A Day in the {Quarantined} Life

I love writing up the occasional ‘day in the life’ posts. Even though life is anything but normal right now, I thought it would be nice to document what our new normal looks like in these strange days of social distancing. This is definitely a unique circumstance and one day when this is all said and done, I think it’ll be interesting to look back and remember how we spent our days “quarantined” in our home (we’re not sick, so we’re not technically quarantined, but Indiana has a shelter-in-place order so we are not leaving our house for anything non-essential). I documented last Thursday – here’s what it looked like!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

I woke up around 7:00 am and quickly got dressed, did my quick 2 minute face wash+serum+moisturizer+contact lenses routine, and headed into the nursery to feed Vi. Once she was finished, we headed downstairs and I set her on the floor with a few toys to play with. This girl is rolling all over the place and in less than one minute was already this far away from her toys – we think she is close to crawling!

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I ate my breakfast and read my daily bible study while Vi rolled around and played.  Justin came down and grabbed a quick breakfast and kissed us girls goodbye before heading off to work around 7:30.

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LJ woke up around 7:45, so I went up to his room to get him and bring him down for breakfast. He chose two banana chocolate chip muffins that I made last week (trying especially hard not to let food go to waste since we’re not going out to the grocery store often).

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After breakfast, the three of us hung out in the playroom reading books and playing with trains.

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Right before all this social distancing started, Justin’s parents came to visit and brought some books that my sister-in-law was handing down to LJ because her kids have outgrown them. I’ve been slowly pulling out one thing at a time and it’s such a nice treat to have something “new” for LJ to get now that we’re stuck inside. This lift-the-flap tractor book is one of his favorite new things!

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LJ is big into coloring and using stickers right now, so we also spent some time crafting. He drew a picture and I traced Vi’s little handprints and wrote a short letter to Justin’s grandma so we could send her some love via mail!

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Around 9:15, Vi was starting to rub her eyes so I quickly fed her and put her down for a nap. In “normal” life, I get together with a small group of women every other Thursday morning. Since we couldn’t meet in person, we met via Zoom. I turned on Mickey Mouse on Disney+ to keep LJ occupied so I could meet with my friends.

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It was SO good to get to see other faces and hear how everyone is doing. We are all obviously dealing with this global health crisis in our own ways and everyone has their own struggles, so it was nice to just get to lean on one another and feel supported and loved.

Our call ended around 11:00 and I realized I should’ve known when LJ was being so quiet in the other room that he was up to something. Haha!

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Vi was up from her nap, so I went up to get her and change both kids’ diapers. I got some lunch around while chatting with my youngest sister on the phone. Sandwich for me, chicken nuggets, cottage cheese, strawberries, and an apple for LJ.

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Once we finished up lunch, we noticed that our neighbors across the road were outside with their tractors. We know them well, so we decided to take advantage of the warm sunny day and burn off a little pent up energy by walking across the road to say hi. I strapped Vi in our Ergo carrier and we set off!

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LJ is obsessed with tractors so he was so excited to go on a little adventure to see them. The day was perfect – sunny and warm!

We waved to our neighbors from afar and LJ got to get up close to one of the parked tractors. We watched our neighbors drive one of the other tractors for a while, then had to head back to our house for naptime. LJ was so cute about wanting to say goodbye to the tractors; he kept turning around every 5 steps to wave and say “bye tractor!” as we walked back down their lane.

We walked back to our house and brought the garbage can back in from the end of our lane. I love that LJ is in a stage where he loves to be a good helper!

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We spent a few more minutes soaking up the warm sunshine while LJ played in Justin’s truck. He loves pretending to drive and rolling the window up and down.

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Around 1:00 we headed inside. I put Vi in her activity center so I could take LJ upstairs and get him down for his nap. He’s starting to really stall when it comes to sleep so he wanted to keep reading books. We read a few books and sang a few songs and then I put him down.

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Back downstairs, Vi was also starting to look sleepy so I fed her while answering a few work emails. Once she was done feeding, she went upstairs for her nap around 2:00.

