Today is the big day! I’ve launched my brand new site, Thankful Moms, with my writing partner, Jennifer. We can’t wait to see you there! Click on the link below and come on over!
We hope you enjoy a few of our recent internet wanderings.
News that Makes You Run from Brooke Mardell (meant for Easter, but so good we had to share)
I will never forget the sound of his flip-flops as they raced down the hall and into the waiting room, not pausing to round the corners, coming at full speed to my side, where both of our messy tears and words rambled through a series of “I heard he was gone? But that now he’s alive?”
5 Game-Changing Attitudes to Take Into IEP Meetings from Confessions of an Adoptive Parent
We wanted to march into the meeting and let this teacher have it. I wanted her fired. How dare she do that to us! How dare she let this go on for weeks and not call us! We stomped around our house, ranting and raving. We went to bed, still fuming. But the next morning, when it came time for the meeting, we decided to change our attitude.
Your Biggest Expense is Your Greatest Opportunity from becoming minimalist
When the rest of the world was building bigger and bigger, we decided to buy smaller. And that decision has freed us to do many wonderful things.
When I Didn’t Love My Adopted Child from Brandy Lee at Christianity Today
When Nora joined our family, I expected to have hard days… I just didn’t expect months of them back-to-back. My heart got ugly. I went from disappointed to barely surviving to bitter and defeated.
A Prayer for a Hopeful Vision from Emily P. Freeman
We were able to visit with Sarah in her beautiful home last week! Today, she shares with us more ideas on how to make simplicity work for us in our kitchens…
Last week, I shared two of the ways I make the kitchen in our small home work for us: Buy One and Nest When Possible.
This week, I have five more ways to bring simplicity to your kitchen.
Buy items that are multifunctional - You’d be surprised the number of similar items we set aside for various tasks that all accomplish similar functions. Fill your kitchen with items that serve many purposes. Mixing bowls can be serving dishes. A wide mouthed canning jar can be used to store leftovers, serve drinks, and mix salad dressing and looks lovely filled with tulips. A cutting board can be used to serve cheeses and breads.
Get creative and start thinking of new uses for your items and then discard what is redundant. Also, challenge yourself to find multi-functional items that are lovely to look at. If you’re going to be using your mixing bowls for serving dishes hunt for the prettiest set you can find. Take your time and choose multi-functional items that you love.
Open Shelving – I regularly am asked if I like my open shelves. I really hesitated when my husband suggested open shelving. I have often been drawn to kitchen photos with open shelves that are perfectly styled to highlight dishes and decorative items but I don’t like the look of clutter and I certainly don’t want to see cereal boxes and bags of chips on display in my kitchen. I also was worried about greasy kitchen air getting all over my things.
We installed a single shelf because of the lower ceiling height as opposed to a double. Regardless of the height limitation my opinion is that if the items are too tall for me to reach I’m not going to be using the items up there or cleaning them regularly. Our longest shelf contains all of our dishes, glasses, and a few serving pieces. Everything on this shelf, with the exception of my cake stand, get used regularly and end up in the dishwasher at least once a week. The cake stand I take down and wash every couple of weeks. I keep it there because it was my grandmother’s and I love it.
I use a microfiber dusting wand to maintain a clean dust free surface to store my dishes and once every two or three months I will move the stacks of plates and cups and scrub the shelf to keep it tidy. The shelf above my stove contains common baking ingredients. I keep glass jars of flour, sugar, rice, oatmeal, etc. up on this shelf.
When we first moved in I put art, my vase collection, and a few serving pieces up, but there were two problems with it. I didn’t use the items enough and they got sticky with greasy air and I wasn’t using the shelf to store important useful items so it felt wasteful when space was at such a premium. What I like is that these items and neutral colored so they don’t interfere with my need to keep the kitchen visually simple and they are items I use all of the time so I try to take a moment to wipe down the jars when I remove them from the shelf.
Food - I keep most of our food in two drawers and a lazy Susan cabinet in the corner of the kitchen. And of course my fridge and freezer. This isn’t a huge amount of storage for food but I’ve found a few tricks that keep things in order.
I am a firm believer in meal planning as an organizational tool but also as a way to keep my small home organized. While it may feel good to have the cupboards packed full, if I can’t use everything to put together a cohesive week of meals then I’m quickly going to run out of space. I like to sit down on Sunday evening, write up a grocery list while I’m in my house so I can see what food I already have and then purchase only what I need.
I also discard items that aren’t being used up, like the half used bag of marshmallows from last Summer’s bbq or the jug of corn syrup I bought for holiday baking.
I never used to do this, but I opt for the smaller packages of toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins because I can easily replenish from week to week and there isn’t a big area to keep them while they are waiting to be used. I still go to Costco but I buy ground beef and romaine which I know we will use up quickly and avoid jumbo sized foods that may take months to consume.
