Saturday, October 27, 2012

It's The Great Pumpkin (+recipes)

We've been pump, pump, pumpkining it up at the Kroh house! (Yea, I know, I'm a dork.)  Just soaking in all of the joys of Fall and one of my favorite is PUMPKIN! I've been making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for over a month now. I'm not gonna lie, I started baking those before Fall began.  This year I've started using whole wheat flour and they've been super yummy. 

Also last week I made my version of Pumpkin Patch Pasta... Oh my! Just the cheese/pumpkin sauce alone is to die for!  It sounds weird to mix cheese and pumpkin, sure, but it is SO SO yummy and so balanced.  MMM!

And we carved pumpkins!  Last year we bought three pumpkins so that Leeland would have one, but we actually carved them after he was in bed, so this is the first year that Leeland got to participate.  He cleaned out the "guts" literally one seed at a time and he made a tower out of the triangle pieces we had cut out of the pumpkin.  Leeland requested that Daniel make a funny face pumpkin, and that I make a happy face pumpkin.  And we roasted the seeds and Leeland is loving them!

And then tonight we went to a local orchard who does a movie night every year where they show "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," which happens to be one of my favorite classics!  It is not a holiday, unless there's Peanuts!  (Just saying.)  We had so much fun, the boys dressed in their costumes (Hayden a cow and Leeland a doctor), we went on a hay ride, had face... or hand paints, smores, roasted marshmallows and then snuggled up on blankets to watch the movie outdoors on a beautiful Fall night.  This just might become a yearly family tradition!  Tonight Daniel had to work unfortunately but my mother and father in law and my niece joined me and the boys.  Leeland loved it and he was so surprised and happy that his Grandma and Papa were there.

Anywho, go make something "pumpkiny".... or a smore! :D

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blessed in the little things....

This week I've really been thinking about how blessed our family is.  I can't seem to shake this overwhemling feeling of humility and how the Lord takes care of us.  Of course I'm so thankful for our new home, but I've really been overwhelmed with the little blessings.  It reminds me of the Joy Dare by Ann Voskamp.  I started the joy dare in August, but didn't exactly finish even august, and it goes a whole year.  I have followed along with it on her Facebook page, but missing some days and I stopped writing down my responses.  The premise of the Joy Dare is that everyday you are righting down little bits of joy and little things that you are thankful for, gifts if you will, and by the end of the year you have 1000 Gifts

So I'm not writing down my gifts and haven't completely kept up with it, but mentally the thought of being thankful for little things has remained.  I feel like a slacker for discontinuing it, but I don't think I missed the point.  In the beginning of the Joy Dare, I wrote down little gifts that went along with whatever she was asking that day and I felt silly.  (example she'll ask one day-- "3 gifts green" or "A gift small, smaller, smallest..." or "A gift caught, let go, mid-way...") I felt silly because some of the things that I was writing down seemed silly.  But lately I've been struck that it's not.... we should be thankful for the little silly things.  The things that get overlooked... the things that we tend to not give God the credit and the glory for. 

So this week, I have been struck and humbled and thankful in the little things--
-Having a kitchen windowsill for the 1st time for tomatoes to ripen in.
-A washer and dryer.
-That what I thought was a week's worth of groceries, will last over a week.
-Leeland potty learning.
-Clean cloth diapers.
-Winning an item on Ebay.
-Our sweet Lilly girl (my furry daughter).
-Christmas being right around the corner.
-A vacuum.
-... Clean floors.
-My sewing machine and the ability to make and create.

I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness
And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.
-Psalm 7:17

Thursday, October 18, 2012

No-pooing 1 month+

I've been wanting to blog about no-pooing for a while but it has taken some time to tweak my routine and get the hang of it before writing about it. I should probably clarify that by no-pooing, I mean that I am shampoo (and conditioner) free.  I no longer wash my hair with shampoo... yes, you heard that correctly. 

I've been taking steps for a few years now to become a more natural me and to keep a more natural house.  I've blogged previously about cloth diapers, giving up paper towels, natural menstrual products, and now going shampoo free has been one more step. 

I only have good things about going shampoo free-- my hair looks and feels awesome, we're saving money, and I'm saving lots of time. 

