Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lately.

1st-Birthday

Life has been full to the brim.  I don't regret my decision to make 2014 the year of {UN}hurry.  Sometimes, you have to let something go, and this Spring I let the blog go.  Instead, I have been savoring life - eyes open wide.  These moments are so fleeting.

Airstream-Trip

We have worked so hard on this project!  It has been an absolute labor of love, and even though it is by no means finished, we just had to take it out.  The grand plan was to road trip to LA to visit my brother.  I'm so glad we didn't!  The inverter went out on us in the middle of the night when we took it down to the coast for a test run!  Better to happen a couple of hours from home versus 12 hours from home.

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Bluebonnets have bloomed and faded.  We took a trip to Colorado smack dab in the middle of bluebonnet season, but still managed to get pictures with the kids when we returned.  Of course, it wouldn't be bluebonnet pictures if everyone looked at the camera at the same time, eh?

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And these were too tempting to resist climbing.

It's been a busy season - full of birthday parties (how is my baby girl ONE already??) and Easter celebrations, long vacation weeks and short road trips.  The days are getting warmer (in the 90's already) but my windows are still open and my laundry dances in the wind.  I'm enjoying these days spent lollygagging in the backyard, curled up with a good book while the kids dig in the sandbox.

I have Airstream reno pictures to share and book reviews a-plenty, but they will appear slowly, as time allows.  I have to make my blogging moments tuck into my days, not make my days bend around my blogging moments.  And now if you'll excuse me, the mint in the garden is huge and begging to be made into tea, and in a room down the hall I hear Kiddo "reading" to Poppy - I just can't miss this.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Winter's Adieu & Spring Fever

Sorry for the radio silence last week.  There are few things in life I take more pleasure in than the changing of the seasons.

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Spring came to Texas on Valentine's Day and I've been soaking up the sunshine every chance I get.

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We've all been stir-crazy lately, and the warmer temperatures and sunny afternoons have been just what we needed.

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We've all been thankful for longer days and the chance to unwind in the fresh air.

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Bare feet have been our footwear of choice as the temperatures have reached the high 80's.

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And even though the grass is still dead for the most part, there are signs of the beauty to come.

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Ironically, it's cold and rainy again today, so I'm not packing up our warm clothes just yet.  Instead I'm choosing to enjoy the chance to cozy up next to our (very underused) fireplace with my family.  I'm pretty sure this is Winter's adieu, so I will be present today and say my farewell.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Friday 5

Happy Valentine's Day friends!  Here are some of my favorite's from this week...enjoy!

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1. For my fellow Anne lovers, this post on how to marry a Gilbert Blythe from Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas.

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2. I read Addie Zierman's When We Were on Fire in a day an a half, it was so good!  I can identify with many of her early childhood, high school, and college experiences.  For me, reading her story was incredibly cathartic.

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3. Filon 2012 - our current favorite wine.  Rated 90 and easy on the pocketbook (although it's much cheaper at Wine Deals than it is at HEB).  Definitely on the menu for this evening.

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4. Dreaming of this Lemon Pudding with Raspberry Sauce from Allison at Simple Bites.



5. Darling Magazine's 5 Must Read Valentine's Classics.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

{Last Minute} Valentine's Gift Ideas for Kids

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Valentine's Day just kind of sneaks up on me every year.  I always have these great ideas (some  might call them unrealistic expectations) for how the day is going to unfold, but rarely do things go as planned.  Every year I blink, and the day is here.

Valentine's Day shouldn't be a day filled with unmet expectations.  It should be a day in which we show those around us how much we love them.  It doesn't need to be fancy or elaborate.  It should be about the experience, not about the elaborate plans or gifts.

Everything shown here is something which could, potentially, be found at your local grocery store.  Some stores now carry books and toys (check HEB if you're in Texas), and never underestimate how special a simple carnation or daisy can be to a little one.  It doesn't have to be fancy to be special.  It's special because it's coming from you.

