It's the little things #4: bags & dates

Seriously folks.  We have moved a lot.  So why, oh why am I stressed about this move?  Maybe the question is when will a move NOT stress me out?

With the lists of stuff to do from canceling accounts to getting copies of medical records {in Dutch.  eek!} to determining what needs to be packed for temporary living and oh so much more, I am excited to talk about the little things.

The little things that make my life joyful.
Like having a moving date.

And browsing Etsy for a fun diaper changing set.  This should be perfect in my Jo Totes camera bag I am pining after.  I may have asked for it for Christmas already.  My Mom {hi Mom!} said she "might" get it.

Source: etsy.com via Jenny on Pinterest

At least she didn't say "we'll see".  Because do you know what "we'll see" means?   It is Mom speak for "no".  Which actually makes me a bit curious.  Did your moms use that as an answer when you were younger?

Speaking of bags.  Have you seen these things?
If you are traveling with a toddler any day soon run {don't walk} to your nearest computer.  Oops.  Guess you are already there.  Now that you are there, order a Trunki.  We were going to wait until we got back to the States this fall to order one (only available online in the States, as far as I know) because it is a lot less expensive there than in Scotland (where we go this one).  Or add it to J#3's Christmas list.  But he came across Freddie the Fire Engine and we were sold.  Or it was sold.  Whatever.  This is a rolling carry on bag.  For kids.  That they can ride.  Genius.  A toy and storage all in one.  The genius behind this evidently brought the idea to "Dragon's Den" {the U.K. show that "The Shark Tank" was based on...is that even on anymore in the U.S.?}.  Pretty sure they are going to be a millionaire, if they aren't already.  Oh, and to finish off this glowing testimonial?  Psst...Grandma, J#4 will be needing one very soon.  Say, maybe around December or so?  Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge.

Do you see this people?  We have entered the age.  The age of siblings, playing together.  This was not staged.  Guess they were having some sort of dinner date.
And J#3 was talking calls on his potato.

Then there's this.  She's helping out in the kitchen!  Nice, huh?

Thanks Lindsay, for hosting this awesome link-up.  Please make sure to visit her blog and shop.  Found something there this week, that I am thinking would look awesome on a gallery wall surrounding by family photos.

Aisle to Aloha


Inspiration Workshop: D.I.Y.

Finding our {rental} home in Scotland {my reason for missing last week's Inspiration Workshop} means that we will be on move #11.  We have been married for just over 10 years.  Someday maybe I will tell ya'll why we move so much.

Well, maybe once I figure it out myself.

So we have lived in a few places, owned a few homes. And done just a few D.I.Y. projects.  So this week's inspiration prompt {D.I.Y} was perfect for me. Gussy said "Maybe you've remodeled a room in your home, or you refinish furniture, or you make tote bags (*ahem* ;] )."

Remodeled a room?  Nah, we remodeled the whole house.

Lets take a jaunt into the past, shall we?  And please forgive the photos.  We are stepping back in time.  To 2003.  Photography wasn't a hobby for me in those days.
This is the house.  We didn't do much to the outside (you can't do much with stucco), but I just wanted to give you an idea.  

First thing you should know.  I didn't even want to go look at this house when we saw the photos on the internet.  Mostly because of this room.
This is AFTER we took down the awful wood paneling {don't get me wrong, I don't hate ALL paneling, just the paneling that was in this house} that made my brother and I {allergies, anyone?} start sneezing and sniffling after about five minutes.  

But J#1 convinced me.  And the work began.  Blood, sweat and tears.  Literally.  
Not even completely finished, but SO much better, right?  We {mostly J#1} did EVERYTHING in this room.  Carpet tiles.  Genius. 

Why am I glad he convinced me?  One of my favorite rooms ever... 
Again, this isn't completely finished...but considering where it started?  Much better.  All our handiwork, except the carpet. 

Here is where it started:
Yeah, more paneling.  

