Monday, January 30, 2017

Tips on Parenting a 2 Year Old Nudist

I like to look at baby pictures of my 2 year olds to remind me that this is just a phase. =)

1. Buy clothes with strong snaps or buy strong tape
2. Pick your battles. Sometimes letting them be naked is better than wrestling the clothes on... especially if you are tired.
3. Don't freak out when they take off the outfit you just wrestled on five minutes later.
4. Let them pick their outfits, even if that means they wear Sophia the First nightgowns or swim suits.
5. Take them to be around other people often enough that they understand that people are supposed to wear clothes.
6. Remind your child that clothes actually serve a purpose of protecting them from the elements.

Good luck!

In all seriousness, if you have lived through this stage, did you ever figure out a peaceful way to get your kids to wear clothes?


Lucy Jo

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Drastic Times Call for Drastic Measures

Yesterday, Maurie and I came to a head. She is constantly asking to watch movies and spreads the DVDs and VHSs (yes we still own VHS) ALL over the house, but I was done and done with the struggle. I boxed up every last movie in our home and put them in the basement. I haven't got brave enough yet, but I am close to boxing up the TV too. Don't get me wrong, I love to relax by watching a good movie or TV show, but really, on a day-to-day basis, the TV is sucking the life out of my kids. I had already limited Maurie's TV time, but now she can't create giant messes and break the DVDs when she begs for "TB" too. I also put all of the toys that were littered on the basement floor in garbage bags. Weirdly enough, Jane helped me and seemed to enjoy getting rid of just about everything minus a few of her favorites. What the heck? I should have done this a long time ago.

Cody told me a story about his childhood friends. Their dad was tired of picking up their coats off the ground and warned them that he would get rid of them if he saw them on the floor again. Well, you guessed it, it wasn't long before the said coats were on the floor again. Their dad gathered the coats and threw them in the fire. They did not get new ones for awhile, just to let the lesson sink in. Luckily for them, they lived in warmish Nevada.

What is a struggle at your house right now? What is the most drastic thing you have done in your parenting?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Kid-You is Smarter than the Adult-You

In fifth grade my kind, fun teacher let me read my "book" to my classmates. It was a story I wrote about a kid who got kidnapped at Disneyland. (I still have yet to go to Disneyland, by the way.) My writing was compelling stuff. This situation reveals many things...I loved to write and share my stories then and that has not changed, I was far more brave then than I am now, and I actually had a big chunk of the class who sat and listened to my fifth grade level writing. Wow! When I was a kid, I knew what I liked, I did it and then I shared it with everyone without apology. That is cool! I bet you can think of a time you were unashamed of the things that you loved when you were young. What was it?

Later, I knew that I had a thing for colors, textures and fashion design. I spent hours checking out fashion design schools, attending the F.I.D.M. orientation offered at my high school and thought seriously about moving to southern California to make the most beautiful and stylish clothing. Check out these drawings I found in a box in the basement...junior year in high school and I was ready to take the world my storm. =) However amateurish these designs are, I was excited and very eager to learn more. That is a good sign.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Seriously, just paint?

Hello Friends,

When we bought our home nearly two years ago, I knew that the kitchen needed some TLC. Actually, it was the whole house that needed to be changed for me to really feel at home. All the colors in the house were wrong for me. I spent a lot of time at paint stores stewing and stewing over colors. I told Cody that if he could watch me on camera trying to make these kinds of decisions he might lose his mind. =)

As you can see, I did actually make a decision. I used a picture of an Ikea kitchen color scheme that I loved and decided matched it as well as I could. The hard part was coordinating the other rooms that were visible from the kitchen. It isn't perfect, but it works and no one has complained about the colors. All that has been done to the room is new paint on the walls and new paint on the tile. It was not the ideal fix, nor the most quality, but it definitely changed the look and feel of the room. I painted the tile with regular white latex paint (2-3 coats) and then added a polyurethane to the top. The paint color on the walls is Sherwin Williams HGTV Storm Cloud.

So, my point in sharing this is that sometimes it is not what you want to do, but what you can do, and that can be enough. Eventually I will replace just about everything in this room, but for now, I can be in this space and be happy. The light pours into this part of the house and it almost helps me forget about the new countertops and backsplash that I want. ;) For real though, I am practicing seeing what I do have instead of what I do not!

