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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    you should consume the whole bowl Just because you have a good idea it doesn t mean you have to do it Read How to Protect Your Time from Too Many Good Ideas But if you do nothing if you just sit there then what is the point It s better to take one idea and bring it to fruition than to continue to collect more ideas Taking action makes you feel motivated energetic confident What is one idea that you can work on today cue soundtrack It s time to get moving 69 Comments Weekend Reads at Alpha Mom I write posts on parenting at Alpha Mom Join me there to see what I ve been thinking about lately Craft A Halloween Ghost Tree Advice For New Parents What To Keep What To Do Say No So You Can Say Yes To Something Greater Make An Explorer s Kit From Paper Coffee Cups Play Like A Grandmother More Purposeful Plans And Family Routines For The School Year 8 Comments Open Kitchen Pantry Remodel And How To Keep It Pretty Are you ready to look at our progress in the kitchen My husband built this open pantry for us but to fully appreciate it you have to see how the original pantry looked When I first viewed the old pantry I didn t see green contact paper from the seventies I saw POTENTIAL There was enough room in this kitchen to build a wide pantry in the center Our first plan included pantry doors but it s so convenient to just reach in and get what you want that we might leave it open like this Plus I think the food looks pretty which is a good thing because everyone can see all of it all the time In this

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/39/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    experience and a few unapologetic opinions Banana Republic I like to shop the sales racks for blouses sweaters and pants but the clothes sometimes look better on the hangers so I always try them on before buying There s no reason to pay full price because sales happen so often Gap A great source for basic shirts from the sales racks but the dresses and pants never fit me It s an example of saving yourself time by knowing how the brand typically fits your body Ann Taylor Loft I ve bought a few dresses from the clearance racks JCrew When there is an amazing sale it s a happy day because the clothes I ve bought there have been good quality The clothes are so collection centric though that I either find several things I like or nothing I want Lands End Canvas I ve bought a few things here tank tops for instance and now is the right time of year to hit up their bathing suit sale for next summer Good tote bags from Lands End Discount stores like Marshall s and TJMaxx lots of blouses to bring flair to your basics Department stores like Dillard s and Macy s I don t shop these much because I find them overwhelming but here is where you get cashmere sweaters during the after Christmas sales which I guess now start four weeks before Christmas L L Bean I guess I d call this a source for sensible clothes for winter I don t experience much cold weather here in Texas but my house shoes and tote bag came from here and the quality is consistent White House Black Market the clothes fit me perfectly but the boutique prices mean I only have a couple of pieces Zappos com I love all the reviews for shoes I usually buy my shoes online but I always do a quick price check first to compare other sites such as Piperlime and Planet Shoes The stores I don t favor Old Navy I don t know it s hit or miss I had one favorite shirt that I bought there but other clothes are lesser quality The colors are more prone to fading than their Gap counterparts and it s definitely more casual Benetton I love the look of the preppy colorful styles and the sales are tempting I just don t like the fabrics Many of the clothes have dry clean labels because if they go through the washer they ll shrink two sizes and never be the same again Anthropologie Inspirational but the quality is just not there to justify the high prices H M the clothes look great from far away but are not as impressive when you get up close and check the quality Thoughts on Thrift Stores I love the idea of vintage and I shopped at thrift stores often when I was in high school and college I especially love vintage housewares and most of our furniture is second hand with charming imperfection I don t shop for second hand clothes very much anymore though When I used to shop at thrift stores I ended up with a variety of clothes that were almost right or good enough Now I keep a small wardrobe with just a few carefully chosen items and I want them to be exactly right To me it s worth spending a few dollars more to buy exactly what I m looking for instead of hunting for the hidden gems In my area the thrift store prices aren t that low compared to the price of a new garment at an end of season sale Your results will be better than mine depending on your local thrift stores if having more variety suits your style and you don t mind stopping by regularly to check for new finds Maternity Style It s hard to buy new clothes that you ll only wear for a couple of months especially when maternity clothes are priced higher Read this post at AlphaMom MacGuyver Maternity Five Steps To Extending Your Non Maternity Wardrobe Throughout Your Pregnancy My 7 Must Have s for Comfortably Dressy Style dark denim big sunglasses scarves tote washable knit layers boots dresses Whew that was a lot Where do you like to shop 142 Comments The Style Guide Comfortably Dressy My personal clothing style is comfortably dressy Long ago I stopped wearing t shirts and chose to focus on building a longer lasting higher quality wardrobe much like the classic wardrobe that magazine articles talk about but without the trench coat skinny jeans and other garments I ll never wear I didn t change to that overnight it took several years of transition starting from when I was in high school in the early 90 s I wore lots of earthy greens or beige scoop necked tops I borrowed old shirts from my dad and I was briefly in the Earth Club Then in college I primarily wore thrift store shirts I still have my favorite one that I got for ten cents with overalls which I m kind of surprised about but everyone else wore them too A crisis happened after graduation when I started working full time and I needed a new wardrobe but with no idea what to wear nor the funds to afford anything nice I ended up with a variety of cheap fabric shirts and suits I had lots of clothes but only a couple of outfits that really felt right A few years later I over corrected and I started to dress too fancy and some of those clothes are in my daughter s dress up bin now So where did my style eventually land Comfortable no panty hose no itchy fabrics no dry cleaning minimal ironing clothes that I can wear all day Dressy I always feel like I have the right thing to wear to any occasion instead of looking at a full closet

