Father’s Day is less than a week away and I have to admit, I still haven’t quite narrowed down what I’m getting my husband. Whoops. Why are men so hard to shop for? The good news is, I’ve got some great ideas at different price ranges and some of them are surprisingly affordable and the perfect gift for your kids to give their dad. Side note: I like to have my kids buy gifts with their own money so that the act of picking out and giving a gift becomes more meaningful. (I also give them opportunities to work and earn the money.;-)
Okay, let’s get started!
1.Qalo silicone ring. I bought my husband this for his birthday last year and he loves it. It’s so much more convenient for men who like to lift weights or work with their hands, or even just like to be outdoors. (Under $30 too!)
2.AirPods. These are just a great gift idea for any guy. lightweight, easy to grab and go.
3. Garmin Smart Watch. I shared my Garmin watch with you guys back in April and I am still a massive fan. I love this men’s black version, the price and quality cannot be beat for a smart watch of this caliber. It also comes in a few leather strap styles that are so good, but this silicone band is one I know my outdoorsy hubby would love.
4. Buffalo Check throw. I think this is one of my all-time favorite wool throws. It’s so gorgeous and yet still masculine, and its a great gift idea for a dad who likes to curl up with a book.
5. Star Chart art. I love finding unique pieces like this for gifts. Such a great conversation piece for an office or den. I also love this national parks map print as well. I know my husband would love both.
6. Minimalist wallet. I’ve really become minimalist about my wallets over the last few months, and I know my husband would love one of these minimalist wallets. The leather detail is so classic and it’s just so much less bulk. (and it’s under $30, so a great gift from the kids!)
7. Tree Hammock. I loooove this idea for an outdoorsy dad, mostly because this hammock is totally portable! You can throw it in your day pack, or it works to hang up in your backyard, these are also great for camping overnight in the summer if your hubby likes to sleep outside. (And this one is under $15!)
8. Bocce Ball set. This is one of our families favorite backyard games and my husband loves to play this with the kids. I love this set because the balls are done in really nice colors, and mostly because the carrying bag is fantastic, (really great design and sturdy enough to hold up to those heavy bocce balls).
9. Drone. My husband is obsessed with drones, and this one is awesome, has a high def camera and is on major sale. It was originally $400 and is on sale for $99.
I hope these nine awesome Father’s Day gift ideas helped you if you’re stuck on what to get your hubby or dad!
I shared all about our laundry system and how it teaches my kids accountability over on my instastories a couple weeks ago, and I had a bunch of people request for me to write a post about it so they could have it saved. So here we go!
Several years ago I wrote a post about our laundry system. At the time, I would have everyone bring their laundry down every night, we sorted it, and then each day I would do one to two loads, they’d get folded and put away. The kids helped with sorting and folding and putting away their clothes. At the time, Ava was a baby and all my big kids were still quite little. That system worked really well until in the last year or so when all my older kids suddenly got much, much bigger, and then it didn’t work at all.
Suddenly we had the equivalent of five adults and one child’s worth of laundry and the laundry room was always over-flowing with dirty clothes. I decided we needed to switch up our laundry system. So I thought about it long and hard and here’s what I came up with. (It works insanely well even with a family of six who often have dirty farm clothes, we no longer have a big laundry mess in our laundry room, and the kids bedrooms have stayed tidier as well.)
Our laundry system is really simple but it works really well:
Each kid is assigned a day of the week. This is their day to get their laundry done. The laundry room is at their disposal and no one else (even mom) is allowed to use it that day. Dirty laundry is kept in their room in a hamper until their laundry day. They are responsible to sort, wash, dry, fold and put away their laundry all on their own. (Except for Ava, who’s too young at 6 to do it all on her own so she sorts, folds and puts her laundry away.) If they miss their day, or forget to do their laundry, they either have to wait a full week to wash their clothes, or they have to make a deal with whichever one of their sibling who’s day it is and either pay them or do them a favor, in exchange for getting to use the laundry room that day or put their clothes in together. I also don’t micro-manage how they get it done. For the most part I don’t remind them, and if they need to work out a deal with their sibling I let them figure it out on their own. This sounds tough, but it works and I’ll explain why we do this in just a minute.