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Once Vi was in her crib, I headed straight down to our basement to get my Expecting and Empowered workout done. I have learned that it really helps keep my mental health in a good place to have some sort of exercise/movement each day and I’m more thankful than ever for at-home workouts. I completed leg day while listening to a podcast and it was a much needed boost!

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In between sets, I edited a letter of recommendation that my sister asked me to look over.

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Once I was done with my workout, I settled into the couch to get work done for my job (I’m a part-time administrative assistant for a nutrition counseling company) and had While You Were Sleeping (one of my favorites!) on in the background. I stayed here until I heard LJ wake up around 3:45.

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LJ normally wakes up from his nap in a super cranky mood and he needs about 20 minutes to adjust before he’s back to his normal self. I still had a few emails to finish up so I did those while he ate a snack and watched an episode of Mickey Mouse.

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Justin and I had decided to support a local restaurant (and give ourselves a cooking break) by ordering carry out for dinner, so I called in to place the order right before going upstairs to get Vi from her nap.

Justin got home from around 5:00 with dinner in hand. We ordered Italian – I love a good spinach tortellini!

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After dinner we hung out as a family and then Justin took the kids upstairs one at a time for bathtime. Vi hates bathtime but she was all smiles once she was squeaky clean!

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I fed and put Vi down for bed while LJ had his bath.

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After his bath, LJ wanted to play hide and seek for a few minutes. I honestly love the two-year-old phase. He just has the sweetest, most fun personality!

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LJ chose me as the one to put him down for bed (he’s going through a bit of a mommy phase right now 😉 ) so we read a few stories together, then I sang him a few songs and put him down.

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Once both kids were down, Justin and I grabbed the monitor and headed out to the workshop for our DIY Date Night. We made two book ledges for the little nook under our stairs and it was a really fun way to unwind and spend some quality time together working on a project!

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Once we finished our project, we cleaned up the shop and headed inside for the night.

Writing this day down was pretty therapeutic for me. It not only documented what our life looks like in this strange time of shelter-in-place, but it also made me realize that our days aren’t quite the “groundhog day” situation they feel like. There are small ways to make each day unique and special, and I want to remember that too. ❤

 

 

DIY Dare-a-thon Date Night

These days, finding ideas for an at-home date night are running a little thin. Justin and I love games and puzzles and have no shortage of them, but every once in a while it’s nice to do something else.

As I was scrolling Instagram yesterday, I noticed Angela Rose Home and Vintage Revivals are hosting a little DIY Dare-a-thon to help inspire people to get creative while social distancing. Their first challenge was to build something with scraps in your garage. I immediately thought this would be a fun date night for Justin and I, and the DIY Dare-a-thon Date Night (say that 5x fast ha!) was born.

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Deciding on a project was easy. We have a little nook under our stairs that we lovingly refer to as our Harry Potter closet. LJ loves to “hide” in there and now that we’re home so much, we’re spending a lot of time playing there. I eventually want to transform it into a magical little play space for our kids. One thing I’ve always envisioned doing is creating little ledges to store some books for our kids to read, and this seemed like the perfect little project for the dare-a-thon.

We put the kids down for bed, grabbed the baby monitor, and headed out to our garage/workshop. Since we couldn’t go anywhere to get supplies, we had to use what we had. Justin rounded up some scrap wood from past projects and we had two 1×3’s, a long 1×2, and a few 1×4’s.

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We decided to make two shelves: each shelf would be 21 inches long and would be made of a 1×2, 1×3, and 1×4. The 1×3 would form the base, with the 1×2 as the front lip and the 1×4 as the back. Since we were working with scraps, it wasn’t all the same kind of wood, but I figured the only thing that would really be visible was the very front, and the 1×2 was long enough to be used for both shelves so they would end up looking the same.

Justin got to work measuring each board and cutting them to 21 inches long with his miter saw.

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While he did that, I got to work sanding each piece with 80 grit sandpaper.

