Thursday, June 23, 2016

practical over perfect: magic soap

One of the areas where I'm trying to choose to be practical over perfect is home decor. I have a deep love for decorating that goes back to being a little girl with the JCPenney catalog, but if there's one thing I've noticed over the last 15 years of having my own home it's that no decor or style lasts forever.

That thing- the thing I just loved (2002: fruit patterns, sage green, and Waverly bedspreads, 2003: beige walls and ivy-topped cabinets, 2006: coffee-themed wallpaper border and reds, 2009: black cabinets and damask print, 2012: turquoise-painted everything and chevron, 2014: modern farmhouse and industrial furniture, 2016: mid-century golds and kilim rugs etc., etc., etc.) will soon be out of date and in the garage sale for a small percentage of what I paid for it. 

I don't want to live under that subtle pressure of having the newest or the prettiest thing that keeps me known for being with it. But of course I used to enjoy that feeling, so it's a battle with my flesh and my spirit to just give it up and stop caring altogether even though I don't really want it anymore. Confusing, much? I know.  I want my eyes to be above on Christ alone, even if I have to figure out decorating things like what to do with this mudroom, which counters to choose, and what to put on that empty wall. So here I am, in real life, kind of stuck in the middle of this and trying to navigate the heavenly-minded vs. earthly-minded waters.  But I'm so imperfect; so not the best at this. It feels hard to talk about it at all if I don't have it all figured out, but I'm telling you anyway.

Here is one of my latest practical over perfect revelations- our mudroom sink:

This was intended to someday be a pretty cold water fountain, but for now it's an IKEA sink that functions as both sink and warm fountain. :) It's great, and it's working for now, but the main struggle we have in every washing area is SOAP. We never have enough soap, it's all over everywhere, and the containers end up turned over and completely empty for guests. I really can't seem to buy enough to keep up with our constant soap needs. :D

But then I spotted this at Sam's Club the other day and thought...

Wait, that's a lot of soap in that refill... I could get a refillable dispenser for.. $6...NO. That's commercial- it's too embarrassing!!! NO.... but... it would work so well, no more messes all over the counter... maybe... it would be practical over perfect and I don't have to care what other people think, I have 6 kids and never have soap! Yes....I'm doing it! 

I bit the bullet, mounted those babies with their adhesive tape, and haven't looked back. :D We love these things!! Hideous and all, they work and the soap is cheap and there's a ton of it. 2600 applications per container to be exact. :)

So now you've seen something I consider kind of ugly but necessary and extremely useful in my house. I figure if I get over the "embarrassing" hump by posting things like this, this whole practical over perfect thing will get easier and easier. :D 

(And hey, I have plenty more of these to work on! :P)

What's something you consider to be practical over perfect at your house? Post it on IG or Facebook and tag me (@bhomemaking or FB @Biblical Homemaking) with #practicaloverperfect if you have one to share, I would LOVE to see it!! :D 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

goodbye to-do lists (for now)

Our Father's Day weekend started out strong (and in manly fashion!) with this giant stuffed garlic chicken veggie pizza:

Our traditional family movie night:

And this secret message Rob had to decode to find out what the kids wanted to give him:

And then on Sunday we had so much fun surprising him with a fun Father's Day video we made...

But then to-do lists and all kinds of things get thrown out the window when you have sick little baby at home on Monday.

Zaner had the same tummy problem over the weekend, but it was random and spread out and confusing. This little lady got it full strength for the first time. Poor sweet thing doesn't know what to do with these terrible new feelings. :( 

Toddlers and crawlers require more effort than usual when they're not sick, but this summer these little people are really keeping us on our toes. :)

Soon enough though they will be medium-sized people like these:

And I'll be wondering where the time went and how I ever got anything done at all with this many little people to care for. :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

favorite eats: old loves + trying new things

I'm not sure if you heard about the great Blue Bell debacle we had here in the South last summer, but I'll sum it up for you: we, like the rest of Texas, couldn't buy ice cream for 8+ months. Devastating, I know.

You'll have to taste it to believe it, but there is just no store-bought ice cream worth eating other than Blue Bell. You can't ever go wrong when you pair Homemade Vanilla with warm berry crisp (from this cookbook):

One item on our summer bucket list was to make coke floats with it:

All that sugar may be offensive in one post, so here, quickly avert your eyes to something slightly healthier-- spaghetti squash with homemade meat sauce:

And this is my new favorite combo- roasted cauliflower with buffalo sauce:

I'm so about the spicy foods right now. Again, the non-pregnant, less-nursing hormones right now make me feel like myself when it comes to food. :D I'm digging all kinds of tangy hot flavors, so when I saw these babies at the store I couldn't resist trying them for $2:

They were so yum I ate them for breakfast. I'm not even joking. :D (They are long gone now but my mouth is watering thinking about it!)