Here’s how the week breaks down:
Mondays are Ethan’s day, Hannah has Tuesday, I have Wednesday (I do mine and Ava’s laundry, and often Craig’s too), Carter has Thursday, Friday’s are for Craig if he does his own laundry that week, and Saturdays are for towels, sheets and bed linens.
Before we started this system, I made sure that all my kids knew how to use the washing machine and dryer, and how to properly wash and care for their clothes. They all know how to wash delicates, which of their items need to be hung to dry (not many, I don’t typically buy those kinds of clothes for kids), how to sort and choose a temperature. They also know how to remove stains, use the wool dryer balls, how to iron their own clothes, and clean out the dryer vent. I am also always available to help them or answer any questions if they get into a laundry issue that they don’t know how to fix. But they are responsible to do it on their own.
How my kids get it done, even when they are in school:
The question I got asked the most was how my kids have the time to get all their laundry done even when they are in school all day. Most of my kids opt to start a load before they leave for school, but even if they don’t, because they usually only need to wash 2 loads it’s not hard to get it all done in the hours after they get home as long as they manage their time well.
How this has/is teaching them accountability.
I’ve always intuitively felt that my job as a mother is not just to love my kids and teach them good principles but also to prepare them to be good responsible adults who are kind and considerate. Part of that process is learning accountability.
We all have to be accountable. There are natural and human laws that hold us accountable, whether we like it or not. We have to be accountable to the government, our jobs, our finances, God. This is a universal truth and I feel that it’s really important for kids to learn this at a young age on something where the stakes are low, like having to wear dirty clothes for a week. By not swooping in a fixing it for them every time they make a mistake we help our children develop accountability, and take responsibility and ownership over their actions. Rather than always rushing in and making exceptions for them, if I hold them accountable to our system, if they have to figure out how to deal with the consequences of forgetting to do their laundry, then I am giving them the opportunity to learn to put first things first, be responsible and prioritize.
This is not always easy to do, because it involves letting your children feel the pain (whether physical, or mental) of not being responsible, making bad choices or not managing their time wisely. But in parenting and in life, the path of least resistance leads up the steepest hill. If you fail to let your kids learn to be accountable by allowing them to experience the natural consequences associated with bad or irresponsible behavior, they are more likely to grow up with a feeling of entitlement, and without the ability to accept responsibility for their actions and mistakes without making excuses or blaming others.
Children who learn to be accountable are generally more well adjusted, considerate and outward thinking adults.
It also helps them understand how our actions affect other people. By having them work a deal out to do their laundry if they miss a day, they become more aware of how their actions can impact the lives of those around them.
By expecting them to get their laundry done around their school schedule they are also learning time management and how to get the things they need to done around the times and places they need to be.
They are also learning independence, and how to self motivate.
I really could go on and on about the benefits of this approach to parenting, but I will just leave it at that today. Hopefully I gave you all a thorough enough understanding of what and how our laundry system works. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I will make sure to respond!
I love keeping an eye on the current summer trends, especially when they are fantastic, and this summer has some really great ones. Here are trends you should definitely try this summer:
1. The front tuck. (Also nicknamed the French tuck.) If you haven’t given this trend a shot, consider this your invitation to give it a try. Adding a font tuck can really finish off an outfit, slim your waist and just add a cool, relaxed vibe to any look. It works really well for summer tops too, especially graphic tees and blouses, like this super cute dot top new in my shop this week!
2.High waist wide leg crops. I know a lot of women think they can’t pull this style off (especially if they are on the shorter side) but it’s simply NOT TRUE. These are everywhere right now, and they aren’t going away anytime soon, for good reason. They are fun and flattering, and that high waist is so classic. Even short girls can pull this look off. (Trust me, I’m 4’11” and I wear this style constantly.) The key is to make sure the length is right. You want them to hit a few inches above the ankle. Don’t be afraid to have them brought up (or do it yourself) if the length is off. I have an easy tutorial for that here.
