We are almost to Week 35, and this post has been sitting in “draft mode” just waiting for me to finish it.
So, here is goes!
Some really awesome things are happening with Harrison. First, he is starting to really obsess (in a good way!) about cooking. The second we pull the Instant Pot, pan, ingredients, etc, out and onto the counter he is running into the kitchen going “I do it! I cook! I get my stool!”
It’s so much fun to see him grow in passions. Both Dave and I have a huge love of cooking, so I hope that we pass that along to both our kids.
I personally applied to be a pin rep for MerPinz (I’ll create a blog post on all my pins shortly. I am a tiny bit obsessed). Sarah Lou shared my picture on her Instagram feed and I felt like a celebrity! 🙂
Harrison wound up with a weird allergic reaction 3 days in a row! Thankfully some eyedrops and meds fixed him right up. We haven’t had an issue with it again… but on top of his need for an inhaler whenever he gets sick – as well as sometimes when he is not sick – I think we are going to talk to our Pediatrician about getting him allergy tested. I know Harrison will absolutely hate it, but I think it’ll be good as we navigate the school age years that are creeping up on us fast.
I also finished my first crochet project in about 15 years. Harrison loves the little guy (named him Big Dude) and now takes him everywhere. I did a pretty bad job sewing the appendages on, because flash forward a week and I’m already needed to take Big Dude to emergency surgery and sew everything on a LOT tighter and more secure.
Lastly my sweet (and destructive!) Hailey. Her amazing accomplishments this week are pulling herself up and purposefully saying “Dada” when Dave walks by. It’s such a treat to be able to watch all of her little milestones. Sometimes they happen so quickly I miss getting them in her baby book. Thank goodness for cell phones because often I find myself on the weekends using images and video to recall events as I try to keep both of their baby books alive.
I’ve decided to start making a little weekly update on our lives. I would love a place that my kids can look back and read all the fun (and boring) things that we have done.
A few of you might remember about a year ago I decided I wanted to do “project life”. I never got that up and going as an actual “scrapbook”. I do use the Project Life application that I absolutely love, but we will see if I actually get everything printed. (I will get it printed, I know I will, but the kids might be on their way to college).
The most important thing that happened this week was Dave’s students graduated. Not only from school, but from their XRay Tech program. These are the first group of students that Dave had from start to finish (the full two years) so they will always hold a special piece of his heart. Graduation also allowed us to get a picture of all 4 of us together – a rare gem.
Something I’ve been aware of is there are TONS of pictures of the kids and Dave, but few of me and them. I am the family photographer, which causes me to be behind that camera more than in front of it.
As I become more and more self aware in this… I feel that it’s really important for me to keep up on this weekly blog. I might not be in all the pictures, but I WILL be in the memories through words. And, you know what? I’m okay with that. ❤
As we downsize in prep to live tiny, I will confess, I have a problem with wanting to hold onto WAY too many “things”. I have a tendency to create emotional attachments for several reasons, and I’m slowly (or not so slowly) working through my bonds on things and making the hard decisions.
Letting go of something that costs a lot of money.
Have you ever been here? I am with a few things: our bed, our two La-Z-Boy recliners, and our dinning room table. These items tug at my frugal heartstrings. I don’t want to let them go because I never want to spend that type of money on those items again.
We could store them, but that’s just more money being spent. These are not items that are going to increase in value. I know this, I understand this, and I realize logically that we should sell them. I still have a really hard time pulling the trigger.
I’ve decided that for me, I need to let them go all at the same time. I was going to sell them one at a time as we started downsizing (plus the $ that we got from them would be nice NOW), but being so attached to them, I think that seeing them all go at once will keep me focused on the goal of tiny living.
Letting go of things that someone I love gave me.
Maybe it’s a hand me down. Maybe it’s a small gift. Regardless, it is always something that someone said “this reminds me of X” or “X would love this!” and because of the thoughts & love behind it… I struggle to let it go.
My rule here? Find someone that would equally enjoy/love the thing. Make sure that if you do decide to let it go, it’s going to go somewhere worthwhile.
These are items I would never donate or sell. I can’t bring myself to it. Plus, by giving away I am able to keep my emotional bond for the item through someone else.
Letting go of things that someone I love gave my children.
Same rules apply here, except I have no problem gifting to someone who is gifting to someone else. I might not be able to see the item cared for and loved, but I was so thankful to be gifted several items for both of my children that knowing items are going to someone in need makes me happy.
I gain a different type of emotion, and I truly enjoy it.
Letting go of things from my childhood / teens.
This one is pretty dang easy – I take a lot of pictures (or scan items) and organize them in an online Dropbox account.
There are few things that I have opted to keep (yearbooks, a baby cradle made just for me, my high school ring, baby blankets, some artwork, a journal, etc), but those are few and far between. Everything else had a picture taken, and then was lovingly let go.
Being okay with keeping.
We are working hard to downsize, and maybe you are too. That said, be okay with keeping some things! You can and will find the room. It’s A-O-Kay if you want to have a storage unit. I’ll be honest, we have one. It’s small, but it’s just the right size for some of the overflow of things that are just a bit too big for the fifth wheel.
This allows me to keep books that I love, a few toys that are too large (not fifth wheel friendly) for Harrison to have NOW but when we go “big” again, they will still be age appropriate and he will be so excited to have them.
Every month or so I add a little to storage, and I get rid of a little in storage. It’s all about balance. ❤
This recipe is a favorite of mine because you throw everything into a pan, stir over medium heat, and boom… you have Play Dough.