Once everything was cut to size and sanded, Justin used his kreg jig to create drill holes in each 1×4 and 1×3. Kreg jigs are easy to use and it kept us from visible nail/screw holes on the front of the finished project.

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We used square clamps to line up the boards perfectly, and then attached them with pocket hole screws.

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We first attached the 1×3 to the 1×2, then we attached the 1×4 to the 1×3.

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Here’s a glimpse at how everything attached.

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Once both shelves were assembled, Justin took some 120 grit sandpaper and a wood block to smooth over all the edges.

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It only took us about 90 minutes to go from a few pieces of scrap wood to two book ledges!

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Justin has a box of leftover stain from previous woodworking projects and after scrounging around, we found this lighter shade that was pretty close to my original vision.

We used a sponge brush to apply the stain and let it dry overnight.

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We talked about multiple ways to hang the shelves. We could have attached hooks, but I wanted the shelves to lay flush with the wall. We talked about notches on the back, but we wanted them to be sturdily attached to the wall so kids didn’t pull them off. We ultimately decided to just screw the 1×4 directly into the wall, knowing that books would cover the screws up. Before leaving for work this morning, Justin attached the shelves to the wall.

I put some of our favorite books on the shelves, and the project was complete!

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I am still dreaming of ways to transform this tiny space, but this was a great first step. I picture lots of cozy reading happening in here!

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Overall, this was a great experience! Justin and I had a fun time planning what to do and working together to complete the shelves. It was nice quality time and we both feel really good about the finished project. The project itself was relatively easy, quick to execute, and didn’t cost us any money. Plus we took our first step towards improving this little nook and I’m really happy with it! I can definitely see more DIY Date Nights in our future 🙂

Easy DIY Basement Updates

With all this extra time at home, I’ve been itching for a home project to focus on. I didn’t want a huge renovation project right now, just something to stay busy and distract myself from all the stress and anxiety going on. After talking with Justin about a few smaller project options, I settled on sprucing up the basement, particularly the TV/den area.

Here’s where we started:

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Pretty lackluster, huh?

Our basement was one of the big selling points of the house when we first bought it: I think it was built with the idea of being an in-law living area because in addition to having the guest bedroom and bathroom, it also has a large multipurpose space with a full kitchen. It has great potential and we see this as a perfect space for entertaining and a great recreation space for our family as our kids get older, but it was painted brown and just seemed a bit dingy and dated. Since moving in, we haven’t really focused on it very much other than to put in some furniture and other random things that didn’t go anywhere else (like our treadmill ha!) or to store piles of things I’m decluttering.  Now that the guest suite renovation is finished, I wanted to focus on freshening up the rest of the level.

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We didn’t have the budget to do much and social distancing prevented me from going out and getting a ton of things anyways, but I knew that a fresh coat of paint could work wonders. I settled on Sherwin Williams Repose Gray because I painted the guest bedroom trim this color (tinted at 75%) so I knew it would tie the two spaces together and it’s a nice versatile greige (gray+beige) that works really well in an open-concept space. Justin tucked up all the surround sound speakers into the ceiling for now (we aren’t currently using them but might someday) and I got to work!

All I planned to do for now was paint; however, once I started priming the walls and reached the half-wall where our foundation lies, I knew I wanted to also do a small update here too. I actually don’t mind the wall itself and actually like having a ledge to put plants, artwork, etc. What I minded was the dated trim on either side of the ledge – I wanted a simple, clean look and decided to try to remove the trim.

I recruited Justin’s help, and he used a small crowbar to pry off the old trim.

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The wall behind the trim wasn’t in great shape. In many places, there were large gaps between the walls and the board on top of the ledge. We didn’t want to replace the ledge board (because, $$$!) but I believed we could get creative and work with what we had.

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First up, Justin took plasting patcher we already had and patched as much of the wall as he could. He used a putty knife to smooth down the plaster and let it dry overnight. There were a few areas where the wall was so bad that he needed to patch a few layers. Once everything was dry the following day, he took a sanding block and sanded all the areas smooth.

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The pictures above are just one small portion of the wall, but we did this for the whole length of the wall.