Here are some of my favorite wide-leg crops:
3. Straw hat. I know some people feel self-conscious rocking a hat (I know, I used to be super hat-conscious) but it’s such a fun way to finish off a summer outfit. Plus it gives you a little extra sun protection. I bought this great straw hat over two years ago and it still looks perfect. It’s by far my favorite hat in my closet, and I highly recommend it.
On Tuesday morning Ava threw the mother of all fits. I shared this over on instagram yesterday, but she is in that super obsessive phase of childhood where the seam of your sock sitting wrong in your shoe makes you lose your mind. She fights me daily on what to wear to school, and basically she doesn’t want to wear any of her clothes because they’re “uncomfortable.” The only thing she wants to wear is an old pair of sweats with holes in them, which I will not allow.
Her percocious nature, paired with this new obsessive development, has manifested in frequent World War 3 level meltdowns over the last few months and have me mourning my once super easy-going, never threw fits, easy to reason with, fourth child. Ava has always been a piece of cake to parent, and there’s no irony in that. When it came time to potty train her, all I had to do was say, “okay, we’re all done with diapers, you’re going to go potty in the toilet now.” And she literally never had an accident. (This was not the case with my other three children.) I feel that I owe her lots of grace during this stage just for that potty-training miracle alone.
Anyway, yesterday afternoon I was in my bedroom putting some laundry away, and she came up and started chatting with me, then she said, “mom, I’m so excited! I made a goal to not be bad today, and I haven’t been bad at all! I did it!”
I thought about that for like 3 hours last night. How she set an intention for herself, and because of it, she had success: no behavior problems, no obsessive meltdowns, no time-out, just a good happy day.
I think there’s a lot to learn from this one situation, about the power of setting intentions for ourselves. The truth is, setting goals, or as I like to call them intentions, is really just about living intentionally.
It’s a life-changing principle, so simple even a 6 year old can understand the core of it.
The benefit in setting our intentions, or making goals, is that it gives our life a plan, purpose, and direction. Making your way through a day/life without intention, is like starting a road trip with no destination in mind. Just driving aimlessly and hoping that it all works out. But the truth is, if you don’t know where you’re going, you might not like where you end up.
The only way to truly live our fullest life, is to set intentions for it. True freedom comes from committing to a plan and a purpose.
This may sound counterintuitive, but think for a moment about what happens when no intention is set for things like our time, money, family, meals, or even our closet. Time without a schedule is often wasted, money without a budget gets spent mindlessly, family life without a mission statement is hectic, creating meals without a plan results in thrown together dinners or too many trips to McDonalds, and a closet without intention becomes a mess and the task of getting dressed a frustrating experience.
Approaching our life with intention helps us steer in the direction we want to go and gives us the freedom that comes with controlling our time and resources.
The picture of where you are trying to get happens first in your minds eye before you make it happen in real life.
This is how I’ve approached every major thing in my life, from parenting, to travel, to how I get dressed in the morning. It’s how we ended up living in my dream, living in an old farmhouse in New England. It’s how I’ve raised kids who don’t need to be told to do their homework. Every time I have achieved success in anything big or small, it was because I first created the picture of the outcome I was looking for, and then set my mind to it.
If the thought of setting intentions for your whole life feels intimidating, start small. Create a weekly meal plan, or plan your outfits for the week (you can get my free outfit planner below). Write out 2-3 small goals you want to accomplish and then work towards them.
It’s amazing what you can do when you first decide where it is you want to go, and then work hard towards getting there.
I want to send my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have served and died protecting our nation and guarding our freedom.
To both mine and my husband’s grandfathers, uncles, and cousins, who have served and fought for us. To my friend who was killed fighting in Iraq in 2005. To all those who have served or now serve. To the families who have lost a loved one:
I could never hope to thank you sufficiently.
