nesting: the whites

With a taste of cooler air on my skin this week, my nesting for our next little birdie has kicked in. I sorted through most of the little birdie’s infant clothes this week: whites and colors, stained and clean, summer and fall. I had forgotten a few things: just how tiny she once was, how incredibly much she spit up, and how adorable newborn white onesies are.

I enjoyed hanging all the little white pieces on the line and marveling at the sweetness of it all. Little birdie #2 just might smell like tomatoes too as our tomato forest is quickly gaining on the line. I clearly remember Wren smelling like sugar cookies when she was first born. I don’t think tomatoes and sugar cookies are a great combination, but I guess there are worse things to smell like, right?

How’s your week going, lovelies? Has it cooled off where you live too?


The title of this post might more aptly be called “anxious” or maybe “worried” or during a few choice moments every day, “terrified.” I know people have more than one child every single day and still others have many more than just one child (take, for example, The Mom across the street with 13!) But lately just having ONE (feisty! strong-willed!) child seems like a lot. Today marks the 27th week, which means I’m really getting into the third trimester now. This also means that there are only about three months (plus some pocket change?) left until we welcome another little birdie to our nest. Yikes!

I’m not really worried about taking care of the new baby (although I should probably add that to the worry list, ahem) or even much about labor & delivery. Been there, done that… I’m mostly worried about, well, everything else. How will I have enough love for another child? How will I keep Wren from killing the new baby when she realizes it isn’t going away? How will I find time to continue my work? How will I be able to make healthy meals and keep the house in a *reasonable* state? How will I ever have time for Chris again? How will I go to the grocery store or run an errand with a baby attached to me and a toddler running for the hills?

Again, I know people do it all the time, but I just can’t really picture how it’s all going to look and feel. I guess this is part of the wonder and mystery of life’s unknowns. The unknowns that keep life interesting, worth getting up in the morning for. Good intentions go a long way, right? Say yes, please.

In the meantime, I’m nesting. It helps to devote the worried energy to practical things, no? I decided we just needed to paint the house right now because I couldn’t take the peeling paint anymore. Great timing, ha! Truth be told, I’m just trying out paint colors on the back of the house, but the process has begun. I’ve also been organizing and reorganizing the little birdie’s toys in some new-to-us bins that I found on Craigslist (thank you, stranger!) Already, she’s discovered toys that had been buried at the bottom of the old bins. It was totally worth it. On the cooking front, I made a big pot of split pea soup the other day. You know you have a pregnant brain when it’s 87 and humid and you decide that cooking a big pot of split pea soup sounds like a good idea. Yeah. I also made a huge batch of homemade granola bars in an effort to have healthier, not-from-a-bag snacks on hand. So it feels good to be creating things, cooking healthy meals, focusing on what we have control over now because I know pretty soon it will all be thrown up into the air. And hopefully some of it will be caught.

Have any tips, lovelies? Please and thank you.

purging, part 1

Purging our house of all the excess stuff and hosting “The North’s Best Tag Sale” seemed like a great idea about a month ago. But (you saw that coming, did you, smarty pants?) now I can’t wait until it’s over and the junk wonderful items that everyone in the neighborhood is going to be elbowing their way in for are going-going-gone from our nest. Forever. This month-long process has been a tremendous amount of work and I only have a fraction of items tagged and everything for the sale is still sitting in boxes in the basement. The next 36 hours? Oof.

Will it be worth it? Financially, probably not. Are tag (garage, yard, what do you call them?) sales ever really worth the time once you’ve figured out the finances? No, but I knew that going into it. I decided to do it for a few other reasons.

  • Get rid of stuff and help friends and family get rid of stuff too
  • Have a more clean and organized basement and not grumble and sigh every time I go down the stairs
  • Control clutter throughout the house
  • Feel lighter
  • Meet a few neighbors (we’ve lived here a little over a year and there are still people in our neighborhood we haven’t met yet)
  • Relish in organizing a mini retail store for a day (this could be a whole post by itself)
  • Host a live sociological study – the interactions with the people will be priceless, no? Part of the reason I go to garage sales in the first place… and yes, I realize I’m part of the study so come on over and observe!
  • Make a few bucks toward a DSLR camera (!)

