Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Urge To Purge



Do you ever get that feeling? The urge to purge?

Unfortunately, I get that feeling all too often and wonder how in the world I still have things I can get rid of? Being someone who enjoys living life with less, it amazes me really how much I still have. How easily I slip into the mentality of the culture I live in, that is more is better, and the bigger, the better.

Everyday, I have to stop myself and ask "is this the life I really want to live?"

Is what I own, what I feel led to own, without having too much excess. And that's the very thing that gets in the way - the excess. The excess cans of food. The excess pieces of clothing. The excess books. The excess kitchen utensils. You name it - I have excess.

That is why these urges to purge do not bother me. It makes me rethink what I own. Rethink the way I am living. Taking those moments to look back on my life, glance over everything I own, helps me live the life I really want to live, which is a LIFE WITH LESS.

So what do those urges look like? Typically I head to my closet to keep tweaking my wardrobe. Then I usually move on to our storage closet downstairs, where it is packed with things, but are things I am not quite yet ready to let go of, like our baby items. Then I usually bug my husband to go through his dresser drawers. Keeping our home in order, organized, and simple is a work in progress, but we are making progress. Slowly, but surely.

Do you ever get the urge to purge? What area of your home needs the most purging?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Around The Home

This upcoming week sure is going to look a little different now that the Olympics are done! I confess I had the Olympics on All. The. Time. I am quite obsessed and no shame there. I can't tell you how many times I got choked up and maybe even had a few tears because of the emotions and stories behind the Olympic athletes. Pretty sad I know, but I just love for those two weeks, as ONE world, we come together - I honestly see the Olympics as a glimpse of heaven - all cultures under one roof, all cheering on the same event. And in Heaven, we will ALL be sitting at the feet of our Father, as ONE, praising our Father.

This past week seemed to fly by, but in a good way. This coming week I head back to school and many ask if I am ready, and I must say I am. I feel I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer with my family, and am ready for the new chapter of work and school again! Plus, it's only 2 days a week, so it is just PERFECT!

Not too many pictures this week - must have been a slower week I guess!

Mazy loves to color, so we bought her some bath crayons. She sees the whole bathroom as her bathtub too, it seems!

In hopes of distracting her from pulling her own hair, we bought her a My Little Pony!

Wednesday night we had a youth group leader's meeting out on a pontoon on Green Lake. We could not have asked for a more beautiful night!

Our youth group crew

This is one of Mazy's favorite places to go - the booooat with daddy. She never asks me to take her out to our fishing boat. It's a daddy thing.


Mazy LOVES to wear her "eyes" still - she giggles everytime she puts them on


 I was able to get a night away with a friend while Dan watched Mazy! Of course she slept REALLY well that night, but hey, it was so well worth it! To have a night of not getting up, to shop and not have Mazy pulling down racks, and to just take a breather. I must say, but the next night, I was ready to see that little squirt again!

Dan wore Mazy out that night!



Friday, August 19, 2016

Becoming A Professional Picker-Upper


I had to chuckle.

When I jumped on google to see how to "spell" picker upper (for fear there was some weird way of doing so), this definition popped up:

"something that restores one's depleted energy or depressed spirits; pick-me-up"

Well that wasn't necessarily what I was going for. Though I laughed because really, becoming a professional picker-upper I felt, was FAR from restoring my depleted energy.

Let me explain.

Mazy and I stepped back into the house after playing outside for awhile and she found our spice drawer. I though "eh, not a big deal, they are only plastic. She doesn't know how to take the covers off."

I was wrong.

I walked back into the kitchen and saw this:





After I had that cleaned up, she was playing with our lazy susan in the kitchen and found the saltine crackers. Again, I thought "eh, she won't be able to make too big of a mess because they are hard to get out."

I was wrong.

Her little sneaky hands got a few out and though she was enjoying an afternoon snack (fine by me), she managed to get one stuck to her bottom. As she scooted, it just left a crumb trail.





Really, I laughed. It was rather funny, even though I got our handy-dandy hand vac out for the 4th time that day. But I still chuckled because it was so cute.

Then I thought to myself, sometimes I feel like I am becoming a professional picker-upper. Do you ever feel that way? Do you feel like the only thing you accomplish in a day is just picking up after the messes? Do you feel like your energy is depleted because you are wiping hands, brushing off, picking up, for the 100th time that day?

Well, it really matters.

