I completed another piece of the nursery about a week ago that is definitely more on the artsy side, but I also required swinging a hammer a few hundred times. I really wish I was kidding on that part – I think I started to develop tennis elbow! But I really like how it turned out and it definitely has a handmade quality to it, which is what I was going for.
Albeit time consuming, this project was really easy. I first went to Jerry’s and bought a 1×12 board and had them cut it to 4 1/2 feet for me. (Seriously the cutting counter at the hardware stores is the best thing that’s ever happened to my crafting life!) Then I had the husband stain it with a dark walnut stain for me so I wasn’t exposing baby to too many bad smells. After a few days of it drying/airing out, I taped down paper the full length of the board and drew on the shape of the mountains and snow. Then it was as simple as adding nails every 1/4″ or so along the mountain ridges and the perimeter of the “snow”. I went with 1″ #7 wire nails and I went through almost four boxes. You do need a little bit of a head on the nail to hold the string on. Then I just added the white string (this kind) to create a defined pattern. I doubled around both sides (top and bottom of the nails) on the mountain ridges so they were more defined.
With breaks (and not counting Ben’s labor), I probably spent around 6-7 hours on this one. It is also one of those projects that didn’t turn out quite as good as the Pinterest inspiration, but I still really like it and I think it will be a cool statement-type piece in the nursery. The tentative plan is to hang it above the dresser/changing table.
More wall decorations are in the works and hopefully I will make a crib sheet soon so stay tuned!
Decorating the nursery for this sweet babe is the most fun and intimidating thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never started from scratch in a room and decorated it exactly how I want to (hence why I still use the dresser that was in my own nursery as a baby). There are just so many options, but also not so many because there’s these little things like a relatively small room and an even smaller budget. But I’ve got some fun ideas in the works and I plan to share them on here as projects get finished.
First of all, what’s the theme?? Good question. I would describe it as a kind of adventurer theme with touches of tribal and geometric prints. That’s the plan anyway. And it’s gender neutral because we’re those weirdos who are waiting for the ultimate surprise :) so there has been a lot of time spent on Pinterest scoping out ideas. A lot of time. I should probably stop. But I can’t.
But Pinterest led me to this wonderful little mobile DIY that can be found at here.
I really followed the tutorial pretty closely but I thought I would share my cell phone pictures to try to compete with the professional ones you can find in the other tutorial :)
It’s kind of tribal but also kind of cool and modern. I love it. And even with buying all the materials, it was way cheaper than buying a mobile.
I started out by painting the tips of the feathers gold on both sides. Then I wrapped the gold ribbon around the ring in what was supposed to be a more random pattern but actually ended up pretty symmetrical. I’m just an accidental perfectionist, what can I say ;) I glued each point that I wrapped the ribbon because it was sliding all over the place when I pulled it tight.
I really like it hanging in the window though. And there’s a little sneak peak of the crib. It’s actually white, not a natural wood finish like it kind of looks here. Darn that cell phone camera!
More nursery updates to come for sure. I definitely picked the easiest craft to start with!
As a side note, growing a human is kicking my butt these days. My whole body just aches, especially my lower back and stomach. I am happy that I get to be experiencing it, but it’s tough. And I’m only halfway!
Now that I’ve waited the appropriate amount of time of about a year between blog posts, I thought I would go ahead and throw one out there. The thing about summer is I think we have had two free weekends. Maybe. And those were back in June! We are busy on the weekends and busy getting ready for the weekends during the week. ‘Tis life I suppose. But the good news that I learned this week? When life get’s crazy, there’s always potato chips.
This past weekend I went to the Willamette Country Music Festival and to be honest, it was not the most healthy weekend of my life. And I felt horrible. Literally felt like everything I ate was just weighing me down until at least Tuesday this week. It was awful. So I had a renewed passion for healthy and clean eating. This week I made bagels for the first time. I want to keep looking for recipes but I think it was wildly successful for a first attempt. They were quite delicious. And I also made… homemade potato chips!
They are shockingly easy. You just slice potatoes really thin, fry them in coconut oil until they get beautiful and golden on both sides then sprinkle your seasoning on while they are cooling but still hot and slightly greasy. I just went with a simple sea salt but you could really put whatever seasonings you wanted on them. They were just amazing. So much better than regular potato chips. Makes me never want to buy them again. Maybe that’s the point. :)
These pictures kind of look like dried apples, but I promise they aren’t!
