Finishing Touches

We're down to less than two weeks till baby time over here and while I've been preparing slowly to not have it all pile up there are a few last minute things OCD people like myself do at the end. Are you that way? Do you have to have everything perfectly put, cleaned, washed, organized and stocked up? I think I've learned to do things this way partially to distract myself, because I do love it and keep my anxiety at bay. Which has proven to be quite the task! My doctor has been out of town the past two weeks and my anxiety has creeped up to an all time high this past week, cannot wait to see him in a few days! Anyways back to getting everything prepped and ready! With Hudson starting school and the baby coming the same week, I've tried to tackle things like his backpack, school shoes, baby accessories and things like that mostly online and think ahead... like a month or so ahead! haha Thank heavens for online shopping, right? It has saved me the past little bit. 

Back to the point of this post, can you tell my mind is everywhere these days? Have you seen that quote that goes something like, "My brain has too many tabs open" that is me. I wanted to share my must do cleaning tips before baby and things I do to prepare the house for my parents to stay here with the boys and help things to run as smoothly as possible!

Cleaning:

I LOVE a clean house, like really love it. Fresh sheets, clean counters, fresh smells it's my happy place for sure. Carl jokes that its my love language and I'd probably have to agree with that! So here are the things we've recently tackled that would drive me nuts with a newborn but I wouldn't have the energy to do them once he's here!

- Deep clean all blinds. Not just dust but soak with a cleaner and wipe each blind individually so no dust or grime is left. 

- Really scrub indoor and outdoor windows. I love a crystal clear window free of dirt and water spots.

- Pull out and clean behind fridge. I know you can't see whats behind there but I just know there's for sure dust bunnies so those are now gone too!

- Dust baseboards, wash high traffic area walls and scrub floors. I try to do this once a week or so but with busy boys outside a lot walls get fingerprints quickly so some weeks its a nightly thing!

- Deep clean and stock fridge/pantry with snacks you know your kids love and are healthy. That way when you're not around you know they're taken care of without so much pressure on whoever is taking care of them!

- Go through drawers/closets. Donate, sell whatever you'd like to do but get rid of everything that doesn't fit you, your husband or kids so that laundry is simple, everything works and theres no guessing. 

- Stock bathrooms with toilet paper/extra soap/razors things that are necessity but you won't want to give two seconds of thought to when you're home with a baby.

- Paint your toenails, because theres nothing more annoying than staring at chipped polish while you're in the hospital! 

- Stock of necessities for the baby and stop there. I had so many extra things with Hudson because with your first its easy to get caught up in all the fun baby stuff but just stick with the basics and add as you need over the new few months. This keeps things simple, less to worry about and honestly you don't need a lot! 

Hopefully this gives you some ideas to get your house in tip top shape for baby time and makes it extra cozy to come home to as well! I'll share my must have baby basics this week as well!

XO

DIY Industrial Pipe Shelves

We are so in love with how this shelf turned out! Despite Carl thinking it was a "wild hair" idea as he called it, he has been wanting to build some kind of a pipe shelf for a while now! The rooms aren't very big in our home so when we moved the boys in the same room their old bookshelf felt so heavy and crowded. It was smaller than this one and maxed out on book space which was an issue because you can never have too many children's books in my opinion! So we came up with this one after looking at a bunch of different ideas on Pinterest. There is never a shortage of great DIY tutorials over there! 

A few of the things we love so much about this design we came up with is how secure it is to the wall (we made sure to secure both sides into studs in the wall), that it is floating and off the floor (this alone opened up the room SO much being able to see the floor just felt so airy) as well as how much self space we gained with it feeling less heavy and closed in! I'm already brainstorming different rooms in the house that we could build another one in! It was pretty simple if you just take your time and have a strong husband to tighten and secure it all! Carl wanted to make sure I include that detail :) haha

MATERIALS

1/2" x 12" industrial pipes - we used 22 for the main shelving structure

1/2" x 6" industrial pipes - we used 12 for the bookends

1/2" flanges - we used 12 to attach the shelves to the wall and 8 to attach the bookends to the shelves

1/2" elbow connector - we used 4 for the shelves and 4 for the bookends

1/2" tee connector - we used 8 for the shelves

36" x 11 1/4" x 1 1/2" pieces of wood - we used a 16' piece of wood and had someone at Home Depot cut it into 3' pieces for us.