Note: None of these links contain affiliates.  These are just a few ideas I've had for small gifts for my kids, and I thought I'd share.  Most of these are available to arrive by tomorrow via Amazon Prime, in case you can't squeeze a trip to the grocery store in before tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Airstreamin'

Tids&Bits-Airstream-Exterior

Long story short, we bought an Airstream.  Kind of on a whim.  Kind of not.  Back in September.

We're a little old-school, the husband and I.  We're definitely old souls who grew up reading Louis L'Amour and Little House on the Prairie, Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson.  I think it's one of the common threads that binds us together so tightly - we both share a "can-do" spirit and love a good adventure.

I can't tell you exactly when this dream of ours got embedded in our souls, but we've often discussed our love of travel and our desire to have our children grow up experiencing the many beautiful places this country has to offer.  First, it was agreeing that we would travel with our someday children.  Then we had our oldest, and we learned some of the difficulties of traveling with little ones.  We realized our game plan for making it happen would need to shift a little, and somewhere along the way the allure of the Airstream began to reel us in.

On a gorgeous Friday evening this past September, the topic came up once again as we sat in our backyard playing with our kids.  On a whim, we thought we'd try searching Craigslist for Airstreams in our area, not sure how difficult it would be to find an old Airstream and not sure how much they would be selling for.  To our surprise, there were a handful of Airstreams for sale in Texas, within a reasonable driving distance, that met our criteria.  We wanted an older Airstream, 1970's or older, for two reasons: we wanted it to have that mid-century charm and because we needed it to be in our price range.  We wanted it to be as original as possible, because we had heads full of ideas for renovations and we wanted a clean slate.  And, the more we researched, the more we realized we needed to find one that was well-maintained and, for the most part, functioning properly.  There was just no way we could buy a completely rotted out travel trailer and bring it back to life in the time frame we were hoping for.

We found her and bought her two days later.

She was lovingly maintained, almost in full working order (no refrigerator and the AC isn't working), and we were fortunate enough to inherit her entire service history.  We are her fifth owners!

Airstream-Living-Room-Before

Almost everything was in original condition, including upholstery and draperies.  When you first walked in there was an overpowering, musty smell that you would expect from 34 year old fabric.  There was also some scary looking sooty dirt covering every wall.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you we were up at 5am the morning after we bought her, scrubbing down every surface.  We were so excited to get to work making the Airstream our own.  Thus, many of the "before" pictures are also sporting cups of coffee, rolls of paper towels and rags, and the baby monitor.  ;)

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Check out those brown drapes with the cream colored ties!

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The walls never were white, but this photo really shows you how yellowed they had become.

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View from the sleeping berth looking into the kitchen.  Someone already knows every nook and cranny of the "Airstreamer".  You can see the space in the kitchen where a refrigerator will eventually go.

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Sleeping berth with overhead storage and more of the lovely original drapes and upholstery.  You can see we'd already started spackling holes on the left.

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A close-up of the overhead storage compartments.

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A view of the closets and bathroom.  I'm standing in the sleeping berth facing the rear of the Airstream.

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The shower.  The previous owners completely refinished the tub and updated the colors of the bathroom.  We're not loving their color choices (silver, light blue, and dark blue), but it's completely functional.  This room will be renovated eventually, but it'll be the last to get finished.

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Blue bathtub.  It was originally white - the previous owners refinished the tub and vanity.

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A view of the vanity and super glamorous toilet.  You can see the previous owners painted the sliding wood cabinet door a matte silver (spray paint perhaps?) and the finish is uneven.  You can also see where they painted the vinyl trim the exact shade of blue from the exterior of the Airstream.  I have some ideas for this...maybe just repainting white, or removing the trim altogether?

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Bathroom sink/vanity.  You can see the cabinet door to the left is also painted a matte sliver, and the finish here is uneven as well.  All the handles in the bathroom were painted blue.  The sink hardware is original, however the previous owners spray painted the chrome faucet sliver.  I'm going to try to salvage the original faucet (I love the shape) and remove the spray paint, but we might end up purchasing a new facet and handles.

