Hidden Valley Orchards

The sunshine was working it today! It has been a whole week of clouds, thunderstorms, and dreary days, but we finally woke up to total sunshine this morning. I immediately decided that CJ and I needed to get out of the house for an adventure that didn’t involve a grocery store.

So we headed out to Hidden Valley Orchards, which has been one of our favorite places to visit since we moved to Ohio. HVO has changed a lot since the beginning, but it’s still an amazing family adventure.

During the summer, they host holiday events, Fruit festivals, petting zoos for kids, and u-pick events. Everything from grapes to apples! They also sell small home decor, fresh fruits & vegetables, baked goods, and canned items. They also just opened a bar and huge patio area this year!

So today CJ and I headed out to pick some blueberries! We got a pint sized buckets for five bucks and ventured out to the fields in search of something yummy.

I love to do stuff like this with her. We went strawberry picking last year at HVO and apple picking in the Fall at another orchard in Yellow Springs. Much like last year and my tomatoes though, she picks the ripe berries AND the tiny little green ones too.

After we filled up our pint-sized bowl of blueberries, we headed inside for lunch. Hidden Valley Orchards has a huge and delicious menu! Burgers, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and so many delicious baked goods.

I got CJ a burger with a side of fresh fruit and I got a bacon grilled cheese with green beans. We also got a buckeye brownie, which is less of a brownie and more of a small sized cake.

It was a gorgeous day and totally something we needed after such a gloomy week. We’ve been having a hard time getting back into a routine since we got back too, so even though it’s quite opposite of routine, the spontaneity of today was just what we needed.

And now we’ve got some delicious and as fresh as they get blueberries for the weekend. I’m thinking blueberry pancakes? Muffins? Cake? Or all of the above!

HVO is located at 5474 OH-48 in Lebanon, Ohio 45036

Click here for their Facebook for more info

Toddler VS Tidy House

I’m just gonna say it…. toddlers are gross. You guys know that I adore my daughter and her curiosity for the world, but toddlers are gross and she is no exception.

I’ve always kept a tidy house. Becoming a mom didn’t change that for me. I like things picked up and in their place. It’s just how I function. I actually tend to get a bit of anxiety when things aren’t clean, so tidy just works for our family.

It is not for everyone and that’s okay.

Today I pulled the couch out after I tossed the cushion covers in the washer and I found a collection of toys beneath it – plus some dried shredded cheese and a couple of stale Cheerios. Oh and crumbs. Crumbs everywhere.

Should I be embarrassed to tell you that? Because I’m not. A toddler-sized traveling snack eater lives here and it’s probably not allllll her. I also like to eat popcorn on the couch while I catch up on my shows. And honestly, if the less than desirable couch treasures are the messiest things in my house than I feel like I’m doing a decent job.

I do want to briefly touch on the stigma of tidy vs less than tidy. I saw some comments on an article I read recently and the article talked about tidiness. The comments ranged from wholeheartedly agreeing to subtlety judging the author’s lifestyle. I just want to say that if your kids are happy, tidy or not, then you are doing a good job. There is no need to compare your home to anyone else’s. You don’t live there and you shouldn’t make anyone feel bad for their choices.

Back to tidying up, guys. I want to leave you with a quote and a couple of quick tidying up tips that can fit any parent’s lifestyle. I read this quote about a year ago and it still really shapes the way I do things on a daily basis.

“You have time for what you make time for.”

And with that, here are a couple of my favorite 5 minutes or less daily tidy-tips!

1. Fold the laundry. You’ve done the washing. You’ve done the drying. Now do the folding!

2. Put away the toys before bed. This one really only takes 2 minutes, if that. Each night before I whisk CJ off to bed, we put her books on the shelf. We toss the puzzle pieces on top of the puzzle boards. We line up her impressive collection of cars and everything else gets tossed into the toy box.

3. Make your bed! It might seem silly to make your bed when you are just going to climb into it later, but it’s worth it. Wouldn’t you rather easily climb into those pre-made sheets when you are tired rather than having to zombie your way through straightening out the pillows, sheets, and blankets in the moment that you really just want to lay down?