But I hope I express my gratitude best by not wasting the gift that was given me, and I try with my whole heart to live a life that honors your sacrifice.
I hope you have a BBQ and lots of family time planned this weekend. I’ve rounded up the best of the Memorial Day sales below, from the brands I and I know you, love and shop from the most. I’ve also rounded up a few great pieces from each sale.
Living in an old house, I learned very quickly that no remodel project is small and simple. Most of the time if we take something apart it has to be completely rebuilt before we put it back together. Walls and floors aren’t super level, pipes need to be replaces and floors rebuilt when you live in a 230 year old house. We knew this before we bought this house, so I don’t mind it. But it also means that projects often take longer and cost more than you were planning on. I’ve adopted a patient view of our home, so I don’t mind, and I’ve also learned that to make it a nice place to live it’s important to put a little time and effort into freshening up our spaces, even if we aren’t quite ready to do a whole overhaul on them.
Rather than waiting until we can do everything perfectly, I’ve tried to make those spaces better than before. Progress over perfection. Take, for example, our upstairs bathroom. We call if the throne room because you walk in and the toilet is literally in the middle of the wall. It’s got original wood floors, a yellow tub/shower (probably from the 80’s) and was just an overall ugly space when we moved in. We are currently remodeling our downstairs bathroom (which involved ripping everything down to the studs, removing and rebuilding the flooring, completely redoing the plumbing, installing a new manifold, replacing our water heater system…etc, etc). It’s been a massive, long project and so the time has not come for the upstairs bathroom. I still wanted to freshen it up and make it a nicer place to be since it’s currently our one and only bathroom for 6 people. (Yeah, it’s as crazy as it sounds.)
So I painted the room, added a shiplap wall, freshened up the hardware/light fixtures, added a rug, and switched out the mirror. What a difference a little time, money and elbow grease can make. And while we still have crooked ceilings, a yellow tub and those nasty wood floors, and plan to completely redo this bathroom once the other one is done, it is a much nicer space to be in the meantime. And I’m so glad I went ahead and freshened it up a bit while we wait to do it.
So today, I thought I would share 5 simple ways to freshen up a space without spending a lot of money. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just better than before. ;-)
Paint the walls. Never underestimate the power of paint. It can instantly freshen up a tired dreary space. Buying a can of paint is one of the least expensive, highest impact, easily changeable things you can do for a room.
Buy a rug. Not in love with your floor coverings? I get it. I mean, we have wood floors in our bathroom. It’s the worst! Do you have old carpet or an ugly linoleum. Buy a run and cover it up until you’re ready to invest in replacing the floors. There are lots of great places to find great rugs for a steal, like Overstock, TJ Maxx, RugsUSA and Amason.
Add greenery. Nothing brings a room back to life like some fresh greens. And it’s as easy as a trip to The Home Depot. Got a black thumb? No problem. Just pick up some faux plants. HomeGoods is one of my favorite places to find them, and of course IKEA. In a living space, consider adding a fiddle leaf fig or olive tree. Here are some of my favorite faux plants and containers.
Add a statement wall. Creating a statement wall is high impact and really not very expensive. I’ve employed this method in many parts of our home. Adding wallpaper, a shiplap wall, some board and batten or even tile, is relatively easy, doesn’t cost a lot (cause you’re only doing a small space) and makes a big difference. I didn’t pay a thing to do this wall, I had leftover shiplap and paint in our basement.
Give the hardware and light fixtures new life with spray paint. Not ready to invest in new hardware and lighting? Pick up some metallic spray paint and give them a quick update. I bought some antique bronze spray paint and refinished the sconces, vanity hardware and all the towel bars in the bathroom. Even my husband thought I bought new pieces, but nope! They look fresh and new and all it cost me was a $3 can of spray paint.
Bonus: Shop your home. Look for items around your home that you can use to accessorize the space and make it look and feel more intentional.
Some of my favorite home brands are having major Memorial Day sales. It’s a great time to pick up a few pieces to freshen up a space.