Wood stain

2" screws

1" screws

Degreaser 

1/2" pipe straps - I used 2 per shelf to fasten them to wood shelves to the metal pipes they rest on

Spray paint

Sander

Drill

Measuring tape

Stud finder

Latex brush

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Pick out what color you want your pipe, there are so many varieties and finishes so our advice is stick to one kind so all the pieces match!

2) Once you get home take all stickers off, remove any residue and degrease all pieces. This step isn't hard it just takes time making sure you have all the black grease off. We sprayed the pieces and wiped them down with an old towel really well.

3) Start hooking all the pieces together, we did one long "ladder" side and tightened it all well then the other side, same thing.

4) Measure the studs in the wall, this will determine your shelf length. Having them secured into the studs makes it so solid which was a must in a busy room with two boys!

5) Hold up one side of the shelving to determine how high you would like it. Once you find the height you want, drill the top screw into the stud. It can now hang on its own, making it easy to secure the other screws. Make sure it is straight vertically then screw the rest of the screws into the wall. Repeat with the other side, making sure it is lined up with the side you already mounted.

6) Measure for the shelf length, remember to allow some length to hang past the pipes. We went with about 2 1/2 inches and I think it looks great!

7) We went with the 2" thick wood (it's listed as 2" thick but actually measures 1 1/2" thick), had Home Depot cut it to the length we needed then just sanded any rough edges when we got home.

8) I've stained a lot of different kinds of woods, used different stains and things and I've finally found a winner! This one is a stain with the polyurethane sealant all in one, SUCH a big time saver and it actually dries smooth! I wanted a mid century modern color to match their mid century dresser in there and this one worked perfectly!! Ours was pretty stinky so be sure to do it outside or in a very well ventilated area. We also left them out in the sun for a couple days to cure and air out.

9) Spray any hardware to match the pipes. Our pipe straps that we drilled on the underside so the shelves wouldn't slide off were more of a shiny stainless so we picked a Rustoleum spray paint to match the pipes better. Super easy and paid off big time in the over all finished look!

10) Mark and measure where to attach selves, have one person hold the shelf and the other drill the pipe straps on.

11) We knew we wanted to put mainly books on here so our next brainstorming was how to do bookends that wouldn't just slide off when they were picking books out. Carl was the creative brains behind this style bookshelf because we couldn't find any we loved and I'm so obsessed with how they turned out! We can easily add more to other shelves as well if needed which is great! Once again so solid and secure yet looks so polished and blends.

12) Admire your new work of art, you'll fall in love with it no doubt!

FINAL PRODUCT

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STYLING THE SHELVES

Because this shelf is in the boys room we wanted it to look great but obviously be very practical. That is one thing I love about living minimally, you really think through things like shelving and use the space for what you actually need vs just decor. We use an essential oil diffuser in their room every night. I am so in love with this one because it is a humidifier as well as a diffuser, meaning it puts out more moisture than a traditional oil diffuser, it is beautiful and you can turn off the light so it isn't distracting at bedtime. Can't recommend it enough, our air always feels so dry so a humidifier is key! Having a spot for their oils and diffuser was a must that Riley couldn't get to but we could easily access daily. 

Plants! Can you ever have too many plants? In my opinion... no! I love how plants warm up a space, the air benefits and there are so many plant varieties and pots that you can use them so many different ways! 

A lot of you wanted to know some of our favorite children's books, I'll link them down below starting with board books. My parents were both elementary teachers, 2nd and 5th grade so they've always had tons of children's books and taught us the importance of reading at a young age. Both our boys love to sit and read and will bring piles of books at a time, I love it!

Board Books

Bedtime Bugs - Such a fun interactive pop up book before bed

Little Blue Truck - they have a whole collection of these and they're all so cute!

Pout Pout Fish - Both boys have loved and still love this one so much, the rhyming is great!

