What is it like to downsize with a family?

Last year, we moved out of a somewhat small/medium size town home and bought a smaller home. We needed out of the town home and buying made sense- we wanted stability of one location with the added bonus of owning instead of paying to nothing, so we found a cute home but smaller in the area where he grew up.

We only went down 40sqft but that was enough to see a difference.

We now generally have lower utility payments, which is a perk of moving to a smaller home. We also have a smaller home but bigger yard. Moving from a town home joined with several other homes to a single family in a rural area gave us a garage as well, so he is able to do side jobs in the comfort of our garage.

We did move from a 4 bed with two closets the sizes of rooms to a 3 bed with closets in the bedrooms and a linen closet in the bathroom, so we are having to get creative with storage.
We have taken pieces of wood and turned them into key and jacket hooks to hang on the walls, bought book storage and extra children’s toy boxes to handle larger toys and the kids’ books, had to buy a new shoe rack and we use as many wall hanger storage systems we can get. I also went through most of my stuff and have donated bags of clothing, outgrown toys and fabric I’ll never use. We have cabinets from Walmart and Lowes along most walls and have a lot of furniture that doubles as storage.

If you’re moving to a smaller house out of a larger town house or apartment

You will likely have more of a yard and might have a garage. You will be able to make up the storage you’re giving up by adding in a storage shed in the yard and putting seasonal decor and other items in the garage. Storage sheds can be bought on credit at places like Lowes or Home Depot, they typically can range from 1-2/3k depending on the dimensions and material.

Home Depot also has portable closets that can be set up on the wall to give you a makeshift closet. That would require extra wall space, and space can be limited.

For larger budgets, watching the Netflix documentary series about tiny houses can give ideas for mods to make to give storage in compact areas. One I personally liked was a sewing center under the bed- pull it out and the sewing machine pops out and it fit snugly under their bed, so it took up no space.

Finding things like storage ottomans, storage benches that work in the kitchen as seating with lids for storage works as well.

 

If you’re moving from a larger house with a larger yard and more storage space to a smaller house or apartment, the best way to handle lack of storage is to hold a large yard sale, sell stuff on Facebook or Craigslist or donate. When you downsize and there is less opportunity to create storage (and renting a storage building is out of the question), downsizing your belongings (and making some extra cash) is the best way to go.

Have you ever downsized? How did you handle going from lots of storage space to practically nothing?

Learn Tarot in 90 Days workbook

Are you wanting to learn to read the tarot but are unsure how? Are you confused by all the facts about the cards from all the different sites and books? With this simple 90 day meditation workbook, I promise you will be comfortable reading your deck and you will have a personalized book to go along with your relationship with your personal deck. I have 2 left on hand and this is also available on my Etsy.

$13.50

Spring Cleaning: While Home Social Distancing

Since it’s well past the first of Spring and we have all been stuck at home, there’s a good chance some of what you have been doing has been cleaning, disinfecting and going through closets and garages. If your weather has been anything like ours has (a lot of cool and rain) you probably have spent a lot of time inside as well. What are some spring cleaning ideas for the time while under stay at home orders?

1. Now is a good time to go through clothing. Watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and lay all your clothing out on your bed- then hold each item to see which ones excite you. If they no longer fit, aren’t worn and you feel nothing when you hold them, they will likely be worn in someone else’s closet.

Another idea for clothing is to hang everything in one direction in your closet, flip the hangers as you wear each item and in 6 months, all the originally hung clothes get donated- or 1 year if they’re seasonal.

Go through kids’ clothing as well. Make sure everything fits, is in good condition and is seasonally appropriate.

Go through shoes and accessories next- if you have a purse or shoes that are wearing out or that you haven’t used or worn in years, toss them.

2. Kid’s toys. How many games are laying out with missing pieces that are never played? How many toys are broken or outgrown? Sit toys to the side and put away to have a yard sale when things clear off.

Another recommendation is to put some toys away and switch them out. Kids typically have too many toys so not all get played with- when you rotate the toys, it’s like the toys are new again.

3. Take this time to go through your kitchen. Find all the gadgets you don’t use (or forgot about) and either find ways to use them or put them aside for a yard sale. Make sure your dishes are in good shape and get rid of and replace anything that’s chipped or broken.

Make sure you have a full set of measuring spoons and cups and make sure all your normally used supplies are in good shape. Anything you don’t need or have too many of, set aside for a yard sale.

Go through all your food- pull it out of the lazy Susan, pantry and all shelves. Anything that has expired, toss and take close inventory of everything. Make sure everything is still good and put it back with earliest dates first.

Remember, not all food goes bad by the date and best by is not expiration.

Before you put the stuff back, clean and wash all shelves or wipe them down with clorox wipes.

Clean out your fridge, it there is food growing mold, toss it out and soak the container. Wipe down the insides and shelves then organize as you put everything back.

4. Go through your bathroom. Find all of the medications that are expired  and  drop anything off that has expired, destroy and toss the prescription take labels to destroy. Find all your cosmetics, lay them out and go through dates and condition of each item. Also go through personal care, hair and skin products and get rid of all almost used or empty bottles. Before you put the stuff back, clean and wash all shelves or wipe them down with clorox wipes.

