10+ Things, 4/11
Alex Mill Sweater (Size Small)
This is kind of crazy , but I’m going to be able to blog every day this week because…
- …it’s spring break, and the girls are at Camp Gammy this week celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday and having a ball. First, let me just say thank you to John and Lisa, my in-laws. We were a little nervous we’d be able to keep Emma and Lucy entertained in Chicago for two weeks straight as the weather has been absolutely miserable here lately, but Lisa suggested they go down to the lake house for some grandparent time. They were thrilled about this idea, and they’re having the best time. It’s so helpful on our end too because Lucy has largely been home with us this past month while we wait for her to start at Emma’s school, and Mitch is incredibly behind on work and I’m fried. (Have been battling a bad cold for two weeks now, though I keep testing negative, which is good!) We’re looking forward to playing catchup with our businesses, working on some house projects, and enjoying some rest and relaxation together. We miss the girls already, but this is great for their independence, and one-on-one time with grandparents is so important. Again, thank you J + L! And happy birthday, Lisa!
- Mitch and I are going to see a jazz show this week. We know nothing about jazz, but we really enjoyed going to the Fat Cat in New York City when we used to live there… and we play jazz throughout the house almost every day. Going to shows is such a nice, relaxing thing to do, and I hope we do it often considering how many venues are in Chicago!
- Construction on the basement bathroom and Mitch’s office starts on Thursday. The basement bathroom is in serious need of some TLC, as is Mitch’s office. We’re re-tiling and putting in a new vanity and fixtures… and Mitch is getting shelves in his office for his business. Excited to see all the cardboard boxes and packing materials out of site, haha! I will be sharing the progress on Instagram Stories, so follow along there if you enjoy home projects. :)
- This is my favorite sweater in my closet. Oh my gosh, guys. You need it. It’s the BEST. I wear mine at least twice a week, and am considering getting a second in a different color or stripe that I can wear while sweater #1 is in the wash. It’s wonderfully soft and cozy, it’s reversible—turn it around and it’s a cardigan!—and it’s springy yet warm. I took it in a size small, and it’s generous but not too big. A+.
- I’ve finally committed to my photo organization project, and I’m making a lot of progress. I’ve started and stopped this project so many times, but as I have a week to myself so to say, I’m doing it. I have years’ worth of personal photos mixed in with blog photos, and I want to sort through them and keep only my favorite personal ones. I’ll then file them using my normal system: YEAR > MONTH > DAY > RAW FILES and EDITED FILES. I back them up using a program called BackBlaze, and I also have a duplicate of the whole file on a tiny external hard drive.
- My friend Cortney opened a store in Geneva, Illinois! It’s called Urban Artisan, and it showcases artisan-created home decor, gifts and apparel. I remember when Cortney, who’s insanely talented and hardworking, started her business back when we were next-door neighbors; back then she sold mostly at Chicago events and street fairs. So amazing to see her business flourish and occupy a brick-and-mortar space! Congrats, Cortney!
- We’re trying to buy healthier groceries this season. Organizing the freezer and fridge (see below) has definitely facilitated this; once we could really see their contents, we were a little aghast at how much junk we had! We’ve always eaten a ton of produce, but we can certainly cut back on processed foods. (Though won’t be cutting it out entirely, as we’re firm believers in moderation.) On another note, we’re going to start making our own ice cream! We dabbled in this a couple of years ago but the girls were too young to be involved. It’ll be fun to make our own creations.
- Emma got into some clubs at school and she’s so pumped to start after spring break. I was so nervous that we weren’t going to get in, and therefore I set an alarm for signup and everything, haha. But we did it! Activities and sports were one of the reasons we loved her new school, and we can’t wait to see how she takes to them.
- Congratulations to our babysitter, Chelsea, who recently got married! Ahhhhh. We are just so happy for them. Their plans were pushed back due to the pandemic, so I know they were so happy to finally be able to tie the knot. And no one deserves more happiness than Chelsea! She was actually Cortney’s nanny back when we lived next door to them in our first home. So we’ve known her for ages! Congratulations, Chelsea and Jason! Wishing you so much love and happiness.