There were still gaps between the wall and the board. I knew I could caulk them, but some of the gaps were really big and I didn’t want to waste a ton of caulk. I bought this caulk backer rope and it was the perfect solution! It filled in the gaps and allowed me to just caulk over top. I just squished the rope in there and cut it to the correct length with scissors. In some areas, I had to use 2-3 layers of rope because the gap was so deep – imagine how much caulk that would take! This was a really great way to save a ton of time and money.

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I used the filler in all the gaps on both edges of the board and then caulked over it with a paintable silicone caulk. We already had the caulk gun and one tube of caulk, but I did end up needing to buy one more tube of caulk because the other one was already halfway used up. I gently smoothed over the caulk with a wet paper towel to ensure it had a nice, even finish.

Look at that difference! From freshly ripped off trim, to a patched and sanded wall with caulk filler, to a caulked gap, ready to be painted!

I needed to wait overnight to let the caulk dry because I had to use so much of it in some areas. The next day, I was able to finally paint primer + 2 coats of repose gray to finish the project!

It’s certainly not perfect, but I think it looks 100x better. I love the clean lines and simple look of the ledge now!

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I didn’t want to spend any money on decor, so I decided to shop my house for frames, plants, and other decor to put some finishing touches on the space. (Psst – if you’re one of my very few OG blog readers, you might recognize that “W” as our wedding guest book!)

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I follow a few other DIY bloggers and home designers and sometimes it seems like many people wait until a room is 100% DONE to post the “final” picture. But I don’t want to wait to celebrate this progress. This room is far from done and I still have plans for this space. Eventually we want to replace baseboards and window trim and get new carpet throughout. I’d love to update the side table and lamp and find a new place for the treadmill still hanging out behind the couch. Our TV is still on a slightly bent folding table and we plan to mount it and have a nicer console underneath. But for now, I’m practicing contentment and celebrating the progress that has been made.

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The cost of this project was pretty minimal. I spent around $100 on paint + primer and about $13 on the extra tube of caulk + caulk filler . Other than that, I already had all the supplies needed and I shopped my own house for decor. It just took some time and work . . . and strategically placed decor like picture frames hiding unused wires and internet jacks and a plant in a basket hiding the lamp cord. The space is definitely improved and I love the simple but significant transformation!

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Sources 

Primer: Kilz 2

Paint: Sherwin Williams Repose Gray in Eggshell

Patching Plaster

Putty Knife (similar)

Caulk Backer

Caulk

Sanding Block (similar)

 

 

 

 

Two Player Games for Staying Inside

I have always loved playing games, and I married someone who loves them just as much as I do. Justin and I are both competitive and love strategy so we thrive on the energy of a great game. Throughout our marriage we have had countless game nights – we love having friends over to play games and we’re always up for learning something new. We’ve accumulated a lot of games over the years and while we generally choose games that we can play with more people, we have also collected some games specifically for their 2-player options because we love the occasional date night game at home!

In these strange days of social distancing, we are spending more time than ever with each other at home. One silver lining to this is that it’s given us the opportunity to spend lots of quality time with each other in the evenings once our kids are in bed. Of course, we’ve watched our share of Netflix too, but we’ve also pulled out puzzles and games and had a lot of fun with some friendly competition to take our mind off the anxieties of the world.

Today I thought I’d share some of our favorite games to play with one another at home. There are always classic options like Scrabble or Uno, but I thought it’d be fun to share some other games we enjoy in case anyone is looking for a fun option to play now that so many of us are staying home.

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Our Top Favorites

Citadels

This card-building game involves choosing characters, building cities, and collecting resources. It’s pretty quick to learn and easy to play but does involve quite a bit of strategy and secrecy. We have actually never played it with more than two players so I can’t speak to it as a group game, but we really enjoy it as a two player game!

Carcassonne

This game involves drawing tiles and laying them down to essentially create a giant, interconnected medieval world. You are building off one what everyone else lays down, but the strategy involves being able to stake claim on what is being built. We enjoy this game as a two-player but it is also really fun as a group game. We even bought the expansion pack so we can play with up to 5 players. It is recommended for ages 8+ and I think it would be a great option for a family game night as well!

