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At The Nest

There’s nothing like the joy of a toy-filled Christmas… to make me reassess our home organization- specifically the kids bedrooms. Oh, the inspirational clutter of packaging, Lego pieces and Barbie clothes. Although to be fair, I’ve been contemplating a plan to take down the nursery for a while. We are fortunate to live in a home that provides 5 bedrooms upstairs, which gives each of our kids their own room. Except, one of the rooms is significantly smaller than the others. When my grandparents built this home, they had six children in mind. Their oldest son was given the smallest room, but the trade off was that he didn’t have to share. The only daughter in the family was given her own room, and the other two bedrooms were shared by two boys each. When we first bought this home, my desire was to turn that smaller room into an upstairs laundry area (dreamy sigh). However, when baby number four arrived, it was the perfect solution for the nursery. Now that he had outgrown the crib, it was time for another transformation. Originally I thought of one of those cute raised beds, which offers more floor space or a little area for a desk. Then in a stroke of brilliance (possibly overstated) it came to me… the youngest two boys could share a room and I could turn the smaller room into their own personal play area!

It worked out well considering my youngest son received a wooden train table for Christmas, that wouldn’t have conveniently fit in his room with a twin sized bed. (And I really didn’t want it in my living room). I must admit, that my motives might have also been a little selfish- in that I was hopeful the two boys might be more apt to sleep through the night in their own room if they weren’t alone. I think that’s actually why my second-youngest son was so keen on the suggestion. Well that, and the promise of a play room.

I wanted their playroom to reflect their bedroom somewhat, so I kept the blue and white theme with the curtains and toy box. The boys’ bedroom was easy to complete, we just had to steal their sister’s bed frame; which originally was part of a bunk bed set that she split with her brother. As luck would have it, Pottery Barn Kids still carried the striped quilt to match the other. (Well actually to make it a perfect match I need to wash it a couple more times.)

Thankfully, I still had my old bed frame in the basement. And I finally made my first Wayfair purchase! I ordered a made in the USA pillow top mattress, shipped to my front door for free! (Which sure beats trying to slide one over the top of my kids heads in the minivan. Hurray!)

I think the best part of this whole undertaking was the car load of items we were able to drop off at Goodwill, and the broken toys, odds, and ends we kicked to the curb. Sayonara!

(And if you’re wondering, the “Sadie’s Nest” pillows were a thoughtful Christmas gift to me from my parents created at collage.com)

Happy New Year!

I’m usually not a New Year Resolution type person. My thought is: why wait one more day to start a good habit? Or stop a bad one? (If you know me at all, you know I am totally backwards and like to start diets right before the holidays.)

But this year is different.

I ended last year taking a break from the blog, enjoying my family and the holidays. And this year I am making a resolution of sorts… a conscious effort to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. I’m ready to listen to my kids laugh and watch a nice fire. Let’s take time to break bread with loved ones old and new… And let’s be kind to each other; it costs us nothing and could mean everything.

I hope 2017 is a fresh start that treats you well! God Bless You!

5 Reasons Not to Blog During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. We are right in the thick of it. And as much as I love this time of year, I find myself quoting this line from Christmas Vacation: “I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”

 

Ok it’s really not that bad… but I get it, and do laugh every time I say it.

 

Here are my top 5 reasons for slacking on my blog:

#5 – I am too busy actually baking for events to record them. Veritas.

#4 – We are studying and readying for Christmas concerts… Christmas Pageants… Christmas parties… and attending them. It’s chaos. It’s a lot of “What? You are supposed to have Christmas pajamas for your concert TOMORROW?”; “I don’t know, the shepherds probably wore sandals, but you are going to where your brown boots.”; “By the way we need to find a long sleeve brown shirt for Noah’s costume THIS AFTERNOON”; “Where are your socks?”; “I haven’t seen your coat. Where did you take it off?”; AAAAAAAHHH!

All four of my children made it into this closing scene; two shepherds, Mary and an inn keeper.

#3 – I am shopping for presents! Not even close to being done. And I waste time trying to think of… “who I can get this pineapple measuring set from Anthropologie for?”

 

#2 – All I want to do is be lazy. It’s the truth. I just want to crawl under a blanket and do nothing. Just leave me be.

#1 – My babies have been sick. Who has time for trips to Urgent Care and the ER? Not me. But somehow we manage to fit them in.

Virus induced asthma attacks are awful!

It’s all worthwhile.

My niece singing and playing Silent Night. Love.

Wayfair, You’ve got just what I need!

You may have noticed a subtle hint in a recent post of mine, My Blogging Space. I participated in a challenge sent out from the media department at Wayfair.com, where they asked bloggers to share their own inspirational spaces. You know, a sneak peek into where all of the magic happens. 😉 If you read my post, you understand that I really don’t have one specific space where I let all of my creativity flow. I’m a like chameleon, I have to adapt to my environment. The situation works most of the time. What is not copacetic is my entertainment center. Ahem.

