It may sound cliche, but our home, especially around the holidays, has been the setting for my most treasured adult memories. In the spirit of love and gratitude, I partnered with Esurance for a little stroll down memory lane. When we first bought our home we knew that it was where we wanted to build a life together. It needed a lot of work and elbow grease, heck it still does, but it's ours and that makes it pretty great. Plus, she dresses up pretty nice for the holidays. Nine years ago Jason proposed to me beside our first Christmas tree. And two years later I went into labor with Jude under the twinkle of holiday lights. The following year we decided that we didn't want to leave home on Christmas so we started hosting it ourselves. Each Christmas our little home is packed to the brim with family and friends, cozy and joyous.
For those of you who follow me on social media this isn't exactly "news" but I started a podcast with my best friend! We are both addicted to listening to them and decided to add our two cents to the ever expanding new fangled "air waves". So this post is one part shameless plug (we are one of the ten listed) and one part excuse to share my favorite podcasts and hopefully get you hooked! Seriously, podcasts make chores so much better! I listen to tons of them, but these are the ones that I absolutely never miss an episode. And I'm keeping the list to women because I love me some girl power. I could listen to Roman Mars read the phonebook and Tim Ferris has taught me a thing or two, but in my totally biased opinion, it's the ladies who are dominating this new media like a bunch of bosses. These podcasts are helpful, funny, or both, and I know you're going to like them too!
I have so much I want to say post election, I have started and stopped countless posts. I intend to share my thoughts, but I'm just not ready. In the meantime I wanted to encourage my readers to practice self-care. You need it, you deserve it. One thing that I always find soothing is knitting. The meditative quality of creating fabric with your hands is one of my favorite ways to practice self-care. I find it calming and centering, except when I lose count or make a huge mistake, ha! In fact, I've been working on two new patterns that I plan to share soon!
But if you're looking for something to knit right now I've got you covered. Did you know that I always submit my patterns to AllFreeKnitting.com? If you don't already know about this incredible site, I encourage you to check it out. You can find fabulous knitting patterns and they are all FREE! Some of my favorite knitters have patterns featured there including Anne Weil and Shannon Cook!
Here are the links to my free patterns all of which are designed with the beginner in mind! I've included the link directly to the pattern on small + friendly and it's page on AllFreeKnitting.com, because you can save and make notes on all the patterns you find on the site, which is really helpful if you're a project collector like me!
Want to make an adorable hat in less than two hours? I've got the perfect super simple pattern for you! With the help of super bulky yarn this hat comes together lickety-split! If you are new to knitting I've included links to helpful YouTube videos, if you can knit and purl, you can make this hat! And if you are an experienced knitter you can cast on and bind off in the time it takes to watch a couple episodes of your favorite show, might I recommend Stranger Things or Call the Midwife?
If the little bear ears aren't your thing you can simply opt for a single pom pom or leave them off all together. In the interest of simplicity this beanie has a very basic decrease and can be made smaller or larger with very little fuss. The pattern is written for a toddler/little kid but at the end of this post you will find tips for making baby or big kid sizes.
Knit 1, Purl 1 to create a simple rib until your work measures 8 inches
Knit 2 together (K2tog) for two rows until ten stitches remain (if not using magic loop you will need to pull your cable out at intervals and muscle it a bit, but I promise it will look good when you're done)
Cut the working yarn, leaving a long tail
Weave that tail through the remaining stitches as you remove them from the needle, pull tight and secure with one knot.
Make two pom poms by wrapping yarn around three fingers, tying it at the center with a piece of yarn, cutting the loops, and trimming.
Attach your pom poms to either side of the hat (about 3" measured from the center down along the curve of the hat with a flexible measuring tape).
Weave in all your ends and try not to be blinded by the cuteness!
For a baby sized hat try casting on less stitches in multiples of 2, I would go with 34 and start your decreases at 6 inches.
For a larger hat cast on more stitches in multiples of 2, 48 should do it, and don't decrease until 9-10 inches.
I've always said that I am a much better homemaker than I am a housekeeper, but with the kids back in school I've been diving into cleaning in a way I never have before. When it comes to cleaning house, fall is the new spring! Think about it, with the kids back in school and the holidays sneaking right up, it's the perfect time to give your house a serious scrubbing. I can't tell you how nice it is to have a truly clean house. I'm talking a no soap scum in the shower, no hard water build up in the dishwasher, no sticky stuff on any surfaces, kind of clean. If I can achieve (or at least aspire) to this clean freak status, anyone can! So today I've partnered with Lemi Shine to share my best deep cleaning tips.
Tackle one area at a time. Nothing spells burnout like biting off more than you can chew. Break up your deep cleaning into manageable chunks. Instead of planning to clean the entire kitchen, start with the refrigerator. And then really clean the whole refrigerator inside and out. Doing one thing at a time means you won't spend your entire day cleaning, but you will have something to show for your effort, whether that be a shiny shower or clean baseboards. Oddly enough, the satisfaction of deep cleaning can be quite addictive.
