Sunday Musings: Life as a Lumber

I hope everyone had a blessed week- we had spring break, so I chose to take a week off from blogging to focus on my family and getting a few things done around the house. It was a much needed break and I feel so much better.

I’m happy to be back at it again, from work to blogging. I’d like to share what we’ve been doing with you.

1. We went to church

We have been listening online to a local church for more than a year, and on Easter Sunday, we visited in person for the first time. We had a wonderful experience there and will attend again. It was wonderful to be back in God’s house again amongst other believers.

2. Our greenhouse is thriving

I’ll be the first to admit- I often just DO things without researching or reading the directions. Sometimes it works out well and sometimes it doesn’t. This greenhouse is only slightly different: I researched a bit, but I am mostly learning by doing. So far, it’s working well. We will plant our garden at the end of the month.

3. We plowed a bigger garden

Last year, the garden we grew was a little two small in square footage. Our veggies grew too close together, which often meant that we missed ripened veggies since we couldn’t see them. This year, we tilled a much larger area than we actually need so we can spread things out. We use a Wizard chain-driven tiller I inherited from my grandpa. It is older than I am but it works great. It’s a workout for sure, but I know he’d be happy to know we are using it. Plus, he has a hand in my garden, even though he isn’t here physically.

We will plow the garden one more time before planting.

4. Back to school!

Miss E went back to school this week- as in back in the building to school. In class. In person. She resisted a bit at first, but I think she is happy to be back. I’m also getting ready to get most of my students back four days a week.

5. The chickens went outside!!

Our chicken littles are no longer living in a wash tub in our bathroom- they have transitioned to our coop! I think they are much happier living outside. I’m much happier not finding chickens flying around my bathroom.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! Join us for the following articles this week:

1. Scrap wood challenge: chicken coop/rabbit hutch part one

2. Healthy school lunch ideas

3. Farmhouse Friday: spring decor roundup

Have a wonderful week!

Lumber in my Minivan: What we’ve been up to!

We meant to post some really neat things this week- we really did. But life has been crazy lately with work, school and dance, and we also were hit with a stomach virus.

Everything seems to be back to normal and we have some really neat things to share with you this week. Just as things are starting to return to normal in our house, we have decided to update you on some recent happenings in our humble abode.

We are in the midst of competition season and the girls are on their way to their first dance competition of the year!
We recently bought four little bantam chicks and the girls are enjoying raising them.

Our littlest lumber is headed to kindergarten this fall! She recently went to her kindergarten registration and her screening.

So many plants are currently coming up in our greenhouse and we are so excited!

Join us later this week for some chicken projects and some garden goodness! Have a wonderful week!

DIY: A Swing Set Made for A Princess

How a few hours on a Saturday can lead to hours of fun

We have an aging redwood playset that my kids have had since my nine year old was two and a half. It’s been a lot of fun, but it is badly aged, and both kids are too big for it. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a new swingset, since both kids will likely age out of it in the not-too-distant future. But with Covid still on the rise, and the parks being too risky, we decided to DIY a simple yet sturdy swingset they would enjoy.

First, we bought four treated lumber 4X4x8 posts, a treated lumber 2x6x10 board and one treated lumber 4x6x10 post. We also bought metal swing set hardware from Amazon.

We started by inserting the 4X6 posts into the brackets to create both A-frames.

Repeat on both sides and then insert the 4X6x12 to make the top of the swing set. When all of your boards are inserted into the brackets, stand it up (with help- don’t do this alone) and tighten the bolts with an impact driver.
Then, make sure the ground under your swing set is completely level. If it isn’t, move it around to where you want it.
Cut your 2×6 in half and use wood screws to attach it to the 4×4 posts. This will stabilize it and create your A-frame.
Double check your lag screws and make sure everything is tightened down.
Install your swing hanging brackets. We used six of these and we measured before drilling.
Then, hang your swings and you are done! We reused the swings and trapeze bar from our old playset.

Looks like the tiny Lumbers approve!

The (Affordable) Parents’ 2021 Winter Survival Kit

By Emma Grace Brown, guest writer

No matter what, winter is always a challenging time for parents. It’s cold out, there’s not a ton to do, and kids and parents alike start to get pretty stir crazy. However, this year promises to be an even tougher time for many. Lots of families aren’t going to be comfortable with the sort of indoor activities and gatherings that have been winter-weather go-tos in previous years. 