Some day I will hopefully own a mandolin slicer so the slicing is easier and more consistent but honestly, the ones where you only cut half the potato because you are trying to cut it so thin and it just slips off (am I the only one who has these issues?) are the crispiest and tastiest. And the slightly thicker ones are my favorite when they are fresh. They get perfectly crispy on the outside, while still being a little soft in the middle. Pure bliss I tell you.
Also, please promise me that if you make these, do not make the same mistake that I did! If you somehow don’t demolish the whole batch of these when they are fresh (I am to blame for this. Ben really wanted to) do not put them in the refrigerator. They turn into the equivalent of left over french fries. They look fine, but they never really return to their former glory. So just don’t even think about it :)
We have now been living in our house for 10 days and I am seriously in love. I’m more in love than I actually thought I would be. But our house is just so bright and happy and we still don’t have anything hung on the walls yet!
I’m quickly realizing though that everyone was right. Owning a house is a lot of work! There are so many projects that we want to do and none of them are fast and easy. Oh and they cost money, that’s the best part!
This weekend we:
– hit up a garage sale to shop for yard tools
– went to a farmer’s market for the necessities (raw honey and vegetable plants)
– Patched and painted (almost) all the holes in the walls left by the beloved previous owners. There were tons!!
– Tried out three different shades of light grey paint on our living room walls, none of which I think are the right color. Neither natural grey, graceful grey, or moth grey are quite right. Back to Home Depot we go. Luckily there are only about 80,000 shades of light grey, so I’m sure it should be easy enough to find something. ;)
But to-do list just goes on. I also have a secret to-do list that I tell Ben about in pieces so he doesn’t get too mad at me for trying to take up every free weekend we have for the next two years. But I can’t help it that I come up with the ideas, not execute them!
– Once we decide on a paint color, we need to actually paint the living room.
– Ben is tackling a fun little project of building us a dining room table. It will be beautiful and massive and something that I’m sure I will cherish forever. But it will definitely be his biggest woodworking project to date. I see it as a nice warm up for all the other projects I have planned for him :)
– We’re getting a dog. At some point. Relatively soon. We’ve landed on a goldendoodle and I am just thrilled. But we have to build a little doggie area both in the garage and outside. There is a lot to get ready. It’s like welcoming a baby. Ok maybe not that extreme but still. There’s lots of things!
There’s more on my secret to-do list, but we’ll talk about that later. As much work as it is going to be, it’s such a fun adventure. More than anything, I’m so happy I get to do it all with my best friend. Ok that was the only corny thing for the whole post but I felt like I was due because he’s just so darn great. Now that’s two. I better just end this before things get crazy.
Yes, I am failing again at blogging. But, you guys, it’s been so crazy. Good crazy. Maybe even crazy awesome :)
A few noteworthy happenings:
1. I am now 25 years old. One quarter of a century. Whoa. In my mind, I still think of myself as a 22-year-old recent college graduate. But no. I’m almost 3 years out of school and very much have a big-girl job and I’m married. It’s weird. Maybe I’ll feel 22 forever… Que the T-Swifty song now…
2. Also part of being an adult, is being a home owner. That’s right. The Tompkins’ are joining the full blown suburban life in Junction City. And this is our adorable house!
We couldn’t be more excited. Well, maybe if it came with some chickens in the backyard, that might tip the scales. But seriously, we’re pumped.
3. In a random moment of courage, I signed up for the Hood to Coast relay. As soon as I sent in my info, I wondered to myself what had just happened. I’m not a runner. The furthest I have ever ran is about 3 miles. Maybe. I might be making that up. That’s how long ago it was. But, somehow in the next 13 weeks I have to train for this thing. And I’m putting it out there on the internet so that I have another level of accountability. So make sure you ask me how it’s going in a few weeks.
4. We are puppy shopping. If you know of anyone who will be having a golden retriever litter soon, please let me know :) I would also settle for a goldendoodle. They look like teddy bears!
That’s pretty much it. Nothing too significant right??? Just kidding, life is crazy. But it’s good. So, so good :)
Do you see what I did there? Just a little Real World reference for ya!
A few months ago (ok, 9 months ago…) I wrote about my new quest to start eating more traditional, “real” foods. Since I’ve now been at this for the better part of a year, I thought you could use an update.
This is what I’ve learned:
1) It’s expensive. I’m talking $11/gallon for raw milk expensive. Holy cow! (pun intended) Cage-free, grass-fed chicken, eggs, and butter cost a whole lot more than conventional options. But there is also a very noticeable difference in quality. There have been a few times that the grocery store was out of the good eggs so we had to get regular eggs and it was quite honestly gross to me. They had no flavor and they were a funny color. So maybe that’s another observation… I’ve become a food snob! I’ll tell you what though, I have started to crave the raw milk, except for a time last week when I opened a new one and apparently didn’t shake it enough and it was like drinking straight cream. Interesting to say the least!