Our little cream of tartar incident in the kitchen, had me on my hands and knees, but I treasured that moment. I WANTED that moment for so long. When I first saw the mess, for 2 seconds I thought oh my goodness, what a MESS, but then I laughed. Mazy looked up at me like "what Mom?" She was having a blast. She was proud that she figured out how to unscrew the cap (yeah, don't ever think your child doesn't know how to do something!)

It really was a proud moment. She tested her fine motor skills and succeeded. She was having fun rubbing her feet in it since it was a different texture she hadn't felt before. To her, there was no harm done. And to me, the only harm done was now I am out of cream of tartar. NBD (no big deal for you non-texters).

When my husband came home, I told him I didn't get much done, but really, I had. Our house was fairly picked up and if I tallied the number of times I cleaned up, wiped up, or picked up something, I would need a bigger chalkboard. And I was okay and thankful for it. My child had fun that day. Minimal tears (except when she woke up hard from a nap), and she learned new words, new skills, and we had a blast doing it.

Maybe you feel like you are becoming a professional picker-upper. Well, I hope that this post is truly a "picker-upper" for you, in it's true definition. Picking up those toys is a big deal. It's actually a life-changing deal. It shows that your child was well-loved that day. That maybe they were learning something new that day. That you took the time to sit down with them and interact on their level. You may feel like that's all you do, but beyond the act is LOVE.

You are loving your child to the fullest. You are loving them for who they are - their exploring and curious side. How else are our children going to learn if we take everything out of the cupboards? How else are our children going to learn if we don't let them make a mess of our homes? How else are our children going to learn if we don't get right down there with them, showing them and loving them at the same time?

I am happy to say that I am working on my degree of becoming a professional picker-upper.

I have a ways to go and a few more years of "schooling", but before I know it, I will be graduated because so will my daughter. She will no longer need me to pick up after her b/c she will be able to do it herself. She won't need me like she does now. Our house will no longer be messy. And I will wish for those days back.


And that is when I will wish I had never graduated.

Need to find a safer place for the toilet paper roll. 

Yup, that is ink by her bottom lip on the right. Oh how I love that little girl!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mazy Is 17 Months Old!






It took me a second to remind myself that the perfect picture of a 17 month old doesn't mean a perfectly posed picture. These pictures are PERFECT because they define her perfect personality! Her eyes and smile just light up our little world!

Stats: 
 ~ Not known

Food:
 ~ Favorites: lasagna, mac 'n cheese, raspberries, strawberries, cheese, pizza, peanut butter and jelly, beef jerky, oatmeal cream pies, taking cereal out of the bag

Size:
 ~ 18 month-2T clothes
 ~ 18-24 month pants
 ~ 24 month onesies
 ~ Size 4 diapers

Routine:
 ~ Wakes up between 7:30 and 8:15.
 ~ Goes to bed between 8:00 and 8:30. 

 ~ When Mazy wakes up, she is usually standing up, has thrown everything out of her crib, and is ready to go. She doesn't like to eat breakfast right away, so we wait an hour or even 1 1/2 hours, where she will have toast or a muffin. Then we will get ready to go to town if needed, otherwise will go for a bike ride or walk. Then play outside for a bit, go to the park, then eat lunch. We eat lunch at about 11:30 or 11:45, then right after she goes down for a nap. Usually she will sleep on average 2 hours, but can be closer to 3 at times, depending on the day. After that, we will go outside for a bit or she will watch an episode of Thomas or Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I then get supper ready and after we eat, we go for a family bike ride. At about 7:30, we give her a bath, give her a snack and milk, brush her teeth, read her a book, then put her down for bed a little after 8:00.

Milestones:
 ~ Favorite Words: eyes (sunglasses), keys, bo, bane (plane), weese (swing), pay (play), bah (bath), dadee (daddy), sooze (shoes), eeshee (blankie), wubs (wubbanub), gawk (milk), mum (mommy), woof (dog), bahsh (brush), ehwhoa (hello, phone), babee (baby), beebeebee (praisebaby dvd)
New words: eyes (for sunglasses), keys, bo (for motorcycle)
 ~ WALKS! She finally decided one day she wanted to walk and hasn't stopped since.
 ~ Has 13 teeth - just starting to get her first top canine in
 ~ Loves animals! Especially bears, cows, pigs, horses, cats
 ~ Really is starting to comprehend what we are saying. Can get something if we ask her to.
 ~ Loves to dance and sing
 ~ Can bend over and pick something up off the ground if hanging onto something
 ~ Pulls herself up by furniture
 ~ Can get off the couch on her own

