Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ellie's Closet {Day 30}

Do you ever wish you had the perfect wardrobe? Everything coordinates, everything matches, everything looks amazing on you, and you don't have too much stuff.

Mine isn't like that. I have my share of complaints in that department, but you know the wonderful part of this virtual world?

You can change it!

So today I'm introducing you to Ellie's Closet. I'm not Ellie, by the way, nor is she me. She doesn't truly exist, remember? My name is Elizabeth and I was always called Lizz. Or Lizzard or E-Lizzard-Breath, or E-Lizzard-Buggers. Such a beautiful name.

I made up Ellie when I started this blog four years ago. I was shy and felt an alias would help me find my voice. I don't know how much of that is true, but for the purpose of this series, because I'm going to make it an on-going thing, Ellie is not me. Savvy?

Anyway, I spent way too much time this week developing Ellie's wardrobe on Polyvore. I thought I published the collection but then I couldn't find it anywhere and basically had to start over. The second incarnation isn't as perfect, but Ellie is working on that. You know, your own closet doesn't have the perfect everything!

I've purposely left Ellie's bio pretty vague. She could be a stay-at-home mom, but she really dresses nicely if that's the case! She might be a teacher. Or a secretary. Or a stay-at-home business owner. Or a work-at-home mom with client meetings on various days. She definitely goes to church most weekends and leaves her yoga pants and sweatshirts out of the wardrobe series!

The purpose of Ellie's Closet is to inspire. It's a mix-and-match approach with everything following a set color scheme. I can see Ellie getting tired a red by springtime and maybe changing it for a few pink things. Or feeling like her turquoise things need a break for the winter, you know, small tweaks. Ellie will once in awhile buy a new piece or two, but she'll play by the rules of having to get rid of something when she does that.

I'll be trying to do a What Did Ellie Wear weekly series starting in November, but for now, here's a glimpse of Ellie's basic wardrobe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Day in the Life {Day 29}

I'm always curious to know what "normal" looks like in your house. Since I always find these posts interesting and haven't done one since February, I thought I'd include another. Here we go!

6 AM. My alarm goes off. I turn it off and sleep for another hour. True story! I usually don't do that, but in this season of life I've been enjoying it. Gary doesn't go to class until later in the morning and the boys aren't up until 7. What's the rush?

7 AM. I sneak upstairs to take a shower, hoping the boys will sleep another 20 minutes. When they wake up they take turns in another bathroom, get dressed and make their beds before venturing upstairs. I look like this fresh out of bed:

Just kidding, but that's all you're getting.

My bathtub is in desperate need of a scrubbing. You can see baking soda and vinegar in the picture--I was trying to make the drain work better. It half worked. I used Dawn dish soap and a magic eraser on the tub and it's really nice and clean!

I finish up in the bathroom, including spending 5 minutes each on my hair and face, then this happens. Yay for a new mug from my birthday!

8 AM. Our favorite breakfast is oatmeal, of which Josiah is the biggest fan! We all eat together, including Gary.

8:30 AM. I watch this little girl about twice a week. She reads stories while we finish breakfast and start chores.

Each boy clears his own things from the table, and today is Jonathan's turn to do the dishes. He likes the job, likes water, takes forever and everything gets wet! I don't have to re-wash much, and it's great training!

Also, I let him play in the water after he's done. He is seeing if his lego boats are watertight. The results are mixed.

9 AM. Meanwhile, Jared and I are folding laundry. Since Josiah is still three, I wash his and Jared's laundry together once or twice a week, depending on how much dirty clothes they're producing. I don't sort, just dump it all in the washer. Everyone's laundry is done on a different day and it never gets overwhelming. Seriously, this has changed my life! Or at least my view of laundry.

Josiah "reads" a book, plays with a toy, or twirls in the living room until it's his turn to do a chore.

His job today is to sweep the stairs. It's not perfect (at all) but I'm not doing it today so it's better than nothing. And he's learning!

Next, Jared gets some one-on-one time with me for his school work. He loves school!

Josiah likes to copy his brothers, so I'm sure to give him "homework" to do too.

Jonathan is listening to Bible stories on CD. He loves them! He's learned so much about the stories in the Old Testament, especially. He usually builds something with blocks or legos while he listens. I find him in here during his free time too.