Our birthdays last year - lovin' us some raw milk!
2) It’s time consuming. I have successfully made sourdough bread, English muffins, waffles, and pancakes. I’ve started making my own coffee creamer because the Coffee Mate decidedly freaks me out. I made elk bone broth a few weeks ago. I’ve got my very first batch of kefir (it’s kind of like yogurt) in the works at home as I type. With the exception of a few failed attempts at the bread, these things have been amazing and I will definitely keep making them. But I literally feel like I could quit my job and spend my days souring and fermenting. Real food takes time, I know, but this has probably been the biggest limitation on this journey. We are so busy. And I know we will just get busier as life goes on. Maybe if I just stop sleeping, I’ll really have this thing figured out… :)
The best sourdough bread I've made to date!
3) There is so much to learn. There are so many books and blogs and diet plans to read about. It’s overwhelming. And it seems like everyone that writes these things has it all figured out. (That’s probably a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be taking advice from someone, well, like me!) For example, as I said, I’m making kefir right now. I have no idea what it is, except that it’s good for you and it has probiotics. And it’s kind of like yogurt. So I won’t even know if it turned out right or not. We’ll just have to see. But there’s essential oils. And fermented cod liver oil (see item #1 about things being expensive…). And the GAPS diet. And kombucha. Honestly the list goes on and on. It’s a slow process, this whole eating real thing. That’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for. I really thought that by now, Ben and I would be practically ready to move out into the country and live off the grid. But we’re not even close. Maybe in 5 years, I’ll post an article that I wrote while sitting on my front porch watching my chickens wander around the yard and listening to my cows moo in the distance. A girl can dream right??
4) It’s hard. It’s hard to be good and diligent. I suppose this the same for every diet. But I really tried to look at this as a lifestyle change, and not a diet plan. But sometimes a sister needs Nacho Cheese Doritos and there is no getting past it. So while I’m not calorie counting or even necessarily trying to lose weight, I still have at times fierce cravings for processed foods. I don’t know if that will ever go away.
5) It’s worth it. There was a week a few weeks ago when we ate awesome. Everything we ate was something that I had prepared and all of our meats were really quality. It was our best, natural-foods week so far. I also went for a run. But that’s a side story :) And the truth is, I felt awesome. I really, truly felt a difference. I was more awake. I didn’t have any cravings. Overall, there was an extra pep in my step. Since that glorious week, we’ve had not so good weeks. They haven’t been horrible, but they weren’t on that same level and feeling that good, has shown me how I really feel pretty mediocre the rest of the time. It’s motivating the say the least!
So what are my steps now that I’ve played in the real foods kiddy pool for a while?
1) I want to make a real conscious effort with meats. No more lunch meat. Only uncured bacon. Et cetera.
2) Explore the world of probiotics and fermented foods.
3) Look into essential oils. Not saying I’m giving up modern medicine, but it’s definitely an intriguing topic!
4) Outfitting our home with more natural cleaning and beauty supplies. I just placed my first order with The Honest Company and I’m pumped! I also plan to continue going “no-poo” for washing my hair. For those who have never heard of this, you wash your hair with baking soda and condition with vinegar. I only have to wash my hair every 4 days (which is by far the best part) and it really is so much softer than when I used shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been at it for about a year and it’s been great! Highly recommend it!
5) Just keep trying my best. That’s all you can do right? I only have so much time, so much money, and so much energy, so I’m just going to try to make the most of it!
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any tips! :)
It’s now a few days away from the new year and I’ve enjoyed reading other bloggers ideas on the best New Year’s resolutions to make and some of them are really insightful and inspiring. When I think back on 2014, I have very mixed feelings. For the most part, my life was full and blissful and happy and I am so incredibly grateful for those times. I will undoubtedly cherish them forever. I have also experienced some of the most trying and difficult times. But at least for now, I’m feeling like I will cherish those times too.
I was recently on Pinterest and saw this incredible quote:
“Every experience God gives us, every person he puts into our lives is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.”