Other Things To Remember:
 ~ Has been doctor-free this past month - first time in a LONG time!
 ~ Still pulls out her hair; doctor believes it's a result from the hospital stay
 ~ Loves to play in the boat and flip all the switches
 ~ Enjoys swinging and playing in the sandbox
 ~ Getting the mail and holding the keys is a highlight of the day
 ~ Sometimes sleeps through the night, but sometimes wakes up 5 times in a night
 ~ Loves to take things out of the cupboards
 ~ Would watch Praise Baby DVDs all day if we let her
 ~ Always asks to pray before meals - holds our hands and she squints her eyes shut
 ~ Went to the zoo for the first time and Mazy LOVED the bears! Said "roar" when she saw them and even got a stuffed animal that she now calls "roar"
 ~ Favorite toys: riding elephant, busy board, My Very First 100 Words block books, coloring, record player, bristle blocks, any book, baby, cell phone, EIEIO book (can say it too)
 ~ Has the cutest curls in the back that we can put into pigtails, has the brightest blue eyes, and is definitely our crazy Mazy!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Kicking the Kitchen Gadget Clutter - Day 14


Have you ever tried to open your kitchen gadget drawer and it gets stuck halfway? Or dig through to the bottom of the pile and realize that it was tucked way in the back? Kitchen gadgets clog our drawers and when we really need something, it takes a few tries to find exactly what we need. So how do you purge down to just the essentials?

That was the question that I asked for years it seemed. My drawer always got stuck and I found myself putting gadgets in other places, but couldn't always remember where. It was time to make a change. That change meant getting rid of the kitchen gadgets I rarely used and basically just living with less of them.

Maybe you too, have the same issues I did. I must say that I have found a very easy solution and haven't changed how I store my kitchen gadgets for a couple of years now. Also, I have not had to buy anything new for quite some time because I feel like I have "completed" my inventory. Here's how:

Find

Take out all of your kitchen gadgets and lay them across a table. Everything from spatulas to bottle openers, to potato mashers.

Ask

  • Do I use it? Is it worth keeping for the number of times I use it?
  • What is it for? (if you don't know, out it goes)
  • Is it a pain to use?
  • Is it broken?
  • Is it in good shape? 
  • Do I have a double of it? Do I need more than one of them?

Ditch and Donate

Throw away or recycle what is not worth donating and donate what you think someone else could benefit from. I had spatulas that had seen better days, so I recycled those.


Organize

Gather what belongs together - spatulas with spatulas, wooden spoons with others, etc. At this point you may even realize that you have 5 spatulas, but do you really NEED 5 of them? Donate a few. Also find a system that works for you. I use a Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About for my kitchen gadgets and I don't think I will ever use anything else. It has worked so well for our kitchen and it fits what I need it to fit.



You can also use various sized boxes for the drawers. I use old cheese boxes, plastic containers, you name it. It just helps keep some order in the drawer so that the gadgets do not get stuck when I open the drawer.

Everything In It's Place

It is easy to just throw the gadget back in the drawer after you are done using it, not thinking about where it came from. You have set up a system for a reason, so taking the small step to put it where it belongs will save you the time of having find it when you need it again. Create order where you can!

How do you organize your kitchen gadgets?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Around The Home

Don't know about you, but we sure received a lot of rain this week! We had an incredible amount of rain - I heard 10 inches and then I heard 7 inches, but regardless, that is a LOT of rain! Needless to say, we got water in our basement, which only helps me just get even more organized! I am hoping to have a garage sale in September and with the water, it only made me get it into gear!

Mazy had a MUCH better week when it came to her anxiety over situations! I think things are looking up and hopefully we can just put the hair pulling, the outbursts, and the complete panic moments behind us. We have been trying to stick to a strict routine and keep things as "normal" as we can in hopes that it improves her situation. Unfortunately she has not been sleeping well at all, but hey, what can you do? I'd rather have her not sleep well than pull her hair out, so I will take less sleep anyday!

I have found myself just standing in amazement at who Mazy is, her little personality, and just the love she has for life! You want to get her to talk, just talk dogs, planes, and roar with her and she will talk nonstop! That's our girl! Oh, and maybe give her some sweet treats and she will be your best friend for life!

Our friend brought over their dog for Mazy to play with - she kept giving her bear hugs, which was adorable!

She likes to be like daddy

Mazy came into the kitchen telling me that she had shoes on. That's our Dutch girl right there!

Mazy loves to walk around the house with her "eyes" on. And the cutest thing is she knows that I always wear my sunglasses when we go for a bike ride, so when we are heading out the door, she says "eyes" as if to remind me to grab my sunglasses. Same with keys - if I say we are going to go bye-bye, she says "keys" when I am walking out the door. And to be honest, there have been times that I have forgotten and she reminds me!