For those that aren't familiar with no-pooing, I do still wash my hair, but my hair is becoming less dependent on washings so I don't have to wash it everyday.  And yes it is still clean.... I mean unless you're swimming in chlorine daily, or are a chain smoker, how dirty does your hair get daily? 

Before no-pooing, I washed my hair EVERY single day.  If I didn't wash my hair everyday, it would get greasy, and I also wouldn't know how to style it because styling for whatever reason was very dependent on taming it with the hair dryer.  Essentially what happens with shampoo from what I understand is that your hair becomes dependent on it.  It cleans up the oil in your scalp and hair and tells your scalp to produce more, so you keep washing and keep producing.  When I first started no-pooing there was at least a week of a grease mess that I covered with a wide headband but now things have balanced out even as I have critiqued my wash routine. 

You can google no-pooing and find all sorts of information on it and wash routines and really you have to work out what works best for you and your hair, and even your water type.  I only say water type because I felt like I had to do even more tweaking after the move (city water to hard well water).

I keep 2 jars in my shower-- an old salsa jar and an old spaghetti sauce jar.  (Yay recylcing!) In the 1st jar I sprinkled a few tablespoons of baking soda and then added warm water.  In the second jar I have about 1/3 full of apple cider vinegar and the rest water.  On days that I wash, I start with my baking soda jar and scrub well at my scalp and roots and work my way down.  I rinse and rinse and rinse really well and often times have a comb on hand to comb it out.  Once that is done, I pour my ACV/water all over and "lather" it in and then rinse.  (Maybe I should clarify, I don't use the whole jar... I just keep jars so I have it at hand and refill when I need to.) Simple as that!  As far as wash cycles it goes something like this currently--
Sunday- BS and ACV
Monday- none
Tuesday- ACV
Wednesday- none
Thursday- BS and ACV
Friday- none
Saturday- ACV
etc. etc.

It took some tweaking and learning with the baking soda.  I have sensitive skin and subsequently a sensitive scalp, so I found a constant baking soda wash to be harsh, but at the same time I really need to do occasional baking soda washes to keep the oils down, so this is what works for me right now is every other day washing but not with baking soda each time.  From my understanding with no-pooing is that gradually your scalp gets to where less and less washes are necessary, so I'm sure that this will change even further. 

Oh, and as far as styling... I've learned that I don't need that hair dryer every single day.  I can style my hair without washing and without it being wet.  I have fallen in love with hot rollers since starting.  I can throw hot rollers in my hair after even having my hair tossed up in a bun for 36 hours and when I pull the hot rollers out it looks like I spent an hour curling.  They really are genius!  I also occasionally pull out my Chi and straighten my hair.  It works! I'm loving the versatility and loving the look of no-pooing!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Growing, Growing, Growing

Both of our boys are growing WAY too fast, and are turning into little men, but one of the interesting things to watch has been Hayden growing into all of Leeland's hand-me-downs. When Leeland was born, I had two huge baby showers which was really lovely and he got LOTS of clothes and thankfully my friends were kind enough to vary the sizes a bit and we were pretty set for about 9 months.  After that it was up to Daniel and I to provide other than what we received for his birthday or holiday.  Leealand has always been a small kid, tall but in the very low 10-15 percentile for his weight, so once he reached the size 12 and 18 months, he wore them for a long time.  And when I say that I mean like a year-- I was just going through some of his old clothes and we have both summer clothes in size 12 months and winter clothes in size 12 months. 
This whole time (before #2 was even thought about), I had been saving some of Leeland's clothes for future kids.  (And it's a good thing!)  Essentially I weed out most of my favorite outfits of his and anything that I would like to see worn again and store it away in a tote, everything else goes to the consignment store.  The consignment store gives me 50% of the sale in store credit and I'm usually pretty good about dropping off frequently enough that I almost always have a running balance.  I go in and spend my store credit on larger sizes, so it's pretty much like I'm exchanging his clothes.  It works well for us!  (Side note-- I'm also thankful that we kept a lot of the larger things like the swing, infant car seat, changing table etc.)
Unlike Leeland, Hayden has been "average" size at all of his appointments.  To us, he looks like a little roly poly because we aren't used to baby chub since Leeland was so tiny.  Hayden has been really going through the sizes, and fast!  Just this week, I cleaned off his shelves of all the 6-9 months and pulled out all the size 12 month hand-me-downs. We thankfully haven't ran into an issue of wrong sizes with seasonal wear yet.  All of this to say that it is super weird seeing the second child wear Leeland's clothes.  I don't know if it's because I have a good memory or if it's just still fresh in my mind, but I can picture all of these clothes on Leeland's body, and even picture some of the memories attached to them.  Even weirder is that when Leeland grew into size 12 months, he was walking and doing some talking so it's just weird seeing Hayden crawl around in them.
And just in case, we're doing the same thing all over again with Hayden's clothes.  We try to take good care of everything so much of it can definitely be worn a 3rd time if necessary, and I weed through and take more to the consignment store.  It's not in the plan to have a 3rd for a long time.... if we ever have a 3rd, but just in case it's always good to be prepared... I mean, we've been surprised before! ;0)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Family Photos

