Archive of ‘At Home’ category

So, I took a 30 day sabbatical

Yes, I took a 30 day sabbatical. For all of my adult life, I’ve been going full-throttle. School, work, parenting, more work, side work, fun work. You name it, I want to do it (and am determined to do it perfectly). It’s a blessing to love what you do, but sometimes it can also feel like a curse. Honestly, most days it feels like a tornado that ends with a migraine. (I bet some of you can relate.)

Here's what I learned when taking a 30 day sabbatical from work. How I planned, what I did, and what I learned from the experience.

So, when the company I have been working for for the last seven years (The Grommet) announced a new policy that would give me the chance to take a 30 day paid sabbatical, I was equally excited and nervous. I’ve taken a week vacation before (still checking in here and there) but this was an entire new level. I wondered if I could do it. (I also tried negotiating working one day a week during it so I could still get stuff done, I know…pathetic). In the end I took an entire 30 days off.

I wanted to share a few things that I took away from this experience. From the planning process, to how I spent my time, to what I learned when I took a step back and let things
go … for thirty. whole. days.

Here's what I learned when taking a 30 day sabbatical from work. How I planned, what I did, and what I learned from the experience.

The planning dilemma
I was stressing over what to do with my time off (what a first-world problem to have, I know). But you see, I want everything to be just right. When in my life will I get another chance to take 30 days off? I ran through several ideas. My first thought was to quickly plan an international trip. Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot (my favorite was to Maine last summer) but never outside of the US.  However, my husband couldn’t get that much time off, and traveling with a family of four is pricey. I ran through other ideas like volunteering my time, finally getting that passion project going I’ve been thinking about for years, creating a ton of content for this blog, deep cleaning my house (yes this crossed my mind), and more. In the end my husband asked me what I wish I could do every summer. And my answer? “Fun stuff with my daughters.” I work from a home office and summers are HARD. When the kids are out of school they are always asking to go do fun things and I am always saying “no” because I’m working. I keep business hours so hitting the beach on a Wednesday isn’t something we can just go and do. I realized that I wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted, and just have some summer fun. (more…)

How I Make Time for Creativity

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine. 

I spend a lot of my “free” time (late nights after work and after family time) crafting. But ironically, I also really always want to be sleeping. I know, the struggle right?! I find that the older I get, the more I truly value a good night’s sleep. But yet, I just can’t seem to let go of burning the midnight oil–I guess I still love DIY projects more. I recently made a few DIY sleep masks which seem to be the perfect representation of my current struggle–sleep vs. crafting.

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I snooze with a sleep mask every night. It just makes me feel like I’m forced to shut my eyes and tune out the world around me. Plus, I’m one of those that wake up at the first crack of light so this totally helps. I take them with me when I travel as well and seem to always be loosing them (I bet there are dozens left in past hotel rooms, ha!). So I recently decided to DIY a few to keep on hand and of course I had to put a personal twist on them with some fun sayings.

They are pretty simple to make (you know I don’t like a ton of steps). I’ll share more in an upcoming post, but basically you just create an iron on transfer and apply it to a blank sleep mask. So easy!

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Crafting is really a way to turn my creative juices on and have a little “me” time. Mostly happening late at night, but I also set aside one Sunday a month to tackle projects to share with you here. (Stay tuned for the DIY of these sleep masks coming this week!) I often get asked how I manage this blog and also work full time. Well, this is it. I just carve out time to be creative and get things done. No big secrets over here! Those all-day Sundays set aside for creating are really important to me because they allow me to create for the weeks ahead.

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I kick those days off with a delicious carafe of coffee which keeps me going. I’m really enjoying Folgers Simply Gourmet coffee (I picked it up at Walmart). It’s made with natural flavors and I appreciate that it’s not overly sweet. I’m not a big creamer fan so having a hint of vanilla feels like such a treat.

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Whether I’m enjoying some crafting time or just lounging in bed on the weekend, I love a warm cup of coffee to keep me company. Folgers Simple Gourmet also comes in Natural Cinnamon, Natural Chocolate, and Natural Caramel (you can see them, here). I think I’ll make it a goal to try all of the flavors :)

What does your “me” time look like? Are you a reader, a crafter, a binge watcher? Tell me in the comments! 

You Had Me At champagne Popsicle

Summer is speeding our way. I want to say “bring it on” but honestly, I start thinking of how much time I have left to “get ready.” You know all of those boxes that need checking before you can fully embrace summer and “check out” a bit yourself? For me it’s things like making sure I’ve planned summer trips (have you ever tried booking a beach campsite in southern California? You have to plan six months ahead–no joke), get kids’ activities and camps ironed out, coordinate dates for a family vacation, find bathing suits for yourself + two growing daughters, uh-hem… get into shape. The list goes on. But boy do I LOVE summertime. This summer should be extra special because I’ll be taking some extended time off of work to hang with my girls. I. Cannot. Wait.