Before you leave the bathroom, clean the toilet, tub and sink. Make sure you get the edges of the toilet- not just the bowl, get the back and under the seat.

5. Get rid of all your towels that are in bad condition. Animal shelters are always willing to take old, used towels for bedding. Move all ragged wash cloths to cleaning cloths and replace anything that is needed.

6. Put your washer and dish washer on cleaning modes and have them clean themselves, self clean your oven if it has that option. Otherwise, scrub down the inside of your oven. Remember to make sure if you’re able to use oven cleaner, it’s not always safe to use.

7. Pick everything off the floor and sweep or vacuum. Move the furniture and appliances and sweep/vacuum/mop and shampoo under everything. While you’re at it, vacuum and shampoo (or steam) the couch, all upholstered chairs and other fabric furniture.

8. Go through your books. They may have an attachment but they do no good just sitting around collecting dust- if you have already read them and aren’t going to read them again, give them to a friend who would like them. Donate to the library or sell- they do good when they’re being read not sitting around and doing nothing.

9. Wash all the windows, TV and computer screens, mirrors and all glass.

10. Dust all knick knacks, ceiling fans and light covers before sweeping

11. Take a Clorox wipe and wipe down the sides of all appliances and cupboards in your kitchen and laundry room.

The states are slowly working on starting to open back up but stay at home orders are slowly changing to “safer at home” and a lot of people are still wanting to stay home as long as they can.

If you still haven’t returned to work, now is a good time to work on trying to get your home caught up, decluttered and deep cleaned. Cleaning can help take your mind off things and deep cleaning can help protect against insect invasions that happen during the spring, viruses and can make you feel fresher.

What areas in your house are you or have you cleaned out? Have you been spring cleaning your house?


	

Its time to break the taboo

Tw- child loss

Why is mentioning the child you lost so hard?

The feelings of guilt for saying “I have 2 daughters” instead of 3. But if I say “2 and an angel” the conversation ends immediately (unless she is also in this inclusive and deranged club)

Trying to brush it off and saying “I’m fine” when I realize it would be lil miss’s birthday and I’m out in public.

Lil Miss would be turning 7 in June.

The pain eases up over time, you live the life they would want. You have your amazing rainbow and suddenly, you start to see the children you do have more as amazing miracles.

You study the medical problems to such an extreme you suddenly realize we are all miracles to be born- so much can and does go wrong with pregnancies

1 in 4 lose babies, so why is it still so awkward to mention it?

It can be seen as a deeply personal thing, at the same time, its also as personal as the number of living kids running along side you at the store. The only difference is, 1 is with you in spirit while the others are there in person.

I wrote a while back for the website Pregnant Chicken, an article about the isolation of losing a baby and so many women related to it. It’s a taboo we need to break. Something that people should understand- the guilt of having to pretend that the baby never existed and the awkwardness of mentioning she did.

Mentioning the angel isn’t looking for sympathy, its showing pride in the beautiful baby who was taken too soon and acknowledging her shouldn’t lead to awkward silence, it should be seen the same as showing off the living kids.

Mentioning mine has educated several other women on the importance of folic acid and neural tube defects

Its also the main reason we do March for babies every year

I’d love to see a day when mentioning the baby that didn’t make it would be just the same as mentioning the ones who did. Where you don’t have to ignore the guilt when you tell someone the number of living kids you have and leave out “and an angel”

I would love to see the taboo lifted so that guilt could cease to exist.

Keeping Sane During the Virus Pandemic

Most of us are stuck at home. When we do go out, it can feel a bit stressful.

Now that we are staying at home things may be starting to slow down.

Some people are looking to find the benefits of being stuck in the house all day and are trying to enjoy the “break” from the day to day life.

I’m one of those people who has that voice in the back of their head that always assures them things will work out. I’m always striving to see how I can make things work out well and am always looking for ways to improve my life.

Here are some tips for people to get through being stuck inside and unemployed without going crazy.

1. There is so much extra time- now you don’t have to commute and don’t spend 8 or more hours at work. It may seem like you’re doing more, but you should be able to look around and find extra time to spend doing something for you. It could be sneaking away to take a bath while your partner is home with the kids or after the kids go to bed. You could try to wake up a few minutes early to put on your coffee or tea and get a small workout or meditation in before the kids wake.

2. Take this time to quit eating out and learn to cook, if you can’t.

If you’re able to, turn on food network and start playing with the recipes.

Not only do you save money by not eating out, it’s healthier. Its more time consuming but kids can join in and it can turn into both an educational and fun family activity

3.If you’re working from home or laid off, try taking up a new hobby. If there is something you have been wanting to learn, do it.

There are YouTube tutorials for everything, if you want to learn to paint or learn to decorate cakes, now is a good time.

4. Just take time to sit down every night and be lazy. All those posts telling people to use this time for productivity is not for everyone.