Every year I say that I'm going to have our photos done more than once... and every year, we get them done ONCE.  And with a new addition to the family this year no less. Kind of beating myself up for waiting so long to get photos taken of us as a family of 4, but without further ado, here's a little peak for anyone who hasn't seen them on Facebook.

So YES that is our new house in the background, and yes that is our almost 8 month old eating leaves.  I can't count how many leaves he put in his mouth. Our friend Alisa took the photos, she has done our photos in years past too.  I really, really love them, as I always do but I feel like these are especially nice because they have our new home in them.  Can't wait to print Christmas cards! (Yes, it's October.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Settling In

Buying a house was not only a major milestone for us but it was a pretty big move.  We moved outside of the city to a small town about 30-35 minutes from the apartment we were living in.  It's an adjustment getting used to being out of the city in a few ways.

First, errands take much longer due to drive time-- the closest grocery store is at least 15 minutes as opposed to the 3 minute drive we were used to.  There are several options for shopping in all directions so it's just 15-20 minutes pending which direction you want to go.  I have found that when I go into town, I just have to take care of everything-- knock out all the errands at once.  The down side is that usually leads to fussy, over tired kids after going in and out of several places, but the upside is that we have more time at home to just hang out and play.

It takes Daniel at least 20 minutes to get to work-- sure it stinks to have the extra drive and have to leave earlier, but he also appreciates not living where he's working and being able to leave work at work. It's also 20-25 minutes to the gym, and he's a gym addict, so when his gym trips used to be there and back in an hour/hour and a half, they're now 2-3 hours.

So aside from the time and drive, there's also the adjustment to the space.  We live in the country which means next to no street lights, so at night it gets dark, REAL dark!  At the apartment even with blinds and curtains on the windows some street lights still shone through-- Leeland was pretty startled the first night here when we put him to bed, cut out his lights and he couldn't see a foot in front of his face.  Along those same lines, we don't hear ambulance, police and fire, and really we live on a dead end so there isn't much traffic heard other than our neighbors.

Leeland also had a bit of an adjustment to calling a new place "home."  That was something I didn't anticipate and broke my heart. When we moved, he and Hayden stayed with family and that evening we went to pick them up and brought them to the new house.  We moved everything to the new house the same day and spent the night here that evening.  I made a point to try and have his room all set up so he could sleep in his own bed that night and I just assumed he would see all his stuff and be fine.  That wasn't the case-- that night when we laid him down, we went through the routine of singing, reading etc.  and when we were leaving his room he began to cry and kept saying over and over "I ready to go!"  I don't think he could articulate what he was wanting, but I understood him.... this wasn't his home and he was ready to go home.  The 2nd night we went through the same thing.  It took lots of me explaining over and over-- "This is our new home. We brought all of your toys, your big boy bed...."  "You have a new room.... look at your nice new room!" etc. etc.  After a few days he finally had it!  And I even went back to the apartment complex a couple times this past week to check the mailbox and Leeland didn't pitch a fit or call it home.  

It's been more of an adjustment than I was anticipating honestly-- I grew up in a small town not far from here, I moved out when I was 18 though and had lived in the city since then, I guess it just doesn't take long to get used to certain conveniences of the city. (Still LOVE the place though and am enjoying the memories, and just can't get over watching Leeland run around the place-- he has the space now! Run on little man, run on!)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New House Decor and Craftiness Part 2

Totally forgot when I posted last night to include the cool craft that we made at MOPS (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) last week.  Super easy craft, that's hanging by the garage door in the kitchen.