It was the exact thing I needed to see. Through all of the downright crappy days, I still have God’s promises. I was recently talking to my brother-in-law and I said that I think the fact that Christian’s still go through hard times is one of the hardest things to accept as a believer. It is easier to rationalize bad things happening to bad people. But when they happen to you, that’s the tough part. That’s when you start to question why things don’t make any sense. But the beauty of the tough parts is that you get to see more of the incredible parts. Through my experiences this year, I was reminded of the truth in His promises and the joy that can be found in His unrelenting love. Through everything He was there, at times carrying me on, reassuring me that this moment was bigger than myself and that He had a plan.
So for 2015, my plan is to not have a plan. Because ultimately plans don’t matter at all. He can do all my planning for me. This whole idea of not planning is a huge deal for me. If you ask my husband, he will tell you – I love planning. I love to-do lists. I usually over-plan and then end up with no free time and it drives my husband crazy. I have big plans and little plans and little plans to get to big plans. If I could realistically have a checklist for everything in my life, that would just make my heart happy. But my plans never seem to quite work out, usually because I plan too much. I’ve heard people talk about when they just know that they are following God’s plan for their life. Things don’t seem to necessarily make sense or it isn’t the way they would have gone about it, but it always seems to just work out. So that’s what I’m going to strive for – just rolling with it. Even though having a plan to not have a plan is still in fact a plan.
When life gives me lemons, I will make lemonade. If life gives me honey bees, I will learn to make honey instead. From my apartment patio. Because my husband loves honey.
Of course, if life were to hand me a really fantastic, in shape body that I didn’t have to work for in 2015, I would take that too :)
Here I sit on a Friday night, watching a movie on Oxygen with my laptop in my lap. I’ve got my feet stretched out on the coffee table in front me and fresh coffee by my side. There are scraps of fabric all over the apartment from the dress I just made and pieces of freshly stained plywood drying on my dining room table. I’ve had a busy week and a busy evening and I am flying solo all weekend. This moment of independence has me thinking about one thing. How awesome it is to be married.
This past Sunday, Ben and I celebrated our one year anniversary. Now that I have been married for 369 days, I have a few thoughts on the matter.
1) If the first year of marriage is the hardest one, like everyone said it would be, I am pumped for the years to come. Of course we didn’t see eye to eye on everything and we got into little arguments sometimes, but the takeaway here, it’s awesome. You get to hang out with your best friend all the time (except on weekends when he leaves you to go hunting!). There is someone you can talk to about anything and everything. I know this sounds like basic, obvious stuff, but when you really stop to think about it, it’s so much fun.
2) Marriage wasn’t designed for my happiness. I love my husband. Truly. Madly. Deeply. Even more than a Savage Garden song. And he loves me. Just as much. But it isn’t his job to make me happy and it isn’t my sole responsibility to make him happy. Yes, we love making each other happy and there are days when it seems like the only thing I can get right is to make him smile. But I also make him crazy sometimes. I freak out about really silly things. I get way too grumpy when I’m tired and then get mad at him when he’s tired. I get it wrong all the time. But my wonderful husband is ok with it. Because he knows that I wasn’t created to make him happy. And this marriage thing is just a big, lifelong opportunity for us to practice forgiveness and grow as people as we strive to get it right.
3) A husband and wife are teammates. I think Ben needed to adjust to this more than I did. He was much more used to doing things on his own and we finally came to a point of realization that we are both happier if he lets me help him with things. Little things like making lunch for the next day if he worked late. I’m happier because we get done with the chores faster and get to spend more time together doing things we actually enjoy at the end of the night. But I think it goes deeper than that. I think there is something soul satisfying about helping others.
I know there are a million reasons people can attribute to getting a divorce, but I think one of the reasons in my completely-uneducated-on-this-subject opinion, is that people lose sight of the beautiful aspect of servanthood in marriage and our selfish, fleshly desires take over. I hope I always love serving my husband like I do right now.
So those are my thoughts for now. I’m sure I will have more ideas about marriage in the future. Maybe after day 370???
Yesterday afternoon, Ben and I finished watching The Office. We started at Season 1, Episode 1 about nine months ago and it all came to an end yesterday. I know it’s so silly and we sound like Netflix-junkies but we were near devastated when the reunion-style series finale came to a close. But as always, it was about so much more than a TV show.
Nine months ago we were true newlyweds. Like, “it’s still strange to come home to a boy in my house every night” newlyweds. In less than a month, we will be celebrating our one year anniversary. This show in a way helped define the majority of our first year of marriage. Many nights staying up way too late on a Saturday night just to watch “one more episode! Come on 2am isn’t that late!” Our marriage grew up right alongside Jim and Pam’s.