Piggies - A classic

Robots Robots Everywhere - They both went through phases at about the same age where we had to read this book multiple times a day for weeks, its a winner for sure!

Giraffes Can't Dance - Such a cute book on finding out who you are and embracing your differences! The colors and story are great for even super young kids!

Steam Train Dream Train - If you have boys this one goes through the train cars tucking everyone in, great for bedtime!

Rhymoceros - Simple book of opposites with textures!

Non-Board Books

Tickle Monster - Rhyming, interactive, fun for all ages!

Doughnut Chef - Loveee this one, it's such a cute story!

Any Dr Suess book, the rhyming, make believe characters, colors and funny stories are all a hit! We have a whole shelf for Dr Suess Books!

The Monster at the end of This Book - Grover from Sesame Street is afraid of the monster at the end of the book only to find out, it's him! They boys laugh so hard at this one!

Monster Mess - Good book for kids who are afraid of monsters under the bed or in the closet. It goes through what monsters do while you sleep (he cleans the house) the plays with the boy when he wakes up. Both boys still love this one, also rhymes.

Mother Bruce - There is a whole series of these, we have three of them and all are great! It's about a bear who goes to cook and eat some eggs but they hatch and are convinced he's their mom and the struggles they face as he raises them!

Digger Dozer Dumper - Cute story, perfect for kids who love tractors!

If I Built a Car - This author has a bunch of books, pretty sure we have them all now. They are all really well done, great pictures and stories but this one is Hudson's favorite! 

Nibbles the Book Monster - Hudson thinks this book is SO funny every time! A little monster eats his way through different stories and they all get mixed up!

If you decide to make a pipe shelf like this one and have questions, just comment below and we would be happy to help you! If you try it, we'd love to see how it turns out :)

Let Them Be Little

For about two and a half years now I have felt this societal pressure for structured, organized activities, schooling and the go go go mentality. Right around Hudson's third birthday all of my friends started signing their kids up for preschool and sports, dance classes and gym time. I was 100% the odd man out. I never felt good about putting him in these activities, dropping him off multiple days a week and fitting him into a structured adult lifestyle at such a young age. My friends would tell me how nice it was to have a "break", and while sometimes I get it, the majority of the time I just really love having them around. The conversations, naps together, crafts, errands, movies we've watched together are some of my favorite memories and they've happened because our schedule has gone at a much slower pace. Some days we wake up and have literally zero things we HAVE to do that day and those are some of my favorites. We aren't rushing around trying to get to places on time and squeeze in meals on the go, instead I have put a priority on having time at home unstructured together to just be kids and to just be with family. Hudson went through a phase where he would say he was "bored". I don't even know if he fully knew what it meant yet I'd just tell him to use his imagination! I've never felt the need to entertain our boys all day, kids are brilliant at doing that on their own if we just give them the space to do it. I really believe he has developed such an amazing imagination and creative ways of thinking and playing because of his time being "bored" at home. The games he and Riley come up with or the ways he turns normal household objects into the "perfect war weapon" or whatever it is for the day is the sweetest! 

When I think back to my childhood I'd say 95% of my memories are spent at home with my brother and sister. We never did preschool and both of my parents were elementary teachers. They knew all the research, they knew what we needed to know before kindergarten and made sure we were prepared but they let us be kids. They let us have a carefree childhood, safe and slow at home, filled with lots of fun activities together and yummy family meals together. That is what I want for my boys. That is the kind of childhood I want them to look back and remember. Sure it's great to be on teams and learn those skills or learning how to sit quietly in a school setting but I really feel they have plenty of years to master those skills, that these five precious years they have at home with us are equally as important. They are character building and shaping their future in huge ways and I will protect their time and hearts as much as needed before sending them off into the world. I will do my best to help them be prepared, to teach life skills them but I will also do a whole lot of loving and holding too because in some ways I think that is even more important.

So when you feel pressured like I did because you're the only one you know of not signing up your kids for activity after activity I'm giving you permission now to be 150% okay with that. Even give yourself a pat on the back because it's hard sometimes to be that one doing it a little differently, if that's what your gut is telling you then you own it and be proud! After all, all our kids really need is a whole lot of love from us, cheering them on! And maybe a little more time to be "bored." 