And another favorite "spruce up".  The kitchen. 
 This isn't even the worst.  The "before before" photo would have had apple wallpaper.  So, um, yeah.

and last, but certainly not least.  My extremely talented husband {have I mentioned that he was working this entire time?  at a desk job?} created this next room.  It went from this: 

to this: 
We had desks on either side of that red wall.  Like we were at work.  Ha. 

And this isn't all.  We did something to every room in this house.  Made it ours.

These photos?  Total inspiration for me.  Even if we are renting in Scotland, I'm sure that we will find things to do to make that house a home, just like we did with this one.  

We had to sell this house when we moved to New Jersey in 2007.  This is the house we lived in longer than any other during our marriage and will always have a special place in my heart.  You want to know the "kicker"? 

It was for sale at the exact time we moved back to Minnesota about two years later.  Fate, right?  Nope.  The folks who bought it made too many changes.  That family room with the charming wood burning stove and stone wall?  {I know, its not for charming for everyone...but it was for us.} They took that out.  Covered up the stone wall.  

But we'll always have the photos.  And even better?  The memories.  And the inspiration we will be able to do this again.

Linking up again with Maggie at Gussy Sews, check out some more D.I.Y. inspiration over at her place.  This is gonna be a good one.

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!


Challenge Wednesday #1

It's Wednesday {just in case you were wondering}.  Which means its time for Challenge Wednesday.  This is the day that Tracey and I will be giving each other challenges and reporting on how they went.  Of course, we have to start somewhere, and so Tracey is delivering the first challenge to me.  

Here.  And now.  Read on, my friends, read on.  

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Well, here we are.  Time for Jen's first challenge.  This is so exciting, isn't it?  Why don't you all join in too?  You can always leave a comment with how it goes - we'd love to hear your thoughts.

I hope you don't mind making something, Jen, with all that's going on in your life right now.  Believe me, most of this is easier than it seems.


Convenience foods seem easy, but can be loaded with ingredients that have no nutritional value and are far from healthy.  Although it seems daunting to make everything from scratch, getting a few staple items in your repertoire makes things simpler and easier for a couple or reasons:
  • you can stop reading labels because you know what you've put in your food
  • you can take advantage of local, in season produce when it tastes best and costs less
  • less sugar, more good stuff (especially with sauces where you can be sneaky with veggies)

Ok, so I won't sound too preachy, I'm just going to stop there.  Except one more thing:  it actually gets kind of fun.  Believe me, I am no cook.  But get this:  you don't have to be to eat delicious food.  Just try it.

You can make whatever you want, dear friend, but in order to get you started here are a couple ideas:  ranch dressing or pizza sauce

Or, you could even ditch the frozen waffles and make a batch of buckwheat pancakes and store them in the freezer.  They heat up in the toaster exactly the same way.

It's really up to you what you decide to make, but believe me when I say that whatever it is, it will probably taste better than the store bought version.  Good luck!

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Oooh, thanks Tracey!!  This IS a challenge.  I am the queen of convenience {which, like Tracey mentions, sometimes can barely even be considered to be convenience} foods, so this is going to be good for me.  In fact, I think I might even take it up a notch and add this to my bucket list.  Make some food from scratch each week.  

How about you?  Do you make foods from scratch?  What should I try out?  The ranch dressing, pizza sauce, maybe baby food? 


Top 10 Tuesdays #3: Bathrooms. Really?!

How do I start a post about bathrooms?  Delay it a bit.  Yup, thats it.

No, but really.  First thing first--last week I didn't get a chance to link up because we were in Scotland checking out possible homes.  And the hotel we were staying at had an issue with internet connectivity.  Like, it was pretty limited.  And slow.  But it gave me a good Top 10 topic {that never got linked up}, so please feel free to check it out if you have a few spare minutes.

