Happy Homesteading

Nap Time Home Improvement: Wall paper removal gone wrong

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, we bought a 1970’s ranch home about 18 months ago.  I like to call my home improvement projects, “Nap time home improvement” because I generally only work on the projects during the 2 hour nap times I have to work with.  This summer I’ve been trying to devote nap times to working on things around the house.  Last summer we just couldn’t find the time as we were trying to figure out how to be parents of 6 month old twins.

Ok, I use the twins as an excuse to not get much done on the house last summer… but if I’m being honest the house will probably never be in a “finished” state because that’s just the kind of people we are.

When we first moved in I was nearly 7 months pregnant and was in a wild nesting phase which peetered out quickly after dealing with high blood pressure and bed rest.  While in the wild nesting phase I began ripping down every bit of wallpaper in our home.  However, some of the wallpaper was hung directly on unprimed, unpainted, raw drywall.  What a mess. Chunks of the drywall paper came up and created a serious eyesore…. that I lived with for a year.  For one, we had no idea how to correct the issue and two we were terrified to expose preemie babes to drywall dust.

We resorted to YouTube and I came across this gal:

My husband can watch YouTube “how-tos” all day, but I just don’t have the patience for it. I appreciated this gal’s quick tutorial and her methods proved successful for us. We bought the primer from Amazon.  The wall still hasn’t been painted but it is primed and ready for paint!

My husband was ready to rip the drywall out and replace it… but thankfully we didn’t have to!

Mission Motherhood

Fuss free bedtime: twin edition

I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a profile that I follow: Twinsandmoretwins. This user has two sets of twins about a year apart and she compares sleep patterns for her older set vs her younger set of twins. I totally relate to her methods with her youngest set of twins who learned to self soothe at an early age without cry-it-out methods.

1. Maintain a solid bedtime and nap time routine

We are blessed with mild tempered twins who are pretty easy sleepers. They are currently 17 months old and we’ve had a pretty solid bedtime routine for the last 6-7 months. We have dinner at 6:00pm, bath immediately after dinner every other night, sippy cup of milk at 7:00pm, jammies at 7:30pm, teeth brushed and in their cribs by 8:00pm. They are typically asleep within 5 minutes and generally sleep until 7:30-8:00am.

2. Allow them to fall asleep without needing snuggles

I think what really helped us was leaving them to fall asleep on their own as newborns. Before our twins were born my husband and I decided that we needed to be strategic with our snuggles. The idea of either one of us being alone with them and not being able to get them to sleep was stressful. If we used snuggles to get the babies to sleep they would be reliant on being held in order to fall asleep. This was our strategy as newborns: We’d feed then diaper and while they were still milk drowsy we’d lay them down in their bassinet or pack n play.

We still snuggled our babies… the good Lord knows I love my baby snuggles (and daddy is just as guilty of loving his snuggles). We just didn’t snuggle them to sleep. When they looked like they might be getting close to falling asleep we’d lay them down. They started sleeping 6-7 hour stretches around 10 weeks but the 4 month sleep regression ended that. They were 10 months old before they were consistently sleeping through the night again. But when they were getting up in the night, they got what they needed (binky, gas drops, water, Tylenol) and laid back down.

3. Avoid getting to the overtired stage by watching for signs of tiredness

I think since they’ve put themselves to sleep for such a long time it has helped them to recognize when they are tired and ready to rest. I will ask if they are ready to lay down, take a nap, or go to bed and they run towards their bedroom. I try to avoid getting to the point where they are overtired so I check in with them and ask if they want to lay down when they start showing signs of tiredness.

These are the signs I watch for in our toddlers:

  • Yawns
  • Eye rubbing
  • Irritability towards each other
  • Desire for snuggles
  • Climbing up on the couch just to sit
  • Laying on the floor
  • Standing at the baby gate closest to their room
  • Getting slap happy and giggly
  • Asking for binkies (because they only have them in bed – until I ditch my fear of bedtime without binkies)
  • Finding a quiet spot to read books

4. Learn the cues of your children and follow their lead

I keep thinking they will eventually stop wanting to take two naps a day, but for now they still very much ask for two naps. They have one at 11am and one at 3:30pm and sleep about 1-1.5 each nap.

Every child is different… their personalities, their communication. The twins are drastically different and they’ve never been away from each other. Just because these methods have worked for our family, doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. I think the biggest advice I could give is to listen to your child. Use their body language or changes in behavior as a form of communication. If you can recognize these changes it is so much easier to anticipate their needs before things escalate to utter frustration on behalf of your child who doesn’t know how to express their needs and frustration on behalf of parents who don’t know what the child needs.

What methods and bedtime routines have worked for you? What signs and signals do you watch for?

