Thursday, April 2, 2015

Project #walk365 {March}

What a difference a day makes! Sunny, 40 degrees, no wind or snow. Missing two layers that I needed to stay warm yesterday. 1.5 miles.


Just out doing my thing. 1.6 miles today.


My walk tonight was cold and windy! 25* with 15 mph wind. 1.06 miles. 


1.12 miles today. 28 degrees and sunny but that breeze is cold! 


I didn't even notice my walk yesterday brought me to the 80 mile mark! Tonight I walked 1.22 miles in 25 degrees. Looking forward to warmer weather! #walk365


Walked with my sweeties today! 1.21 miles, warm and sunny. 83+ total miles this year. Today completes an 8-week streak! 


My boys, MIL and two dogs were my walking buddies in the Ozarks today. 1.4 miles in 60 degrees and mud!


My MIL and I walked a mile down the road today. Our motto was to just get it done!


Can you see the path? I walked 1.19 miles in the woods following a path my FIL made. Kinda cool now that he's gone.


The Ozarks are ready for spring. 1.25 miles today.


I only went .68 miles today, but it included raking off the path in the woods. That's hard work!


My walk yesterday was a quick jaunt up and down Main St. in Salem, MO. My .6 miles brought my total to 90 this year!


I followed my middle boy and our dog along Grandpa's path in the woods. 1 more mile of #walk365. Today also marks 9 weeks without missing a day!


We're having a heatwave! It's 80 in March. Our 1-mile walk was hot and sweaty!


I didn't get to my walk until 8 pm and it was only mostly dark! One more mile toward #walk365


Wednesday's walk involved sunshine and a good chat with my friend! 2 more miles of #walk365.


One in the stroller, one walking, three on bikes. Sometimes walks with the kids (mine + daycare) kill two birds with one stone! 1 mile of #walk365.


Just me and 5 kids on my #walk365. 2 miles on a beautiful spring day!


Today's walk was with the whole family and in perfect 70* weather. It's also the century mark for me, and completes a 10-week streak! 100 miles of #walk365!


I so enjoyed my walk today! A good chat with my friend, warm sunshine on our faces, and signs of spring in the neighborhood! 2.5 miles.


It's a gray day out, but I took my boys on my walk with me to look for signs of spring. We found daffodils, crocuses, and this magnolia in our own backyard.


The benefit of putting off my walk until late was I didn't have to be out in the rain! One more mile of #walk365.


The grass is turning green! My 2+ mile walk was cold, but such is spring. #walk365


Two shorter walks brought my total to two miles today! Both times it was something I'd normally drive to. Yay! #walk365


There are plenty signs of spring, but these white specks aren't dandruff! #walk365 1.5 miles today, 111 miles this year.


Enjoyed the sunshine on my 2 mile walk today. This completes 12 weeks of walking every day without missing! 


Enjoying the heat of a jungle! Counting mileage at the zoo is totally legal. Runkeeper didn't keep up, but MapMyWalk figured it to be over 2 miles. I'll take it. 


I ended up taking a short walk yesterday because the kids got an invitation to play in a friend's backyard. That's important too! 1/2 mile of #walk365.


Last walk of the month! I'm somewhere around 43 miles in March for a total of over 120 miles this year. Runkeeper won't update. 


Monday, March 2, 2015

Reading Nook {Moodboard}

I've been thinking lately how nice it would be to have a spot to curl up with the laptop or a book and have some quiet time for reading or getting online projects done. This could be a corner of a master bedroom, a guest room with a sitting area, a nook at the top of the stairs, or a finished section of the basement.

Here's what I came up with.



I love "natural" textures and finishes, so I chose a leather chesterfield loveseat, a grass green rug, a tree stump table and several live plants. I selected a leaf print as art, along with a few other favorites to make a gallery wall. I kept the area neutral other than the natural green and brown, and focused on adding texture. I added the room divider to help separate the nook from traffic or another section of the room. I like how it adds privacy too.