After that, it's Jonathan's turn for some workbook practice! The boys have supplemental phonics and math books to go with the My Father's World curriculum. We do have a time for calendar, a worship story, and a thought about the unit we're studying. Right now it's about animals.

The other boys play quietly until Jonathan is done with school.

I send the boys to the backyard to play, then cycle the laundry and tackle a chore on my list. The coat closet has gotten out of hand, so I spend 20 minutes taking things out, sweeping, and putting things back where they belong.

I also took the time to arrange a fall centerpiece for the table.

12 PM. Gary has come home from class and gone to work, making himself a lunch from leftovers. I fed the little girl I watch, then put her down for her nap before calling the boys in.

 Jonathan wants a fried egg on toast, so he helps fry them. Of course his brothers want the same thing.

1 PM. Lunch is over and the table is cleared. Each of the boys chooses a library book and we all sit on the couch while I read to them. Then each boy goes to a different room in the house to rest and play quietly for an hour. I set a timer, ignore the dirty dishes from lunch, and enjoy some downtime too. I feel guilty some days, but if I don't take the quiet and rest when I can, I get grumpy and overly tired later.

2 PM. The timer goes off. This is usually when we have another school cycle, but today is so beautiful and I know the nice days are numbered, so I let the boys play outside.

3 PM. I watch one boy after school a couple times a week. Today is one of those days and he gets dropped off by his dad. The four boys love to play together, and are soon climbing trees, making forts, looking for worms and slugs and whatever else it is that boys do.

4 PM. I take the little girl outside with me when I give the boys a snack. Gotta get some work out of this one too!

5 PM. The boy gets picked up, so I take the little girl and go inside. I start supper then feed her before her dad comes.

6 PM. All the extra kids are gone, the lunch dishes are done and supper is ready. Tonight we're having this, though I do regular noodles for the men/boys.

A House in the Hills 

6:30 PM. Gary comes home and we enjoy supper and catch up on the day.

7 PM. The boys and Gary go downstairs to take showers and change into jammies while I clean up the kitchen one last time.

7:30 PM. We have family worship where we read the boy's lesson from church, go over their memory verse, and sing a couple songs before having prayer together. We pray for baby Malcolm, Grandpa who has cancer, and Aunt Wanda.

8 PM. The boys are tucked into bed and kissed one or two or three last times. Gary studies or goes for a run or both, while I decompress on the couch. I read blogs, blog myself, or listen to Jane Austen read aloud.

9 PM. Or 9:30. Or 10. It's bedtime! Gary and I try to go to bed at the same time because it's our favorite time to really touch bases with each other. Gary tells me details about his day at work, what he's studying for, and how his run went. I share things the boys said and did, what we did for school that day, how my day went, and other things that get lost in the hubbub if we don't take a few quiet minutes together before we sleep.

So there you have it! A day in the life. What's a day like at your house?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall Votives {Day 28}

Image via BHG
We've been having a beautiful fall. I love the bright leaves, as you've noticed from my Instagram/Facebook feeds.

 Mom shared this jar + leaves + candle project with me, so the boys and I recreated it today.

We used Elmer's glue. Mod podge is better, but we're using what we had. We collected leaves--the fresher the better.

I kept it simple and didn't add the raffia, but I might add twine later.

The glow at night is so pretty! Try it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Baby Malcolm Update {Day 27}

Little Malcolm, my nephew, was a month old on the 25th! This week had some ups and downs, but from my perspective the overall progress is in the right direction. I am far away from this little guy, as he's in LA and I'm in Nebraska. I've never seen or held him and get my information through texts with his mommy and daddy (my brother). You can read more about Malcolm here, here, here and here.

If you're a careful observer, you'll see that Malcolm isn't using oxygen in these pictures! Of course they were all taken in one afternoon and he went back on oxygen later, but to me that's a huge deal! Just a few weeks ago, Malcolm was entirely supported by oxygen!