Mom Must-Haves

Life hack: Non-Slip Toddler Booties

My 13 month old toddlers will NOT keep socks on. They pull them off by the toes of the socks and just giggle. It’s been so cold here and I hate them having bare toes, especially on our tiled kitchen floor. 


I bought some booties off of Amazon…. because I buy everything on Amazon. At the time that I purchased them the description said they had a non-slip sole. But the striped version that I bought didn’t have the non-slip bottoms. I complained in a review and they’ve since changed the description. I considered sending them back but they’re just too stinking cute. I came across a “life hack” option to use fabric paint on the bottom of toddler socks to add a non-slip texture. A lightbulb went off… the adorable booties can be saved!!! 

I had some 3D fabric paint on hand that I used for our Christmas stockings, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. The fabric paint cake from Hobby Lobby and I paid $1.29 for 1 fl. oz.  

Mom Must-Haves

Twin Essentials for the 1st year

When I found out we were having twins I was so overwhelmed with the amount of things that we would need.  If you are a soon to be twin mom and you’re looking for ideas for your registry, you’ve come to the right place. Here is my list of essential items:

  • 2 Cribs – we bought ours second hand and spent $300 which was a huge savings
  • 4 waterproof mattress covers
  • 6 sets of sheets – My grandma and aunt made cute sheets for me because I couldn’t find any gender neutral sheets that I liked in store.  Here is a “how to“.
  • 2 car seats (obviously) – We loved our Britax B-Safe 35 infant carriers which we are still using at 1 year old.
  • 2 days worth of bottles (approximately 16) – We loved the Avent classics, but don’t buy new nipples until you know your babes are ready for the next step. We bought size 3 nipples and we will be done with bottles before they ever use the size 3 nipples.
  • Bottle drying rack
  • Spectra S2 breast pump – this is hands down the best investment I made for our babies
  • Handsfree pumping bra
  • Bulb syringe – I tried the Nose Freida too, but I found the bulb syringes to work best for me
  • The First Years Lanolin Free Nipple Butter – This was in a gift basket I received and it was by far my favorite nipple cream. It was silky smooth making it easier to spread than thicker lanolin creams I had tried.
  • Insulated lunch bag for packing bottles
  • Back pack – a diaper bag just wasn’t cutting it after 3 months.
  • Portable changing pad for the back pack
  • Changing table – I didn’t think I’d need one but after the first week of changing endless diapers my back needed the relief of a changing table. We bought a used one off of Facebook Marketplace for $25.
  • 2 high chair/booster combos
  • 2 Summer Infant travel high chairs
  • 2 Chicco Lullago travel bassinets – we absolutely loved these and used them until our twins were 6 months old
  • 2 waterproof bassinet mattress covers
  • 4 bassinet sheets
  • 4 Swaddle Me swaddlers – worked great for the early months
  • 4 Halo Sleep sacks – loved using these after the babes started rolling
  • 6 plush bath towels – we were gifted the small hooded baby towels which worked great but knowing how quickly they outgrow them it may be easier to start with standard towels that are exceptionally soft
  • Diaper Genie and refills
  • 12 Terry cloth bibs and burp rags – these were great to use when they were itty bitty for bottle feeds.  They often dribbled from their mouth or spit up so it was nice to have an absorbent bib. Family members made mine but here is a “how to“.
  • 2 silicone bibs
  • 2 extra laundry baskets with wheels (because you don’t want to lift anything late in your pregnancy or soon after birth)
  • Postpartum belly support band
  • 10-12 outfits per child and 8-10 sets of pajamas in each size
  • Aquaphor
  • Triple Paste
  • Gas Drops
  • Calming Lavender Baby Lotion
  • Baby bath tub
  • Summer Infant Dual Video Monitor
  • Summer Infant Portable Playard– we love spending time outdoors so this was awesome to have. I could work in my flower beds and let the babes hang out and play. It was also great for our camping trips.
  • 1 push behind walker
  • 1 activity table
  • 1 exersaucer (we bought ours used for $35)
  • 2 play mats
  • 2 auto Rock n Play
  • 2 Pack n Play (we bought ours used for <$20 each)
  • 2 Boppy pillows
  • Double Baby Trend Snap N Go stroller
  • Double Baby Jogger City Mini GT
  • Double umbrella stroller (bought used for <$15)
  • Canvas storage baskets – we have 8 and use every one of them
  • Leather rocker recliners – we decided to forgo your typical rocker glider for the nursery because they share a nursery which means we didn’t rock the upset baby in the nursery while the other was sleeping in there. We just bought rocker recliners for our living room instead. Leather is essential for cleaning up spit up and spilled milk.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save diaper and formula subscriptions
  • Photographer package – I would’ve saved so much money and avoided annoyances if I would’ve just signed a contract with a photographer who did newborn, 3 month, 6 month, 9 month and 12 month photos.
  • DSLR Digital Camera

