Simply Liv: March 2015


Evie- 16 Month Update

Hello loves! How is everyone?

Another week down....March is flying by! I can't believe it. And with another month comes another update on Miss E.

She's entered toddler-hood full force now, having opinions (very strong ones, I'll add) about everything. She likes to do everything by herself- from brushing her 12 teeth, to "drinking" out of cups (read: spilling water all over her face all by herself), to running down the sidewalk. I love her big, independent, caring personality and even though she's getting better and better and testing my patience, I love watching her "grow into" herself.

This month has been an off and on "Mama phase" which has been hard for both AJ and I. She's getting a few new teeth, which always makes her want me and no one else. But it goes in waves. When she first meets someone, she acts very shy and will cling to me, but after about 20 minutes she's out of her shell and showing off.

- Playing outside: Just like during the winter when she would point at her jacket and ask to go outside, she is constantly waving bye-bye to the door or pointing out the window asking to go play.  Which I'm much less reluctant about, given the gorgeous weather we've had lately.
- "Cooking": If I'm in the kitchen trying to do dishes or make dinner, it's basically impossible to do unless I distract her with something. Her new favorite distraction is an empty bowl with a wooden spoon, so she can cook just like me.
- Putting on "pretties": I'm continually amazed at how observant she is. If I hand her one of my lipsticks, she will rub it over her lips and look at me with a big smile. I handed her my eyelash curler one day just to preoccupy her, and she squinted up her eyes and tried to curl her eyelashes. They're now one of her favorite things to play with. 
- Yelling at people she knows: After AJ (or anyone whose name she can say) leaves the room, she will run around yelling "Dada! Dada!" until he comes back. She also yells at Nona for getting off FaceTime, or at Uncle Jess for not being home when we come over.
- Thinking every animal with fur is a puppy and everything that flies is a chicken: If she hears a dog bark, or sees a squirrel, or any furry animal she will run around with her tongue out panting like a dog. If it has wings or a beak, it's a "bok bok".
- Fake laughing: I think every kid discovers their fake laugh at some point, but it's pretty hilarious to watch her show off doing what she finds funny in her own way.

- Being away from me or not being held: like I said, I hope this separation anxiety is just a phase, but I'm starting to think about things I can do to help her feel better about being away from me. Any suggestions from those who have done this before?

She does this EVERYWHERE. My little yoga babe.
- She's learning new words all the time, but my favorite new one is "there". She will be working hard at getting something just how she wants it and when she's finished she'll say, with relief, "there!".
- She weighs 20 lbs almost on the dot. The doctor was a little bit concerned with her weight not being as high as it should be, so we are focusing on getting her lots of good fats and calories! However, tall and thin runs in both sides of our families, so I'm not overly worried.

Doesn't she look SO grown up here? It's kind of killing me.

I can't believe how much she's changed just since her first birthday. It's been so much fun getting to interact with her more and watch her engage and play with her surroundings. My baby is growing up, you guys!


5 Tips for Small Space Living

Hi friends! Sorry for the longer-than-expected blogging break. We weren't lucky enough to escape the head colds that have hit the whole town, so all three of us have been pretty under the weather for the past two weeks.

But I'm back today with a little post that I'm really excited to share! I feel I have a bit of expertise in this area, since it's all I've lived in for the past 5 years or so - small spaces.

Love it or hate it, small homes are usually part of life at some point and I think it's more than possible to thrive in these environments, rather than constantly longing for more space for our stuff. 

Since I moved on from the ultimate small space- college dorms and apartment life, AJ and I have lived in several small spaces. A little basement apartment in a larger family home, a tiny one room house and now a two bedroom loft apartment have all been home to us. And in that time I've acquired a few tips for making the most of these little spaces. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few tips I've picked up in my struggle to make tiny living areas work practically.

*Granted, I don't always live by these tips. It's equally accurate to say I've acquired lots of tips on how NOT to live in small spaces*

1. Utilize ALL of your space.
    This may be the most important thing I've learned. Living in a small space usually means not having the storage options that you would have in a larger home. Find every inch of unused space in your home, and make it useful. For me, that has meant adding open shelving to a wall in our kitchen because all of our dishes (ie. coffee mugs) wouldn't fit in the cupboards. I've also had to turn a coat closet into my actual closet and instal storage above the toilet. Use the space above your fridge and cabinets wisely- this can make a huge difference. Get creative with how you store things and organize your rooms- maybe your kitchen doubles as a dining room or your bedroom door is actually a pretty shower curtain hung to differentiate the space.