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/40/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    was paid off I m so thankful just really thankful I know that tackling it early in our relationship helped because we didn t have as many responsibilities at the time It became a foundation for our finances how we make decisions and work together on it Doug worked really hard he still does all the time And that s the story 56 Comments Hot Chocolate Recipe to Start the Season Photo by renee mcgurk Today was the first day it seemed like cold weather is just around the corner I suddenly felt the need to get sweaters out of storage and put the summer clothes away The grocery store had pumpkins and hay bales displayed in the front The sun was bright but not as warm as it used to be It was the first day that drinking a cup of hot chocolate felt just right for the weather I love how hot beverages become such an important ritual to cold winter days Common events seem so much more significant Coffee with friends hot tea with scones hot chocolate by the fireplace How do you like to drink yours Coffee yes definitely made each day in the french press and poured into an oversized mug Lots of milk and generous spoonfuls of sucanat dried sugar cane juice Hot Tea black tea or green always with cream and extra honey Chai tea too with milk served hot or cold over ice while I m wrapping presents Hot Chocolate do you put marshmallows on yours or a pile of whipped cream It always makes me think about camping trips and football games I have a delicious recipe for hot chocolate the classic way it should be Hot Chocolate Recipe For each serving 1 cup milk 1 Tablespoon cocoa 2 Tablespoons sugar 2 3 drops of vanilla extract small sprinkle of cinnamon The real secret to this recipe is in the method First warm the milk in a pot over medium heat for a couple of minutes swirling it occasionally to keep the milk from scalding Then if you have one use an immersion blender to mix the ingredients It will froth the milk and smoothly blend the cocoa Blend gently to prevent it from from spilling If you want to pretend you re in the movie Chocolat add a tiny sprinkle of red cayenne pepper it s good Drink and enjoy What s your favorite coffee tea hot chocolate or something different How do you make your favorite drink on a cold day Next Friday is Comfort Soups Day Bring your favorite winter soup recipe to share You can share it in the comments or write about it on your blog and share the link to it I can t wait to hear your favorites and learn some new soup recipes to try this season 33 Comments Small Space Solutions Organize a Toddler s Toys and Books Is is possible to live in a small uncluttered space with kids When we

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/162/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    and it always tastes better the second day Let s share our favorite soup recipes For any kind of soup don t underestimate the impact of a garnish to add contrast eye appeal and an embellishment of flavors Add a Finishing Touch Goldfish crackers or crumbled Saltines over tomato soup Crumbled bacon chives and shredded cheddar over potato soup Oversized croutons and melted cheese over french onion soup Truffle oil over mushroom soup A dollop of sour cream over tortilla soup Oregano or basil over minestrone A spoonful of pesto over vegetable soup My Best Soup Recipe I can make a rich and savory New England Style Clam Chowder I think it found it s way to me from a spiral bound Atlanta Junior League cookbook back in the 80 s We had it on special occasions especially New Year s and Christmas Eve I made it for Doug when we were dating when I wanted to impress him but I only knew how to cook a couple of meals Rachel s New England Style Clam Chowder I love this recipe I hope you enjoy it Chop and fry bacon 2 slices of bacon in a big skillet Add 3 Tablespoons of butter to the bacon Add 1 clove garlic minced Add 1 cup of each vegetable chopped onion carrot celery and green pepper Saute for a few minutes Stir in 3 Tablespoons of flour Add 3 cups of chicken stock and let it cook for 10 minutes Add 1 cup of potatoes cubed Add 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper Add a 10 ounce can of baby clams and juice and cook for 10 minutes Make a roux with 2 Tablespoons butter and 2 Tablespoons flour cooking it over low to medium heat and stirring so it doesn t burn Add 2 cups half and half to the roux and bring almost to a boil to make a cream sauce Add parsley 3 Tablespoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried Combine both mixtures into one and store overnight in the refrigerator Heat before serving Enjoy It s sharing day What is your favorite winter soup recipe You can share it in the comments or share a link to a soup recipe you ve found or write about it in a blog post and share the link to it with us I m looking forward to having a new collection of recipes to try this season 39 Comments Jewelry Giveaway from Lisa Leonard Designs This giveaway is closed The winner has been announced here I ve long admired the work by artist Lisa Leonard from Lisa Leonard Designs That s why I m so pleased to tell you that Lisa is giving away a petite original circle necklace to one of you Beautiful no It s a 3 4 inch disc with a freshwater pearl hand crafted for you I could tell you it would make a great Christmas gift but let s be honest this one s a keeper