Current TV Stand

Current TV Stand

 

Aria Entertainment Center (same as featured image) image courtesy of Wayfair.com. I love how much storage this unit has!

Our current solution is a Pier 1 purchase that happened over a decade ago. Originally it housed our radio/CD player and speakers. It was perfect in the little space of our first home. It matched our hefty entertainment center, back when TVs were big and boxy, heavy and square (at least ours still was). Shortly after we moved into our new home we decided to join in with the Millennium and purchase one of those large HD movie style television sets. (Do they still call them that?) And I’ll tell you why, because all of the sudden we noticed the words on commercials were out of the picture, and even more upsetting (to my husband) was that he would actually miss the catch of a touchdown pass.

Flattop TV Stand by Loon Peak courtesy of Wayfair.com

Flattop TV Stand by Loon Peak courtesy of Wayfair.com. They suckered me in with that dish… always need room to store more dishes.

So there we were, forced to purchase a TV set conducive to the rules of new world media. In turn, our “entertainment center” was instantly obsolete. The new TV just wouldn’t fit! So, that fine piece of furniture became a storage piece for my large dinner platters and such. (Really not a disappointment, because they needed a place to go anyway.) And our little shelving unit for our radio became a stand upon which to set our new HDTV. For the record, I’d like to add that our old TV that I kept from college still works, and we’ve gone through 2 of those HDTV sets in less than 5 years. Just sayin’.

Old TV cabinet (repurposed as a dish cabinet, and possibly to be recycled into a wardrobe cabinet for my husband).

 

 

Brackenridge TV Stand by Alcott Hill courtesy of Wayfair.com. It’s basic and simple… it could do the job.

This is what I like about our unit, it shuts. I don’t want to look at all of those movie and video game boxes. We have cable TV, Apple TV, Netflix, and VidAngel via Amazon Fire TV. Yet we still manage to have 10,000 boxes. (Ok, I’m exaggerating. But that’s what it feels like.) I like to entertain, so shutting the door to the chaos and mess is key. I have four kids. Even if I organized those darn boxes on a biweekly basis, they are a disaster within minutes. Oh, a day in the life! As if seeing an orderly stack is an invitation to throw them on the floor. Next I yell, “Put them back!” Then they are thrown inside every which-way, followed by the door slamming shut and an avalanche left waiting to happen.

Saffron Apothecary TV Stand by Wildon Home courtesy of Wayfair.com. I like that this piece has character, I’m drawn to pieces that have something to say.

It is the slamming of the door, repeatedly, that has left it completely off of it’s hinges. Purely cosmetic. Beyond repair. Already been screwed back on several times. It’s just time for an upgrade. So, I got this idea: I’ll appeal to the the Wayfair powers that be! This could get interesting… I have found a few units of interest on Wayfair.com. Clearly I am drawn to the natural wood look, and units that have closing doors. I’d really be happy with any of them. Although, there is one I ❤️ more than the rest.

Aria Entertainment Center courtesy of Wayfair.com

Aria Entertainment Center courtesy of Wayfair.com. I love everything about this. It has style, it makes everything disappear. It’s perfect… It’s also the most expensive, naturally.

My Blogging Space

Last week, I was contacted by an associate at Wayfair.com to participate in a blogger challenge to share our home offices, or inspirational spaces if you will. Immediately I was on board. For one thing, I’ve been wanting to share a little more about myself lately, and this seemed like the perfect outlet. For another, the whole idea of it amused me. For those of you that know me at all, you know that I am a stay-at-home mother of four children ages 10 and under. The idea of a private work space sounds like something out of a movie- unfathomable almost; as illusive as my Paris kitchen, not the cookbook though- I’ve got that.

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I have this professional idea of self. This fantasy, where I am diligent with writing, editing, photographing, projecting deadlines, making layouts. I’ve had discussions with my support team (aka my husband) about setting aside a certain amount of evening hours dedicated to my job (aka blog hobby). In reality, I grasp at as many free minutes that I can quilt together to make a post. However, in true to life representation, my home office is wherever I can get it. Thank goodness for wifi and my MacBook Air… and my Nespresso machine because at any hour I can get a good cup of coffee quickly. It helps with my research… and by research I mean catching up with my fellow bloggers, scouring Pinterest and reading cookbooks- usually done in our study.

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My dining room table is most often the space I use. Followed by the kitchen table, especially while assisting the kids with homework. Of course I watch cooking shows in the family room. I can say with some conviction that I really don’t blog while I’m outdoors. Sometimes I wish I had a small desk in my bedroom, which at times feels like my only oasis (until bed time when the kids try to pile in)… but I’d have to move out that all but forgotten treadmill.