It's a magnetic board-- it's simply a round cookie sheet (most likely from the dollar store), with a piece of scrapbook paper mod podged to it and a ribbon to hang it with.  We made a fancy magnet by gluing a small magnet to a clear rock and mod podging a piece of scrapbook paper to the flat side of the glass rock so that you can see the paper through it. (Rock magnet is shown in the second picture.)  It will probably be used to hold lists, notes and reminders since it's right by the door.

And then today I whipped up a some super easy valance curtains for the kitchen.

Made out of the same red and blue floral fabric that I used for my hoop art.  So I think I've done and hung about all that I wanted to decor wise in the kitchen, though as you see the window still needs blinds.  They're in the garage in the box, for whatever reason the window needed a valance before blinds. Makes sense, right?

I guess it's time to move on to decorating the rest of the house, but it's nice for at least 1 room to feel "complete."

New House Decor and Craftiness Part 1

Labeling this as Part 1 because should time and finances permit, I hope that there are more to come.  I mentioned in the last post that we are still gradually unpacking, so I guess it's a bit odd that I've done some decorating but it's been a nice break for me.  I spend most of my days doing dishes, laundry, picking up and chasing after little ones and then unpack a box here and there so occasionally it's nice to break the cycle and do a little something for me with the added bonus of making our new home look nice. 
For the most part decorating has barely begun.  Thankfully the house was move in ready in a sense that we liked the paint in all rooms but one so that has saved us some time, but we haven't hung much on the walls because I don't quite have a clear plan of where I want everything to go. 
Here's what I've done with the kitchen:

The yarn wrapped 'K' was on the wall at our apartment and I have a previous post about it.  I just made the hoop art.  Took these photos at night so the lighting was a bit wonky with my camera (yea, I still haven't quite figured out how to work my fancy camera), but anyway, the walls in the kitchen are a nice Windsor/Navy blue.  All of my kitchen decor from the apartment are red, like my coffee maker, utensils, kitchen towels, table runner etc. All red.  So I wanted to find some fabric for my hoop art that would look good with the blue and incorporate the red-- there's a red fabric with white polka dots and then a red fabric that has a blue and beige floral pattern. Then the darker fabric is actually black with a beige floral pattern, all of our appliances are black.  I like it!

And here's another little thing I hung by our front door in the foyer, a gift from my Mom:
It reads "Sworn to serve and protect"-- so cute!

And of course new house warrants a new yarn wreath, so here's what I came up with for that:

Mustard yellow, royal blue and beige.  It really pops on the brown door.  And it's huge!  Much bigger than the yarn wreath I had previously made and posted about.

Monday, October 1, 2012

We Got The House! (and moving.)

It was a long hard road, (that you can read about in several posts on the blog) but we finally got the house!  It's a total miracle that the sellers were willing to wait on us and work with us for so long by holding the house for us.  We closed on September 21st and we moved in on the 22nd because we work fast like that.
Moving was pretty straight forward-- we were up well past midnight the night before doing final packing, and we had plenty of help arrive at 9am that morning.  Everyone says that moving is the hard part, but I have to disagree-- moving is exhausting, yes, but it's fairly simple to pick things up and put them down.  The hard part for me/us has been the unpacking and putting away.  When I have moved in the past (pre-kids) things were unpacked and put away within 24-48 hours.  This time it's much different-- we have more stuff and we have kids that take priority.  Kids that have wants and needs, one of which is still nursing.  Hayden has been teething like a champ and been extra clingy so much of what has needed to be done has been done with him on my back in the Boba.  It's been a gradual process of all of our items finding their homes and a process that we're still working on a week out.
I have worked on a few little crafty projects to decorate our new place and I hope to post some pics of those soon.  We appreciate each one of you who was praying throughout this whole process-- we didn't get to the end without several hiccups but we did get there and we officially own the house. It sort of all reminds of the verse John 16:21 about how once a woman gives labor her pains are forgotten, very similarly, we now have the end result and have the house and I've sort of forgotten about the process to get here.
We are loving our new little place in the country!