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/161/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    about Lesson 4 for Home Improvement Don t get creative about the main features of your home Your creative idea now will become a What were they thinking later Creativity is for accessories only Am I right 53 Comments And Now It s Ours Our First House This is our first house but not our first home When money is flowing through our fingers like water for this renovation we ve called the plumber three times Doug put in the new floor and everything is freshly painted white it s kind of hard to believe that this is really for us We saved up our money for it so we were prepared but I still have thoughts like Is it okay to spend that much money on something trivial like shelf liners Will this choice be timeless or outdated in ten years Is this the best quality and value for the money so we only have to buy it once In college I knew too many children who didn t have socks and I knew them so well that when I started earning more money it was hard to spend it on things like expensive home furnishings Every dollar represented money that could have been used to buy a pair of socks for a disadvantaged child so I had to be responsible with my choices about spending money not out of guilt but just from knowing One time I mentioned that to someone and she looked horrified as she said I could never live like that so I don t really talk about it much anymore I spend money more easily for the household now because it s not just for me and I ve seen how buying quality can save money in the long run That s why I was so glad to find a home that hadn t been renovated yet The counters the floors and everything had served a single family for forty years so we carefully made updates that might last another forty Will we live here for that long or only a few years Only time will tell We brought in our furnishings from our storage unit where they have waited in boxes for nine months For the kids it was like Christmas no like five Christmases when they saw their old toys again They stayed in their rooms to play again with their toys and we didn t see them for two whole days Indeed it was kind of like Christmas because I boxed everything in the days after last year s Christmas so our things were packed in the remnants of old wrapping paper and the newspapers from that week our dishes secured with green ribbon and cushioned by crumpled up red and silver shiny paper Our things look good in our new house They seem to fit and yes I know I m teasing you by not showing more pictures yet but we ve been so busy doing that there was not

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/41/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    re staying at other people s houses Twice weekly visits to the library for more kids books and movies Putting the kids to bed an hour earlier to compensate for the early wake up call Night time showers and baths so we can get out the door before seven a m without feeling hurried Chicken taquitos Knowing this won t go on forever Neither Doug nor I want to live in a project We want to get it all done so we won t have home improvement projects to do every weekend for years We ll unpack our stuff and have furniture and places to sit It s almost ready What basic routines do you rely on when you need them the most 54 Comments Today is a Better Day Than Later Today is a better day than later Lane Grace Meeks 5 years old I can only plan today Who knows what tomorrow will bring 31 Comments How to Remove Wallpaper from Unprimed Drywall Is there anything more satisfactory than removing a strip of wallpaper in one long piece When we bought this house we didn t notice how many rooms were covered in wallpaper Oh it s only a few walls When it came time to actually do something about it we couldn t believe how much wallpaper we were looking at I pulled a sheet of the original forty year old wallpaper just to see what we were dealing with The top layer pulled away easily but it left the soft paper underlayer and under that was unprimed drywall which is exactly what I did not want to see Unprimed drywall is sheetrock without a paint coat so the top layer is just a sheet of paper Before you apply wallpaper you re supposed to first paint a priming layer over the drywall so the wallpaper can be removed later Without that first coat you re adhering wallpaper directly to paper and you won t be able to remove it later without tearing it all up That s what Google said as I was reading about removing wallpaper from plaster walls or primed drywall but when it came down to removing the wallpaper from unprimed drywall every article said Good luck Was I doomed to spend the rest of my summer pulling tiny strips of wallpaper off the walls in the back bathroom just to end up having to spackle over all the gouges in the walls Would I have strips of wallpaper trailing on my shoes and the feeling of glue on my hands for weeks I just could not do it Preferring the immediacy of a wrecking bar to the patience required with careful wallpaper removal I quickly decided to take down two walls This will be good I justified Now we can put in insulation to soundproof the walls between the living room and the bedrooms We ll just put up new sheetrock and have new walls after this But after knocking down those