This is a first for me, and I haven't been compensated, but I was asked to put this moodboard together by Chairish, an online store for vintage furniture. I based my design on the Grass Green Abrash Turkish Rug. I found the wood and bronze floor lamp, as well as the leaf print, French farmhouse pillow, and bronze pouf at Chairish too. Chairish is an exclusive, curator approved, online marketplace for vintage and used furniture and accessories. It's a lot of fun to browse their website!

Do you have room in your home for a reading nook?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Project #walk365 {February}

I walked 40.1 miles in February! (Pictures in order for the month.)



This brings my total for the year to 75 miles! If you remember, I set a goal in January to walk 365 miles in 2015 (#walk365). There are 59 days in January and February, so I'm 16 miles ahead!

I know this year will bring some challenges. We're looking at moving again in early summer (don't know where yet), there will be sick days and busy days and who knows what else! To not let myself off the hook and start falling behind in my mileage, I challenged myself back in January to be a streaker.


Ha! Not like that! It just means I plan to walk every day in an intentional way. I don't own a Fitbit or similar device but I do use Runkeeper on my iPhone. To count as a walk, I have to be intentional and actually turn on my app, not just count accumulated steps during the day, though if that's what you're doing, you're totally awesome!

So far I've gone for a walk each day for 7 weeks! 49 days in a row. Go me!


February in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been COLD. I've mastered the art of layering and try to walk in the afternoon when the weather is the least cold. Not warm, just less cold. Walking in the afternoon is only possible when my husband (a student) is home with the boys, and there have been many nights that I don't get my walk until after the boys are in bed.

I've walked in single-digit temps, with windchill in the negatives, in the sun, under the moon, by the light of the streetlamps, in the snow, over ice, with my kids, with a friend, at the mall, past my church, around a lake, extra laps while shopping, always with a good book on Audibles!


Yesterday's walk was something I'm especially proud of. I have a little more time on Saturday afternoons when Gary is home, so yesterday I decided to walk around a small lake we live by. It's almost a 4-mile loop from our house and while I've always been capable of walking that far, I would be very tired and my back would hurt. Not yesterday! What's more, it was 25* with snow flurries, and a 10-mph wind that made it feel like 12*. But I got to see ice fishermen as the lake was almost totally frozen over, I saw geese flying sort of south, and ducks swimming in an open spot in the ice.

I got back to the house and checked my mileage and saw my total for the month was 39.6 miles. No! I quickly put my coat and shoes back on and went around the block. Ha!

If you would like to join me in my #walk365 project, use that hashtag or follow me on Instagram. I'm GibsonGirl726.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Real Life Menu Planning

I made this dry-erase menu board a million and six years ago.


If you've been around my blog over the years, you've seen it in several different kitchens now. It's simply a piece of burlap sandwiched between the frame and glass of a picture frame. The tags and stickers are squished under the glass too, then I write on it with permanent marker (a Sharpie) which erases with window cleaner (or just white vinegar on a paper towel). Dry-erase markers work too, but they don't show up as well with the darker burlap behind.

So I'll write this menu on there and we'll mostly eat the things it says one week, and there it sits. Never updated. This one is from last fall.

This year I'm trying this.


I've heard so many good things about menu planning. It's the only way to stick to your grocery budget. You never buy extra. You have so much mind freedom because you know what's for dinner. It'll make you rich and thin and an amazing wife and mother.

So there I sit while I work with one of my boys on his schoolwork. He works, Mommy works. I troll Pinterest and get ideas and write up a list of what we'll eat and what we need. I take my list to the store and several items aren't there or are really expensive this week and I end up getting asparagus instead of green beans, or not making an additional stop to get the Greek yogurt, or the sweet potatoes look awful and I refuse to buy them...


Or my sweet husband goes and makes breakfast early one morning and uses one of my ingredients for a meal later in the week. I'm not going to complain about him making breakfast (one of my least favorite chores--I'm so not a morning person), so things get switched up and crossed out and I'm STILL scratching my head at 4 o'clock, wondering what I'm going to come up with for supper.

Does that ever happen to you? Do you menu plan? Does it work? Maybe it's me, but I feel on the weeks I really plan out the menu I end up spending MORE at the store instead of being creative with pantry items. Maybe that's part of the learning curve with menu planning.