 

Things we got that we didn’t need

  • Wipe warmer
  • Bumbos – we used them for such a short period I’m not sure they are worth it
Fearless Faith, Mission Motherhood

One Body

Lately I’ve found it difficult to communicate that I feel like I’m currently incompetent in my job.  No one likes admitting a struggle…especially when (in my mind) so many people would be like, “What are you talking about?!  You’re a stay-at-home-mom!  How can you be incompetent at staying home?!”  Well, I have a 7-year-old who is at school during the day, but I’m home with a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old and I feel like I’m drowning.  My entire adult life has been devoted to working with children and learning about children and playing with children and helping and laughing and guiding children.  So in this time that I’m home with my own two children, why is it that I feel like I’m not enough?  Why is it that I feel like I’m unable to provide the consistency, structure, flexibility, and grace that I’d be providing in a classroom?

23004819_10211304306345665_3895292108941796121_o

I start working when the first kid wakes up…which on some days is 4:00am…some days is 7:00am…  Eventually they nap, and IF I’M LUCKY it’s at the same time…so then I clean…and, by the time I think I have a second to get my thoughts together enough to read or write or take pictures or stare at the wall for 30 minutes– 52 seconds have gone by and one of the kids is awake again.  I typically smell of coffee breath and baby puke…and there have been times when I’ve felt resentful toward each and every living thing in this house– including my children and the dogs…because they are yet another thing that I stress about as I’m drifting to sleep at night:  Do they [the dogs] have food?  Have they had any water today?  Oh my God, I don’t think I let them out after dinner…wait…DID THEY GET FED?  How is October still alive?…but, really, does she have an ear infection?…and what is that rash on her belly?–She is SO old…HOW IS SHE STILL LIVING?  Oh my Jesus, Tommy will be devastated when she dies…I HAVE to make sure I’m the one to find her.  Geez, then what will I do?  I can’t lift her……  I wonder if Tommy gave her meds tonight…because I gave her meds…did I unintentionally overdose her?  Can dogs have kidney failure?  Oh my GOD, Summit had to have just pooped on the floor…No?  THAT was just GAS?!  Uhhhhhhhh why am I not sleeping?!  …DID we overdose October?  I hope she’s okay…Uggggh…I’ll just get up and go check on her…

Does that sound familiar?  I know I’m not the only mom who does this.  I’m sure there are dads that ALSO do this very thing…but not in my house, because my husband can fall asleep in about 45 seconds and will not wake until ready to be woken.  Doesn’t that sound AMAZING?!  I hear EVERYTHING…and, as soon as I’m awake, the cycle of thoughts starts all over again: Please tell me there aren’t wet clothes in the washer…I think I switched them…but I really don’t want them to smell like mildew…I should get up and check…but what if Jett hears me?…wait, when did Indie eat last?…should I just go ahead and feed her while I’m awake?…oh, she’ll be due to eat in 30 minutes or so…I might as well just stay up……

At small group a few weeks ago, we read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26– And, while I’m sure the author did not intend for these words to apply to household roles, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of comfort as I allowed this scripture to sink in.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it,25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

–I’d love to say that I immediately relate this piece to my relationship with the world…or with the church…and how I can be Jesus alongside everyone and to everyone because we all have something vital to offer…sometimes what I need to do is bring it down reeeeeally small, put on my egocentric shades, and apply it to where I am right now.  This might not be the case for you, but for this stay-at-home-mom, it’s easy to let my mind drift to:
“Well, I’m not earning a paycheck…”
“Well, I’m home all day…why have I not gotten the laundry caught up?”
“…Why are there still dishes in the sink?  …Why has the vacuum not left the closet in three weeks?  …Why does the bathroom smell like urine and why is there toothpaste residue?”
“Well, I’m home all day…why does my barely-two-year-old not know his colors, shapes, and alphabet?”
“Why is dinner not ready?”
–But, after reading this, I’m trying to give myself more grace and to give God more credit.  I have always felt equipped to work with children…the difference now is that I am working with the same children every minute of every hour of every day for years– and it often feels like there are no true breaks. There’s no clocking out…and my role rarely changes. I am “Mom.” And even though “Mom” wears so many hats, the role is still “Mom.” Everyone in our home has a role…everyone has a job… Is my job any less important because I’m “not earning a paycheck?”  Is my husband’s job any more important because he does?  Am I failing miserably at my job because I’m unable to mark every single task off my to do list every day?…or is my husband failing miserably because he’s continuing to wear clean clothes to work and therefore producing laundry?  …Just as my life would be significantly impacted if my husband suddenly quit his job, his life would be significantly impacted if I suddenly quit mine.  Even when I think I’m getting nothing accomplished, I’m drowning in baby puke, and I’m a lousy excuse as a stay-at-home-mom…I need to remember that: “As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” No single person makes our family the unit that it is– it’s a collective effort from each part to produce one body from our house and transform it into our home.