Takenoko

This quirky tile-building game involves accumulating points based on completing card objectives in cultivating land plots and growing different species of bamboo. I think it’s pretty easy to get the hang of and we have played with both two and four people – equally as fun!

Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries

I love the Ticket to Ride board game franchise, but most games are for at least 3 players. We were thrilled to find this version, which is a smaller game board and meant for only 2-3 players. Ticket to Ride involves creating train routes between destinations and involves a lot of strategy, yet is really easy to learn and relatively quick to play.

Hand and Foot Card Game

If all you have are a couple decks of regular playing cards, Hand and Foot is a great option. It’s kind of a rummy-style game where you try use multiple decks of cards to try to generate “books” of the same type of cards (a book of 7’s, a book of queens, etc). When we first started dating, Justin and I used to play this game all the time with my roommates and we had so much fun, but it is also a fun game for two players (instead of 4 people working in 2-player teams, each player just works on laying down their own books). Everyone’s rules are slightly different, so I would suggest googling a few different versions and figure out what works for you!

Honorable Mentions

These games are ones we have that have a 2-player option and are still decently fun, although we ultimately prefer to play with more people.

Rummikub

This tile-laying rummy game is a classic! I will say playing with only two players does make the game seem slower overall. Justin and I just played this last night and there were several rounds in a row where we each were stuck and kept drawing tiles. With more people, there is usually someone who can lay a tile and alter the playing options so the game seems to move faster. Still, it was a decently fun option for two players!

Forbidden Island

This cooperative game has players working together to gather all of the islands treasures before it sinks. This isn’t our go-to game for two players, but it’s a good option for when we need a little variety. And it’s nice sometimes to have a game where you work together against the game itself instead of competing with the other player.

Potential 2 Player

These games are all games we own that include a 2-player variant; however, we have not played them with just two players yet so I can’t actually verify that the 2-player version is fun. Before this social distancing is done, we’ll probably play many of these games and I’ll be sure to report back and update with my thoughts once we do! I can say they are all winners for more than two players, so if you happen to be socially distancing with older children or more adults, these are great options!

Codenames

Phase 10

Rook

Seven Wonders

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Exploding Kittens

 

What are your favorite games to play? I’m always up for learning about other options! 🙂

 

Staying Busy while Socially Distancing

This week has been one marked on our calendars for months now, and it will definitely be one we remember forever, although not for the reasons we thought it would.

Justin was supposed to have a conference for work this week and we were going to spend the week traveling, first in Memphis and then New Orleans. We were going to turn it into a work trip + vacation and we were both really excited. Obviously, things have drastically shifted in our world lately and that trip has been cancelled. Instead, we are hunkered down at home, socially distancing ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. I still can’t believe I’m typing those words – this all feels very surreal.

I know many of us are feeling anxious in this time. We hear about toilet paper shortages, increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, stores and restaurants closing, quarantines, and a general sense of panic amidst all the leaders asking us to remain calm. There’s no sports. There’s no school. It feels like a strange, alternate reality where normal life is cancelled.

Today I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve done to make the most of social distancing at home. I recognize that this isn’t an easy time for many people. I know that many families are affected personally by this virus and have loved ones in critical condition or who have died. I know many people have lost a source of income due to all the store closures and cancellations. I don’t at all want it to seem like this is a lighthearted time at home for us, because all of this weighs very heavily on my heart. But I also know that I need to try to stay positive and busy during this time to keep my own mental health up and take care of my family. We are all just trying to do the best we can with a very difficult situation. I wanted to share what I’ve been doing in case it helps even just one person find something that helps them cope with staying at home for an indefinite period of time.

Make a List

When I realized that we would be staying at home for the forseeable future, I wrote out a list of things that I would love to accomplish – everything from opening Vi’s 529 plan to home updates. I appreciate that a ‘to-do list’ makes this time feel purposeful, which helps ease my anxiety level.