We DID find a home in Scotland.  Little by little I will share with with you.  I took a bunch of photos.  But you know how it is when it is half vacant, with a bunch of furniture that isn't  yours?

I'd rather show it to you once we are moved in and I get a chance to spruce it up a bit.

But back to bathrooms.  Trust me, we aren't living in any kind of mansion.  But the house has four (four!) bathrooms.  A guest bathroom on the first floor (with a pull string light?!), an "en suite" bathroom in the master bedroom, a family bathroom on the 2nd floor and last, a bathroom on the 3rd floor (think guest suite).

Here is what we are working with when it comes to a few of the bathrooms:
family bathroom on 2nd floor 
guest bathroom on 3rd floor

master bathroom
Are you wondering what this bathroom talk has to do with a top 10 list?  

Well, my top 10 bathroom inspiration photos, of course.  Colors, decorating, and the like.  And I have to get a little creative to spruce 'em up, since there aren't any opportunities for shower curtains.  Or painting.   And notice the complete lack of storage?  Eek. 

1.  If you follow me on pinterest {see that button up on the right?  try it out!} you can see that I have a category called "when i love expedit usage".  You know...the expedit Ikea shelves?  LOVE this usage, never thought of them in a bathroom... 

2. This idea could really add some "style" to our master bathroom.

3. Simple, inexpensive idea to keep things close at hand

Source: bhg.com via Jenny on Pinterest

4.  Pure genius. 

5.  Hehe.  This could be useful for J#3 very soon. 

6.  I think yellow might be a cheery, welcoming color for the guest bathroom.  With some pinapple accessories  perhaps? 

7.  Perfect for the family {a.k.a. kid's} bathroom

Source: etsy.com via Jenny on Pinterest

8. Never would have thought of prints for the bathroom.  But, why not?  Especially if there won't be showers.  I think photos of the kids in the bath would be fun.  

9. I saw an idea about a vintage pail to use for storage in the bathroom.  I have wanted these pails from Ikea for a while.  Bingo!

Source: ikea.com via Jenny on Pinterest

10. Another creative storage idea...where do people come up with this stuff? 

Source: womansday.com via Jenny on Pinterest

Do YOU have any ideas for me?  Let me know in the comments below!  

Oh, and I know.  This blog is about living in the moment, right?  Well, right now all of my moments are pretty occupied with moving.  And the littles, of course.  

Linking up again this week with these lovely ladies... 

Nicole of Miss Mommy

& Amanda of Oh Amanda!

Top Ten {Tuesday}


Five Minute Friday: Growing

Linking up again this week for Five Minute Friday with The Gypsy Mama.

The prompt this week?  Growing.
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Usually when I think of the word growing I think about my kids.  They are growing so quickly, mostly in a literal sense.  It is amazing to think about how much J#3 has changed since this time two years ago (when he was just six months old).

But, today I am going to focus on me.  I try to not to do that too much, but once in a while I think it is good for me to reflect.  And this last {almost} year has been one for the books.

Nothing like taking a girl from not only the state {did that before}, but the country she has known and loved her entire life, and put her into a whole new land with folks who speak a different language and live a bit of a different lifestyle.

And the growing began.

First, more walking, much less driving {although that had something to do without having a car}.  Which meant being more fit, and having to be smarter about planning for grocery trips.  Otherwise, you end up with broken hooks on your stroller.

Then, stepping outside of a comfort zone.  Going to a mums & toddlers group where there were NO known entities.

And it just spiraled from there.  A lot of the growing has taken place in the confines and and comforts of our home.  For me to stick with something {reading the Bible in 90 days, couch to 5K, THIS BLOG}?  Big, HUGE change.

But there is still growing to be done.  And maybe it will be in Scotland, but it will happen.


Bummer, dude.  I had more to say!!  Maybe another day....

Here is the link, check out some of the other fantastic bloggers, including my blogging buddy Tracey at Control the Chaos.  Love her reflection on how motherhood has helped her grow. So true.