2. Use light colors when decorating.
    Though this is more aesthetic than it is about organization, I've learned that it can make all the difference in opening up your space and making it appear larger. In our basement apartment, we (for some reason that seemed good at the time) decided to paint the majority of our space a dark grey. I absolutely love grey, and the color would have been perfect as an accent, but for the main color, not so much. It felt like we lived in a cave and had to escape to our lighter colored bedrooms to see some sunlight. Not very fun. Save the dark colors for accent walls or decorations (which I'm all for doing, I LOVE pops of color!) and stick to light colors for the walls.

3. Downsize, downsize, downsize!
    This is probably the one I've had the hardest time with and still feel guilty about at times. Living in a little home means you just can't have as much stuff, plain and simple. Unless you like living in the middle of a Hoarders episode- I recommend being more minimalistic than not. Do you really need three sets of dishes? Or a king size bed? Or a closet full of clothes you don't even wear? Sell or donate what you don't need and replace it with quality items that you can take with you if you ever upgrade, but that still fit in your small space.

4. Personalize in small ways.
    Even in rentals where you aren't allowed to change the wall colors or make major changes, it's still possible to infuse your place with your personality. Paint an end table or dresser a fun pop of color, or showcase a unique collection by creating a gallery wall. Invest in fun pieces that show your style but don't require replacing fixtures or going overboard.

5. Don't let the mess stress you out.
    Small spaces are easily cluttered and messy because things have fewer places to hide. It's important to come to terms with the fact that life is messy and things won't stay organized. Remember to embrace the uniqueness of your space and your personality as you work towards making your small space the most that it can be!

What lessons have you all learned from living in little homes? I would love to hear any that I left out or stories of what you've learned!





Gratitude. For me, this sentiment is a little bit like our paychecks. One minute you have it and the world seems great and dandy, the next minute it's all spent and you're at the bottom of your wallet (or emotional wallet, in this case). It's usually pretty easy to chose where and when to "spend" our gratitude...when the sun is shining and the dishes are done and there's leftover money in the coffee budget. But what about when we want to be stingy with our gratitude? Or we feel that our circumstances aren't worthy of receiving it?

In our culture, saturated with entitlement, it's SO easy to forget to say thank you. Not just for good service at a restaurant, or for our homes or families- but for the hard things too. Like when Evie wakes me up for the 3rd time, asking for "mama" and gripping the bars on her crib, refusing to fall back asleep unless I hold her...again. Or the last few days before payday when it seems like no matter how strictly we budget, the money always disappears. What about in the face of tragedy, or loss, or impossibilities? Is it possible to say "thank you" then?

I tend to be a little bit oblivious to things. When God wants me to learn something, I think he has to tell me at least 3 or 4 times. That's how I know I need to start paying attention.

This time- it's gratitude. First it was an article I read. Then a conversation with a friend. Then this blog post. And now this morning at small group, our chapter just happened to be about living gratefully. Ok, I'm listening now.

What areas of my life am I forgetting to say thank you for? How do I train myself to see the beauty in every situation, no matter how small, challenging or boring? I'm no expert, but I think a mere change of attitude is all it takes. Over and over and over again until it thankfulness becomes our go-to response instead of complaining or simply overlooking. Earlier, I called gratitude a "sentiment", but really I think it's more of a lifestyle. Because when I look back on my life, I don't want to see wasted moments. I don't want to take the 3 am snuggles for granted, or the empty wallet at the end of the month. I want to live every second of my life as a constant "thank you". Thank you for the things that come easy and thank you for the things that I wish I didn't have to face. Thank you for the burnt dinner and the late-night fireside conversation with AJ. For the sick weeks and the uninterrupted showers. For the bad and the good.

This year my goal is to see life as a "hopeful journey". And I think a huge part of realizing that phrase is by learning to be grateful in everything. Big goals, I know, but necessary. So thank you. Thank you for reading this, for following along and being a part of my hopeful journey. You inspire me, and I'm grateful for you.



23 Week Letter to Baby

Well, little one, it is almost the part of the pregnancy where I forget what it's like to not be pregnant. Feeling you kick and squirm and hiccup inside me (which you do almost constantly), feels so natural that I forget only (almost) six months ago you were just a thought that we hoped would surprise us soon.

You're growing so fast- almost a foot long and over a pound! My pregnancy app says you're the size of a large mango ;)

I've finally started going through all our baby stuff (I don't know HOW we've accumulated so much of it already with only your sister) and luckily, we already have a lot of the things we will need! I'm so much less overwhelmed this time. The first time you have a baby, everything is new and crazy and it feels like an unending list of things you'll need. But this time- now that we have our "learning curve" child under our belt ;), I know we really only NEED a few things and that if you surprise us and come out a boy, you're going to have to be okay with wearing all of your sister's old clothes. Sorry.

We can't wait to meet you, girly, so lets make these last few months fly by! Keep growing and dancing; I'll keep eating and eating.