Here’s a few things I’m currently dreaming of for this summer.

Wait for it…..boozy pops!

boozy popsicles

Can you even believe these boozy popsicles? I am ALL about the frozen drinks when it’s 100+ degrees outside. I recently discovered these pops and got super giddy. Looks like they are not yet available in the US (can we petition or something?!) so I might have to try my hand at a DIY version. Don’t they just sound wonderful? Boozy pops sound like the perfect summer cocktail to me! (more…)

Coffee break + chocolate sprinkle stir spoons

It’s really no secret around my house that I love coffee. Morning, afternoon, evening … I can’t resist a delicious, steamy mug.

chocolate spoons

I recently shared how the Mr. and I are taking back our weekends (or at least Saturday mornings) by having our own standing coffee date. And while that plan is still going strong, I, of course, find several other times throughout the week to enjoy some me-time with a little coffee break.

make chocolate spoons

The new Starbucks® Caffé Latte K-Cup® pods have really become my new favorite thing. They taste so delicious that I find myself looking for moments throughout the day to brew a cup and just take a break. Perhaps we should all do more of that–step away from work and take a moment to just reflect and hit the pause button.

chocolate spoon for stirring

coffee spoons

Over the weekend, I made these chocolate spoons (with sprinkles of course) with my girls. They love to use them to stir their hot cocoa, and I’ve discovered they are the perfect addition to my afternoon coffee. What says “perk me up” better than coffee and chocolate?

coffee-spoons

To make the chocolate spoons, you simply dip a spoon into melted chocolate and then top with some sprinkles. Once they set (about 15 minutes on the counter) you can store them in an airtight container to use during the week. When you’re ready, just stir it in your Caffè Latte and enjoy!

Stir, Sip, Enjoy. Signature Starbucks® latte flavors, now available in a K-Cup®

Slowing down the weekend

Weekends around here feel somewhat like a blur sometimes. We work all week, run around with school, sports, and activities, and then BAM–we have two “free” days to pack in all the other commitments, grocery shopping, and household chores. Before we know it, we’re staring Monday right in the face again. Can you relate at all? Surely I can’t be the only one who feels like she blinks and the weekend vanishes. 

Starbucks latte at home

I’ve come to accept that I cannot technically make the weekend last longer, but I can maybe slow it down (even for just a moment). In an effort to slow down for a few minutes at the start of each weekend, the Mr. and I started have a Saturday morning coffee date–in our pajamas, while at home. No rushing out the door, no scrambling to get ready or be somewhere special. Just the two of us holding hands at the Keurig® machine (okay maybe it’s not that cheesy, but you get the idea).

make a starbucks latte

This is a whole new idea to us because typically you’d find us scurrying through the nearest Starbucks drive-thru window on our way somewhere. But with the new Starbucks® Caffé Latte K-Cup® pods, we now have our favorite coffee at our fingertips. This, my friends, is worth celebrating. It’s such a nice time to enjoy our favorite flavors and spend some quality time together–He loves the Caramel Caffè Latte and I typically go for the Vanilla Caffè Latte!

how to make a starbucks latte

These Caffè Latte K-Cups® come in three delicious flavors, which means you can have a little variety. Although vanilla is my go-to, I do like to change things up between all three (mocha, vanilla, and caramel) while the Mr. sticks with his favorite, caramel.

starbucks-latte-keruig

I also like to add a little breakfast treat to our routine. We just have to wake up early enough so the kids don’t get to them before we do! What do you think? Could your weekends use a slow-down plan?

Stir, Sip, Enjoy. Signature Starbucks® latte flavors, now available in a K-Cup®

Simple Ways To Spruce Up Your Space For Fall

Decorate for Fall

Now that fall is here, it’s a great time to add a few seasonal décor touches to your home to welcome the season. I don’t like going overboard when decorating my home for seasons or holidays, but I do welcome the chance to add a few new elements that speak to the time of year. Here are four ways you can easily spruce up your space.

1. Decorate a chalkboard sign with a seasonal message. Don’t have a chalkboard? No problem! Pick up a small can of chalkboard paint at your local craft or home improvement store and transform any surface into a chalkboard, like I did here.

2. Dress up your fireplace mantle with pumpkins and orange candles for a warm autumn look.

3. Add fall flowers to your container garden or potted patio plants. Adding yellow, red, and orange hues to your potted plants is a nice way to tie in the season.

4. Set your dining room table with a table runner and placemats that have a touch of the fall season. Try a warmer color or a fall pattern.

 

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