Why I Stopped Exfoliating

I recently posted on Instagram that the best thing I've done for my skin in the past year is stop exfoliating and got rid of my Clarisonic. You'd think I told people to cut off a limb with the amount of questions and messages I received about it! 

I grew up using Dove soap on a wash cloth to scrub my face clean morning and night, I loved that tight, squeaky clean feel! It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I started cleansing with oils, switching to natural lines and completely rethinking my whole life in terms of skincare. I had no idea I had been completely stripping my skin of all the good oils, ruining my acid mantle and then trying to make up for it with heavy face creams. Yikes! Our skin is our largest organ so just like our internal organs they are made to work perfectly, basically unassisted if fed and treated correctly. Shocking, right?! We don't need to scrub and strip it to give it a glow... in fact we need to do the opposite and leave it alone more! Best news ever, right? For some reason even after I learned this I was still skeptical and had a hard time making the switch for a bit, it was like learning that carbs can actually be beneficial and good for you! It takes time to rethink the things we've been told for forever so I'm not completely surprised by the response I received on this topic. I reached out to one of the most brilliant girls I know on the subject, Laura with Salis Skincare to explain it all so I didn't mess it up! She is the one who first told me this and I was just as shocked as everyone else because the beauty industry touts the amazing results and the need for tools like a Clarisonic so frequently that it had to be truth. Wrong. Laura is an expert on whole living, eating foods within season because that is what our bodies are truly craving and all things skincare. She formulates her whole line and is seriously a wealth of information and I love everything she has taught me! Her schooling and experience make her my #1 go-to for basically anything health and whole living. She does all natural facials and things here in Utah so if you live here I would totally suggest meeting with her!!

Here's a little video explaining the "why" behind exfoliating, hopefully it's helpful to those of you that messaged and were interested in more info!

Kids and Minimalism

Sometimes it's hard to imagine a minimal home where multiple young kids live and play because we all know how toys can take over a space! While I think it is so important to have fun, educational toys I do LOVE keeping it to a minimum. It is such a breath of fresh air to not have to pick things up so often or be worried about the next thing we should be getting the kids for the "keeping up with the Jones'" lifestyle. The thing I've learned the hard way is just because a toy is organic or wood it doesn't mean the kids will love it or that it is worth buying either, something I fell for when I first started making this switch. The toys the boys usually love are ones that can be played with and used multiple ways, use their imagination and doesn't have too many bells and whistles! Riley's birthday is this weekend and I grabbed a little water fish toy that they can use outside or in the tub and that will probably be his only wrapped present. Now I have to give you a little background on why this is so shocking coming from me. My family has always had such fun birthdays that were filled with our favorite things, amazing gifts and the best memories! So one thing I have struggled with is if I don't go so big on the gift part of birthdays will they feel jipped? Will they look back with the same amazing memories my parents created for us?! I really think the answer is yes because my goal is to have parties that are simple or no gifts but are filled with family, games and fun! That's what I want them to remember anyways, they won't remember what toys they got but I sure hope they remember how special they felt on their day and how loved they are! So for Riley's this weekend we are doing a dog party because he LOVES dogs, a slip n slide + sprinkler because he loves anything water and another favorite of his... a hot dog bar! I seriously am way more excited about all the laughing and fun we'll all have doing this than any toy I'd be giving him!

Another aspect of living minimally with children is that they know everything has a place and when they do want to play with something they know right where it is, they aren't overwhelmed with choices and can use that energy and brain power for imaginative play! Win-win for everyone!! There is nothing cuter than looking outside and seeing Hudson either playing with Riley or just by himself with a stick adventuring and fighting the bad guys in our backyard. Or the amazing questions he asks everyday that are so detailed because he has cultivated an amazing imagination and love for learning because of his simple alone time. Alone time is SO important and I really think it is so good for our kids to be "bored" from time to time! It encourages them to get creative and that is such a great skill to develop! Our boys are naturally very clean, organized and like things picked up and put together. Carl and I are very much this way so this has been such a natural transition in our home for all of us that has paid off in huge ways and I'm excited to see more and more how it evolves for all of us!