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/42/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    different theme Sewing November 4 Hosted by Tsh from Simple Mom Contact Tsh by November 3 if you want to contribute a sewing project Update Sewing Project Links Paper Crafts November 11 Hosted by me Rachel at Small Notebook Contact me by November 10 if you have a paper crafts project to share Update Paper Project Links Ribbons and Thread November 18 Hosted by Kelly from Almost Frugal Contact Kelly if you want to contribute a project using embroidery ribbons or thread Update Ribbons Thread Project Links Knitting November 25 Hosted by Laura from One of Three Email Laura at lauraruthhealy at gmail dot com if you want to contribute a knitting project Update Knitting Project Links Quilting December 2 Hosted by Nicole from Gidget Goes Home Contact Nicole if you want to contribute a quilting project Update Quilting Project Links Food December 9 Hosted by Ann from Vintage Mommy and One Bag Nation Email Ann at lilyolil at comcast dot net to contribute your holiday recipe or food gift Update Delicious Food Gift Links We would love for you to join in Post your handcrafted work and a tutorial if possible on your blog and send us the link to your blog post so you can be included Feel free to use one of the buttons that Kelly made for each theme I ll look forward to seeing your paper holiday projects cards notebooks ornaments gifts you name it 8 Comments The Difficulty of Doing Less Photo by conejoazul It seems like it should be easy to do less but I find it to be pretty hard It s so much easier for me to throw out an old pair of shoes or give away a shirt but to declutter my commitments That s not quick and easy Some of the things I need to do are unavoidable so my solution is to get them done in the quickest most effective way possible Productivity and simplicity often overlap although they re not the same Productivity helps you get more done but simplifying removes what is complicated to make something easier and more clear What would happen if we simplified our commitments Would we find more joy in our daily life Would we feel the satisfaction of living more purposefully Part of me is reluctant to do that I see others seemingly doing it all and I want to have those things too I want to accomplish things that I can enjoy and feel proud of I know that my worth is not based on what I achieved but I do tend to measure my day s success by what I accomplished It s tempting to look at the person next to me and think well she can do all of that then shouldn t I be able to do it too There is a fear of missing out skipping an opportunity or giving up a chance to have success If we try to have or do the same as

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/160/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    couple weeks and it was definitely worth it It was great to spend my money on something I really was looking forward to rather than just another lunch It was excellent The second week I spent a little here and there but still stuck to my budget I was worried for all the things I d be missing out on by not going to Target every other day at lunch or wandering around the mall after work to avoid homework but I didn t miss anything I got caught up on my homework worked out every day with my husband and really had more time to do things I enjoy because I wasn t wasting time at the mall I baked I made candles and visited friends It was a highly productive two weeks without spending money on needless things After the two weeks were up we had already managed to put 300 in our savings account That was enough to convince me to stay on this allowance budget system Not just me but my husband is now on one It s been amazing for our marriage and my stress level Looking back on the weeks since the project I have more time for things I should be doing anyway I have more time to devote to my Bible Study my homework and working out And I m not as stressed out about money or time We have been able to put into our savings regularly put a little extra toward my credit card and enjoy the occasional meal out together rather than an every other day occurrence We ve also spent more time together grocery shopping and going to Costco together keeping each other ok me accountable I am happy to be saving more but also to be less dictated by what I feel pressured to buy or have I m finding that I forget about most of these things I need by the time I have the time or energy to go get them or I just put it on a list and save up What a great impact two weeks can have Thanks Carly for sharing your story Has anyone else tried setting a spending limit for fun expenses Any tips to share More No Spending Projects A benefit of blogging about our annual No Spend Month is hearing from others who try their own projects to save money become more aware of their spending and practice self discipline Here are a few who are currently blogging about their experiences We Take It Easy blogging from Spain about limiting spending until the end of the year Nourishing Days limiting spending until the end of the year including not shopping at the grocery store Just Plain Joy a limit of 300 for personal and household spending during November Update Saving Advice a limit of 400 for personal and household spending during November 22 Comments Good Reads Hello November Photo by Solar ikon I really enjoyed what I ve

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/159/ (2016-02-10)
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