- We’re addicted to Facebook Marketplace. Mitch sent off Emma’s old nightstands, the girls’ old balance bike, some old framed prints, an Ikea Kallax shelf, several ginger jars (I had too many ), and an old TV on Facebook Marketplace this past week. He also listed my old photography equipment and an outdoor cushioned chair. (I soaked the cushion covers in Oxiclean and wow. It looks brand new!) But yeah. We’re clearly doing a “spring clean-out” instead of the traditional “spring cleaning” routine, and it’s really aligned with the “less is more” lifestyle I’ve leaned into these last couple of years. Highly recommend Facebook Marketplace if you haven’t already tried it; the mere fact that people will come and get the unneeded stuff and take it away is reason enough!
- Noodle is LOVING LIFE and I am loving her. Noodle has always been a very anxious dog, largely due to a traumatic incident that occurred before we brought her home. (A baby gate fell on her back, and she almost died.) But she’s now just about seven years old, and her anxiety has almost disappeared! She’s also really calmed down. It’s wonderful. Mitch and I have been taking her on long walks every day, and she wags her tail and greets people on the street, happily trotting along. It’s so much fun. I realize that most dog owners have always had this with their pets, haha, but it’s totally new to us! We even took her to an outdoor restaurant the other day. She loved it. How fun. :)
- Blue Chair Bay Rum is sending us to see Kenny Chesney this summer! Eeeeee! I freaked out when I received the e-mail. A) I love Kenny Chesney, B) There’s nothing like a summer country concert, and B) They sent us so much rum and we’ve been making daiquiris. Honestly, life has improved a lot. Thank you, BCBR!
One Home Project Every Day:
- We started on the garage and it’s looking SO much better! Thanks to Facebook Marketplace, we got rid of so much. I would say that we’re about halfway there. This week, we’re working on tools, as we have way too many. Hoping to list some and donate the rest. After that, it’ll be time to clean out the cabinets, which currently house god knows what. And after that, we need to power wash the floor. And after that, we want to dry wall so things look better and we can hang the bikes and other sports equipment. It’s a big project, but I feel like we’ve finally got this!
- I replaced the hardware on Emma’s nightstands with these inexpensive pulls to match the rest of her furniture. Such an easy fix!
- After a failed attempt last year, we booked Bubbles to power-wash our deck and I’m so relieved. We used them last year to clean our windows and they were great.
- I started organizing our refrigerator. We already use these containers, but I really wanted to make our condiments and cans look more uniform. (Yep. I’m nuts.) I’m not quite done yet, but stay tuned for some fun (ha) before + afters.
- I put these caps (recommended by a reader!) on the girls’ toothpaste tubes, and our bathrooms are SO much cleaner. I can’t get over it. Their sinks used to look like toothpaste had exploded in it; now they’re perfectly clean. Huge win!
- I replaced a kids’ craft drawer canister that I’d melted in the dishwasher. They work very well for deep drawers, and kids can easily open and close them.
- I purged the kitchen cleaning cabinet and moved refills to the garage. Now we only have what we actually need in there. Much easier to find what I’m looking for!
- I labeled our storage bins in the linen closet and laundry room. I often look at the closet in disbelief because not long ago, I hoarded sheet sets. (Not sure why.)
- I started cleaning out my drawer of old electronics/hard drives/camera equipment. This is what prompted starting up the photo organization project again! It’s overwhelming, but if I just do 15 minutes a day…
- I got rid of a few sweaters. It’s that time of year when I give my wardrobe a good hard look and decide what I haven’t worn in the last year. Sometimes it’s tough, but my general rule is that if it wasn’t worn, it needs to go. Hoping to finish this week!
- I cleaned out Emma’s hand-me-downs and donated what Lucy likely won’t need. Anything that was too worn or out of style, and then any duplicates, since Lucy will soon be wearing a uniform, too. :)