We want to help you come up with ways to make this winter fun, despite the difficulties. To that end, we’ve come up with this 2020 Winter Survival Kit. We know money is tight for many families right now, so we’ve gone out of our way to make sure the list includes tips to keep these items budget-friendly. We hope it inspires you to have a safe, healthy, enjoyable winter: 

Outdoor Gear 

If you plan to meet up with people this winter, odds are it’s going to be outdoors. Since indoor gatherings are far higher risk than the alternative, it only makes sense to get out in the fresh air to see the people we love. If you want to meet outside in winter, however, you need good, comfortable, and most importantly, warm gear so it’s actually pleasant to be outside. 

Start with warm winter coats for the whole family. Grown-ups might be able to keep using their coat from last year, but kids tend to grow out of seasonal items before the next cold snap comes around. Outlet malls and shops like Nordstrom Rack are great options when buying for kids. You’ll get high-quality items without the sticker shock. Consider donating the coats your kids have grown out of to a local coat drive to help kids in need stay warm. 

Virtual Activities 

Using virtual means of connection, such as Zoom calls or video games, allow your family to stay in touch with non-household loved ones without risking catching or spreading COVID-19. If you don’t have a video game console, however, it’s easy to feel left out of the virtual fun. The good news is, there are tons of ways to play games with people virtually, no console required. 

There are plenty of online board games that only need a laptop, phone, or tablet for players to join. You can also check out hidden identity games such as Spyfall. Since this kind of game is based more on conversation and interaction than pieces or movement, it naturally lends itself to the video chat experience. Even party games like charades work surprisingly well over video chat! Stay creative and keep an open mind, and you’ll find tons of fun ways to connect online. 

Creative Play 

Finally, we recommend picking up art supplies and embracing creative play over the coming months. Studies have shown that, while the pandemic has made creativity harder, it’s also made it far more important. Art and other creative tasks go a long way toward working out the stress and anxiety the pandemic causes. Moreover, arts are notoriously underfunded in schools, so it might introduce your child to a passion they might not have discovered otherwise. 

A great way to find affordable art supplies is to look for a local second-hand craft shop. These are becoming more and more popular as people become more focused on reducing waste. If you can’t find one near you, you can also check out sales and coupons for local art and office supply stores. 

This winter, focus on finding low-cost ways to keep the whole family connected and entertained. Go gentle on yourself if the stress starts to wear on you, and give yourself space to mourn the winter you might have had. It’s always a challenge to be stuck inside, but creative thought (and lots of self-compassion) can make it easier. 

See more home and parenting hacks at Lumber in My Minivan.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Five Friday Favorites: our favorite apps for staying organized in the new year

Most of us enjoy being organized, and others of us want to be more organized. Some of us fit into both of those categories. Better organization and a more simplified life is at your fingertips…look no further than your smartphone.

There are a few apps that have proven indispensable to our family and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Cozi family organizer (free, premium version available)

Do you have two or more children with several activities on the calendar? Do you struggle to plan meals, keep track of schedules and to-do lists? Cozi is for you!! We use it to catalog recipes, share shopping lists and keep track of schedules via the calendar feature. Each week, it emails all members of your family the events for the week.

2. Spotify Family

I was already a Spotify Premium user and I originally tried to share my account with family. This worked great until we all wanted to listen to something different at the same time. For less than $20, you can have up to five members on one account…not much more than one Spotify Premium account. We also take advantage of their under 12 account, where you can block explicit content and see what your kid listens to.

3. Poshmark

Are you cleaning out closets for the new year and getting rid of outgrown clothing? Make a few extra bucks by selling those clothes on Poshmark. You can also save a few bucks by purchasing gently used clothing for your fast- growing littles. We do!

4. My Macros

Take charge of your diet and fitness by keeping track of your daily food intake with My Macros! I have used this app for about a year and a half now and I love how easy it is to track my calories, fats, carbs and proteins. I highly recommend it.

5. Instacart

No time to grocery shop? Uncomfortable going into the grocery store? Give Instacart a try! I have been making a weekly grocery cart, adding to it throughout the week, and finalizing my order when it’s finished. Then, I arrange a pickup time, drive to the store, and pick up my order. I pay online so my stuff is already paid for when I get there, and they even load it for me. It saves me so much time.

What apps do you use to keep your family, food and fitness on track? Comment below!