Category Archives: Homemaking

My Decision to Leave an Awesome Career

What makes a woman earning six figures a year walk away from her career to become a stay at home mom?

A dream.
Maybe a touch of insanity…

I had no great respect for stay-at-home moms when I was a single, unmarried, childless corporate neophyte.  In fact (I am now ashamed to admit) I thought that “those women” spent all their “free” time getting their nails and hair done.

(HA!  I so wish you could see me right now Continue reading

{Giveaway} Designing a Simpler Holiday Season

Guest post written by Jessica Fisher of Life as MOM and Good Cheap Eats:

Years ago I would spend the holiday season running around like a Christmas goose with its head chopped off.  I’d dream up big schemes of handmade gifts and homecooked feasts. The result was a stressed and frazzled mom instead of the Norman Rockwell Christmas I had envisioned.

Over time I learned ways to say NO at the holidays. By turning my HO, HO, HO, into a no, no, no, albeit politely, I’ve been able to buy more peace for our family. Here are some of the things I don’t do any longer.

I don’t send holiday greeting cards. Not only did mailing Christmas cards cost upwards of $100 each year, but it took an exorbitant amount of time to handmake the cards — or even order them online. I felt guilty that I didn’t write a lengthy personal note. And honestly? Few of our friends ever reciprocated. It felt like I was talking to myself. Continue reading

Motherhood: More Than Meets the Eye

You have a job. Whether you work out of the house or not, if you have (or are having, or will have) babies, you have a job.

A mission.

But what is your position? What do you actually do? Continue reading

{Free Printable} Organizing and Downsizing when Moving Cross Country

When we first moved into our farmhouse I was convinced that this was IT.  We would never move again.  This is where we were going to raise our children and retire.  And that was how we moved in and unpacked – like things weren’t ever going to go anywhere.  (As was previously discussed in The Dream and The Reality.)

So – wow – imagine my surprise when I had to sort through all that STUFF to move into an *apartment*!  Although I have personally moved over a dozen times in my life, I hadn’t lived in an apartment since I was single and in my twenties.  We have two children now and a LOT more stuff than those days!

So here was my process for organizing and decluttering to prepare for the move:

  1. List everything that is ESSENTIAL – cookware, financial records, daily living items (toys, school/office supplies, etc.) and even bedding/furniture.  This list was updated repeatedly as we progressed through the clean and purge phases below.
  2. Identify anything that is garbage or can be donated/gifted/sold.  Throw it out!  Or put it in a big old pile out of the way – like in the garage – and, if you have a lot of time and the inclination, package it up into cardboard boxes or plastic bags using some sort of organized system.  We just tossed everything in garbage bags labeled “Trash” or “Donate” during this stage.
  3. Get a bunch of plastic tubs for storage items.  It depends on the time of year where you can get these for the best price; Halloween and Christmastime Home Depot and Lowes seem to sell colored tubs at discounted prices.  Remember to number EVERY box even that though it may seem unnecessary at this time.  We label every side, including the top, of every storage bin and cardboard box just to make it super-easy to see. Continue reading

Spice Storage – Help me decide!

My spice rack is a *disaster*!  I can never find anything in my cupboard and I am so tired of dusting the spice rack on the wall.  (There is just a level of dust and funk that builds up on ornate lids after a decade, you know?)

So here are my choices.  What do you think?

1. Very cool magnetic spice containers.

3. A “spice box.”  Not sure if this is my style, but would take care of the bulk spice purchases.

.  How much of a pain do you think this would be to dust? Continue reading

{Giveaway} MadeOn Hard Lotion

Image by Renee MadeOn Hard Lotion

I love making my own salves and lotions.  And, thanks to Renee at Madeon Hard Lotion, I finally figured out how to do it right!

If you are not familiar with the concept of Hard Lotion, let me give you a little bit of background first.  Hard lotion is solid at room temperature.  It kind of looks like a bar of soap, except it’s lotion!  It is designed for sensitive and extremely dry skin.  The beeswax leaves a gentle, protective coating on the skin that won’t wash off if you are a chronic handwasher like me. Continue reading

In Defense of … Self-Defense: A Series on Safety for Moms

Swansea University Karate Club (6)
I know this isn’t a topic that we moms like to talk about.  I don’t want to talk about it really either.  However – after some serious prayer (really, Lord?  this topic?) – I think it’s something we should talk about.

First and foremost: It isn’t wrong to take care of ourselves.  Or our children.  It is necessary.  And it’s our job!

I want my children to grow up trusting that most people are good.  I want them to be cheerful, joyful, inquisitive and friendly children.   I want my kids to have the confidence to ask the librarian where to find a book and order their own meal.   I don’t want us to live scared, secluded lives.