We all love a good golden tan (especially this time of year) but without the side of skin cancer, thank you very much. While I spent most of my childhood summers in the pool getting really brown (thank you California sun for the extra shoulder freckles) these days I prefer to get a golden glow from a bottle. So today I thought I would share a few tips I’ve picked up over the last couple years for getting a perfect tan as well as my favorite self-tanner and a recipe for my favorite pre-tan body scrub.
First off, a good, even tan starts with a good thorough exfoliating session beforehand. This means you need a great body scrub, and a good exfoliating sponge. I like to make my own body scrub using baking soda, coconut oil and essential oils.
To make, mix 3 parts baking soda to 1 part coconut oil (melt the coconut oil in the microwave for a few seconds first), and a few drops of essential oil (you can use lavender, lemon, tea tree, etc. See more about my favorite oils here.) Just mix it up and then rub the paste in a circular motion on your body using the sponge as well, really scrubbing to remove all the dead skin.
Second, you want to apply lotion to your knees, elbows, ankles, feet and the palms of your hands. This acts as a bit of a tanner block because those areas absorb the tanner more, they have a tendency to go much darker, this keeps that from happening.
Third, pick the right tanner. There are lots of good options out there, and I think it’s really important to pick a high quality self-tanner. This Express one from St. Tropez is my favorite because it’s a mousse so it goes on really nice and even, gets a nice deep tan, and you only have to leave it on for 3 hours. It also smells better than most self-tanners I’ve tried, which I really like.
Fourth, I use a mitt. It’s easier to apply it evenly with a mitt, and you are less likely to end up with self tanner all over the palms of your hand. I use this mitt, it’s only $6.50 and makes such a difference on how my tan goes on.
There you go! Easy peasy!
My tans usually last about a week to a week and a half depending on how well I exfoliate!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments!
I may be biased, because I got married in August, but summer weddings are my favorite. So is dressing for them. (Like give me all the beautiful And since my older sister just got engaged a couple weeks ago (yay!) and is planning to get married this summer, I am extra excited to share some inspiration for finding pretty wedding guest dresses for a summer wedding.
First of all, let’s talk about this dreamboat of a dress I am wearing here, because it is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s a Gal Meets Glam StitchFix exclusive and I am in love with it from shoulder to hem. The color, print, fit, drape, all of it is beautiful and romantic and just so darn pretty and twirly. It’s light and breathable, and just so lovely. Everything you want in a wedding guest dress, basically. Because it’s a stitch fix exclusive, if you want to try this pretty dress, all you need to do is sign up for StitchFix here,(you’ll get $25 towards your first fix by clicking that link) and let your stylist know you’d like to try the Gal Meets Glam exclusive styles. (The more specific the better, like feel free to send them a link to this post…)
Honestly, if you are looking for a summer wedding dress this season, I would start with Julia’s line the entire Gal Meets Glam collection is completely dreamy and perfect for a summer wedding. They even have a petite line, and trust me when I say the fit is on point. I’ve never really been able to wear maxi dresses because of the length, but the fit on the petite line is perfection. I now own 3 of Julia’s beautiful dresses and I feel like each one is a new favorite.
Here are some of my favorites from her line, all perfect for a summer wedding:
If the Gal Meets Glam collection is a bit out of your price range, I also love finding summer wedding dresses from J.Crew, J.Crew Factory, and ASOS. All of these brands have great petite options as well. I also love Rachel Parcell’s line for wedding dresses. Here are some of my favorites for a summer wedding:
Okay, now lets talk about wedding no-no’s. As in what NOT to wear to a summer wedding. These are some things to keep in mind.
1. Don’t, do NOT wear white or anything that at all resembles white to a wedding (regardless of time of year). This means cream, off-white, bone, light tan, light yellow. Anything that is going to read white or feel like it is in the white family is off limits. Unless you are attending a white-themed wedding (as in the bride has specifically asked you to wear white) then by all means. Just make sure your dress (whatever the color) doesn’t look like a wedding dress, at all.
