It’s back to the drawing board for us, because a home, we’ve come to believe, is all about its views. How it connects nature to you. Especially when you live in Minneapolis, which requires you hibernate each winter. If you’re a wimp from the East Coast like me.
From Elle Decor
Light pulls you through a house. It pulls you through life… it gives you hope, that “light at the end of the tunnel.”
From Architectural Digest
And so we’ve decided against a traditional Tudor, as it would block southern exposure for us. Jean from Rehkamp Larson has come up with a rough sketch of a new design, which turns our home on its north lot line, away from our neighbors, to extend our living spaces into our yard, maximizing southern exposure.
It’s just a rough sketch to help ideas percolate, but before we meet with her, I’d love to hear your thoughts. We like the idea of a kitchen and living room surrounded by windows. And nothing beats a screened in porch on warm summer nights. But how do the spaces relate to one another? Do you think the design above works?
*I’m a featured mom vlogger on MommyToMommy.TV. How much leisure time do you have?
Today is our last day of skiing at Big Sky Resort. We’ve got our kids sitting on our counter stools, downing a big breakfast of bacon and pancakes, before we hit the slopes.
It’s cold out, too cold for me. This morning I bought a face mask for our 5-1/2 year old. Not that he’d get cold. He never gets cold.
But I’m excited to escape into the mountains one last time. I like it here; it doesn’t have the crowds of Vail or Steamboat Springs. It’s quiet and reflective. Peaceful.
And sometimes that’s what you need.
A moment to share as a family.
As a husband and wife.
To play together.
This vacation has been bittersweet. We’ve enjoyed it so much, in part because our children are growing up, becoming little people like us, racing us down the slopes.
“I beat you, Dad.”
Time stopped after I gave birth. It stayed still for five years. And now I feel it moving again.
Only this is what I want to hold onto. Forever.
*Keyword sponsored by CSN Stores.
We’re skiing in Montana this week, and I’ve fallen in love with Big Sky Resort. Its mountains both comfort and calm us. Because nature has its way of reminding us of how small we are, how we are all part of a bigger plan.
Last night, the five of us checked out of our hectic lives, and came together as a family. We played Dominoes by the fire until our children yawned.
Then Matt and I delved into our home design plans. A central staircase appeals to both of us, but we can’t agree on what it should look like. And so we turned to one of our favorite magazines, This Old House, for ideas.
Matt prefers a staircase that shoots straight upstairs to show our home is open to you.
While I prefer the hint of privacy that one gives when it winds out of sight.
He likes the directness of straight lines.
Whereas I think stairs that pool at their base add elegance.
Which staircase do you like?
*All staircase photos courtesy of This Old House
Find my latest home building post on YourTango: Should you move for love?
We’ve gotten our Christmas tree and broken our first ornament of the season. Here’s how to pick out the perfect Christmas tree for your home.
*Contest now closed. Winner is #23.
Cooking may seem overwhelming, but it needn’t be. Here’s an easy meal you can make from what’s in your fridge. Just keep pasta and onions in your pantry, and ricotta as well as parmesan cheese in your fridge.
You can use Johnsonville Sausage to spice up any pasta. Win free sausage by leaving a comment below. (Contest expires Fri, Dec 10th at midnight. Must be a US resident.)
Then share your recipe with Johnsonville Sausage to win one of their great prizes, including a $10,000 one.
FTC Disclosure: Sponsored.
Nothing overwhelms me as much as walking into a store and searching for clothes. I rarely know what’s in style or which rack to shop. So a few weeks ago, Jilene from Be Put Together took me to Hot Mama to help ease my anxieties. Here are her tips for buying what you need to complete your wardrobe, and resisting what you don’t.
*Read about the latest in our home building project on YourTango: Does Your Home Cause Marital Stress?
We’ve got a meeting today with our architect, and we’re stressed about it. Because we can’t make up our minds. We’d love to use frameless windows to blur the delineation between our indoor and outdoor spaces, but don’t know if that’s possible if we go with a Tudor.
View of the back of the house.
Our first home, you see, had beautiful natural light that made each room come alive. It drew us from place to place: from the kitchen to the family room; from the family room to the living room. Large windows connected us to daylight and nature during long Minnesota winters.
Our living room windows in our first home.
“From within the living room the effect is dramatic – a sort of yin and yang, wide open on one side of the house and sheltered and contained on the other.” – Sarah Susanka in Home by Design
When we first saw our new lot, we imagined rooms with a similar warm glow. But because of where we’ve placed our garage in our design plans, our interior won’t have much access to southern light.
Looking out on our new lot.
Now we’re thinking about moving our garage, or turning our home on the lot. But will that take us away from a Tudor? And will a turned home look, well, weird?
It was a long day for all of us. They tired her out as much as they did me.
Today we’re working on our alphabet, and not so our children can learn how to read. We want to help them make the connection between what goes into their mouths and how their body uses it. Because it’s not enough to say “eat it; it’s good for you.” They need to understand why. And develop a taste for real food, which only happens through experience.
So we’re starting with Vitamin A, which is housed in sweet potatoes and essential for the formation of white blood cells. And white blood cells fight off infections.
Our boys loved watching this video of white blood cells chasing bacteria. Their world is made up of “good guys” and “bad guys.” As the creators of Popeye knew, there’s nothing like the threat of a bad guy to get our boys to eat their vegetables.
We’re using our left-overs from Thanksgiving to make these gluten free Sweet Potato Biscuits, adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Because everybody knows gluten is the root of all evil. I’d be 5 lbs lighter if it wasn’t for it. (Or if I had self control.)
Oh no. I see somebody’s fingerprint in the front biscuit.
My husband returned today from a two-week trial, and while he was gone, I learned I’m not cut out to be a single parent. Because first we got wiped out from a stomach bug, and then our dog came down with an ear infection. And on Friday night, we took a trip to the ER for three stitches in our 5-1/2-year old’s head.
Let’s just say our children ended up watching a lot of television.
And I thought I’d feel guilty about it but I don’t. Because we all need to feel a sense of control as to how our day unfolds. And when Matt travels, that’s how I get it: television becomes a part of their morning routine. Once dressed our children watch a half hour of Curious George while I read.
In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin writes, “… when people’s minds are unoccupied, they tend to drift to anxious or angry thoughts.” And I find that fifteen minutes of reading occupies my mind with thoughts that don’t revolve around how tired I am. It’s my way of taking care of myself.
How do you take care of yourself?
Now that Matt’s home, we’ve turned off our TV and I’m making jello with our children. We’re talking about how there’s a difference between convenience and nutrition. Boxed jello at the store is made up of sweeteners, flavorings and coloring agents. But what you make at home has real fruit in it. And blueberries add color.
- 4 envelopes gelatin
- 1 cup cold fruit juice
- 3 cups canned fruit in their juices (or fruit juice for “real” clear jello)
- 2 tablespoons honey
Mix together gelatin and cold fruit juice.
Puree canned fruit, and heat on stove until boiling.
Pour pureed fruit into gelatin mixture.
We used our Bundt pan for our jello moldings; you can use a glass dish as well.
Refrigerate for two hours or more.
FTC Disclosure: I received the Bundt pan free for review.