It's the Little Things #3: a ham & a house

Ah.  Now this feels right.

The internet at my fingertips.  And time for another little things post.  Which means its Friday too...yahoo!

And finally a chance to share some fun photos of our last week and the little things that made it awesome.  Oh, and I might have dropped in one item that is a bit of a "bigger thing" but important to note {at least to me}.

Trying to take passport photos of a 2 and a half year can be a bit challenging.  Especially when he has become a bit of a ham when the camera comes out {finally!}.

Best part of having your photo taken with J#3?  He is so cute, everyone just looks at him so they don't notice how shiny face is.  Right?   No?   Oh.  Bummer.

Restaurants with humungous play areas for kids in Scotland.  People, this thing is huge. I have told you about it before.  But J#3 got way more adventurous this time, climbing up to the top on his own.  And getting back down too.  Whew.

Perfect find of a jacket for J#4 the day before we left for Scotland.  On sale too!

Smiling boy.  Love it. He's enjoying an outlet mall play area.  Even in the rain.

And now for the bigger thing... 

We found a place in Scotland!  Here is a little teaser...this is the conservatory.  
And I didn't take this photo, grabbed it from the internet (rightmove.co.uk).  There is currently a sleeping baby in the room where my camera cord is.  And people, we know you never wake a sleeping baby, right?

Linking up again this week with Lindsay of From the Aisle to Aloha.  Thanks for providing the link-up Lindsay!

Aisle to Aloha



Top Ten Tuesday #2

So, I find myself at a hotel in Scotland that has limited internet.  Ugh. 

It is good though.  Good for me to remember life without internet.  Who knows how quickly it will get set up once we move here {to Scotland}, so I need to be prepared for that.

In honor of that, and finding the positive in any situation {trust me, I know this is pretty small in the big scheme of things}  here is my top 10 for the week: 

Top 10 reasons NOT having internet is a GOOD thing: 
1.  There is absolutely no excuse for me to not go running.  Although, in truth, the internet shouldn’t ever be excuse.  But when you have not internet, well…its just one more thing that isn't taking my attention from exercising. 
2.  Naps.  ‘Nuff said.
3.  Reading. 
4.  Being a bit adventurous, trying to find things do outside of our hotel.  Like heading to the local outlet mall.  Which has an awesome play area.
5.  Spending quality cuddle time with the family.  Watching T.V.  Because it’s  hard to cuddle with a computer on your lap, right?
6.  Leisurely taking our time eating.  Mostly because of the awesome play areas here in the restaurants.   
7.  Did I mention running?   It’s just a big deal for me, so there. 
8.  Being centered on our family, in general.  Internet can be a huge, big distraction.
9.  Shopping {see #4 above}.
10. Writing.  Although with no internet, there aren’t many people to share it with.

P.S.  Booo....hiss....the internet that I CAN get here is too slow to upload photos.  Because I had a couple of good ones for you...but I will get them up eventually.  Will just have to do an extra post sometime.  :-) 

And I can't even get the link ups done.  Boo.  Hissss... at a later time, I guess.


Bucket List Update #2

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

This one is going to be short & sweet.  Evidently, the hotel we are staying at in Scotland doesn't thing that internet is a necessity in all rooms?

Huh?  Of course it is.

But, I guess I don't run the hotel, so I have to live with my short breaks in the lobby to update ya'll, Facebook, check email and keep up with the world.  Ha.

As far as the bucket list...well,  I did my 4th run for couch to 5K today and we should be registered shortly for the Turkey Day 5K in Minneapolis.  Yippee!

Can I tell you a secret?   This was the first time (I think in my life?) that I did some sort of exercise while away from home.  Must mean I am making some real changes, right?

With lack of internet access, it is allowing for a lot of reading, so have to imagine some progress will be made there too.

So, like I said, short and sweet.  But I have to imagine not having internet might make a good top 10 list for Tuesday... "like top 10 things about NOT having internet".