You can also see that he's drinking milk from a bottle instead of getting milk through a tube into his stomach. This is a sign of progress too! Isn't it super cute how his big brother is helping so carefully! Malcolm gained something like a whole pound this week, but I'm sure if his mom or dad read this they will correct me on several points. :)

So about the rest of the story... Earlier this week Malcolm took a couple steps back in his recovery. We think he was overly tired and stressed, but at one point he stopped breathing! This resulted in a whole list of tests being run to see what was caused it. Meanwhile his mommy caught a cold and while she's mostly over it, big brother and daddy now have it, and when you're sick you can't visit the NICCU...

Anyway, after all the tests, they found there was an infection in one of his heart valves which will require a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Which has to be given in his IV. At the hospital. For up to six weeks!

So there you go, an update in laymen's terms, as accurately related as I can. To summarize, Malcolm is doing better but this marathon isn't over yet. Thank you so much for your continued prayers. He truly is a prayed-for baby!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Whatever Makes Your Skirt Fly Up {Day 26}


There was a time in elementary school when I was asked or told or something by my mom that I had to wear a skirt once a week. So I did. At least until I got there. Most times I had a pair of jeans in my backpack and would change in the bathroom before school started. And change back before I went home. Sorry mom!

I pretty much skipped wearing skirts in high school. There was the occasional dress for church or a banquet (my private school didn't do proms), but it was the early 90s and the pantsuit was all the rage anyway. In college I either wore super short skirts to church (clearly my focus was off) or a few long ones when I did my student teaching. As an adult and a Kindergarten teacher, I would sometimes wear a skirt but they were always a chore--shaving, wearing a slip, finding shoes that worked, sitting at circle time with the students...

As a mom? Never. Not even to church. It was too hard to sit modestly with a baby or toddler or both. But with the popularity of the maxi skirt in the last few years, I started thinking how cute wearing a skirt could be. They were like dress-up yoga pants!

I finally bought one last summer and wore it to church a couple times. But I had a maxi DRESS and it was hard to style. I bought a maxi skirt this summer and wore that thing about three times a week! I soon bought another in a different color and practically lived in those two skirts this summer. And last summer's maxi dress? I cut off the top and had plenty of options with pretty blouses and scarves.

I'm not a fashion blogger and don't even have a full-length mirror right now, so you don't get any pictures of me. I'll work on that. But I've included a few other pictures (and original sources) for other real-life women and how they've made maxi skirts work for fall.

Lauren {Modern Modesty}
Lauren is a new mom and a teacher who also runs her blog all about modesty. She's great at putting outfits together and makes it a point to never wear the same exact outfit twice in a school year!

Jen's Friend {iCandy Homemade}
Jen made this skirt for her friend--I wanna be Jen's friend! She includes a brief how-to on her blog. Love the intersecting stripes and the bright cardigan!

MK {Outfit Posts}
This post is about a European vacation and how to pack for it. After practically living in a knit maxi skirt this summer, there's no other outfit I would prefer to travel in!

Jo-Lynne {jolynneshane}
I like how Jo-Lynne uses basic pieces and makes it fun with a skirt that has both a bright color and bold pattern.

Kimbo {A Girl and a Glue Gun}
 Kimbo made this skirt back in 2011, I think, but her tutorial is still there and the outfit is still current.

Medge {My Vougish Diaries}
 Medge is so beautiful, and I love the colors she mixed here. Message--mix and match and make it you!

Danielle {A Little Bit of WoWe}
Danielle is another teacher blogger who mixes and matches. I like how her scarf (and shoes) totally change her outfit. Danielle has lots of wardrobe building tips on her blog.

Rach {Family Ever After}
Rach loved this fabric so she made a skirt from it! I like her mix of colors and how her layers make it so appropriate for fall. Rach is about 7 weeks postpartum here and maintains comfy skirts are the best way to go while getting back into shape.

{Elle Apparel}
This link takes you to Elle Apparel, which goes to show maxi skirts aren't just for mommies and teachers! I like the colored t-shirt and structured blazer. I think that really dresses up a look that could be quite casual.

Lindsay {The Pleated Poppy}
Lindsay is known for her What I Wore Wednesday posts, and this outfit is from several years ago. Her charcoal skirt could go with almost anything! I like the simple stripes and a bright cardigan.

So what about you? Do you wear skirts? Are you a fan of the maxi style skirts?


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