Paleo breakfast cake + berries sweetened with Truvia (a stevia blend you can use like sugar).

This week I literally planned my menu after I went grocery shopping. It was a lot easier! I guess I shop for staples and if I see a great deal on something or an unusual item falls into my cart, I plan for that to be a meal later that week. I like the flexibility of deciding any particular day what we will eat that night.

So I guess I'm not much of a menu planner. Some days soup just doesn't sound good. Other days I don't feel like cooking. And some days I do! Or I see something on Pinterest that I want to make right away!

Tossed salad with tomato bruschetta and grilled chicken.

Here's my tip, or at least what works for me. I keep my cupboards stocked with staples. I try to keep our favorite condiments on hand, from BBQ sauce (we all put it on our eggs), to Greek yogurt to peanut butter. I try to keep everything on hand to make basics: a pasta meal, some variation of rice and beans, tacos, soup + bread. Yes, there's a little headache each day, but to me it's easier than planning a whole week at a time.

How do you plan meals? Do your meal planning attempts help? What tricks do you have?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Real Life Homeschool


This year we have finally gotten into a good, sustainable routine with homeschooling. We don't spend a bunch of time sitting still and cranking out worksheets, but I do sit and work with my two oldest boys for awhile each day.


We have curriculum from My Father's World that I love and we'll come back to, but since most of December was spent unexpectedly at the grandparent's, I bought these mega books at Walmart and we've been working on them ever since. There's no rule you can't switch curriculum mid-year, right?


But what I really wanted to chat about today is where we work. Let's say it just evolved this way. If you recall, we have this adorable classroom/playroom.


As cute as it is, it wasn't meeting our needs. The other kids (including some that I babysit) need somewhere to play and make messes and it was hugely distracting to me to try to do school while that was going on. I also like to get up and do stuff while my pupil is working. Start lunch, write lists, check on stuff... All of which was in the kitchen.


Gradually I started having the boys work on a project at our little table in the kitchen and it just clicked. We have a little more space at the table, there's more room for those NOT studying to play, I can wash dishes or start the next meal, or whatever I need to do.


At first I was a little frustrated that I had this big classroom that we never use, but it is used, just not for school. It's great for all the supplies and for its other purposes-my sewing room, the boys' toys and books, and lots and lots of free play.


I bought two or three of these metal buttons at the dollar spot at Target last fall, and a couple the fall before. I moved out our school/art supplies where I could supervise them (in the kitchen) and ended up storing them on this lazy susan my father-in-law made.


It's perfect for glue and pencils and scissors and markers--and they came with the chalkboard labels! Adorable!

I keep some of our most-used workbooks and supplies like paper in a napkin holder, actually. You can see them and the lazy susan hard at work below.



 So where do they go when we're not using them? On top of the fridge!


No, it's not beautiful and perfect, but it's just what we need right now, so I'm going with it!


I didn't move the calendar and things out to the kitchen for several months. I just didn't want my kitchen to scream HOMESCHOOL, but school has gone better since I did move them. The boys see and talk about the calendar before breakfast. We have holidays and field trips to look forward to, and they've all learned how to properly say the date.


I find it handy that things are magnetic because it's on the side of the fridge right next to our table. Perfect solution!


Behind our bill-paying station is my command central. I'd love to have more storage for things like this, but this works for now. I have my babysitting schedule, doctor reminders and important numbers pinned to the inside of the cabinet door. On the shelves are things we sometimes need on the table for meals (peanut butter, salt shaker, trivets) and everything else non-cooking related, from essential oils to candles to UNO to cookbooks and lunch boxes. The stack of workbooks in the middle is where the others currently on the table are put away when it's meal time. (Finished work and so many more supplies and resources are kept in files in the closet in the playroom. That is a nice thing to have!)


So there you go! Now you know how we're making homeschool work with busy schedules and small spaces. I don't know if we'll always homeschool in the kitchen, but it's working now.

How do you homeschool? Or if your kids go to school, where do they do homework? Desks in their rooms? A homework station in your playroom? At the kitchen table?

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