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Home Projects

Some items on my to-do list are things I’ve been wanting to do for a while and just haven’t made the time to do them . . . now that it feels like I have nothing but time, it’s a good time to tackle some of those projects. For example, I’ve been meaning to put another coat of paint on our playroom toy shelves since it was starting to chip off in some places. It’s been bothering me for a while, so yesterday I finally tackled it and it looks so much better now!

I’m also working on some projects that were on my ‘someday’ list to do, like painting the basement. I knew I wanted to paint this space eventually but it wasn’t on my radar to do this year; however, now that I have so much time at home, it’s a perfect time to get a larger scale project like this done.

It doesn’t have to be a huge project or cost money. Even something simple like rearranging furniture, cleaning out closets, finally putting together a gallery wall, etc. can be done during this time and makes your home feel fresh.

Date from Home

Justin is also home for the week since he took this week off for our vacation, so it’s been nice to have lots of quality time together. We kind of each do our own projects and things throughout the day, but in the evenings we try to do something together. The first night it was folding laundry and watching Frozen 2 on Disney+, then the next night we got out a puzzle to work on together. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun and meaningful. Streaming movies and shows together is a nice way to unwind but doing something like completing a home project, cooking a meal together, putting together a puzzle or playing a 2-player game is a great way to connect and focus on our relationship in ways that we don’t always have time for.

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Move your Body

I’ve never been more thankful for my at-home workout plans from Expecting and Empowered. There are a ton of free workouts from various fitness instructors on YouTube and lots of subscription programs out there too. Find something that works for you! Exercise is proven to be a mood booster and can help reduce stress and anxiety – all things we can use right now.

Get Outside

Yesterday I was feeling the need to move my body and I was craving a change in scenery, so I put Vi in the stroller and we just went for a walk. It was a little chilly but the crisp spring air was so refreshing! I meant for our walk to be about 10 minutes long and it ended up being over 30 minutes. It felt so good to be moving outside and I kept on going. Obviously, weather is going to be a factor here but on days where the sun is shining and it’s above freezing, I’m going to make it a point to get outside at least for a little bit.

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Stay Connected

I took a break from Facebook for Lent and I’m so happy I’m not on it right now. Social media can be a great way to connect, but it can also just be a continuous cycle of seeing people panic and share misinformation. I am still on Instagram, but I limit my time consuming that content. Instead, I stay connected with friends and family through phone calls, group texts, and the Marco Polo app. Marco Polo is my favorite – I am staying up with my college friends in different states as well as my fellow stay-at-home mom friends from my area. We’re sharing our experiences and days with one another through videos and it really helps to have regular communication with others to keep me from feeling too isolated.

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Simple Self Care

I haven’t taken the time to paint my nails in a long time, so I gave myself a pedicure. It felt good to do a little something for myself and feel a bit normal. Things like a face mask or a deep conditioner (Pinterest is full of DIY options if you don’t have a store brought product) can help you stay relaxed. Light a candle, listen to music, and give yourself some TLC.

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Learn Something – Classes, Books, Podcasts

Now is a great time to take an online class! There are SO many options out there. Brit + Co is currently offering FREE classes through the end of the month and I’m going to take advantage and take one or two of them.

It’s also a great time to read a book! My physical library is closed until mid-April,(thankfully, I already checked out many books beforehand) but they are still doing digital checkouts. There are apps to download books if you don’t have an e-reader or you can also use an app like Audible to listen to audiobooks.

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Podcasts are also a great way to get some mental stimulation too. I’ve previously shared my favorite podcasts here but I’m currently loving listening to the Herself podcast, Chris Loves Julia, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin as I work on projects around the house.

 

I think one of the most important things is just to try to stay occupied – keeping my body moving, my mind active, and my relationships growing has helped me cope with these difficult and strange times.

Stay safe friends ❤

Storing Kid’s Clothes

I consider myself to be a pretty organized, minimal-ish person, but there is one big area that has always presented a challenge: kid’s clothes!