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Would you like to know something? Just one month ago there was a sitting room where I have the dining table. And the dining room was where the study is, because it’s a bigger and I love the idea of our extended families having plenty of room to gather around the table. Then I was having a party and I hated the idea of putting my cheese platter in the bat cave with basically no natural light. So in one day I moved everything, every couch, hutch and table by myself. My grandparents lived in this home before we bought it. And I moved it all back the way they had it. Except, they kept their TV where we have the study, and I moved it to the great room… so we would have more room for our family to spread out. But I’ve never been able to configure this room to satisfaction. I traded the couches between the two rooms, and I think it’s a step in the right direction. I really need a new entertainment center (Wayfair are you listening?). I probably won’t be happy until it’s exactly the same as the way it was.

What is that on the cooking channel? I think it’s ice cream in a blender.

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We actually do have a home office, complete with an autographed photo of Mohammad Ali. My husband uses it when he works from home. It’s full of papers that need to be shredded, statements needing to be filed, artwork I need to return to my parents, random items that need to be taken to Goodwill… And the kids school work. What am I supposed to do with all of the graded assignments and art projects? It’s overwhelming! I’m not crafty. I’m not a scrapbooker. But I don’t want to be that mom who has no souvenirs to show their adult children from their childhood. So, I put it in bags! Don’t judge me. I loathe this dilemma, almost as much as the laundry.

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I do like the amount of natural light.

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Just know that I am uncomfortable showing our catch-all. In general, I really try not to embarrass myself.

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And yet, at the moment, I’d rather expose myself than organize this office.

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Which would be destroyed in two minutes anyway.

Thank you Wayfair.com for inviting me to join in this blogging challenge. It was fun!

 

Loving Lately 💡

Loving Lately: Fresh Blogging Inspiration

I don’t know what it is exactly. Maybe it’s the drop in temperature? Maybe it’s buying all of those exciting school supplies? I’ve always had a thing for stationery. It probably has a lot to do with all of the fall themed recipes that are making their annual debut on the Internet; pumpkin lattes and donuts, Yum! Whatever it is, I feel it. I’m ready for self-enrichment and self-improvement. I want to take a writing class. I’ve ordered books and I’m scouring the Internet for tips on food photography. I am humbled and proud to say I finally know the definition of aperture and shutter speed. (I’m a little surprised with my lack of knowledge that my blog has any photos at all.) I’m ready to give her an overhaul! (Can I refer to my blog is of her? I mean it in the most empowering way. Like you would a ship or a storm; as in she is my vessel and a force -my exercised voice.) Apologies for the sidenote/monologue. The point is I am inspired. I’ve got some ideas… And it feels good!

Coffee House Chat

My friend Roberta does these lovely little blog chats as if you were besties, sitting across from each other at your favorite coffee house with your drink of choice. I love these little posts, they’re so personal and friendly. So being that I haven’t really gotten creative in the kitchen or with my camera lately, I thought I’d give it a try. On any other given day I’d probably just order a small dark roast, but on such occasion with time to indulge I think I would order a mocha (that is to say chocolate in flavor- not regionally specific coffee beans) but of course with skim, because obviously calories matter. You probably noticed that I limped over to the table with a cane, trying to balance the purse on my shoulder and carry a coffee without trying to draw more attention to myself by spilling it. I still haven’t gotten the knack of making it all look smooth and seamless. You see, I still have a rather large lump on the left side of my backside from my recent fall down the stairs. It is rather obvious, so I’d probably try to crack a joke. Maybe ask to find a table for three? You, me and my hematoma. When we would go to sit at our café table I should probably squirm a little on the wooden chair. Ugh. Naturally, I wouldn’t want to bore you with the details of the fall, I’d want to know what was new with you! And you would be so gracious, I’m sure, going along like nothing was out of the ordinary. You would talk about life and the weather… how warm it’s been and how you’ve been spending the summer.

In turn, I’d tell you how great the summer started off, camping in our new travel trailer and visiting my parent’s cabin in Michigan’s upper peninsula. I’d probably complain about how I have no good pictures to prove any of it. I might share with you the exciting news that we purchased a vacation home off of Lake Michigan, but cry to you about not being able to spend any time there -since all I do is try and mend my aching bum. You would assure me that there is plenty of time for that ahead. And I would agree with you that I know you’re right… as I wince from the annoying pain from this darn bump that keeps pushing on my nerve endings. Then I would probably tell you about the frustration of finding the right pain medicine. You would already know, because you know me so well, that I hate relying on medicine (and perpetuating the industry) and loathe taking Tylenol let alone anything stronger. And I would express to you my joy that most days I can get through with Motrin, and my optimism about the night soon-to-come that I can sleep in comfort. I’d probably be disappointed in myself that the conversation turned again towards my inconvenient situation, so I’d ask you if you’ve tried any new recipes lately.