Now, hopefully I can sneak to the lobby again to post it.

Have a great week, my friends!

p.s.  This was supposed to be published tomorrow, but I guess I am just to excited to be "in touch" so it is being published on Sunday!


It's the Little Things {like FedEx and duffel bags}

I am getting more excited each week {okay, so it has only been two weeks, but still} about this link-up party.  It is truly a good way to build up my list of 1000 gifts {I just need to remember to transfer them over there, wink, wink}.  Plus,  I have made it a photography challenge for myself.  And challenge it is, especially when most of them are taken inside. 

And people.  It is hard, very hard, to make a photo of a duffel bag look interesting.  Read on to see what I mean... 

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 "A Fedex envelope Jen?  Really??"  Oh, yes, a Fedex envelope.  See we have some of our mail forwarded to an address in Florida (via usabox.com in case you are interested) so that it is cheaper for folks in the U.S. to send us packages and for things like the mortgage, etc.  When we send it over here to ourselves it gets delivered 2 day Fedex.  And they usually require a signature, which means I have to coordinate the mailing to make sure it is a day that me and the kiddos can be home all morning.  Have I lost you yet?  Hopefully not.  Anyway, there was a delivery scheduled for this past Monday.  Good deal, we had some friends over so knew we would be around.  Except the buzzer to call our house (there is a locked gate) was broken. So they couldn't call to be let in for the signature.  Which would have meant a trip to their office to pick it up.  But, then, magically, the envelope appeared in our mailbox a few days later.  Score!

 Coffee.  Coffee with a message.  "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!  Live the life you've imagined."  -Thoreau
 Love this mug.  See the chip?  Still not getting rid of it.

Lots of days crossed off.  79% {thanks Kindle} of the way through the Bible in 90 days.  I may have read ahead a bit.  We are now in the New Testament, which I really, truly appreciate.

A duffel bag.  {not actually packed yet, but a flattened duffel is even HARDER to make interesting}   Waiting to be packed for a {rental} house hunting trip in Scotland.  Yahoooooooooooo!

Oh, and my challenge for the day?  Fitting clothes for six days for four people in that one bag.  I'll let you know how it goes...

Candle and wine.  Relaxation.  So glad to have J#1 home again.  I can take a breath, and let him run after J#3 for a bit.

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Linking up with Lindsay...go check out what little things everyone else are excited about this week.

Aisle to Aloha


Inspiration Workshop - Favorite Shop

I almost didn't publish this post.

Because, really, isn't this pretty obvious?  I only talk about it in practically ever other post {especially any that deal with what I miss the most from Minnesota...like here and here and here}.

Some hints?

Of course, it is Target.  I can be inspired on any trip there. From clearance sections (for scrapbooking, home decoration, organization and well, pretty much everything else), to recipes and samples (a la SuperTargets, my FAVE) to the Dollar Spot.  Who can't find inspiration there???

"Anything else?" you ask, since Target is a given.  "Any other stores you wish you could spend hours in for inspiration? "

Yup,  HomeGoods.

I wasn't even a frequent shopper there prior to our across the pond.

But then I wasn't a "full-time homemaker" spending hours poring over blogs and fantastic ideas brewed up by my counterparts.

Now?  Well, J#1 might want to watch the credit card bill when we head back this winter for a visit {I kid, I kid...or do I?  Well, yeah, I do.  We would have to fit it in our suitcases.  Boo.}

But look at this cute stuff you can get there:

Source: None via Jessica on Pinterest

Source: None via Jessica on Pinterest

Yup, I could definitely be inspired.

Linking up again this week with Gussy Sews. Guess what one of her favorites is???  Yup.  Tarjay Boutique, which is my fancy pants way of saying it.  Ha!  This girl has some good taste.  Also love Patina, a local Minneapolis shop that is one of her picks.

Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

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