This allows my 2.5 year old to help measure and dump the ingredients while the pan is cool, and then stir the ingredients while the pan is hot. My attention can be 100% on him during the “heat” portion of the recipe (nothing else has to get added) and he can watch his Play Dough go from a liquid to a solid!
Most of these ingredients are staples found in the pantry, and I ordered the cream of tartar & food coloring off of Amazon. The food coloring is not necessary, you can always go without and have some “all-natural” white Play Dough.
Easy Play Dough Ingredients
1 cup salt
2 cups of flour
2 cups of water
4 teaspoons of cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Food Coloring (optional)
Easy Play Dough Directions
In a large pan mix all of the ingredients (minus food coloring) together.
Place the large pan over medium heat and continue to stir the mixture continuously. After a few minutes over the heat, it will start to thicken.
When the mixture is the consistency of dough (it’ll pull off the sides of the pan), pull it out and kneed for 30 seconds to a minute on the counter.
(optional) Add food coloring. I recommend experimenting since every type of food coloring is unique! Start off with a little at first, then add more for richer and deeper color. You’ll need to continue to kneed the dough to spread the color throughout.
That’s it! This Play Dough is soft and pliable, and you get a LOT for a low spend. Depending on the day, sometimes we will split the dough into 2 (or more) sections after step 3 and add different colors to get 2-4 colors from one batch.
I wasn’t really prepared for what Tiny Living meant. I mean, I knew we wanted to do it. I knew we wanted our house to “roll”, and I knew that we wanted to get going on this dream ASAP while the kids were still small.
Small kids, small house. Amirite?
Then suddenly Loraine the Fifth Wheel was parked and leveled in our yard.
I started With the Closets
I already had a capsule wardrobe. I had downsized my own closet years ago. I didn’t force Dave into that lifestyle, but oh boy – I wish I had. We started rummaging through this clothes and there was a LOT that was just unnecessary & unused. It took a day (yes, a full day!) to go through everything on his side of the closet, but in the end he wound up with the items that 1) fit him best 2) coordinated 3) were his favorites.
If you are considering the tiny lifestyle (or even if you are interested in simplifying your life), I highly recommend starting your very own capsule wardrobe immediately. It is a good litmus test to see if your personality can handle living small. More on how to do start this in a later post.
The Bathrooms Were Next
I should have started here. This took less than 2 hours. I was shocked at how much medication was just sitting in our medicine cabinet expiring. I was also shocked at how many “samples” we had collected. Why had I never used these?
I pulled everything out, and repacked only the needs.
Hair brushes & hair dryer, hair products, facial products, makeup, deodorant, medications, toothbrushes & toothpaste, soap, towels… everything else was either tossed or it was given away. Honestly, I think the bathroom is a place where things get stored and slowly die.
On to The (Dreaded) Kitchen
Here is a pro-tip: always measure your tiny kitchen BEFORE deciding what is going to be kept. I made the mistake of not doing that… and I wound up trying to pack a bunch of pans that didn’t fit in our tiny stove. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was pretty annoyed.
I also recommend cooking the family favorites for 2 weeks! Anything you used… keep. Past that, you really don’t need much more. There are awesome things that make life a lot easier, but if you only use them here and there what is the point on storing them?
For example, we opted to keep the mandoline but ditch the food processor.
I do make bread every week, so the mixer (heavy and bulky) has been kept. Funny enough, it’s going to be stored under the bed. I use it a lot, so although it takes a lot of space, we will be grateful to have it.
The Kid Rooms
I knew the crib for our daughter and the full mattress our son uses were not fifth wheel friendly, so they were not even considered. The pack-n-play is perfect for the littlest, and a friend and fellow blogger (This Side of IF) had just bought the Nugget Couch for her littles (and recommended it to us). After checking it out we couldn’t resist! It’s lots of fun to play on, and the perfect sleeping location for Harrison.
I bought a “bean bag” chair for all of the stuffed animals, and started making the hard choices when it came to toys. I opted to pack only toys that would keep growing with Harrison & Hailey. Those items that had a short lifespan were not packed. Puzzles, books, blocks, vetch cars (go! go! smart wheels), and Thomas trains are good examples of those items that I feel will stay entertaining for the upcoming years. With limited space, the items I kept needed to have maximum entertainment life.
I kept the playdoh (homemade) and the coloring books as well. Not the cleanest option – but super fun and hours of fun. Oh! I also kept all of the magnets! They live on the front of the stove in the fifth wheel now.
Some examples of things that didn’t make the cut: door bouncer, baby walkers, large add ons for the mega blocks (a fire truck and ride on dump truck), very basic puzzles, the baby shark cube (this one might have just been for personal reason).
Then, the Miscellaneous
I guess our bedroom isn’t “miscellaneous”, but we lived so little time in there outside of sleeping… for me it fell into that category. The side tables were cleared out in less than 45 minutes. I also found an amazing jewelry storage option for the closet. I do think it’s a big pricey at $20, but I went from a jewelry box almost the size of ME to this. I was a bit embarrassed realizing that I should have moved to this option years ago.
Extra blankets, clothes that I (fingers crossed) will fit back into post-baby weight drop, baby clothes that I just can’t part with, and jackets/hats/gloves, and towels all went into space saver bags.
That’s it! It was a great purge and I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. Living tiny is forcing us to be more “purposeful” in the items that we want to surround ourselves with. Not to get all “Marie Kondo” but the Fifth Wheel truly does only have those things that “spark joy” in our lives.
Don’t forget to follow the journey over on Instagram ❤