2.Anything too revealing. All eyes should be on the bride. This is her day. Drawing attention to yourself because your dress is super sexy, is inconsiderate of her and is frankly disrespectful of the event. I know it’s summer and it’s hot, but try to show a tasteful amount of skin. You can still look beautiful and attractive without drawing attention away from the bride.
3. Anything too casual. Always err on the side of over-dressed rather than under-dressed. Even if they say it’s a casual wedding. Don’t show up in jeans.
4. A dress that matches the wedding colors. Unless you are a member of the bridal party, try to stay away from the wedding colors. Otherwise you are going to look like you’re trying to be part of the wedding party, and well, awkward. Just pick a different hue.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and it helps you find what you need and if you are heading to summer wedding let me know in the comments!
I haven’t done one of these in quite awhile, so I thought I would give you guys a little life update here today. I know I’ve been a little sporadic with my posting as of late (sorry about that!) but it’s mostly because I have so many fun things in the works that I will be sharing with you so soon!
I naively thought that when all my kids were in school I would have so much extra time (haha) but I find myself busier than I have ever been. I’m not a person who likes to glorify busy, but the work I have now is so wonderful and fulfilling and fun, I don’t mind that I’ve got more on my plate than I ever have. I’m also in a wildly fulfilling stage of motherhood. It’s not an easy stage, having 2 teenagers, an almost 12 year old and a kindergartener. There’s lots of mental energy needed, and I often feel like 3 different people are trying to have conversations with me at once, but I love seeing how my kids are growing into these truly awesome human beings. They are turning out so, so good you guys and it’s deeply fulfilling. I know now, that I am actually a really freaking good mom, and it’s so good to know that. I spent way too many years feeling like a not great mom, and it’s so nice when you realize, that after all, you were doing a pretty great job.
That’s not to say we never have our moments. Ava threw the worst temper tantrum of her life this morning before school and got on the bus without eating breakfast (her choice). But it’s funny though, the peace that’s come to me in my motherhood, these kinds of things hardly even phase me anymore.
Around the farm things are so good as well. We are planting our garden (finally) this weekend, since the weather has (finally) stopped being disgusting. I started a bunch of plants early this spring and they looked so good, until I took them outside to get them “ready” to plant. Now they all look terrible. (What am I doing wrong??) It’s my first year ever really trying a garden, so I’m just going to do my best, follow all the instructions and give myself grace. I hope it turns out that I am good at growing things because I love it so much.
Craig built me a potting table out of reclaimed wood we found in the barn (you can see it behind me in a couple of these pictures) and I love it so much. Give me all the old things! He also hung a swing from my favorite tree in on our property, right next to the chicken coop. It’s as dreamy as it sounds. Everyday I look up and pinch myself, is this my life. Then I remember we only have 1 bathroom right now because #renovations on a 230 year old house take F-O-R-E-V-E-R and it brings me right back to earth. Speaking of bathrooms, we are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel on our bathroom renovation, and all I can say is, all 6 of us are very excited to have a second toilet again. ;-)
I went to Brimfield Antique flea market with my friends this week. Holy Moly. I was in heaven. Its the biggest or oldest, flea market in the country, or something like that, but wow it lived up to the hype. I was like a kid in a candy shop. I brought home an antique wood table, and old cubby from a copper mill, these theater seats I’m sitting on and a bunch of other little goodies. It happens in July and September and you bet your bottom I’ll be back there again. Antiques are my love language.
The shop has been a little quiet this spring, mostly because we are working on some seriously fun stuff for the summer and a huge launch that will (hopefully) be ready in the next couple weeks. I cannot wait to show you what we have in store! (no pun intended). In the meantime, we’ve got some super cute spring/summer tops including this just peachy tee that just dropped in this morning. If you want to be kept in the loop on our new arrivals, make sure you pop over and sign up for our newsletter. We’ll let you know first when new items come in!
Also, my older sister got engaged last week! They are planning to get married this summer (I know, quick!) Which means I have summer wedding guest dresses on my mind!