/ / Taking Stock: April Edition

Taking Stock: April Edition

Every couple of months I love to do a Taking Stock blog post. Years ago in the blog world these style of posts were a thing and to be honest they have always been my favorite!

You can read December’s Taking Stock post here.

It’s a fun way to get to share what’s going on behind the scenes as well as a bit of a scrap book for myself. Don’t y’all love looking back at what you were up and what you loved years ago?!

Making: I tried my hand at making laundry detergent a few weeks ago. Our littlest gal has super sensitive skin and traditional laundry detergents with scent give her a rash. I found a recipe on a blog and we’ve been using it for a few weeks. My thoughts? We get our clothes super dirty and the homemade detergent just doesn’t cut it. I found our clothes to look dull and dingy. Especially the boy’s jeans. It was a super fun project to try!

If you have a homemade laundry detergent recipe that you find truly works, I’d love to hear!

This is the natural laundry detergent that I have found does work super well for our clothes. We ditched dryer sheets years ago and switched to wool dryer balls. I’ve got a blog post (with a matching youtube video) talking about dryer balls here.

Getting: To be honest, I’m getting super excited for new piglets on our little farm! Our Kunekune pigs are due with piglets any day now. This will be our first time having piglets and I feel like a first time mom. Reading all the pig books, reading all the pig forums, watching youtube videos. Never in a million years would I have thought this would be something I was looking forward to. Amazing how life can change you!

Cooking: I have been on a cooking kick lately! Trying new recipes and changing up old ones. I sat down yesterday and wrote out a giant list of recipes I plan on sharing over the spring and summer. Grilled meats, salads and desserts.
I’ve also been making this recipe a lot for breakfast and this recipe for dinner.

Reading: I haven’t had as much time lately to dig into any fictional books (which I love!). But I have been digging into a few goat milk soap recipe books as well as this “Herbal Handbook“. The recipes in there have been so fun to try! A great book to add to your home library.

Thinking: This evening I’ve been thinking through what goat milk soap combinations I’m wanting to make this next week. One of our sweet mama goats birthed twins this week and neither twin made it. I’ve been milking her a few times a day and have quite a bit of milk set aside to make soap next week. I started making goat milk soap a year ago and am a HUGE fan of it! The goat milk soap is creamy and the bars have lasted me forever. I still have quite a large stash from last year’s supply. This is one of my favorite books to use for recipes. I tweaked quite a few of the recipes in the book, but would recommend starting with her basic recipes if you’re starting out.

Looking: I’m really looking forward to this spring and slowing down just a bit. Our oldest daughter is 14 and our youngest daughter is 3 months old. I feel like my oldest daughter should be the age of our youngest. I’ve been feeling the bittersweet tension of knowing that I just have a few more years left with all 8 of my children in our home. This spring and summer feel so sacred and special to me. I don’t want to miss a moment with all of us together. I want to be so intentional with this time and with these precious children the Lord has entrusted us with.

Listening: This week I’ve been listening to this album on repeat. There is something so powerful and worshipful about a choir and organ. If you are reading this post before Easter Sunday, I encourage you to download this album. The song, “Christ Arose” always reminds me of my precious Grandpa who had the most beautiful voice. I can still hear him singing “Up from the grave He arose”.

Enjoying: I’ve been enjoying spending time on the front porch each evening with my husband. Now that the weather has warmed up in the evenings, we spend almost every night sitting in our rocking chairs watching the kids play and catching up from the day. Our kids know that when we are visiting together at the end of the day, it’s our “date night”. They go off to play and we will visit for an hour or so without the kids hanging around. I love my man and getting to spend that time with just him is something I look forward to every day.

We have been having stay at home “date nights” for as long as I can remember. In the beginning we didn’t have two dimes to rub together to go out to eat much less hire a babysitter. And the older we get, the more we love just being home together and spending quality time on our front porch or on the couch after kids are in bed.

If you are in a season where going out on dates isn’t much of an option for you, I encourage you to still make the time to have stay at home date nights. Let your kids see you make your spouse your priority. Even if your children are younger, they’ll catch on pretty quickly that mom and dad visiting together is “date night.” They can tell their stories or hang out with Dad (or mom) later in the evening.

Now more than ever the devil is out to break up families and marriages. There is nothing that he loves more. Marriage is HARD. It’s not always a walk in the park. Marriage is staying committed even when it might not be fun.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts on the topic of marriage… maybe I’ll share more later. But for now… prioritize your spouse. Let your kids hear you say wonderful things about your husband. Let them see you serve him without a grumbling attitude. Let them feel the comfort of your “date night” knowing their parents are committed to one another. Let’s fight for marriage and the family the way the Lord intended.

Finishing: We are working hard to finish up a good homeschool year over here. This past year we switched over most of our curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful to Sonlight. You can read my review of The Good and the Beautiful here (I’ve got nothing but great things to say about it!).

The switch to Sonlight has made for a really sweet year. I knew we would have a baby mid way through the year, which meant a lot more at home days. Sonlight is heavily focused on good literature and we have loved getting to read through so many excellent books.

Wearing: I’m now three months postpartum and have been loving trying some new clothing pieces from Nuuli (not sponsored… just a big fan). You can pick out a handful of clothing items, wear them as much as you want and then send them back. It’s been a whole lot cheaper than purchasing clothes that won’t be fitting in the next few months. You can click here to get $20 off your first subscription. I used the Nuuli service two years ago after my 7th little guy was born and LOVED the experience back then as well! This round of clothes I picked out a few pairs of jeans, a dress and a few tops. It’s been a fun way to try nicer clothing (Anthro and Free People brands are my fav) without having to break the budget. You can get your $20 off here.

Saving: we have had a lot of talks lately about saving money and different ways that we can do that. One of my favorite things to do is to go through our budget with a fine tooth comb and figure out various ways we can cut back on spending. The number one way that has always saved us money is by asking myself, “is this a need or a want”.

If I’m really wanting to hunker down on savings, then I’ll make a little section in my phone with needs and wants. If there is a purchase that isn’t a necessity, I’ll ask myself the “need vs. want” question.

If it ends up being a “want”, I’ll write down what it was that I was going to purchase and also the amount I saved not purchasing said item. Then, at the end of the week I tally up how much money I saved simply by asking myself, “is this a need or a want.”

This is such a great way to retrain your spending habits! It also makes budgeting into a fun game that you can play with yourself. I love challenging myself to see how much money I can keep in my pocket simply by asking myself this question.

Planning: we are planning on playing another round of musical rooms here in the next few weeks. If you have followed my blog or Instagram for any period of time, you know we move rooms around quite frequently. With 10 people living in a 4 bedroom house, we have learned to move around and make the most of our space.

We are planning on moving the girls into our school room and the school room into the girl’s room. There are a few reasons for this. The first being that the school room is a slightly bigger room. As the girls get older, we are finding they need a little more room to spread out. We also wanted to add some fun wallpaper to their room and the existing bedroom is already shiplapped.

I’ll be sharing more behind the scenes over on Instagram (@thevanillatulipfarmhouse).

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  1. I do love reading your emails and not always super timely but I love going through them. They are super encouraging and thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time to do them!

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