Don’t Do it All at Once.

Ok, spill, how many of you planned to purge and re-organize your homes in 2017?

Anyone?

It’s a common resolution, but an overwhelming one.

We’ve lived in 816 square feet for five years now and thus purging, rather than being a one time push each year, has become a lifestyle for us.  I love it because it is easy to maintain and much less overwhelming that a giant weekend purge!

I’m sharing some of my tips for creating a lifestyle of purging and organizing over on Raising Homemakers today.

Head on over to read more!

 Raising Homemakers

Morning.

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields… Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness. “
– Mary Oliver

How do you do mornings?

I always have the best of intentions.

But, falling asleep later than usual combined with middle of the night wake- ups, early risers, and pregnancies, leaves me seeking the comfort of my bed until the last possible second.

That has been my trend.  And by last possible second, I mean 6:45am on a good day.

However, something has got to give.  My oldest two don’t nap and my days are filled up with raising children, cooking, cleaning, etc. until 7:30pm and then it is tidying up from the day and work and hopefully spending some time with the husband until we fall exhausted into bed.

So, where is there room for meeting with the Lord?  For filling up on Him?

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Although I attempt to sneak in a few pages from some sort of Bible study book during my kids quiet times, or listen to a podcast while washing dishes, this is not the same as reading God’s own words or meeting with Him in prayer.

I’ve known for some time that the mornings are key and that this is where I can find time.  Oh, but I’ve had all the excuses and they are legitimate excuses.  But, I don’t like starting my day rushed, overwhelmed, or frustrated with my kids the second they arise.  Add to that, working at 8:30 am two days a week and I have felt a constant urging to make my mornings better.

So, I started.  I have done nothing drastic.  I don’t set an alarm.  But, here is what I do: When I wake up, whether by one child who has to use the bathroom early, my I’m-pregnant-and-need-to-pee wake up call, or my husband’s alarm . . . . THEN I GET UP.  I don’t roll back over.  I don’t attempt to sleep more.  Let’s be real, you don’t get any good sleep at that point any way.

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Instead, I hop (ok, maybe roll) out of bed, throw on sock and a sweater and shuffle to turn on the heater and the stove top.  While the hot water heats, I make my husband’s lunch (one less distraction once the kids are awake). Then, I stir a warm beverage, light a candle and snuggle under a blanket in the cozy chair by the window. I may only get 15 minutes, maybe less, but it is something.  I read a psalm, I copy down a verse that really convicts or encourages me, and I take a few moments to pray over something specific.  There may even be another child rising at this point or a baby that I grab out of her crib to get a diaper change by daddy, but I am doing something. Something is always better than nothing. I downloaded Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening onto my Kindle and I may add that into my morning time as well.  I don’t know.  The mornings are still unpredictable with kids.

It hasn’t happened every day and it isn’t always perfect, but it is still so good.  Those few moments to prepare my heart and to recognize that the day WILL have challenges and to ask the Lord to be my strength in them, those moments are so good.  Having time to drink a little something warm and to get a few tasks out of the way allows me to be more present in the morning for my family.  As much as it seems unfair, we moms set the tone in our homes.  If we are rushed or cranky in the morning, then things can quickly get out of control.  If instead, I am calm and prepared to serve breakfast as soon as they wake, then the morning goes much smoother!

So, I plan to keep on making the most of my mornings even if I am only starting simple.  Sometimes, simple is best.

Do you have a morning routine?  Are you longing for one?  How to you steal away moments of silence? I’d love to hear your tips, tricks, and suggestions!

A Word.

Last year was the first year I chose “a word” for the year.

I typically avoid trends like that, but for the first time I truly felt as though God had placed certain words on my heart. So, I held those words close and pondered them throughout the year and looking back I can see the positive impact they had. This year, without really intending too, I chose another word. Or, perhaps, it chose me? The word that has been lingering in my heart and fluttering about my mind is this: Hope.

I’ve been trying to rise earlier to read God’s word and just breathe before the pressures of the day begin and I began by looking to the Psalms.  Many of the verses that jumped out at me and whose words I copied onto 3 x 5 cards, contained that simple word: hope.

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I think this word is dear to me now, because of our life season.

  • We live in 816 square feet with three small children and one on the way and we see no possibilities for us to find a larger home in our current town.  For that situation, we need hope.
  • We both work and my husband is often exhausted from his job and I often resent the time that mine takes away from my family and we are decreasing my work hours in the fall without knowing if we can financially handle such a decrease. For that situation, we need hope.
  • We are pregnant with a fourth child, which will give us four children five and under very soon, a blessing and a challenge for sure.  We are nervous about our upcoming ultrasound due to some concerns for the baby and my history of miscarriages. For that situation, we need hope.
  • We dream of living on more open space, but see no means. We dream of me not working, but see no means. I dream of deeper friendships, yet I wait. We dream of many things that seem to be merely that, dreams.  For each of those situations, we need hope.

Are you clinging to a word?  A phrase?  Or, like me, are you merely resting in hope?

I’ll leave you with a few of the scriptures that have really resounded with me at the start of this new year, and THIS message from Charles Spurgeon.  Hold fast to hope, my friends.

PSALM 34: 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

PSALM 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

PSALM 33:22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

PSALM 36:7 – 9 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

 

xo Jenny

 

{GATHRE experience}

This summer has been a lovely one thus far, albeit busy.

We’ve been embracing the outdoors and natural learning.

As we prepare to begin a more structured year of at-home preschool, I have been researching products, activities, and learning theories.