I will post later this weekend with the results and insights. In the meantime, I’m off to make more signs and tag some more items. Aren’t you just on the edge of your seat? Ha!

Have a great weekend, lovelies. Any fun summer plans? Enjoy.

inspirational nest

Back to the grind, anyone? Need a colorful pick-me-up after a fun holiday weekend? Look no further than my friend Sandy‘s getaway nest. It’s featured in the current issue of Midwest Living. Here are a few photos from the article. What do you think? Isn’t it funky, fun and inspiring?

Sandy’s cottage is located in a smart development called the New Neighborhood in Empire, Michigan.

Want to see more pictures and Sandy’s budget-friendly, creative decorating tips? Click on to the full article in Midwest Living, lovelies.

porch envy

I love our porch at 605. The sitting. The people-watching. The squirrel-watching. The $.99 Goodwill side table. The hoping-to-see-the-hairless cat-watching. The banter. We also love to wander the neighborhood and  gawk at all the beautiful summer-friendly porches and lovely lazy seating arrangements, but we hardly ever see any people. Why don’t people use their porches more? I was theorizing that it was because people have migrated to their more secluded backyard decks and patios where they can sip a cold one and gossip with more privacy. Maybe, but Chris thinks people have migrated to their flat screens inside. Sad, but probably true. What do you think?

Even though our porch is one of my favorite parts of 605, it doesn’t stop me from having a bit of porch envy.

This Baltimore porch has me panting. Grey with a pop of orange, yes! Maybe it’s door envy? Whatever you call it, I’m inspired.

What inspires YOU today, lovelies?

Happy Tuesday!

Tummy Tub, of course!

I’ve been asked a few times recently for gift ideas for new parents. There are so many great things out there and while handmade items are always trump in my book, the Tummy Tub is a unique, thoughtful, useful gift that we love to rave about. Shortly after we first brought Wren home from the hospital and looked at each other, like “now what?” we bathed her in a traditional tub and she screamed. Oops. Fresh from the womb, exposure like that is not fun. For anyone. But she took right away to her Tummy Tub. And so did we. How cute is a baby in a bucket?

We started using it shortly after she was born. According to the manufacturer (and we agree!), it’s “an easy, stress-free and safe way to bathe and settle your baby. Developed in cooperation with physicians, midwives and nursery nurses, the TummyTub eases the transition from the secure environment of the womb to the new world. The unique womb shape helps your baby to relax and become calm in the familiar fetal position. Surrounded by water, which stays warmer for longer due to the small surface area, your baby feels confident and secure.”

Here are some shots of Wren in her Tummy Tub. So cute and fun!

Wren first started pulling herself in her Tummy Tub and then we really couldn’t be doing dishes at the same time anymore… Damn!

Bonus, dear readers! It’s green. The ultimate green baby bath tub: saves water, energy, space, and is fully recyclable. Designed and produced in Europe with very high quality standards, the TummyTub is completely BPA, PVC, lead, Phthalate, and toxin free. Not to mention it has passed all worldwide safety regulations and testing.

Don’t you love those Europeans and all their great ideas? Cheers!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day to you, lovelies!

Do you have any plans to honor our favorite Mamma, Mother Nature? Getting outside? Digging in the dirt? Taking a shorter shower? Beginning some new green habits?

I’ve been wanting to go a shade greener in my nesting so thanks, Earth Day, for giving me this opportunity. Truth be told, I do not have laundry detergent loyalty. I usually just buy the eco-friendly variety that happens to be on sale or sometimes, just has the nicest packaging. I know, I know. This has come with mixed results, but regardless of how clean the clothes may or may not be getting, it’s still really expensive. And I always have green guilt about buying yet another container. It doesn’t really make me feel better that I recycle it because there’s still all that manufacturing, shipping, marketing, trip to the store, etc. It’s enough to make this Mamma’s head spin.