Isn't it incredible what paint can do? What part of your home has beautiful light? What is your favorite part of your kitchen? What is the first thing you would change?

Thanks for coming to visit.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Little by little...

So, during the Christmas break I was able to do a few projects that I want to share with you.

First, I knew that I wanted to make the living room more comfortable and applicable to my kids, so I added a book shelf for their books and a table for their puzzles and coloring.

The second was a headboard that I made. My sister Joanie and her husband came to visit just last week and I was very eager to make a few improvements to the guest bedroom. The first of these improvements was a headboard for the queen bed. It really does make a room look more polished when there is a headboard. I documented the process. I got this idea from the book I reviewed last post, Young House Love.
We have had a kid table for a long time that had Lalaloosey theme. I didn't love that so I finally got to re-upholstering the top and chairs. Super easy with a staple gun and some plastic covered fabric.

Cody built me some shelves for the living room for the kid books. We have kept the kid books in the basement and I wanted them more accessible. The girls read more now that they are upstairs and they can see the covers!

Cody made me a frame the size I needed for the bed. 

Hi-Loft Batting

Fabric of your choice

Staple gun and staples. I got two different size staples just in case. 

Happy stapling! Sorry, the photos are darker; you can see I started the project in the evening. =)

Up close of the distance between staples


Guest room is ready for more guests!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Good Reads

I LOVE Joanna Gaines. I think she is lovely, classic, good and kind. She is a faithful wife, a mother of four, a gifted interior designer and a hard worker. Cody knows that I love her and her style and bought me this book for Christmas. Their book did not disappoint. Chip and Joanna's love story resonated with me and there were many times I laughed out loud because Cody and I are very similar to them...we are compatible in the things that matter most and total opposites in just about everything else. Their story of faith, hard work and goodness is inspiring. Some of my favorite parts of the book:
  • Joanna explaining her reaction to Chip buying the houseboat.
  • People asked them how they do it all and they say that they don't have a TV. We needed a good kick in the pants and a reminder of our original goal to limit/eliminate TV. 
  • When Joanna realizes that she has a gorgeous home, but she is frustrated with her kids and they don't have any place to play. "I went into the house that day thinking I'd try to envision some paint colors and pick who would be in which bedroom. Instead, a lightbulb went on that started to change absolutely everything for me: 'My kids love it here. They can be kids. I'm going to design around that'" (129).
  • When she decides not to upgrade her diamond on her wedding ring because the one Chip picked meant too much to her.
  • Because Cody and I have a goal of owning a ranch someday, we were both so impressed with how they were able to buy their farm/ranch and build their dream home. Their journey has truly been blessed and it was inspiring to see two people so dedicated to each other, their children and to their work. Read it!

This book, Focused, by Noelle Pikus Pace, was a gift from a friend, which made it extra special to me.  Noelle is a powerhouse of a woman, but what makes her book so awesome is her humility and her willingness to keep it real. She taught correct principles through her life experiences and each lesson she teaches motivated me to be better. 
Here are my favorite parts:
  • When she chooses to be happy after a serious injury at a bad time. 
  • She learns to reach out to others instead of waiting for others to reach out to her.
  • Noelle and her husband find balance and happiness after they kill their have to read the whole story. 
  • Distinguishing between the world's view of people and God's view of people. 
  • Of course, when she wins a silver medal at the Olympics, is an amazing moment to read about after hearing about her journey.

Nate Berkus is a successful interior designer. Some of his designs are actually available at Target now. I enjoyed reading his story. He has been true to his interests since he was a young boy and his talent is evident in the spaces featured in his book. My favorite part of the book is how he features the people as much as the interiors these people inhabit. I have always believed that everything we create, especially our homes, are a reflection of ourselves. When I taught middle school in Las Vegas, I met with a student, his family and a counselor. He was struggling with school, amongst other things. The counselor asked the boy's parents what his room was like. The parents answered that his room was a disaster. The counselor then went on to explain that this was a reflection of how he was feeling inside. That was a lightbulb moment, and I have seen how my spaces have been a very real reflection of me inside. I know that we cannot take what we own with us when we die, but there is nothing wrong with creating beauty around us and others while we are here on Earth. 