The first year of life is especially full of clothes since there are so many sizes (newborn, 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12 months) and you need a new wardrobe for each size. It slows down a little after that but you’re still changing sizes and seasons and needing clothing in each stage. I don’t try to achieve capsule wardrobes or limit a closet to a certain number of items, but even for someone trying to keep wardrobes small – it’s a lot of clothing!

To give you an idea of how much clothing we use at each stage, here was Vi’s wardrobe for 3-6 months:

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And here is LJ’s 2T wardrobe:

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Obviously, LJ has a lot more clothing because 2T lasts a year, so he needs a variety of options for seasons, whereas Vi’s only covers a couple months. They each have a few items also hanging in their closets like coats, dresses and nice button downs, but for the most part, this is all they have! I only keep their current sizes out; every other size is in storage.

With a son and a daughter and an unknown future (possibly having more kids and obviously not knowing their genders), we are currently keeping a lot of unused children’s clothing in our house. I quickly learned that I needed to be intentional not only with what I kept, but also how I store their clothing or things could quickly spiral into unorganized chaos. Vi turns 6 months in less than one week and she’s all but busting out of her 3-6 month clothes. Over the weekend, I was sorting through her clothes to put into storage, and I was struck by how far I’ve come in this area – storing her clothing was super manageable and didn’t take long at all.

Today I thought I’d share some of the strategies I use for what I save and how I store it in case anyone else is feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of their child’s wardrobe and wanting some tips. This isn’t a perfect system by any means, but it has helped me keep their wardrobes manageable and kept me from feeling overwhelmed by holding on to clothing.

Before Storing, SORT!

The biggest tip I have is to keep LESS. I save the outfits I really love, and I pass on the ones that have served their purpose for me. Sometimes I take clothes back to the consignment store and recoup some of the money I spent the first time. Other times I’ll donate it to a friend with a younger baby. I’ve also donated clothes to a local rescue mission that helps women and children working to overcome homelessness.

I don’t hang onto everything for two reasons. One, it’s a lot of clothes! I focus on keeping the type of clothing we use the most. We received a lot of baby outfits as gifts, only to find I mostly keep my kids in sleepers when they’re that little (it’s just easier!) My kids both sleep in pajamas every night (and sometimes we stay in them all day) so we need several pairs of pjs. I also need lots of play clothes – I make sure to have options like soft shirts and joggers that make it easy to move in. But we don’t need a lot of dressy clothes like button downs and dresses, so I only keep a few in each size.

The second reason I don’t hang on to lots of clothes is, trends change! Once I use clothing, I like to pass it on so that it can continue to be used while it’s still trendy. I have received both boy and girl hand-me-down clothing from others, and honestly, some of it seems outdated even though it was only 3-4 years old. A big place I noticed this was in pants, particularly jeans. The trend for kid jeans has shifted in the last few years and baggy, flared baby jeans from 2012 kind of look silly on Vi right now.

I also only keep quality clothing. If something has a stain that won’t come out or is torn or otherwise damaged, I donate it to a textile recycling program (I love H&M’s because they make it very easy to donate!)

Store in a user-friendly, inexpensive way

Once I set aside the clothing I love, that we use a lot, and that is good quality, I make sure it is washed and put it in storage.

My storage system for clothing is super easy, inexpensive, and not at all fancy. I have big plastic tubs that I keep in my kids’ closets. I fold up the clothes, divide sizes with cardboard pieces from broken-down diaper boxes, and use index cards to label each section. Then I just stack the tubs in each closet so they’re out of the way and nicely organized for the future.

I wasn’t kidding about it not being fancy ha! Since we don’t find out the gender of our babies ahead of time, most of our newborn clothing is gender-neutral so we only have one box in that size; otherwise, all the not-in-use boy clothes are stored in LJ’s closet and the girl clothes are in Vi’s.