Countertops -I dislike cluttered countertops but when there isn’t a lot of space it’s easy for items to end up permanently piled up on the countertops. I avoid using my countertop as a place to permanently store things. There are a few items that I keep out but I try to be very intentional about what is on my countertops.
Countertop clutter tends to get greasy if it’s near a stove, it makes wiping off the counters a chore because items need to be lifted and moved to properly clean. As an experiment try removing everything from your kitchen counters and putting back only what you absolutely need. Now admire how instantly clean and decluttered your kitchen looks!
Face Your Fears – Drastically downsizing can feel a bit scary and overwhelming because we often cling to things out of fear. I realized as I was getting rid of things that the conversation in my head was often a “what if” conversation. What if I can’t find another one of these? What if I can’t afford to replace this? What if I need this someday? Or it was a tinge of guilt about the fact that I had paid good money for it and it was wasteful to discard it.
What I realized is that most of the things I held on to were easily replaceable, inexpensive, or I could pass them along to someone who could use them or simply donate them to a good cause like the church thrift shop. If had a perfectly good item that I needed to get rid of I’d pray for opportunity to bless someone with my extra item. God was always faithful to provide a place for the excess.
In the end, after I had gotten past my initial reservations about downsizing, I realized that I love being in my kitchen and it is a deeply satisfying place to work.
Wandering along Useless Bay on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Enjoy some of our favorite recent internet wanderings…
Take Up Your Bed and Walk from Tracie Loux
This is grief. Unpredictable, unexpected, unanticipated. I had someone tell me, “If I knew the wave was coming, I would be more ready.” But the grieving heart rarely has the luxury of preparation, with the exception of those “anniversaries” and trigger dates, we simply don’t know when it’s coming.
What is an Enough List and How it Helped Me Enjoy Every Day from Storyline Blog
Some days are messy. Some days nothing goes according to plan. That’s just life. It doesn’t mean I’m disorganized or lazy or behind, it means I’m living…
How to Make a Home When You’re Feeling Depressed from Sarah Mae
There are no rules with how you have to clean your home. We are all different, and we all go through different seasons, and during the dark ones, take it extra slow and steady. No rush. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One.
What the Cross has Meant to Me from Beth Moore
Any and every victorious moment I ever experience is by the power of the cross. That the enemy did not and still has not destroyed me is by the power of the cross. The power of the cross saved me as a child and it saves me as an adult. It will save me in my death and, through its crimson gate, His glorious resurrection will raise me in God’s presence.
Free Printable: Perfect for Easter from The Harper House
This lovely free printable is available at The Harper House.
Sarah has created another beautiful printable for us!
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(note: only available for a limited time)
Welcome Sarah again this week – as she shares about her Small Kitchen and her Big Table…
Today I’m going to write about my kitchen, but first I have to tell you about my dining room table.
We started our married life without a dining room table. We had a “table” which now is a desk, so that should give you an idea of its size. Early in our marriage, when we wanted to have more than two people to dinner, we drove to the high school where I taught, loaded up a folding table, drove it to our house, and hauled the table in. I spent time daydreaming about having a large, sturdy farm table that could seat a lot of people. After a few years, a generous friend gave us a hand-me-down dining table that wasn’t my style, but it was functional.
How do we move forward without moving away?
Saturday we took down the bunk beds in Kalkidan’s room. It’s taken us a long time to feel ready.
Kalkidan loved bright colors, which suited her personality. Last summer Samuel painted the room yellow and then Kalkidan picked out the bright bedding. She chose the bottom bunk with the bright chevron striped comforter. Although Claire shared a bedroom with Annarose, most nights she slept in Kalkidan’s room on the top bunk, so Kalkidan picked out a comforter for her bed too.
Enjoy some our favorite recent internet wanderings…
I Think I’ll Choose Weak, Today from Every Bitter Thing is Sweet
If you walked into my kitchen at 5pm in the winter after we’d completed one of our adoptions you might have thought we were ruined. I surely did.
Why I Wear the Same Thing Each Day from Her View from Home
I remember how my grandmother, now 89-years-old, responded to my mother’s end of season clearances purchases with this perspective: “Would you buy an elephant if it were only a dollar?”
A Playlist for the Nervous Traveler from emily p. freeman
It was in this moment that I realized I needed to be more prepared next time. In moments of potential panic, I have very specific requirements for the kind of music that is allowed to sing to me in my ears. It was time to create an official Turbulence Playlist.
The Love Your Home Spring Challenge from The Inspired Room
I find that making a commitment to simple daily progress around the home is what most effortlessly transforms it and improves how I feel about my surroundings. And if we are all doing these same daily projects together, we can feel more inspired!
[This challenge began a few weeks ago, but you can start any time. I began the middle of last week.]