While waiting in line at Aldi, a sweet lady pulled this ball out of her purse and gave it to Mazy. SO sweet of her. When I tried to give it back at the end, she said no, you can have it! Mazy just thought it was the greatest thing and kept saying "bah" for ball the whole time I was packing the groceries up. I am not sure why she was carrying it in her purse, but regardless, it made BOTH of our days!

She's got her mama's hair! Straight up front and curly in the back!

Who needs water? After all the water drained, Mazy still wanted to play in the tub - why not, right?

So Mazy like's jerky! Our friend makes the most amazing jerky. I forget who mentioned it, but they said to have Mazy try it. I said there is NO WAY she is going to like it. Well, not 2 seconds later Mazy says "mmm..." I was put in my place. Granted she can't chew it, but she just enjoys sucking all the good stuff off of it. That's my girl!


I never buy Oatmeal Cream Pies, but I know Dan loves 'em, and lo and behold, they were at Aldi. Bought a box and who loves to join Dan in eating them? Mazy. Who knew, once again?

I have always wanted Mazy to have one of these! A little busy board made out of knick-knacks from around a house. Dan put it together this weekend and oh does she love it! So much fun to watch her explore this board! 

Dan did a mighty fine job!


Saturday, August 13, 2016

More Than Just Books

I was NOT a reader as a child. Just ask my mom who tried and tried to read to me, but I wanted nothing to do with it. I struggled with comprehension, which made reading and even understanding what I was reading, that much more difficult.

After some testing Dan and I had done after were married, I learned that I had ADD. We both participated in biofeedback (my husband had ADD much worse than I did), and ever since then, I have actually ENJOYED reading!

Fast forward to having our first child. I have always been fascinated with books that you can not only read to your child, but books that she could interact with too. Books that are engaging, entertaining, and educational, all at the same time.

I had a friend who hosted a Facebook party for Usborne Books and More. I had heard of the name, but knew absolutely NOTHING about them. After I attended the party, I realized I was missing out on some great books for our daughter. Books that I KNEW would engage her and make her talk a mile a minute. Books that she would enjoy picking up day after day.

When I couldn't decide from the 10 books I already had on my wishlist from my friend's party, I knew I had to host my own Facebook party so that I could earn some free books.

I have to admit that I was very skeptical. It just seemed too good to be true, to be honest! Host a facebook party via a consultant and earn "free" books? Well, after hosting the party, I ended up earning well over $100 worth of books - books that I could choose specifically for Mazy and books that I must say, SHE LOVES.

Well, not only did I end up hosting a party, but I decided to JOIN the UBAM team and become a consultant. Why? I just couldn't keep the secret silent. I had no idea what UBAM offered and now learning more and more about their books, I wonder why in the world I didn't host a facebook party before I had Mazy as a "Build A Library For Mazy" party! Granted I did not know about them at the time, but I wish I had.

What books does Mazy ask me to "read" to her EVERYDAY? The UBAM books. I am not just saying that because I am a consultant. I am saying that because it's the truth actually! Her favorite right now is the My First 100 WordsThey come in a magnetic-closure box and help Mazy connect a picture with a word. Plus, the box has pictures within it, so the box even creates a matching game! Mazy actually even knows which one goes in which already - I had no idea she knew how to "match" (unless it was just a fluke). I did not even have to stage these pictures because this is what she does everyday! You can also stack them to build a tower, but we haven't practiced that quite yet.








I will be posting much more about my favorite books because I am starting to realize how important books are for Mazy, even at her young age. UBAM books are extremely reasonable in price and that is coming from someone who is always looking for a deal! For example, the My First 100 Words book (with 9 books in it) is only $12.99!

In the meantime, if you would like to start a unique library for your child and want to earn free books, let me know! You can host a simple facebook party! Now when I say "host", that can usually mean you have to do all the work (that's what I think of when I have to host a party at our house). Well, hosting a Facebook party means you only have to invite your friends to come via facebook messages and I will do the rest of the work. We will choose a date and time together and I will spend an hour or so sharing about what UBAM has to offer (and do giveaways too)!

Just something to think about! I used my party to start working on my Christmas gifts, so even if you need to get a head start or build a library for your own children, let me know! Either comment below or email me at kristin.sterk@gmail.com!

PLUS: Right now, you can earn DOUBLE FREE BOOKS - see below! Easy peasy way to earn a load of FREE BOOKS!