Whenever Vi bumps up a size, I do go through LJ’s clothes in that size too. LJ has a lot more than Vi, only because I end up using a lot of his clothes for her (like plain colored onesies and joggers). Also, I keep future sizes stored in the shelves so they’re easy to add to as people give us gifts or hand-me-downs and are ready when we need them. In Violet’s case, I also keep sizes over 12 months in the bottom stacked tub since it’ll be so long until we use those.

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I tried to be mindful of not keeping a lot with LJ, but I’m finding that I’m keeping even less with Vi. (The middle tub above is her 0-3 and 3-6 month stash and it’s about half of the amount LJ has in those sizes!) I’m buying less, using less, and keeping even less. I just realize that babies don’t need a whole lot of outfits and we tend to wear the same things over and over. I’m favoring the functional things over the cute-but-impractical and it’s amazing how much that lessens the burden of storing tons of clothing.

Bonus Tip: Don’t overspend on clothing to begin with

As a first time mama, I was so excited to buy cute baby clothes. My mom and I went shopping the week after LJ was born and in our excitement we bought so many cute boy outfits. I didn’t realize I’d mostly keep him in sleepers. I didn’t realize he’d be a little peanut and wouldn’t even get to wear some of the sweaters because by the time they fit him, it wouldn’t be sweater weather. I have lots of cute, barely used items that are harder to part with because I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of them. I learned my lesson and these days, I mostly shop consignment. It’s better for the environment to get more use out of clothing and it’s WAY more economical. Plus, once we’ve used a $2 shirt several times, it’s very easy for me to pass it along to someone else because I feel like I’ve more than gotten my money’s worth. Just some extra food for thought!

What tips do you have for storing clothes that aren’t currently being used?

Let’s Look: Winter Wardrobe

Good morning!

Today I’m linking up with Erika and Shay once again for their monthly “Let’s Look” and today’s topic is sharing a peek into our winter wardrobes.

, Let’s Look: Our Winter Wardrobe!Years ago, I loved sharing my teacher wardrobe (you can still find it in the “closet” section of my archives, although it’s from so long ago I doubt any of the links work anymore) and it involved lots of skirts, dresses, and heels. As much as I love a good reason to dress up, my style is much more casual since I now primarily spend my days at home with my babies.

These days, I have a pretty standard “uniform” of a casual top, skinny jeans, and low booties or sneakers. I love simple patterns like stripes and plaid or a single-color shirt with an interesting detail like a roll or tie. Today I just thought I’d show you a snippet of some of the outfits I’ve been wearing lately. And you’ll also see a lot of what my kids wear these days because apparently I only take mirror selfies while holding a child ha!

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LJ insisted on playing dress up and made me put on all my necklaces – good thing we weren’t leaving the house. 😉

I still love a good pair of heels but they’re almost never practical now so I’m almost always in my booties or my trusty Converse.

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I’m also partial to leopard print flats that I’ve had for years – they just give a little something extra to an outfit.

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Here’s an example of the same outfit worn twice with a few changes to elevate it a bit from everyday wear to a church outfit. I ran errands in jeans and a messy bun (with a cute little polka dot scrunchie that is really hard to see in the picture).

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For church, I swapped out the jeans for dress pants and curled my hair – not a huge change but just enough to take the outfit a step above. (Side note: it’s probably time I invested in a better pair of true winter boots because I literally wore these cut out booties on Sunday when it was snowing and sleeting ha! This Midwest girl is used to it but still…)20200209_094619

I even kept the same casual top-skinny jeans-booties uniform for our recent axe-throwing date night!

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On the rare occasion that I want to really dress up, I love choosing something from Rent the Runway! This dress was a fun choice for Justin’s holiday work party.

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And of course, if I’m being honest, I’m a stay-at-home mama so there are many winter days where my outfits look like this:

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There is something so cozy about a winter day inside – I love staying in warm sweats and will always always always be wearing either fuzzy socks or my trusty slippers. Every winter wardrobe needs a good pair of warm and cozy loungewear!

Be sure to come back to the blog on Friday because I’m finally sharing our bathroom reveal!! It’s so good. I’m seriously in love and cannot wait to share the transformation with you!