The most important thing to do right now is take care of your mental health, especially those of us with mental illness of any kind. Starting a business or writing a book are great ideas- for those of us with interest, but self care is vital right now more than any form of being productive. Self care could be getting in bed earlier, sleeping in later or speaking off to take a bath.

My kids and I have spent several hours over the last couple days working on our garden. Gardening is a great way to relieve stress. I also turn to writing and have to have a creative outlet.

Right now may seem hopeless but if you look deep into your day, hopefully you can find at least a 5 minute window to do one small thing to care for yourself.

Fishing Destination: Elk Fork Lake

Located in Jackson County, between Ripley and Spencer, you’ll find Elk Fork.

Don’t expect to go to camp up here but you can find a place to stay in Ripley and you’ll only be a short drive away from the lake.

This is more of a day/evening trip location- they do allow people to fish at night and they will enforce fishing license as well as boat licensing.

There is a ramp and the lake is peaceful, so it’s a good starter location when you’re learning to kayak.

All in all, I don’t like this location as much as Charles Fork but my husband does enjoy going occasionally with his dad or friends to spend the day fishing. The lake is big, so if you’re learning to kayak and trying to catch up to a troller motor, it will feel almost like you will be paddling all day.

I went out with my husband and father in law. They both had boats with troller motors and I was trying to meet them. By the time I caught up with them, I felt I had a decent grasp on how to paddle in general.

Vacation Hotel Review: Compass Cove Hotel. Myrtle Beach, SC

The Compass Cove has become my favorite hotel. As a child and teen, we did stay at a few different hotels but none as memorable as Compass Cove and now, I can’t see myself staying at a different hotel.

Compass Cove could be a vacation all in itself. There is a DJ 1-2 days a week live at the pool (the Tiki Hut right outside the main building). They offer three buildings- the Pentacle, the main building and the Indigo (the Indigo used to be a hotel itself but they bought it out and it’s now under their ownership). They offer five kiddie pools, seven hot tubs, two indoor pools and water slides, four outdoor pools and three lazy rivers.

Picture- my husband sitting in the Crow’s Nest

My father in law and child eating breakfast at the Compass Rose


There are a few notable restaurants located inside the hotel as well. If you’re looking for a place to go when the kids are in bed (if you have more than yourself with the kids), The Crow’s Nest, located on the second floor of the Pentacle building has a great atmosphere. They serve foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, onion petals and a lot more, including a full bar. They are also a fun place to take the kids. The prices aren’t bad either and the onion petals are the best I have had. They offer vodka made with corn, for those who have gluten intolerance/Celiac (Eddy’s flavored vodka) and sweet tea or pop for visitors who don’t drink.
They have nights with live music, karaoke and always have the TV on at the bar.

When you make your reservation, you can get free breakfast buffet tickets for the Compass Rose. The Compass Rose is located near the check in desk on the main building (Schooner). They open at 6 am and close for breakfast at 11. The buffet has something for everyone- if you like bread, they have biscuits and gravy, bacon, eggs, sausage, cereal and anything else. The coffee is actually good and you can also get coffee to go after you finish.

The Tiki Hut offers slushies, drinks (alcoholic and non) and other fast/grilled foods poolside. They are open from 11 to 7 at the main pool in front of the Schooner building.

The Compass Joe is located on the bottom floor of the Pentacle building. They sell Starbucks brand coffee as well as pastries (mostly Starbucks brand)
The bad thing is that you don’t get points with a Starbucks card, can’t use Starbucks gift cards nor the app- but it’s still Starbucks food/coffee.

If you go to the fifth floor in the Schooner building, you will find a fitness center, reservations come with a free DVD rental (the DVDs are located in the pentacle building), if you have a room with no washer/drier, there is a laundry room in the pentacle building but some rooms come with washer/driers and dishwashers. They have grills for resident use located by some of the pools with plenty of picnic tables.
They offer free Wi-Fi for residents as well as a business room with computers and printers.

From the friendly service when you check in at the front desk, to the friendly staff you constantly see working hard around the hotels, this hotel has me expecting a lot from a hotel and the staff. We haven’t ran across unfriendly servers any of the times we visited any of the restaurants and even when you walk back to your room and interrupt housekeeping, you still get your fresh towels and trash taken out (although it’s extremely easy to take it out yourself). There are ice makers in some of the rooms and ice machines all over.

One problem we run across nearly every year, though, is that at least one of the three elevators is always broken down in the pentacle building. My father in law stayed in that building this year while we stayed in the Schooner. At one time, two of the three elevators were broken down.

Baby pool in front of Schooner building

Playing on the beach in front of the hotel, digging a 3 foot deep hole in the sand.


We always stay in one of the family suites, ocean front. It offers a large, wrap around balcony with a great view of the beach. The room has three beds, two bed rooms, dishwasher, coffee makers, microwave, range, washer and drier and large living room with a pull out bed.
The single rooms offer one bed, a large room, ice maker, coffee maker, range and microwave and both room types offer all dishes, pots and pans.

This is a hotel I always recommend to people when they’re thinking about going to Myrtle Beach. It’s my favorite hotel out of the hotels I have stayed in, in any state. There is always something to do and even days it storms, you are bound to find entertainment.