Stripping sheets

We wash our sheets once a week but every so often we strip our sheets to rid them of any build up from laundry detergent, minerals from hard water, oils from our skin etc. It never ceases to amaze what comes out of sheets I wash regularly. I will say, ours has never looked as bad as I have seen from some recent tik tok videos so I take some comfort in that. Our detergent must not be doing too bad of a job. What you need to strip your sheets: Tide powder, washing soda (you can make your own if you would like by following directions HERE. I have done this in the past but choose to just buy it at the store now), Borax powder and a tub (or a sink or large bucket if you don’t have a tub in your house). I put links to Amazon on here but you can also usually buy these items at your local grocer although I have struggled to find washing soda at some of our local stores.

When you are ready to strip your sheets, fill your tub with hot water. I put my on as hot as I can get it. As it is filling I do once scoop of each of the 3 powders.

I like to then swirl the water around a bit and funny enough our son’s plastic sword is the perfect sturdiness and size so that is what I use each time. Of course you can always use your hand if you would like.

This is what the water looks like after it is filled but before adding any sheets or towels.

It’s not completely clear but definitely light and clear. The picture makes it look darker than it was but what can you do? Then add your sheets, or towels, keeping in mind that you want to add what can fit into your machine after the stripping process is done. I do one set of sheets and pillowcases at a time for the bigger beds and two sets for the kids.

Once I have added the sheets I use the sword to push everything down and move it around a bit. You can leave it like this for 4-5 hours (use the temp of the water as a way to know if it has been long enough, if the water is still warm I would let it soak longer) or you can occasionally go in there and give it a bit of a stir to make sure everywhere is really covered and has a chance to soak. Once the temperature of the water is cool I usually drain it, squeeze the water out of the items and then go put it through the rinse cycle of the washing machine. For the sake of this post I took the sheets out before draining so that you can see the water.

I always have such mixed feelings. Part of me thinks 🤢 yet another part is 🙌🏼 and 😃. It feels so good to sleep in sheets knowing all that build up is gone! I have no idea what the suggested time is between stripping but I only do this once a year. It’s a great spring cleaning item and even then I have certainly missed years. I only recently did it on our towels for the first time and didn’t get as much results from it. We also don’t hang on to towels forever though so I’m not all that surprised by that one.

Make sure you only strip items that are ok to be washed in hot water and NO delicates. With that being said, happy spring cleaning and feeling so fresh and so clean, clean! 🎶 (I still sing that song every time I start spring cleaning. old habits die hard)

xo,
Jenny

Kitchen upgrade

We did a large kitchen makeover awhile back but this weekend we made a small kitchen upgrade but we are SO excited about it. Sometimes the smallest detail really can add such a great effect. The change we made can only be seen when the lights are out and it’s dark outside…

We love the look of lights under your cabinets but when we did phase 1 our big kitchen remodel (when we painted the cabinets, got new countertops, added a backsplash, new sink and faucet and framed out the window) we just couldn’t find a lighting system that was worth the money for us. We had used some of the lights you stick under the cabinets that you need a remote to turn on in our last house and we didn’t really want to go that route again but we also didn’t want to invest the money and time into anything that needed a switch either. Well recently I heard that there was outlet plates that had lights in them that turn on when it’s dark that are popular in bathrooms so I figured we would try them out in the kitchen too. We love it! We didn’t replace all of our all of our outlet plates with these because I wanted to save some for the kids’ bathrooms and that worked out well anyway because I don’t think we need more than the 4 we put in there. You can find the outlet plates HERE. We are an Amazon affiliate so if you do make a purchase from that link we earn a small percentage. We only post items that we ourselves use and love and want to share with others. Thank you for your support and we hope you love these as much as we do!

xoxo,
Jenny

PS We are in the middle of phase 2 of our remodel. If you look closely in the picture you will see that our floor is just concrete, and not pretty stained concrete. We have a couple of projects in the works and will be posting soon with progress pictures so if you are interested in following home remodels follow along and join in on the journey!

Find rest in Him

Christ has said to us, “Come unto me…and ye shall find rest unto your soul” (Matthew 11;28-29.  How amazing does that sound?!  Not just to find rest but for your SOUL to find rest.  Sign me up for that kind of rest and peace.

