the allergy bomb (lavender + peppermint + lemon). In Sophia's nursery, she loves lavender, cedarwood, gentle baby, and rc. Our room is typically purification, thieves, or peace & calming.

When it comes to using essential oils topically, we apply them to our feet most often. Sophia is my little lavender baby. She also gets a combo of thieves + rc + lavender, all heavily diluted, on her feet before bedtime. Austen & I love the allergy bomb on our forearms, and emotional oils to promote well being on the back of our necks. Our favorite is valor, but I also love peace & calming and stress away.

If our skin is the biggest organ of our bodies, then it makes sense that we absorb everything we touch, including cleaners. So we made the switch to using thieves cleaner for surfaces and thieves laundry soap. I began using art's gentle cleanser for my face as well. We checked all of our household products in the "think dirty" app and whatever got poor ratings, we switched. Not everything became a Young Living brand name, as there are other great alternatives out there. We love honest co., and burt's bees for Sophia. Jāsön brand has a lot of good options for bath products (+ tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner for my teacher friends out there! ain't nobody got time for lice.). Wool dryer balls in replacement of dryer sheets are also fantastic. A couple of drops of essential oil (or plain) and they leave the laundry smelling fabulous, and dried faster than without. I love to toss them in with a quilt, so they smell fresh, the dog hair is gone, but the wear and tear of a full wash cycle is avoided.

Being a new momma is overwhelming, but I love knowing there are natural, holistic options for my little family. If this is the change we've seen in a year, I can't wait to see what it'll look like in ten+ years!

Monday, January 25, 2016


written on january 11, 2016

I am a week shy of having nursed Sophia for an entire eleven months. Trust me, the magnitude of that accomplishment is not lost on me.

But I'm a numbers + goals type of girl. So when I set the goal to exclusively nurse Sophia for the first year, eleven months is just good. But it falls short.

Austen said maybe it was winter break throwing me off of my nursing + pumping schedule. Maybe I'm a little stressed. Or maybe my body is just tired. Nursing came quickly but it has not been easy to continue for me. I've had mastitis twice (the second time sucks just as bad as the first), a clogged milk duct at least once a month, and a handful of milk blisters. It would have been easier at times to throw in the towel, but that's not what I wanted.

I love breastfeeding.

I know that every baby is different and it is an incredible blessing, both emotionally and financially, to be able to nurse for this long. There is no guarantee that I'll be able to nurse our future babies for the amount of time that I've been able to with Sophia. I hope and pray that I can, especially since I have a bag of tricks for those common breastfeeding challenges, but there is nothing written in stone.

We are at the point of considering beginning to supplement with formula. Her first four days, she was a formula baby, so this really shouldn't be emotional for me. I know that "fed is best" and whatever I need to do to put milk in her belly is what is best for her, that I have done a job well done in breastfeeding, that life won't get flipped on its head...

But I'm ridiculously emotional about all of this. Maybe it's another part of her getting bigger. Another thing I'm just not quite ready for. A little bit of her depending on me less.

The things they don't prepare you for when having a babe.

update: january 24, 2016

I made it to eleven months of exclusively breastfeeding, and felt really good about that accomplishment. After noticing that three weeks into work my supply wasn't evening back out like it typically does after a break, we decided to buy formula in order to supplement at night. We feel comfortable and confident with our decision, especially after eleven months of only nursing, and are hopeful that this will help her to sleep more soundly + longer at night. I still plan on continuing to pump like I normally do so that Austen can give her bottles during the day, and I can still nurse her in the mornings + after work. I love the connection and bond we have because of breastfeeding and neither of us are ready to be done quite yet. So very thankful for that.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

quilting basics, vol. 2 -- patterns

There's nothing worse than starting a new hobby (or project), realizing it's too hard, then quitting halfway through. Trust me, I'm the worst at this. Or instead of quitting, I half-a** it and call it good, only to donate or throw it away not long after.

So in an effort to prevent that from happening for any wanna-be quilters, I've compiled a list of my favorite beginners quilt patterns. They are simple to read, simple to piece together (that's the quilt top), and - of course - can be as unique as you want them based on your fabric choices! And for those who are not beginners, they make really fast projects to whip up as gifts or to use up your stash (& have the excuse to buy more fabric).

jelly filled by thimble blossoms -- This is hands down my most recommended beginner quilt pattern. It uses a jelly roll (which is fabric precut into long 2 1/2 inch strips) and comes together so quick! I finished my jelly filled quilt in about two weeks, and that was with a newborn and teaching full time. So many of my quilty friends recommend this one, too. It's especially darling with some sashing (plain fabric in between each square).

charm pack by missouri star quilt co. -- When we had the Utah condo, I made this quilt for our bed. It's simple and comes together so quickly. You can really shake it up depending on your fabric choices, too. I chose to make ours alternating between patterned squares and solid squares, for a checkerboard sort of pattern. Charm packs are another precut that come in a pack of 5 inch squares.

dwell by thimble blossoms -- This is a link to her mini quilt, but the full sized pattern is in her book "simply retro" and is so darling!

scrappy log cabin -- There are lots of tutorials on how to make a log cabin quilt, but the scrappy version (not light + dark) is my favorite. Check out the instagram photo from @samanthaleeolsen for a great visual of how to sew it together! (then quarter it, and re-piece mix-matched ones).

charm pack church dash by sterling quilt co. -- This is for a baby quilt (or mini...I'll get into those another time) and absolutely adorable. I made one for Sophia and it took an afternoon, start to finish. It uses a charm pack and a little bit of additional fabric to cut for the background. If you added a chunky border or two, it could even make a nice little lap quilt.

times square from vintage quilt revival -- If you choose this one, know that your piecing is really simple, but you'll have to be pretty confident about your fabric cutting abilities. Even on our dining room table, it took a lot of measuring, holding the spot, moving, and continuing to measure on. That said, it's really darling. It's a more modern quilt top with a nesting pattern for the blocks and a lot of negative space for the background fabric. There are so many possibilities here, from a patterned background fabric (like I did with the vintage santas) or a solid color to show off the quilting pattern.

disappearing nine (or four) patch -- I have yet to make one, but have seen some crazy gorgeous ones, like my sweet friend, Jackie's!

I can't wait to share next about every quilter's favorite part of quilting... fabric choices!! And - hopefully - will get a video post with that one, too. ;)
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