Unfortunately, though, there are bad people out there.

We can’t be with our children every second of every day.  One day they will leave the nest, either at school or a playdate, and we need them to be aware, informed and confident about their boundaries, how they interact with strangers and how they behave in public and online. 

And that goes for us moms, too.  Many of us are at home alone with little ones for most of the day.  When we are out and about we are distracted by fussing babies, curious toddlers and wily preschoolers.  And distracted mommies are a target for predators.

Note that I say “target” and not “victim.”  My intent is not to be alarmist.  What I want to promote is awareness, education and confidence.

So, I am starting this multi-part series on Defense.

This series includes the following topics:

  • Stranger Danger

  • Personal Boundaries

  • Online Safety

  • Fire Safety

  • Police Officer Interview

  • Home Security Basics – Locks

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Summer on the farm

RocketGirl hiking in the fieldSummer on the farm here is just as beautiful as spring!  The kids have been loving playing in the fields, hiking across the property and dancing in the sprinklers.  With all the outdoor activity my fair-haired little ones need a sun protection, though.

My latest project was making sunscreen for the kiddos.  The best recipe I have come up with is a modification of Renee from MadeOn’s My Buttered Life Summer Edition.  I use double the zinc oxide she calls for and include essential oils of lavender, sweet orange and jasmine.  (The other ingredients include beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter.   For exact amounts I encourage you to check out Renee’s book.  You can order all the ingredients on her website, too, under the DIY section.)

I love the way the sunscreen smells and that it is all natural.  It goes on really white, but clears up pretty quickly.  I’ve toyed with the idea of making another batch and scenting it with bug repellent essential oils like rosemary, citronella, and eucalyptus but I wanted to try the less stinky version on the kiddos first. Continue reading

Things to consider before becoming a stay-at-home mom

I did a lot of research before deciding to leave my career as a technology professional.  Unfortunately, though, none of my research gave me the full picture of what I would be facing.  I knew that we would have to adjust to living on a smaller income and I knew that I would have a learning curve, but I had no idea how much I would really have to learn…

Things to consider before leaving your career to stay-at-home full-time with kids:

1.  Understand what being a stay-at-home mom entails.  If you aren’t already intimately familiar with what the typical day in the life of a stay-at-home mom looks like, check out this post.  When I left my career I really thought I would have a TON of free time to do all those projects I always wanted to do – like organizing the cupboards and scrapbooking.  Let me be the first to tell you: stay-at-home moms do not have a bunch of free time for hobbies.  (My children’s 1st year memory books are still sitting empty in boxes from the last move.) Continue reading

A day in the life

When I was working full-time and first considered staying at home with my daughter I was really curious about what the typical day would look like.  So, here I offer you what a typical day in our house looks like.  (To learn more about RocketGirl – age 3 1/2 – and BulldozerBaby – age 1 – check out this post.)

Around 5:30am, RockstarDad gets up and gets BulldozerBaby and lays him down next to me to nurse.  (This sounds way more sweet than it is because I have already gotten up three times with fussy Mr. BulldozerBaby since going to bed at midnight.)  BulldozerBaby nurses for 10 minutes and then jumps on me and yells “Go! Go! Go!”  So, I take him downstairs to play with RockstarDad’s socks while I make breakfast.  RocketGirl already requested grits and eggs for breakfast so that’s what I start working on.  RocketGirl summarily hears RockstarDad talking to me as he is getting dressed and thumps down the stairs to see him before he leaves.

RocketGirl’s Binder

It is now 6:15am.  I have not showered, dressed or even gone to the bathroom yet.  RockstarDad leaves by 6:30am and I feed the kids breakfast.  I grab RocketGirl’s binder and give her some mazes to do while I chomp down a bowl of cereal.

Since BulldozerBaby is now covered head-to-toe in grits I strip us both down and take a quick shower.  As we all know, showering while holding a baby is not relaxing or terribly effective.  Blah.  I get us both dressed anyway and figure maybe I will get my own shower eventually.  RocketGirl cleared the table in my absence and is now running around the house singing.

I get RocketGirl’s school supplies out and set her down with today’s lesson.  Letter tracing first while I cut out the parts of the Birds preschool pack.  We work on schoolwork while BulldozerBaby entertains himself on the floor with blocks.

We play with play dough next (at RocketGirl’s request).  I meditate on how I am just going to do “one thing at a time” today and focus on my beautiful daughter.  Within two seconds of taking my focus off of BulldozerBaby he has eaten a mouthful of green play dough.  He is screaming and green goo is oozing between his teeth. Continue reading