But who does this apply to?  The beginning of verse 28 reads, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden” so is it just for those who are REALLY suffering? Those who are really weighed down with burdens?  I know I have been in that situation before where I yearn to feel Him close and to get further guidance but I hesitate to ask for much because what I’m in need of seems so silly compared to others.  How can He be so aware of me and my “minor” problems when there are so many out there that are suffering more than me?  I’m not really heavy laden, I’m just exhausted.  Or lonely.  Or confused.  

Well there is a reason that in the above picture I made I took out the part that said, “all ye that labour and are heavy laden”.  I think sometimes we read that and misinterpret it.  We think we can only ask for rest for our souls when we are REALLY struggling and our burdens are SO heavy that we just can’t possibly do this on our own anymore, otherwise, we should be able to handle things mostly independently and just leave Him to worry about others.  How wrong that train of thought is!  Thomas S. Monson said, “We were not placed on this earth to walk alone”.  None of us are expected to walk alone.  He WANTS to walk with us, to help us, to be near us.  He didn’t suffer for us so that we can come to Him only when we’re desperate, He died for us because of His unconditional love and it is for that same reason that He wants us to always yearn to have Him close.  He wants to help us ALL get back to our heavenly home and He wasn’t just willing to provide a way to make it happen but He’s also willing to continue to stay with us as we take the journey home.  That is how much He loves us.  That is unconditional love.

Unconditional love does not mean that He will force us to allow Him near though.  It means He loves us enough to allow us to choose.  We get to choose to invite Him in.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught us, “God is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits.  He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles,”  Isn’t that a beautiful reminder?  He already knows our shortcomings and failures and He STILL wants us to ask Him in. He STILL wants to help us, to give us rest, to allow our souls to be at peace and feel Him near.

So we know He wants to help us all and we know that it doesn’t even matter our circumstances, but now what do we DO about it?  HOW do we draw nearer to Him and feel that peace in our souls that we are promised?  Here are 3 things that have helped me draw closer to Him.  All three steps take a little work, practice and diligence but the more you do them, the stronger you feel the spirit and the easier it gets to feel Him near. 

  1. study AND REFLECT the scriptures as often as you can.  Obviously the goal here is daily because it really does make a difference but God knows our intentions and if you are really giving it your best and trying to make time for this as frequently as you can, He knows that and He’s not going to hold missing some days against you.  now I emphasize the “reflect” part because just reading the scriptures is great but it’s during the reflecting on what you’ve read and how it applies to you where you can often times feel the spirit strongest.  Consider being more intentional with what you are studying and how well you are studying it rather than on how quickly you can get through a book or how much time you spend per study session. Also, figure out what works best for you.  Some people do better listening to audio and taking notes as they do.  For some it is reading straight from the scriptures, others it may be doing study groups where possible and for people like me, we do best with a combination of study manuals, scriptures and journaling. Play around with options until you feel like it really “clicks” for you and you notice you feel inspiration coming more frequently doing it that way, then you know you’ve found your ticket!
  2. Meditate frequently.  We “must take time to meditate, to sweep the cobwebs from [our] mind” as Ezra Taft Benson put it so eloquently.  Meditation has the power to do just that, clear the clutter and stress in our mind and help us recenter on what is most important.  Some of the times I feel inspiration and promptings come to me the most clearly are during times of meditation as I take the time to quiet the worlds expectations and consider what MY priorities are, what He would have me do.  This one takes a little more practice and diligence to get the hang of it but once you do, you will realize how easily you can feel closer to the Godhead and angels around you.
  3. Pray and ASK for the spirit to be with you.  Sometimes you just need to ask.  Now, I know Heavenly Father likes to see action and it’s important to not just go live your life however you please and then come to Him and be like, “ok, I’m done partying now give me the Spirit.”  There is a difference between demanding and seeking/asking.  Sometimes we feel like we’re doing the best we can here.  “Heavenly Father, I’m trying to do what I know I should and I’m giving it my all and I’m still struggling to feel you as close as I would like.  Please give me comfort at this time.  I need it.”  It’s ok that sometimes we feel exhausted and that we can’t imagine doing more than we are right now but man do I need to feel some relief right now.  So ask!  Think of your child coming to you and saying, “Mom or Dad, I’m struggling today and I just need a hug.  I”m trying to be good and I’m just feeling so depleted from all the effort and I just want a hug from you and to have you tell me you love me”  Would you be like, “how dare you ask me, do better!”  NOOOOO!  You would run to that child and scoop them up in your arms and assure them that you love them and you see all their effort and you’re so proud of them for it!  He yearns to do that!  He wants us to humble ourselves and ask for help…He’s waiting!  You aren’t weak for asking/needing more, you are faithful.  The part I love about this one is how I have received my answers.  Sometimes I am immediately filled with reassurance, other times I go to bed and have a dream that brings me peace.  Many times I wake the next morning simply with a renewed energy to fulfill the work ahead of me and I know where that bout of energy and courage to face another day has come from. He heard me.