4. Toss the junk mail. You don’t really need those food coupons that you probably won’t use before they expire anyway. Plus, in the world of technology, you can mostly likely get a better coupon directly on the website. Old bills that you’ve already paid? File or toss. Ads you think you’ll need? Take a picture and make a special file on your phone! Junk mail is called junk for a reason. Don’t let it clutter your coffee table or counters.

5. Vacuum! “What? That doesn’t take 5 minutes. Get outta here!” It does if you vacuum one room a night. Pick the room that needs it the most and go for it. It doesn’t have to be thorough, but it helps a ton when a busy parent finally does get to do a deep clean.

There it is! 5 things you can do in 5 minutes or less. That’s just 25 minutes if you choose to do it all in one night – that is a lot less time than most people spend clicking through social media or watching their shows. And a reminder! If tidying up isn’t your thing? That’s okay. If tidying up is your thing? That’s okay. If you want tidying up to be your thing? Then start with these tips!

I’m a mess…y painter

Whenever I tell my husband that I want to paint something, there is this moment of silence… this lost look in his eye for just a moment before he gives me the signal to continue on with my painting proposition. He’s not a fan of house projects and though he is super supportive of my hobbies, he’s even less of a fan of me painting.

We are definitely no Chip & Joanna Gaines when it comes to home improvements.

I can try my absolute hardest to paint and be clean about it, but will still make a mess. I’m very casual about it too. I always say “oh, I’ll come back and clean that up.” And my husband will be internally groaning as he tries hard not to look at whatever mess I’ve just made. I do always fix it though – well except the garage floor. That one is probably a lost cause until I stop taking in stray furniture pieces to work on.

So during his recent work trip, I decided to tackle the laundry room. The laundry room didn’t always bother me under the warm glow lighting in there. However, my husband fixed the pantry light and unknowingly created more work. That light (and I’m so thankful it’s fixed) made the paint in the laundry room/pantry look like a vintage haunted hospital. It brought to life every single mark on those terrible white walls.

Choosing the color was easy. When we bought the house in 2016, one of the first things we did before we moved in was paint. There was a sandy textured paint on the walls that didn’t fit out style. After a ton of debate about colors, we settled on a choice cream and got to work. It’s the same color I chose for the laundry room.

With the tiny human in tow, it took me about 3 days to fully complete. We were both covered in paint for days! She finger painted, leaned into the paint, and at one point she even stepped into the paint tray… with both feet. My kitchen counters were covered in laundry & pantry supplies. As I looked around, I sure was thankful that my husband couldn’t see this mess.

But I conquered it. I reorganized the pantry and even purchased some decorations for the laundry room. I know it’s not always an important room to update, but it feels good to walk into those freshly painted cream walls and a plant above my washer & dryer. I even bought a little Laundry sign for half off at Hobby Lobby.

It feels good when I execute a large project like this off of my to-do list. It makes me feel invincible for a little while. I recommend it for anyone looking for a change, but also do your research and be realistic about the projects you take on.

Goal Setting

I want to talk to you about goal setting.

In 2017, I had set out to accomplish all of these personal & home related goals even though I had just had a baby that March – Followed by my husband leaving for work for several months in a row! At the time, it was just me, a 4 month old, a dog & a long list of To-Do’s. I accomplished none of it. I felt overwhelmed just thinking about buying paint and moving furniture with the two curious critters in tow.

Now it is 2019. I accomplished about half of my list in 2018 before adding to it for this year. I’m about to put the finishing touches on our laundry room (pictured below w/ fresh paint), which has been one of the bigger items on the list. I’m feeling super accomplished right now, even though it’s not quite finished.

So why did I give you insight to my total goal-flub? Because I want to remind you that you are a beautiful and talented human being and it’s okay if you don’t tackle your huge to do list right this second. You’ll get there. Some things take time. Maybe you weren’t absolutely ready to conquer those goals, but in a year or two, you will be. The important thing is to not give up, but at the same time… enjoy the now without stressing about the need to-do.

In the time that I didn’t accomplish my goals, I got to enjoy watching my daughter grow into the hilarious, but stubborn almost 2 year old that she is. I was there for my dog when she suddenly got sick and passed away. I learned more about gardening, nature, and an individuals impact on the environment. I rekindled my relationship with my husband when he finally returned and together we set new goals, while accomplishing some of the old ones.

My main message here is to set your goals, but live your life.