So I scoured (no pun intended, I swear!) the Internet for a super simple, economical, earth-friendly laundry recipe. Sure enough there were 152,000 hits just for “Homemade laundry detergent.” And I stumbled upon this simple idea multiple times so I figured this would be a great place to start. Here’s a secret our Grandmothers knew. This stuff rocks! And you’ll gasp at how cheap it is.

Simple Green Soap for Your Duds

4 cup load of homemade laundry soap, which will endure about 32 loads.

2 cups grated Fels Naptha bar soap
1 cup Borax (check out their new look in the photo above!)
1 cup baking soda

Place in an air-tight container.

Shake or stir and you’ve got a container of laundry detergent. I also threw in an old measuring spoon and labeled the old water container so ALL the squirrels in our nest would know what to do on laundry day.

Directions: Use 2 T per load and dissolve in water before adding clothes.

$$$$$  Financial breakdown  $$$$$

16 oz box of baking soda: $.59. Only used about half the box.  About $.30

Fels Naptha soap: $1.09 for the bar. Only used about 1/4 of the bar.  About $.30

4 lb, 12 oz box of Borax: $4.49. Only used about 1/8 of the box.  About $.30

1 cup=16 Tablespoons so… about 32 loads! That comes out to almost $.03 per load. Wow! Not too shabby. Sorry, Seventh Generation. You just can’t compete with this! Not even with your new(ish) and improved packaging…

Now what to do with all those clean, wet clothes. I’ve been researching easy ways to dry the laundry outside without erecting a permanent clothesline system and not spending a lot of money. Do you have a system for this that you’d like to share, dear readers? I’m not thrilled about the idea of hanging my Mamma panties and nursing bras up for Bert and Ernie to enjoy, but I’d love to hang towels, the duvet cover, jeans, sheets, and wouldn’t a wee onesie or two be cute?

For your Earth Day enjoyment, check back later today. I have a couple more thoughts and pretty pictures to share with you.

Until then, for our Mother’s sake, please don’t buy bottled water today at the very, very, very least. Come to think of it, don’t buy it tomorrow either…

Eye candy

Something was needed on the blank wall above the changing table in Wren’s Nest. It was just boring ole ‘Northern Pear Tree’ and begged to have some more eye candy. Plus it’s getting (A LOT) more difficult to change the squirrely babe’s diaper so the more interesting distractions, the better, this Mamma says.

It’s funny from where or what or whom one draws inspiration, isn’t it? If I ever pursue a PhD, my dissertation might just be on the elusive idea of inspiration. But I digress. I found some silver frames at a local consignment shop for about a buck each and they’d been staring at me every time I went down to the basement for at least a few months. Soooo… today I got inspired and I designed and printed some fun Wren pictures. What do you think?

It’s a bit hard to see the details in the picture. Maybe this is better? I put all the designs together for your Saturday afternoon eye candy. I’m really happy with how they came out, if I do say (write) so myself! Enjoy and happy weekend to you, dear readers.

Wren’s Nest

Happy Spring to you, dear readers! After two weeks of sunny afternoons, 50 and flip-flop sightings, we’re back to 32 and a bit too cloudy on the first official day of Spring. Aaah, Mother Nature, how you love to keep us on our toes. Or curled up in a ball on the couch.

How was your last week of winter? Time zoomed right by in our nest. When I wasn’t taking care of my little birdie, I was focused on ridding 605 of Cabbage Smell and happily finishing Wren’s nest upstairs. It’s been a year and we spend a lot of time in that room (at all hours of the day and night). Please tell me that the following scenario also happens in your nest? You mean to get around to doing something about that dresser (insert your item/nook here) and it nags at you for a while. Then time passes and you just get used to it being in the same old shape/place/state of disarray. You look at it every day and it doesn’t phase you after a while. Then one day it hits you. You just can’t take looking at it anymore! One more day cannot pass. Arrghhh. Impatience and aggravation set in. Must. Do. It. NOW. Oh, human nature, you’re just as odd  and beguiling as Mother Nature.