My hope is that strengthening these 3 steps/areas will help you draw a little closer to our Savior just as it has helped me.  I promise that as you do these things and work on having a closer relationship with Him that you WILL find peace and rest…even to the extent of your whole body and soul feeling at ease.  You will be able to think clearer, know the best next steps to take and be confident with where you are headed.  He is the anchor of our souls, He is the calm during the storms and He wants to help you as much as you will allow Him to. 

xoxo,

Jenny

PS If you really want to go the extra mile to feel the Spirit so strong in your home, play religious music more frequently in your home.  We used to play “church music” only on Sundays and since we have upped how often we listen to it, we have noticed a difference in the feeling of our home.  Sometimes I will watch my daughter come home from school after a rough day and go in her room and turn some church music on and I can see the transformation by the time she comes out again, her burden has been lightened and she feels peace again.  I know I have experienced this myself many times as well.  It’s beautiful what music can do for us!

Conversation {starter} Hearts

All the crafts, treats, valentines and love that is passed around on Valentine’s Day is great but the best part of the holiday is spending time with your loved ones and making sure they feel loved, seen and heard. What better way then to round out the day than to do some conversation starters around the dinner table to get to know each other a little better.

The download at the bottom of the page has two pages of conversation heart questions/discussion starters and one page of blank hearts for any additional questions you come up with!

You can have each family member pick a heart out of a jar/bowl and only they answer it or you can have someone read question but everyone takes a turn answering. Whatever works best for your family, have fun with it and get creative or keep it simple.

Hope you enjoy a special day with your loved ones and go to bed feeling extra loved and appreciated!

xoxo,
Jenny

sewing class – basics

The kids have been DYING to do sewing with the machine since “school” started in July and this past week their wish finally came true. First up was learning the basics of the machine. How to set it up, thread it and basics of using it. That didn’t take long so we moved on to our project…pillowcases. We followed the tutorial by Mary Martha Mama. There was one part she does differently than I have ever seen before but her directions were easy to follow and it worked out great, so I now know a new approach to making a pillowcase!

Zoey isn’t quite ready for the machine yet but she still got to pick out some material and I used hers as our example. We would read the directions, they would follow it piece it together for me and then I would do the actual sewing with hers so I could show them what to do. Then when it came time for them to do their pillows they could do it all with very little input from me.

When it was Parker and Andi’s turn, I had them stay close by as they worked on theirs. Parker would do a step and then Andi would, Parker would do the next step, and then Andi would. This allowed them to learn from each other’s mistakes and successes and meant I wasn’t repeating my tips and tricks as many times.

Their finished products!

Rylee and I worked on hers later that night and I helped with the ironing at times and she had a more simplified lesson but she still did all of the machine work herself.

I had saved this project for this time of year thinking it would be fun for them to get cute valentines day themed material but all of them choice differently. Oh well, they LOVED what they picked and that’s what it was all about. I’m super impressed with their ability to sew a straight line and they only jammed up my machine once so…HOORAY! I think they are ready for the next step which is pajama pants, then they will have to follow an actual pattern. Wish us luck, I’m not great with patterns myself so this might get interesting. 😂

If you are wanting to do a very basic sewing project for your kids, grandkids, class or for yourself, this is a great place to start so go check out Mary Martha Mama today!

xoxo,
Jenny

valentines – a note to show you care

Real quick post to show our two newest valentines in our Etsy shop and remind you of our previous two as well!