This book is chalk full of practical projects that I can actually do with the time, energy and budget that I have. The photos and guides are inspirational and I have several projects lined up, one of which is already completed. This book is worth picking up and their spaces really are a labor of love!

Erin is hilarious and genuine. I was drawn to her voice as soon as I started to read. She has impeccable taste and has the best sense of humor. Her kitchen renovation story was so real and funny. Her "Reflections of Beauty" chapter made me laugh and cry. She is honest about her childhood obsession with puff paints, her confidence as a kid and her struggle with appearance and eating disorder as she grew up. She is easy to relate to, her designs are beautiful and she breaks down designing spaces in an accessible way. The inspiring pictures of interiors is matched with skilled writing in this easy read. Pick it up!

I hope you now have a few more books to buy or check out. My holiday break was better because I had time to read. Let me know what good books you are reading or already read recently. I am always in need of a good book! 

Happy reading!


Wednesday, January 4, 2017


This is a very real picture of my girls. Jane is smiling for the camera, Brooklyn is crying and looking at me to hold her, and Maurie is quietly sucking her thumb and reaching for Brookyln's hair to hold, as she always does. This, my friends, is the my life. 
I have written probably ten blog posts in my mind recently. I have ideas that I want to share, but then I don't have the time to go through the writing process. Even now as I write, I should be doing a lot of other things, but I need a break off my feet, so I thought I would take this time to write.

How was your holiday season? We stayed here in Wisconsin and it was lovely! We went to several light shows around town and to a cool little Christmas town that is set up in Kaukauna, WI. We played games with friends one afternoon, ate lots of good food and did a lot of relaxing at home.

I read several books; I will be writing a separate post about the books. One of them I even had the time to read with Cody, which is a special treat for us and something we love to do together.

I also did a lot of projects around the house. Again, I will blog about that separately. See, I wrote a lot of blog posts in my mind. ;)

Cody did a few projects and helped me with mine. He read and spent a lot of time with the girls. We were able to do a lot of talking with each other about our goals and dreams. I loved it!

Jane played with her sisters well and enjoyed Christmas. She enjoyed playing with a friend one day over break. Jane missed school after awhile, or maybe I should say she missed her friends. She is reading now, and I have been so impressed with her progress. I can be hard on her sometimes, but I have loved observing her growing love of books. She received two new books for Christmas and she sat and "read" them just about everyday. I always enjoy reading with her. Jane is still the queen of make-believe and is very protective of her sisters. She is also very bossy with them and we are trying to find a balance between being helpful and being pushy. I know that she is this way partly because we expect so much of her so often.

Maurie loved having Jane home. We have been doing a lot of self-evaluation with Maurie and we have recognized that she is way too interested in watching TV. We are on our second day of no movies. I know that may sound really pathetic, but for both of us it has been a wonderfully liberating process. We both have learned that we can do our day without movies. I really wondered if I could. I don't get as much done personally, but I have enjoyed Maurie more. We have read more books together, had our own version of conversations and played blocks and puzzles. Life has been more clear and light. Now I just have to make it a life habit vs. an experiment. Cody and I read something over break that helped us make the decision to limit entertainment in our home. I will share in the books review post.

Brooklyn didn't know what was going on with Christmas, but she loved getting excited with everyone. Brooklyn has been walking for about four weeks now. She is full of bright energy and brings so much light to my life! She loves to pull laundry out of the baskets, drawers and anywhere else clothes are folded neatly. She loves the bath and is learning to splash and scream as loud as her sisters. =o Brooklyn eats and eats and eats some more. She is altogether my roundest baby and love love love her rolls. She has wild curly hair just like her older sisters did and she loves to be with mom. I have been noticing her getting older lately and it is so bitter sweet. I love the independence that it allows for both of us as she gets older, but I really like the baby stage and she is quickly leaving it behind. Her sisters call her Brookin and I call her anything endearing that I think of in the moment. I squeeze her and love on her as though she is my last baby...

I did not intend to make this an update of each person in our family, but I enjoyed thinking about each member of my family. It is really nice to have a written record of my family's stages because things are moving faster than ever before.

I hope that you will take a minute to record how your Christmas was and how your family is doing, whether that is in a physical journal, a blog or whatever way you keep records. Remember that family history is passing on memories to your children too.

I will be writing more soon! Until then!


© Lucy Jo. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.