Most of my ideals center around nature-based learning, hand-on learning, and child-guided learning.  A lot of times this translates into messes as two and four year olds are messy learners because they are four and they are inquisitive and nature is full of, well, dirt!

Thus, my jump into homeschooling has been accompanied by a search for products that will help us through this process.

I recently became aware of Gathre mats and fell instantly in love.  Their design, color scheme, quality, and practicality had me intrigued.  So, when Gathre sent us some micro mats to use in our schooling experiences, I was thrilled.

They were instantly put to use and have quickly become an integral part of our days.

For our first Gathre experience we worked on a project for our Nature pals (part of the Nature Pal exchange program).  We had collected some Eucalypus bark on a family hiking excursion and had also collected a plethora of mussels at the beach during a lunch time adventure at a local cove.

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We decided to make picture frames for our Nature Pals out of the found items. Here is how we did it:

Materials:

  • Glue
  • Q-tips
  • Eucalyptus Bark
  • Mussels/Shells (can be done with many found items in nature: leaves, pine needles, flowers, etc.)_MG_6629

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We placed the Gathre mats on the table and covered them with our found items, and paper plates that held a small amount of glue and some Q-tips. First, we glued the Eucalyptus bark pieces together to form a square.  Then, using the Q-tips to apply the glue, we glued the mussels onto the frame.  Simply let them dry and ta-da!

I was initially worried that I would ruin the mats with the sticky glue, but it wiped right off with a damp rag.  I set them in the sun to dry and they looked brand new.

We went on to use the mats for plating some seeds for the girls’ own gardens.  Dirt, water, and mud also watched off easily.  I became confident that these mats were indestructible and we have since been using them for everything!  The girls often use them as placemats during meals, for watercoloring projects, and for play-dough and modeling clay play as well.

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_MG_6637I love products that are simple, versatile, and practical.  I look forward to a wonderful year of learning alongside our girls and I know these mats will be a big help.

I have my eye on a larger mat for more outdoor learning experiences as well!

Do you have any learning activities that you have loved doing with your kids?  Pass them on to us!  We love new ideas and we don’t mind getting messy!

{Third times the Charm}

This third pregnancy really made me think about what baby items I liked and which ones I didn’t.

 

We purged many things, not only to make space for a third baby, but because we had learned so much from the first two.

 

Here are a few of the products I decided I wanted this time and a brief review of each one!

Covered Goods Nursing Cover: Best cover for full coverage, comfort, and practicality.

Freshly Picked Moccassins: Only shoes that stay on my babies for the first 6 months. (Pssst they are releasing some moccs tomorrow)

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BackPack Diaper Bag: Hands free. I was tired of my Petunia which is heavy and hangs funny, so I picked up one with a wide opening at Target, although my dream bag is a Lily-Jade.

Solly Baby Wrap: I have worn this the most.  I have yet to use my ergo this time around.  This wrap is my absolute favorite baby carrier.

My WildBird sling: Great for quick stops or when you know you will be removing soon!

Bassinet: Smaller and simpler style that fit well in our small space.

Mini Crib: Have yet to purchase one, but looking forward to saving space.

Bows: My favorites are free babes, Miss Giggle Buns, Pennies and Rubies, and Baby Bling.

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{New Ventures and Dreaming Big}

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!

I am so sorry that you can’t ALL win!!  I used a random number generator to select the winner, and I know she was thrilled.  Hooray for her!

I wanted to quickly tell you about a new venture I have begun with some friends!

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We started a kids’ instagram consignment shop!  You can learn more about what that is, by visiting our blog www.theclovercollective.com.

I seem to always have a million things going at once and so why not add ANOTHER project?! HA!

Truly though, I have big dreams.  Some that seem unreachable and others that seem doable.

For now, this new venture is a fun way to delve into a small corner of some of those dreams.

What are your biggest dreams?  What small steps can you take to achieve them?

Give your dreams to the dream maker!  Trust Him with them and see where they will go!

 

****Check out our new shop on instagram @theclovercollective!****

{Freshly Picked Giveaway}

// GIVEAWAY CLOSED //

The winner is Emma!  I will message you with instructions.  Congratulations!

 

You guys have heard of Freshly Picked, right?

I hope you have!

These are my favorite baby shoes. Hands down.

I mean . . .

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Gorgeous, right?

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Over the past few years I have collected a few through winning giveaways and big sales and I have been so impressed.

They are one of the only shoes that stay on my tiny daughters’ feet, almost from birth (She is still in a size 0 crib mocc at three months old).

The elastic ankle allows them to slip on easily and stay put.

They are also incredibly soft.  My two year-old often wears a pair when we run errands as well since they are so comfortable and great for developing feet.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, they adorable and come in a plethora of colors!  I tend to stick with neutrals to maximize the number of outfits the moccasins can be paired with, but the high quality leather looks amazing in the many bright colors available!

In my opinion, moccasins go with anything, as you can see from the variety of outfits my daughter sports them with! Literally, they are pretty much her only shoes!

Black leggings and a tunic dress? Wear it with moccs!

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Vintage yellow baby-doll dress? Rock it with moccs!

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Traditional poofy polka-dot church dress?  Moccs will go with that!  You can’t go wrong, truly.

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Well, it is your luck day because I am giving away one pair of moccasins on the blog today!  Yipee!

Simply comment with your favorite color and follow Freshly Picked via instagram or facebook.  That’s it! The winner will be chosen on friday and will be able to any color of moccs. Awesome, right?

If I were to get another pair, I would go bold and pick Oasis.  The shade of aqua is pretty dreamy.

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* To enter you can not have won any other giveaway including a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days.