“I’m so glad we’re in the same school” comes in two different sizes and you get BOTH when you make your $3 purchase. Then you get to choose which you prefer to print and can even test them out first if you’d like! The above is our larger print and below is the smaller. I used a bread bag for the larger one and then just trimmed the top. The smaller one I used a vase shape party bag and they fit perfectly in that round base. I added a picture of the bags below for reference, they were purchased at Walmart but I’m sure can be found at just about any store.

Next up is our valentine for your late 80s/early 90s friends…NKOTB “You are the WRITE stuff”. (please tell me I’m not the only one who sings “the right stuff” every. single. time I read “the write stuff”)

I know I already posted these but I’m going to show a pic again so you know what you’ll see at our shop if you head over! Next up is one designed and drawn by our son, Parker.

How cool does this look all lit up at night?! Imagine your child thinking what they got during the day time was all they were getting and then coming in their room at night and finding this waiting for them on their bed:

and last but not least:

We also had a set of 14 valentines available which may not come in time for your class valentines but if you are local to Gilbert they should get to you in time for Valentine’s Day for your kiddos. Either way check them out and maybe they will inspire you to make some of your own! These were made by our three oldest and me.

I hope everyone is having fun getting ready for a fun weekend of LOVE! Follow our blog, like our Etsy shop, and find us on Instagram and Pinterest to get more ideas of activities and treats for holidays, homeschool ideas, house renovations and a glimpse into our everyday life here at our homestead!

xoxo,
Jenny

taste test – cotton candy

If you are looking for something fun to do this Valentine’s Day that will take little to no work on your part, look no further. Cotton candy tasting!

We love good taste test in our house and even more so when it involves a childhood classic like cotton candy. We found this pack at Walmart recently, it came with 6 flavors: grape, lemon, watermelon, orange, cherry berry and blue raz. I’m not sure how long it will be there but I did find a similar option on Amazon that comes with five flavor options so if your Walmart is no longer carry the above option or if you just don’t want to drive to the store to pick it up, there is a deliverable option!

We each went at it tasting each of them. Then we decided to add some to some sparkling water we had to see how we liked that because, why not? Then it was time to put them in order from greatest to least.

Andi’s favorite was the watermelon, least favorite was grape
Parker’s favorite: orange. Least favorite: blue raz
Cam’s (and my) favorite: lemon. Least: blue raz

We went into the tasting thinking we would all hate the orange and grape and love the blue raz but Andi was the only one who liked blue raz and orange surprised us all and ended up actually being really good. It was VERY closely behind the other three before it. Everyone’s favorite was an easy one for them though, same with their least, they would quickly decide those two and then struggle to put the rest in order. The only person to really not like the lemon was Rylee (not pictured) but everyone else loved it which isn’t too big of a surprise since we are all fans of lemon desserts.

I’m seriously considering winning some cool mom points and getting a cotton candy maker. You can even use your favorite hard candy to create flavors! Now to go plan a party that will make this purchase a necessity ☺️

xoxo,
Jenny

Confetti popcorn

We love this popcorn and its so easy to adapt to each holiday but it’s ALWAYS yummy and it’s ALWAYS so pretty and colorful! First thing you will want to do is pop some popcorn.

The first thing we do is pop our kernels in our stovetop popcorn popper and then pour it into a large bowl. We used 2 TBS of coconut oil and 1/2 cup of corn kernels to make this batch.

Next, melt a bag of white chocolate chips in a medium bowl. We decided to go with confetti white chocolate chips we found at Walmart for a bit of a change. We always start with 30 seconds, stir and repeat in 20 second intervals until you can stir it smooth. Once it is melted completely you pour it over the popcorn and begin to stir. As it starts to mix in well I start to add the other items. For this go around we chose red and pink m&ms, sprinkles we had left over from our chocolate dipping, and pretzels sticks broken into smaller pieces (which we just break by hand over the bowl because who wants one more bag or bowl dirty to clean?).