We love you to the moon,




Happy almost weekend! I hope you've all had a wonderful first week of March. 

Today I thought it would be fun to do a little post on what all three of us have been up to lately. Life has been so crazy lately and it's easy to get lost in the "big" details (one of which I'll be sharing with you all next week, I hope!) or the "important" things like making enough money, keeping up appearances...

But the reality is that life happens in the small details, like what you're eating for dinner, or deciding to spend your extra 10 minutes of free time reading Evie's favorite book for the 102943th time.

So in honor of the simple, small moments, here is a little bit of what those times look like at our house.

Currently we are:


I've been obsessed with making sushi lately. Ask AJ. Since I learned how to roll my own sushi a few weeks ago, I've probably made it 10-ish's that easy. And my cravings are that intense.
I've also been making lots of things with rice pasta, like this creamy avocado pasta. SO good.

AJ shot a deer a few months ago, and so another more challenging thing has been learning to cook with venison. So far so good though!


 - Evie: Right now she LOVES anything with animals, and funny noises. For about a month she would ask us to read "Klopp klopp" to her (meaning Dr. Suess' Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?). Her other favorite books (that I'm actually really in love with too) are the Baby Lit books. They are baby versions of classic books like Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden. Evie loves Romeo and Juliet because she thinks that one of the monks in it is Uncle Jess ;)

-AJ: He has gotten really into primitive archery- if you're like me, I had no idea what that even meant until he explained it to me. He is reading articles upon articles and has subscribed to a few magazines about crafting your own bows by hand and how to hunt more traditionally. I'm all for it!

-Me: As always, I'm in the middle of several books. Anna Karenina has been quite the undertaking, but I'm more than halfway done and the story is absolutely incredible. I also started The Book Thief just because I heard such good things about the movie. Any one have any more suggestions? I'm always open to starting a third ;) I'm also very, very in love with Darling Magazine and have read the issue I have a few times over and can't wait to get the new one! If you're into "the art of being a woman" I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.

{Doing} :

AJ has become quite the brew master. He just brewed his third batch of beer, and even though I can't have any right now, I've heard from everyone who's tried it that its better than anything they can buy from a store. He is excited to keep experimenting and learning about home-brewed beer.

We have also been enjoying the few warm days we've had recently by going to the park and going on walks. The weather this weekend is supposed to get into the high sixties! So expect to see some fun photos of our outside adventures popping up soon. 

She LOVES to be outside.

And just to brag about my awesome husband a little bit...

This beauty showed up in our garage one night. AJ told me he found a "table saw" for sale on Craig's List and needed 4 guys to help him move it (yes...I'm that gullible). My dad told me to act excited because "AJ is really stoked about his new saw". 

No need to act excited, Dad. I was SO surprised. I've been wanting a piano ever since I can remember and have missed playing so much. I can foresee many fun days of teaching my girls how to play and re-teaching myself many of the things I've forgotten over the years I haven't been playing as much. 

Thanks, Love. You made my entire year.

I think that's about it for current events at the Youngs' household. Happy weekend and stay lovely, friends. :)




Simply DIY // Easy TV Tray Makeover

A few weeks ago, in my weekend DIY post, I mentioned that I had a few TV trays that I wanted to give a little facelift. Well, I finally made time to finish them and I'm pretty excited about how they turned out!

The trays weren't terrible to begin with, but they were just plain wood, and not very appealing. I'm on a mission to give even the small spaces of our home a personal touch, so these seemed like a safe project to start with.

This was the "before" table. Pretty run of the mill and boring.

It took me a while to decide how to design them. I wanted them to be simple, but colorful and fun. I'm really into geometric patterns right now, so I decided to go with triangles for my first one. The problem is, I'm not a perfectionist- at all. So being precise isn't exactly my forte. I basically just free handed the design, taped it and painted. I wouldn't recommended doing that if you're more type A than I am....a measuring tape or ruler would probably be useful.

That said, don't judge my triangles for being a bit uneven. ;)

Though I liked how it looked at this point, I wanted the triangles to pop a little bit more. I decided to fill in a few spaces with white and leave the middle portions with the wood exposed.

Finally, once the paint was completely dry, I covered the top with clear laminate contact paper. I was a little worried it would make the colors look blurred, but I'm happy with how it turned out.

Now, living in a world with toddlers and two accident prone adults, I can easily wipe the surface clean without worrying about the paint chipping or getting stained.

 I added a grey trim around the edge and painted part of the legs white to give it a little bit of a dip dyed effect.

And tada! A brand-new TV tray. Much more interesting and fun, don't you think?

What are some projects you're undertaking to make your space more "you"?


© Simply Liv

Website Design by CoffeeShop Designs