I don’t know about you, but I often need a bit (or A LOT will do too) of external motivation to get me going on something from time to time. Deadlines imposed by someone else are really wonderful. It’s true, I am not an island. So when I heard about the Dwell Studio “How You Dwell” contest, it was just what this Mamma was looking for. Simply take a picture of their products in your home, e-mail them in and they’ll post them on their Facebook page. The photos with the most ‘likes’ by next Friday wins a $1000 shopping spree. Yahoo! Now that’s what I call a good kick in the ass. Insert shameless plug here. Dear readers, please ‘friend’ Dwell Studio on Facebook and vote for Wren’s Nest next week when the voting begins! Did I say “please?” And thank you in advance.

Soooo… here’s the photo tour of Wren’s Nest for you to peruse.

Demolition is fun.

Now doesn’t that look like a space you’d let your newborn sleep and play…? We decided to repaint everything and refinish the floors so things were looking up for our little birdie.

Then we acquired an old dresser from Grandpa Tom. I decided to have some fun with it so I painted the drawer fronts–you guessed it–orange and put in cute-as-a-button green drawer liner. In progress here…

And after a bit more sprucing up and “derranging” as we like to call it… the dresser is finished, things are finally hung and the nest is (mostly) complete. Just in time for Wren’s new phase of development: destruction!

Wren’s Nest Now!

Wren likes her nest so much that she wakes up every 2-3 hours all night long just to see it…

Thanks for touring Wren’s Nest today, dear readers. I hope you enjoyed it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Any big plans (fun pagan rituals?) to celebrate the arrival of Spring? Best!

P.S. Big thanks to Dwell Studio (glider, crib sheets, etc…) Don’t forget to ‘friend’ them and vote!

springtime nesting!

Happy Ides of March!? Will you celebrate this festive day with a toga run like they do in the streets of Rome? I’m not so sure that celebrating Mars, the Roman god of war, is a great idea. Did you know that Mars used to be the Roman god of fertility and vegetation? What does that say about the state of humanity that fertility and vegetation got usurped by war when things turned more violent as the folks got greedier and the Roman Empire began to expand? Damn humans.

The Ides of March for me means the anniversary of beginning the nesting process at 605. It’s been a year, yahoo! And what a year it’s been. We are just beginning to feel that the house we live in is our home.

To celebrate, we spent the weekend improving our nest in a big way. As you well know, we’ve been meaning to get the croffice finished for a while now. It was the catch-all junk room/craft room for months (10?) and now it’s the office/craft room=croffice.  Almost. We have some more work to do, but we’re thrilled with the progress we made this weekend. Because we moved the office stuff into the croffice, that meant that the sun room/play room could be just that. Thank you, domino effect!

Here are some pics of the progress I feel compelled to share.

Sun room BEFORE:

In progress:

We discovered that the faux wood paneling and two layers of wallpaper were covering real wood paneling. We had a good laugh about that. Funny how trends come full circle. They didn’t want the wood so they painted it then they wanted it again so they brought in the faux wood. What?!

Sun room/play room NOW:

We love the space and spend A LOT of time in here. So worth the effort! I do not miss those blue curtains and paneling to say the least…

The Croffice is mostly done so I’ll share a few pics with you. Exciting!

Croffice when it was the “master bedroom.” Ha!

Then it got  A LOT worse before it got better. Oof. Poor Wren, can you even find her in there?

Then my friend Sandy came along and helped give the project some inspiration and direction. Thank you, Sandy!

Today, the Cloffice part of the Croffice looks like this. Yahoo!

It’s not “done” yet, but it’s getting closer. And again, so worth the effort. Thank you, dear hubbie for your help! You’re the best.

Next on the agenda? Finish Wren’s room… not much left to do. Fun!