Use the right products. For maximum success you want products that work great without exposing you and your family to harsh chemicals. From dishwashing to household cleaning to appliance optimizing Lemi Shine is your one stop shop for safe and powerful cleaning products. Powered by 100% natural citric extracts Lemi Shine products are non toxic, biodegradable, and phosphate free. Find them at a store near you.
Clean from the top down. You will always have the best success in deep cleaning if you remember to start at the top and move down. Dust top shelves first, wipe upper kitchen cabinets before the counter tops, and remember that it is ideal to clean the floor last. This way you aren't brushing dirt onto clean surfaces.
Think thorough. Deep cleaning is different than the once over you do when company is on the way. When you are tackling deep cleaning you will want to think of places that are often overlooked, such as the inside of the dishwasher or washing machine. Lemi Shine makes products that clean both of these appliances and when they are clean, they do a better job of cleaning for you.
Distract yourself. I had a huge shift in motivation for cleaning when I discovered podcasts and audio books. Suddenly this type of work went from boring to engrossing. If podcasts and audio books aren't you're thing (you're totally missing out) use cleaning time to listen to your favorite music, call a friend, or even practice mindfulness.
Enlist help. It's important that everyone in the family pitches in, after all they help make the mess! I've already taught Jude, my six year old, how to properly clean a toilet and Ronan, two, loves to spray and wipe surfaces. I really love the Lemi Shine products because I feel totally comfortable letting my children use them.
Develop a maintenance plan. Once your house is super clean you just need to try to keep it that way. Certain tasks can be managed daily such as dishes, while others only need to happen weekly, such as vacuuming. Creating a cleaning schedule and assigning jobs to family members helps. Another thing that helps maintain a clean house is avoiding some of the mess in the first place. Rules, like shoes must be left outside and all eating happens in the kitchen, can really help. Lastly, Lemi Shine products are actually formulated to help keep surfaces clean.
I hope this helps you unleash your inner clean freak! Happy scrubbing!
This post was sponsored by Lemi Shine, all words and images are my own. If you'd like to try Lemi Shine be sure to grab these coupons and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!
I've decided to name these cookies "Have It Alls" because I'm super tired of being told that I can't have it all. I may not be able to have a career, kids, and a clean house all at the same time, but I can have a peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie so I'm pretty much dialed.
Seriously though, if you only have so many calories to spend on cookies, why not eat a cookie that caters to many cravings at once? No more having to choose, you can have it all in one ridiculously tasty cookie. I dare say, if you're so inclined, you can even have it all while remaining gluten free (just sub the small about of flour for your favorite GF blend).
Here's what you can expect: the salty sweet flavors of the best kind of peanut butter cookie, the amazing texture you can only get from the ideal oatmeal cookie, plus the crunchy edges and chocolatey goodness you expect from a prefect chocolate chip cookie. This is the cookie equivalent to marrying mister right and having his babies, all while shattering the glass ceiling, and looking fan-freaking-tastic!
Have It All Cookies
Yields 2 Dozen
Note: These cookie are good no matter what, but they bake up best if the dough is chilled before they go into the oven. So if you can, mix the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Have you ever manifested anything? You know, you wish and hope for something long enough and hard enough that it appears in your life? Well I'm no manifesting master, but I'm pretty sure I called the bObi Classic into my life. I have wanted a vacuum robot for years, but it wasn't until I was offered a bObi Classic to review that I realized I needed one.
Seriously, this little machine is a housekeeping game changer. Not only does it do an excellent job of sweeping the floors, it also has a UV light that helps kill germs, and a mop attachment, what?! Now instead of getting super grumpy when the kids spill or track in a mess I just turn on my bObi Classic and go back to what I was doing. I feel like a Jetson, it's awesome!
The kids get a kick out of it too! Jude loves to use the remote control. And I discovered that I could entertain Ronan by drawing faces on her with a dry erase marker.
In our little house with kiddos who are prone to spill (please tell me I'm not the only one with piles of sand and bark in their house from shoes and filled cuffs) my favorite feature is "waffle" mode. With the press of a button bObi Classic will make short work of the area under the high chair or the discards from scissor practice.
If you've ever dreamed of having a vacuum robot I highly recommend you take the plunge and adopt a bObsweep!
Please note I did receive a bObi Classic in exchange for writing this post but as always all words and opinions are my own.
Please feel free to link to my posts - I love it! However, all words and images are protected by copyright and cannot be used without my permission. My tutorials, pdfs, recipes, etc. are not for commercial use. Feel free to e-mail (smallfriendly at yahoo dot com) if you have questions. Thanks!