Look how colorful and fun it turned out! And its tastes as good as it looks.

We put some in a bowl for dad and the rest in a bag for the kids to take to their sleepovers at Grandma’s. As you can see, it makes a lot! Switch out the candy and sprinkles depending on the holiday and it becomes an easy and yummy treat for kids, neighbors or yourself for anytime of the year! Hope you enjoy!

xoxo,
Jenny

tic tac toe, x’s and o’s

I’ve been told you are either a game person or you aren’t. I come from a family where we played games regularly and I still love it to this day so I guess that makes me a game person. I love to try new games but there is just something about the classics that never get old. We play tic tac toe often whether we incorporate into a lesson on the whiteboard, in the sand with a kid who doesn’t want to play on the playground while at the park or just with classic paper and pen.

So you know I jumped on buying this cute wood set from Hobby Lobby when I found it. You can leave it wood or paint the x’s and o’s like we did. We went with classic Valentines Day colors to give it more of a hugs and kisses look.

I got the set and painted it about 3 weeks ago and we have been playing it every Sunday since.

They almost always turn into tournaments with the whole family.

This little cutie won for her first time (like legit won without us going easy on her) this last Sunday. She may have her occasional pouting sessions but overall she is such a great sport. A huge blessing that comes from regular play where you lose some and win some.

Go pick one up at Hobby Lobby today or whatever your local craft store is, I’m pretty sure they are at Michaels and Jo-Ann’s too!

stained glass heart art

I love to do art with the kids around the holidays. We have some of our best conversations while we get creative with art because its one of the few ways I can get my kids to stay still for that long. 😆 For this craft we used water colors to make an image similar to a stain glass heart.

I got all of our supplies on Amazon and we got a handful since we now do art more frequently since starting to homeschool our younger kids. I love how many color options we have with this set and I definitely think the watercolor pencils are a must. To be able to have any lines blurred definitely helps give you a true watercolor look. My only warning is that the brush that came with the pencils is not great. It shed like crazy but the paint sets also came with brushes and they worked plus I had some extras on hand so it wasn’t a problem for us. Just make sure you have some other brush options if you are getting the pencils. The colored pencils themselves are great though. Your last supply needed is of course watercolor paper which is a necessity. Standard paper will get too wet and break easily, especially if you have young kids painting, they tend to soak their papers. There is a difference between hot pressed and cold pressed paper but to be honest, I didn’t do much research on that because we’re not trying to be expert watercolor artists here, we just wanted to make something pretty and this paper worked great for us.

I didn’t get a picture of what we did first but you can kid of see if you zoom into the picture. First, we used a colored pencil to draw a heart….any size and anywhere on their paper they wanted. Then we drew lines all throughout the inside of the heart. Then we drew lines coming out of the heart to the edge of the paper. You are creating your “glass pieces” by doing all of this. We talked about it looking like you had a heart etched in a piece of glass and then you dropped it and it kind of shatters all throughout without breaking.

Then comes the best part….painting! Get your brush wet, take it to your paint color of choice and get the color nice and wet and then start painting. We talked about all the different techniques we were learning as we went. Having a lot of color on and then using extra water to spread it out, layering colors, keeping it muted etc. The only real “rule” with this piece is that whatever colors you use in the heart you can’t use around the perimeter and vice versa. We also learned that it looks best when after you color each individual section you then go back over with just some water on your brush and kind of blur the line between the pieces.

Our preschooler did her own spin on our project. Looking all cute and proud. 😍

Look how cute they all turned out! We are excited to keep playing with watercolors and improve our skills over time. The best part of all of this was the creativity going on, conversation flowing and laughter throughout. You’ll never regret spending time like this with kids, but it also doesn’t have to be a time consuming, expensive, day project either. It’s all about balance and everyone’s “balance” is different. So don’t compare, have fun and make memories!

One last thing to add actually. For a true stained glass look, add black lines where you blended your colors. We worked on the technique of blending more this go around but if you want that true stained glass look you need those black lines!

xoxo,
Jenny