You would be thrilled to tell me about a new method you used to cook a recent meal, because you know how enthusiastic I get about food. I’d ask you to tell me every detail. We’d get lost in conversation for a few minutes, and it would be so nice to be distracted from my pain, not to mention to get away from the political discussions that are saturating all media. Next I’d ask you about your family. You would let me know what they have been up to and how they are all doing. I’d have to tell you how guilty I feel that my family has dedicated their entire summer to helping me… And I would realize that no matter how hard I tried my conversation always came back to my injury. I confess I am not good company, but I appreciate that you visit with me anyway. <3

The Happiness Tag

Thank you so much to Anna of Life Bellissima and Claire of Paintbox Mum! Recently they each tagged me as a blog that makes them happy, in turn that made me so happy! Don’t you just love how that works? So naturally, I had to participate… who doesn’t want to spread some happy?!

The Rules:

-Five things that make you happy

-Five songs that make you happy

-Five bloggers that make you happy

Five things that make me happy:

1. My family. I have a great husband and four beautiful children. Recently I had some painful testing done. I tried to go to my “happy place,” which I found was not a beach; it was the birth of each of my children. They make me so happy!

2. Good food. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, it just has to taste good. Good food  = happy.

3. Holidays. I’m unapologetically into holidays. The decorations, anticipation, gathering, eating and scents. Happiness!

4. Cooking. I think it is important to limit the consumption of processed food and to eat your vitamins through a variety of foods. I think it is fun to connect with people, cultures and history by trying new recipes. I thoroughly enjoy sharing that with my family (especially when they like it). Yay, oh so happy!

5. There are people/things that make me happy, and then there the reason I am deeply content- and truly happy. It’s like the song “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin goes, “There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail. There’s an anchor for my soul, I can say “It is well.”” It is an uncertain time we live in. I am raising children amidst the chaos, but I do have an anchor. Priceless.

Five Songs that make me happy: I am not a dancer, but I will bop around to anything with a good beat. I enjoy French café music and like to play it while entertaining. Island music can instantly take me on a mental vacation. I’m a fan of jazz, big band and bluegrass in general. However, these songs and more like them make me happy.

1. Hosanna by Hillsong: It contains my heart cry.

2. What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong: I like to sing it to my babies.

3. Touch the Sky by Hillsong UNITED: Pretty much everything by Hillsong.

4. 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman: Beautiful.

5. Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole: Everyone has to sing along!

Five Bloggers that make me happy: It’s hard to limit it to 5! So I will share my longest blogging friends, they still make me happy! (Except the first 1 which has 2…)

1. Life Bellissima; Anna and I are so much alike, except she actually has a farm.

And Paintbox Mum; I am always impressed by Claire’s creativity, and love how engaging she is with her children.

2. Lynz Real Cooking; My “big sis” Lynn shares her amazing life stories and has such diverse and extensive knowledge in the kitchen.

3. Chorizo & Thyme; I appreciate Roberta’s kitchen approach, I think we have similar tastes; but even more I appreciate her kindness.

4. The Richmond Avenue; Jasmine is like my big city friend, she inspires me to keep up-to-date.

5. Natascha’s Palace; I think Natascha is fearless, she’ll tackle any recipe.

Have a happy day!

Gone Camping

It’s happened. I have checked out. You know how various people place those “Gone Fishing” signs on their door? It’s like that. I kind of wish I was a fisherwoman and could escape to my favorite fishing hole, just a walk away from work. Well, not really- because I travel with a lot of kids. But equally as enticing (for me at this moment), is camping.

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We are exploring. We are unplugged.

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We are watching the sunsets in swing sets.

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And making ice cream mustaches (or goatees).

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So don’t come looking for me for a while, because I’m out.

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But I’ll be back. 😉

Loving Lately 💨

Loving Lately: The Winds of Change

So, I took some more time off. I put the blog on autopilot, and continued to ponder the future of Sadie’s Nest.

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I’ve been really busy. We finally bought the camper… The kids have been sick…

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I had some great advice. A family member told me that if I enjoy blogging, I should keep doing it until I don’t, if that ever happens.

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Many of you were lovingly supportive, my loyal companions.

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So I’ve decided to continue my blogging adventure…

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Just keep it a little more laid back for the summer.

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I rewrote my about page (for the umpteenth time… what am I about anyway?).

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Thank you for continuing this journey with me! (And as usual thank you Pinterest for these images.)

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Love, Sadie