We spent the rest of the afternoon just reminiscing on the past three years of our relationship together and really our lives up until this point. Time is a funny thing. I’ve spent all three months of my 24th year of living thinking I was still 23, which sounds and feels so much better than 24. I know, I know. “Just wait ‘til you’re 50!”. I know that 24 is still really young in the grand scheme of things. But it feels like time is just bleeding away. Day by day. Hour by hour. 45 minutes each day sitting in traffic. 1 hour wait for a table at a decent restaurant. It all adds up and it’s weighing me down.
I guess there really isn’t a point to this post. I haven’t landed on some insightful thought that is going to make it all better. It’s just me taking a second to say that I wish it would all just slow down.
A few weeks ago I was able to go on an incredible trip with my baby sister to Costa Rica! It really was such an unforgettable trip that Stacie and I will remember forever. And we got to go just her and I, which was awesome. We’ve never traveled alone together before and it was Stacie’s first time on a plane since she was a baby. Talk about an adventure! :)
Probably the best way to share the trip is through photos, even though I don’t even think they are enough because it was just that beautiful there!
To kick off this travel party, we took a red-eye flight. There was A LOT of traveling. 4 flights. About 10 hours.
Portland -> LA -> Guatemala -> San Jose, CR -> Tambor, CR
This was when we were still excited about flying. Our first stop at the airport in San Jose (after the bathroom of course) was a coffee shop where we bought $8 coffees – but they were so worth it. The barista looked at us like we were absolutely crazy for ordering an iced latte. Apparently iced drinks just don’t happen there. But she figured it out!
We rode on this tiny, 15 passenger plane. They were so small that they weighed us (us, not our luggage) before we were allowed on the plane. I’m not sure what they would have done if we were over the weight limit…
But the domestic flight was awesome because we basically got an aerial tour of Costa Rica for free-ish!
This was the “airport” in Tambor – the little tiny shack at the end of a strip of pavement.
The hotel where we stayed was phenomenal. Incredible views overlooking the ocean. Gorgeous sunsets almost every night. Hotel Vista de Olas
This was the view from our room.
On our first day, we just lounged at the pool, recovering from the flight, getting settled in, and making friends with the hotel employees. We walked down to the beach and Stacie got to legitimately swim in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. She thought it was super weird that it was so warm!
Day 2: We went on an ATV tour to Montezuma Falls. We did some more swimming in the ocean and got to see a super old tree.
And we got to see lots of howler monkeys. They are awesome and cute, but also a little bit terrifying. They sound like a lion. (like this)
Montezuma Falls were really exciting! It had just rained so the water was pretty brown (like chocolate milk) but we got to jump off of the falls, which was super cool.
There was also a rope swing that I tried out twice. As it turns out, I’m really not that great at rope swings. In the rare case that you think this picture looks graceful, it really isn’t at all. But hey, I tried it, right?
On the hike out of the falls, we saw this big guy. Just an iguana chilling on the path. Not something you see every day, right? Unless you’re in Costa Rica. Our tour guide was not all that impressed!
Day 3: We went into town and did a little shopping. We found out from one of the store owners that Costa Rica was playing in the World Cup that afternoon so we decided that we ought to check it out. So there we sat in Nativo Sports Bar, watching as grown men cried, strangers hugged, and everyone danced when Costa Rica won the match. It was probably the craziest sporting event I have ever seen. Soccer fans are the craziest fans in the world. Cheers to excellent timing and wonderful memories! Oh, and Go Ticos!
Day 5: This was our last full day and also our busiest by far! We woke up at 6am and went on a fishing/snorkeling trip. It was beautiful out on the water.
Stacie caught a black tuna all by herself! Get it girl!
Then the snorkeling commenced. Stacie didn’t love it (at all) but we had fun getting all geared up!
Then seasickness struck and we headed in. After a little breakfast and vomiting, we naturally decided that it was a good idea to try out surfing. I thought it was really fun and I got up on the board about four times! It was so exhausting though. I like to relate it to doing a ton of burpees on a moving surface – not the easiest thing in the world! But our instructor was super nice and most of all, patient!
We got to enjoy incredible food. Fish tacos, pizza, sandwiches, pineapple jelly, it was all amazing.
I’m pretty sure we drank our body weights in smoothies while we were there. It was so hot and they just hit the spot every time!
Then, sadly enough, our short vacation was over. And we had to go home. A few more shots of the Tambor “airport”. Seriously people, check out this runway!
I already can’t wait to go back. New favorite travel destination for sure!
Until next time, Costa Rica!