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Some of my favorite details up close...this is the formerly state-of-the-art Solid State Control System.  It isn't in perfect working order, but I love everything about how this looks down to the typography and the little red lights.  We will be working to restore this.

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The original NuTone Food Center!  This may be my very favorite feature.  We have the original cake-stand and blender that came with the Airstream and they are all in working order.  The previous owners replaced the original countertops with laminate and re-installed the Food Center in the process.  I'm so glad they did!

Airstream-Original-Parquet-Floors-Before

The original wood parquet flooring is in the Kitchen!  They need a good cleaning for sure, and maybe even to be refinished.  But they are in excellent shape and we're keeping them.

Airstream-China-Cabinet-Before

Most of the wood in the Airstream is laminated particleboard, but not these!  The china cabinets are solid wood and I love the clean lines of the etched glass.  The cabinets are lined with a flocked finish (similar to the inside of a jewelry box) and have spotlights from above.  All original features and they're in great shape.  You can see where my husband filled a couple dings above the refrigerator nook.

Airstream-Chromometer-Before

I absolutely love the look of the Chromometer that sits between the overhead compartments in the Living Room.  It's just a digital clock, but it's pretty with the wood grain laminate and the copper trim.  The plastic has yellowed with age and will need to be freshened up, but the copper trim and Chromometer are in great shape.

This is just the beginning!  We've already been hard at work cleaning, refreshing, restoring, and creating a new space out of the old.  Over the next few weeks I'll share with you some of the changes we've already made and some of our ideas for future renovations.  If you don't want to miss a post, be sure and subscribe (on the right) to receive updates by email.

Monday, February 10, 2014

8 Things You Can Do to Make Time For Reading

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In our over-scheduled and fast-paced world, it can seem impossible to find time to sit and enjoy a good book.  But reading doesn't have to be another overwhelming task you have to squeeze into your day - in fact, it shouldn't be.  Here are some pointers to get you started if you desire to read more, but aren't sure how to make room for it in your life, and some thoughts on making it enjoyable, not just another to-do item.

1. This might be stating the obvious, but you don't have to buy books to read.  I feel like it's an important point to make, because we sometimes forget all the wonderful resources at our fingertips.  The number of books I read dropped significantly the first year after my oldest was born because I found myself diverting my "book money" to books, clothes, and toys for him.  I completely forgot that I didn't have to actually purchase a book in order to read it.  In case you've also forgotten, and find yourself lacking the funds to buy every book that strikes your fancy, try borrowing from a friend, download from one of the many online databases of free ebooks (like Project Gutenburg), sit and read at your local bookstore, or you could always...

2. Be a library nerd.  The modern library system is fabulous...most allow you to scour the catalog online, place books on hold, and receive an email alert when holds are ready for pick up.  At my local library, picking up hold books is incredibly fast and easy, even with very small children in tow.  We can run in, grab the books off the hold shelf near the main entrance, and use the self-checkout to get us back out the door in no time.  In addition, our library offers ebooks, which you can check-out and read on your phone/ipad/ereader and digitally return when you're done.  Highly efficient.

3. Not sure what to read?  Look at what others are reading to get ideas.  A post from the Art of Manliness recently touched on the idea, quoting David Leach, "Don't follow your mentors; follow your mentors' mentors."  I'm always looking for book recommendations to add to my "to-read" list, and I tend to follow blogs of book-lovers.  Some of my favorite book-lovin' bloggers are Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas, Edie from Life in Grace, and Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy.

4. Limit your distractions: turn your phone on silent and turn off your computer and TV.  Sometimes the difference in whether or not I actually finish reading is the number of distractions in my life at that moment.  Responsibilities like kids and pets should not be considered distractions, but my phone, computer, TV, and iPad absolutely are.  In order to make time to read, I've found it helpful to take breaks from blog reading, checking email, and time spent on Facebook, Pinterest, and the like.  I also try to refrain from Googling every random question that comes into my mind while I'm reading, since that often leads me down a time-sucking rabbit hole.  It's hard to focus on the book in hand when our minds are being pulled in multiple directions.