And oh, what is it about salty food? When Rob and I went to IKEA last week we stopped and ate at little Greek place that had great reviews. (We're learning to fully trust Trip Advisor and Zomato- they are always right!!)

We tried spanakopita for the first time, and all I can say is WOW:

And for the first time ever I had a chicken gyro plate with tzatziki dip and salad:

I'm not sure what that meat had in it but eating it all together was delicious. I would do that all over again. I feel inspired by all the Greek recipes I just found, so it may be sooner than later! ;)

Gyros? Yes or no? 
I was a maybe before last weekend, now I'm all 100% yes. 

Sriracha? Yes or no?
I surprisingly don't like the sauce itself much, but with lime and a pretzel cracker it was so good. :D

Blue Bell? Yes or no?
Just joking... that wasn't actually a question. ;)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

my new favorite homemaking hack: the bulldozer

You may remember my great love for homemaking shortcuts.... :D Well, ever since we moved to the new house I've been trying to get a handle on keeping the floors clean. We've come to see that a bigger kitchen means more to maintain, and now we find ourselves spending 30-45 minutes cleaning up after each meal with a great deal of this time spent sweeping the floor.

But with our concrete floors, the wheels scratch and leave scuffs everywhere. It was back to sweeping again, so this time last year we bought a broom for everyone:

If only that made cleaning faster! ;) It did speed it up of course, but now each kid gets to stand around holding their own broom instead of arguing about who's supposed to sweep. :P

One day I had an idea-since our floors are smooth concrete:

Why not use a push broom??

I found this soft surface one at Lowe's- the bristles are dense enough to pick up small debris and super soft so it won't scratch:

It's called the "bulldozer" for a good reason- it works really fast and covers twice as much as a regular broom! The only downside is that we don't have a full-sized bulldozer dustpan yet (I think they might make them?). :D

Even without the matching dustpan, I'm really happy with this ginormous broom! It's one of those things that just works and makes you so happy. :D

Oh, the homemaking hacks you'll try when you have six small people living with you. :D 

How do you keep the floors clean with lots of littles?

What's a crazy homemaking hack that's been working for you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

it's finally back + menus & goals this week

So we found the toaster deal at Costco, my favorite warehouse store ever. :D

We bought the executive membership a couple of years ago, and it didn't benefit us enough so they refunded us the loss toward a new year. I was ridiculously happy to get to grocery shop there for $6.47! Oh, I missed this so:

We live a good two hours away from the nearest store, so Rob told me to stock up on everything that we can't buy at Sam's Club. I had no problems with that. :D

Here's our cart after we finished (this is what $450 looks like in mostly lettuce, veggies, and carbs):

We stocked up on spinach, apple chips, figs, Larabars, unsweetened applesauce, old-fashioned oats, fat-free refried beans, and salmon.

And I earned a pretty good step count after running, IKEA and Costco in the same day (though we only went to part of IKEA to pick up a specific item so less than usual there):

I'm amazed at how long it takes to get to 15k steps in a day! I realized when I started keeping track of my movement that I don't move nearly as much or as far as I think I do. :)

I accomplished most of my goals last week, but a couple fell by the wayside so I'm repeating those again. Here are my menus and do, read, learn, and be goals for this week:

monday: dinner date (this was fun)
tuesday:  grilled chicken salad or dinner out depending on Rob's schedule :P
wednesday: crockpot cilantro chicken tacos + rice 
thursday: beans, leftover rice + homemade salsa
friday: pizza
saturday: meat + baked potatoes + veggies
sunday: leftovers or breakfast food like French toast


// do //
teach fitness classes 
get 10k+ steps 4-5 times this week
walk with the kids 2-3 times (it's getting so hot and humid here!)
work on closet project upstairs
catch up on weekend laundry + put away
look for pantry shelving
clean house for family dinner
order Father's Day gifts + remind the kids
order 2 house items we've been saving for
plant new bushes in flowerbed (mulch is done, and I found two nice bushes at the nursery)
do 1 fun summer activity with the kids: try Indian food

// read //
Keeping a Quiet Heart* by Elisabeth Elliot (3-4 chapters- I lost the book! Must find.)
Daily Bible reading (Colossians)

// learn //
spend two more hours studying for new fitness certification
study Hinduism 

// be // 
hospitable - invite our next-door neighbors over for dinner this week. I have been nervous to do this because our house isn't perfect, or completely finished, but I need to get over that fear. :) I have at least a year plus of hosting dinners to catch up on! :P

What's on your list this week?

Do you ever have a hard time being hospitable if your house isn't in the state you like it? How do you overcome that?
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