Isn’t it amazing how a piece of literature from thousands of years ago has the ability to be this breathable document that can provide so much peace and clarity to present day circumstances?–and it might not provide that to anyone else…but, for me, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Has there been an instance in which you’ve stumbled upon the perfect scripture to shine light on a current or past dilemma in your own life? We would love to hear your stories! Feel free to comment below or join our Facebook group of the same name: Birds of a Feather. Thanks for flocking with us!

Fearless Faith

Finding beauty in chaos

Whew! Monday… what a day.  The day has felt quite chaotic but if we’re not trying to find beauty in the chaos we’re wasting our lives and failing to see God’s beautiful works. 


For example: 

The twins have slept through the night for the last week (mostly) but last night I was up 3 times… perhaps growth spurts or teething.  But, as of yesterday, the babes now call me Mama, our boy started taking a few steps at a time yesterday and our girl is standing on her own… so I’m willing to lose a little sleep for growth spurts. 

The dog has anal gland issues which calls for a vet. You’re out of your mind if you think I’m going to take 11 month old twins AND a dog to a vet’s office.  The beauty in anal glands, you ask? There is a mobile vet that can be here this afternoon to take care of her. 

Half of my kitchen is out of commission as we are half way through installing our backsplash. The backsplash is looking beautiful, the husband and I got to spend some quality time together yesterday putting it in, and I have a dishwasher that was installed over the weekend… so sacrificing half of my kitchen to have all of these beautiful things… WORTH IT! 

The guys who are supposed to install our gutters today (after waiting for 4 months of them) showed up with truck issues that will delay install for another day… but we have a roof over our heads. 

It’s laundry day. When I say laundry day, I mean I’ve gathered the week’s dirty laundry and have made piles in the laundry room that won’t be put away for another 3 days. But we have clothes to wear, and a washer and dryer to ease the laundry duties. 

I have been chicken-less since the spring when a nasty little fox got our flock. But today, a friend’s mom is giving me 6 of her chickens because they are moving soon and can’t keep them. 

Today, I challenge you to find the most annoying things about your Monday and share your beauties. ❤️ Embrace the chaos of motherhood.   

Mission Motherhood

DIY Party Flag Banner

Happy Sunday, friends!  Today is a day for rest, Jesus, and craft projects. 

My first-time-mom paranoia is heightened  as cold and flu season starts so we watched church on Facebook Live this morning.  The idea of sending the twins to church nursery when EVERYTHING goes in their mouths freaks me out. I love that our church offers the option to watch from home!  The kiddos were peacefully napping and I was in my pajamas… but still at church. 

After church I worked on the twins’ birthday party decor.  The will be 1 in 5 weeks and we’re putting together a barnyard birthday party. Today I worked on their bandana flag banner. It has been so easy to put together and super cheap.  

Supplies:

  • 10 Bandanas (I used these ones – but you could use any kind of fabric or even paper) 
  • Jute twine (you can also buy at any craft store)
  • Hot glue gun (and about 10-12 hot glue sticks to refill it)



Steps:

  • Cut your fabric into triangles. I cut mine 5 inches wide and 8 inches long. (I purposefully wanted scraps to make a high chair banners like the ones below)
  • Lay your jute twine out and run a bead of hot glue about a 1/4 inch from the top of your flag. 
  • Fold the top of your flag around the twine and press it into the hot glue. (Warning: its hot glue so don’t burn yourself)
  • Space them out as you like. I spaced mine 5 inches (the same width of the flag). I also saw some on Pinterest that had the flags right up next to each other with no spacing between. 
  • Cut a piece of cardboard into a rectangle and cut an inch long slit in one side. Slide the end of your twin into the slit and wrap your banner around the cardboard as you go (making sure your hot glue is completely cool and dry before your wrap). 

Final product


Tips:

  • You could do any kind of fabric or even paper to accommodate an endless amount of party decor themes… burlap, lace, scrapbook paper with letters to spell something out, you could even buy fabric scraps from your local fabric store for next to nothing… the possibilities are endless.  
  • Don’t stress about the fabric pattern or of the cuts aren’t perfect. When it’s hanging you won’t be able to see those imperfections. 

I’ll share more pictures when we have them hung at our barnyard parts in a month. Happy party planning!