5. Get the whole family involved.  If my husband mentions a book he wants to read, I search for it at our library and check it out for him.  Now that my oldest has learned some basic library behavior skills (like no running and shouting), trips to the library are more fun.  We can spend time together looking through the kids' section for books he wants to read, and find a few for sister as well.  We're still working on the concept of "these books are for keeps" and "don't tear that up!".  But by making sure there is a steady stream of books available for everyone, we've moved reading up higher on our list of favorite activities.

6. When it's a gorgeous day or evening, take your books outside.  If you have children as active as mine, you know the importance of letting them get their wiggles and jumps out of their system every day, multiple times a day.  And if you don't have kids, you still need to breathe fresh air and soak up some vitamin D.  Why not kill two birds with one stone?  Try a "book picnic" and head outside with a blanket to read your books in the sunshine.  Or, now that the days are getting longer again, take your book outside in the evening after work.  You can do this anywhere, but the most convenient place is likely your own backyard.  The kids might lose interest wander off to explore, which gives mom and dad the perfect opportunity to read in (relative) peace and quiet.  I highly recommend this.

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7. Try to push yourself outside your norm.  Are you a fiction lover?  Try a non-fiction instead (maybe a biography of your favorite author to start).  Are you mostly drawn to non-fiction?  Give fiction a chance every now and then.

8. Last, but not least, it's okay...It's okay to stop reading if you don't like a book.  You're not being graded or tested...move on to better reads!  It's okay to read slowly and take forever to finish a book.  It's not a race.  It's okay to read more than one book at once.  And it's also okay to devote yourself entirely to one book at a time.  Do what works for you.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Friday 5

1. We had a snow day in South Texas yesterday!

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My son really has no idea how rare snow is here.  In his short 3 year old life he has seen some form of snow every single year.  We had powder on the ground when he was 2 months old, again when he was 1, we visited the "real" snow in Colorado when he was 2, and now this strange Dippin' Dot snow.

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He also has no idea what Dippin' Dots are...and since I was calling this "Dippin' Dot Snow" I'm pretty sure he thinks this is what they are!

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Nothing like filling your bucket full of snow pellets.  Sister was not sure what all the fuss was about and resented the 84 layers of clothes I had her in.

2. This post by Carmella makes me simultaneously feel good about the mounds of laundry I am prone to pile up on laundry day (which, let's be honest, is every day), and makes me feel the need to purge my closet.

3. I love reading what other people love to read.  And I love reading about Teddy Roosevelt.  So Theodore Roosevelt's Reading List is a win-win for me.  And yes, I am a closet devotee of the Art of Manliness....like a moth drawn to a flame.

4. "Work enough.  And that's all."  Love Tsh's thoughts on this.  Also, can't wait to read her book which is out now!!

5. Sherlock.  Because I have loved Sherlock since the show began.  And if you haven't seen it you are missing out.  If you aren't an Olympics fan, you could always have an Olympic Marathon Viewing of Sherlock.  Just sayin'.

 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Gift Guide for Guys

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1. Art of Shaving Badger Brush | 2. Captain Fawcett's Shaving Soap | 3. Fisher Space Pen | 4. Flint & Tinder Jeans | 5. Build-On Brick Mug | 6. Timex Weekender Watch | 7. KA-BAR

I'm pretty bad with gift giving.  Don't get me wrong...I'm great at thinking of gifts to give my husband when it's not anywhere close to Christmas, Valentine's Day, our anniversary, or his birthday.  But for some reason, I always draw a huge blank when faced with a "gift giving occasion".  In an effort to try to plan ahead a bit better, I've created a gift board on Pinterest.  Now when I think of something I know he'd love, I just pin it and forget it until I need it.  No worries...he'll never snoop around there.  ;)  Here are some of my favorites I've come across recently.

Note: None of these links contain affiliates!  I just like them and thought it'd be nice to share.  :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Friday 5

I can't believe another week has flown by.  We've been hunkered down this week with my children passing a cough back and forth to one another.  I've driven myself to the point of insanity trying to clean every surface they touch (and lick).  My efforts clearly were in vain; my sweet baby girl's runny nose and cough has turned into bronchiolitis (no RSV, thank God).  We're humidfy-ing and applying Baby Vicks liberally and hydrating...hoping this passes soon.

On to the goodies!



1. DIY Book Page Mobile from Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy - will make any bibliophile's heart swoon.



2. How to Have a Happy Home by The Nester - Myquillyn and 4 other bloggers went to Uganda with Compassion International.  So many of her posts from this week have been moving, but I think this may be my favorite one.

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3. Becoming Home: Loft Inspiration by Carmella @ Assortment - I love Carmella's tiny house and she often sites one of my favorite books (Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka) as her inspiration.  Here she gives us a peek at a few of her favorite photos which also inspired her boys' loft.



4. My Cleaning Closet Overhaul! by Jenny @ Little Green Notebook - Just wow.  I have a closet that you can barely open for fear you'll be attacked by a vacuum cleaner, and I live in fear of my detergent falling and hitting me on the head in my laundry room.  Not only did Jenny make her space clean and functional, but it's oh so pretty, too.



5. Molly's Sketchbook: Sweetheart Charms from The Purl Bee - Such a cute Valentine's craft! And I love the sentiment behind the charm.  Saving this one for when my daughter is a little older.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On My Bookshelf in January

January-Bookshelf

I started out the month weary from Christmas and with no real plan to read anything.  When Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy mentioned a few books she wanted to re-read this year, it reminded me of one I had forgotten I wanted to read.

Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes is beyond fabulous and has become one of my favorite food memoirs of all time.  I've tried out a handful of recipes already, and they all have gone into regular rotation in my house.  Beyond the food, Shauna's story draws you in like a conversation with one of your best friends.  At times, I was literally laughing and crying all at the same time.  Definitely moving this to my "to buy" list.


I'm always on the hunt for something new to read, so when Carmella mentioned she was learning how to cook a wolf, I was completely intrigued. More cookbook than cooking memoir, How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher was first published in 1942.  It is full of advice for the home cook to be creative in frugality, which is what I expected.  I didn't expect to laugh so much!  Fisher is hilarious and full of sarcastic humor.  Her words are just as relevant today as they must have been 70 years ago.


Just as I was finishing reading Sense & Sensibility in December, Nicole from Gidget Goes Home announced the Motherhood & Jane Austen Book Club.  I love Jane Austen, but I tend to watch movies based on her novels rather than read the real deal.  I'm not sure if I'll follow along and read all 6 novels this year, but Pride and Prejudice is a favorite, so I'm determined to read at least this one.


I came across Rachel Held Evans' A Year of Biblical Womanhood somewhere online, and honestly I wasn't that interested.  But then I kept seeing references to it randomly, so I thought "eh...I'll give it a go" and checked it out from my local library.  Wow.  I'm really not sure what I expected (actually that's not true...I'm pretty sure I expected to be turned off by this book) but this book was surprisingly awesome.  As in, I couldn't put it down awesome.  As in, I still haven't watched this week's episode of Downton because I was reading this instead.  It's an incredibly thought provoking read, so if you're just the slightest bit interested in what the Bible has to say about women, I highly recommend this book.


I was a huge Full House fan growing up.  The wait list for Candace Cameron Bure's latest book is insanely long at my library, so I grabbed Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness instead.  It's autobiographical as well as being a diet/motivational book.  I'm only halfway through it, so I don't feel like I can give a fair assessment of the book as a whole.  I'm enjoying the autobiographical side of the book, but I have mixed feelings on the way she intertwines spiritual and physical fitness.  Jury's still out on this one...


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And that's about it!  Do you have any book recommendations?  Share with us in the comments!

Note: this post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting Tids & Bits!