Google+ The Duda Homestead: November 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursdays #3

I know I'm a little late, but I wasn't going to get on the computer on Thanksgiving. I was busy in the kitchen making my contribution to the feast, homemade rolls and cranberry sauce! This week will be a bit easier because my hubby was home with us most of the week :)

  1. Snow. I love it. I think it is beautiful, and I love our yard covered in a fresh coating of snow. I know it can really screw up your commute, which leads me to...
  2. Not having a commute. I have been working since I was 14 years old, with anywhere from a 5 minutes to hour long commute. I do love winter, but starting off the day in a freezing cold car can make you forget that. Staying home in our cozy house with our beautiful view has me very thankful that I get to enjoy winter so much this year.
  3. Baby Carriers. I don't think I've said this one yet, which is hard to believe. Especially since it has gotten cold, wearing little man close to me in a carrier makes it so easy to get out of the house and keep both of us warm. I get to walk around with my own little heater attached to me. I really like the Mei Tai carriers now that he's bigger.
  4. My Kitchen Aid mixer. I'm not sure why, but ever since I was probably 12 years old, I'd wanted a red Kitchen Aid mixer. We received one as a wedding gift from my generous father-in-law & his awesome girlfriend. I used it to make a tripple batch of cupcakes for our wedding and now am using it to make my own bread. While I love to get my hands dirty kneading dough, Little Man doesn't usually want to wait 20 minutes for me, so 2 minutes in the mixer rocks.
  5. Vacuums. Can you imagine cleaning without a vacuum? Especially if you have pets that shed...oh man. 
  6. Fat Quarter Challenge. I have really enjoyed taking part in the contest the past two months (and still can't believe that I won both months!). It has been fun to force myself to create. I need deadlines or I have a hard time getting motivated, and the FQC gives me that. I am passing the baton for Dec, but plan to get back into it in 2014!
  7. Thanksgiving. Day 7 was Thanksgiving, and we are happy to report that we had a very pleasant one. You know everyone getting together can sometimes make for some not-so-pleasant conversation at times, but everyone brought their A game and it was fantastic. I always enjoy attending anything that our FIL's GF (we need a better name for you!) hosts. Great food, drinks, snacks, & company!
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and spending time with friends & family. I feel very strongly against shopping on Thanksgiving and did not participate in keeping these employees away from their families. I have been there and it wasn't fun.

Enjoy these short 3 weeks until Christmas!! As always, please feel free to tell me what you are thankful for in the comments!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursdays #2

Holy cow does a week fly by quickly! I haven't been getting much sleep with our poor E getting more teeth, but somehow I manage to maintain my energy throughout the day. I have 7 days to list thankful tid bits for, so topping my list:
  1. Whatever hormone or super mommy power it is that gives me energy when I really have no reason to have any. I really don't think my half cup of coffee in the morning is what does it. 
  2. Having an old school mom to teach me how to knit. Some mindless, yet productive, activity is just what I've been needing to wind down at night.
  3. Our income. Like I have mentioned, it isn't much, but I know it's more than others may have and it allows us to have this wonderful home and pay off our god-forsaken student loans (overpriced college debt is not on my thankful list...)
  4. I know I already said our son on my first list, but this is a specific trait of his: He loves my face. He needs my face to fall asleep, and if he stirs and wakes up, holding momma's face puts him right back to sleep. It makes my heart melt every single time. Even when I forget to trim his nails and it hurts like a *&$%#.
  5. Our Jumperoo. I never thought I would put him in there because I love holding him and wearing him and letting him roll around and explore on the floor when I'm not, but my back failed me this week and this thing has been a lifesaver for our creeping-up-on-20lbs-and-always-wants-to-be-held-standing-up almost 6 month old. (I'm also very thankful for my husband's generous co-worker's daughter who gave it to us!)
  6. Freecycle. If you have never heard of Freecycle, you should get on that. It is a network which allows you to post things you'd like to give away, as well as find things others are giving away. It's a great way to get rid of things and know they are going to someone who needs them, as well as score some great things you may need for free. We've gotten extra bricks for the yard, plant hangers, misc decorations for the house, baby stuff, etc. If, however, you get on there to get things for free to sell or take advantage of generous people, may karma get you. Don't ruin it for the rest of us.
  7. Patience. I never had much in my younger years, but I have managed to develop lot of it. When I was in Hobby Lobby yesterday, a small line formed and they paged someone up to open their register. When she didn't come right away, a woman behind me was being incredibly rude saying her name over and was rediculous and I am very thankful I don't stress like that woman. Not to mention I couldn't do my job without a good amount of it.

What are you thankful for this week?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fun & Organizing with Liquid Chalkers!

 I have been working on getting our house organized since the hubz finished remodelling our second floor. No more dressers and desks in our living room and we finally have a place for we just have to get everything in its place. It's a slow process but it is happening! We have an itty bitty kitchen, which I love, but it means I have to get creative with organizing. One small step I took this month was to create our "hub" in the kitchen. It includes our meal calendar, a to-do list, and a couple of spaces for some fun. Liquid Chalkers helped me out with this. Read on and check out my photos to see how they can help you get organized, and have some creative fun as well. You'll also find a discount code at the bottom of this post :)

So first, we stopped by Goodwill, as we often do, and I picked up some picture frames for $1-2. I realize I could have gone to the dollar store...but those frames are garbage. These are nice, wooden frames of much better quality. So here they are before:

And after! (These will be going in my 50's inspired kitchen once we get around to remodelling it. For now, they will be hanging on some pretty sweet wallpaper...)

The top left is my meal calendar which you can find here. I realize not all Meatless Mondays are meatless, but some Taco Tuesdays are...I was in a hurry when I filled it out this month. I keep it the same for a few months in a row, but updated it with some more hearty meals now that it's getting cold. Links to the recipes, if I use them, are included. Having a print version helps me to see what I need to thaw or soak for upcoming meals! And I can use the Liquid Chalkers to keep track of which day I'm on (you know that gets difficult sometimes) and to make notes or swaps as need be. Not to mention to fill in the calendar as the months change.

 As you can see below, these wipe off very easily on glass. For the "note paper" frame, I drew the lines on the back so they stay put. Now we can write sweet, funny, or important notes to each other and ourselves. Yay! The frame of us was just to add some family & fun to the wall. As you can see, the Liquid Chalkers worked very well and are nice and vibrant!

Now onto some fun with the markers! One of the toddlers I watch has a birthday coming up this week, so I thought I'd try my hand at a birthday sign for him on his big day. I didn't plan on Cookie Monster, but after some sketching and playing around with the markers on our easel, the texture of them had me thinking fur, and a Cookie Monster book happened to be nearby. So this is what I ended up with:

You can easily erase where you  need to to add detials or fix some mistakes (as you can see I need to clean up a bit more by his eye). After I let it sit and dry for a bit, some colors did need some water to help cleaning up, but every surface will be different so make sure you test a spot first! I'd be weary of items painted with chalkboard paint (especially the DIY kind), but you can buy chalkboard contact paper or write on any non-porous surface with Liquid Chalkers!

The two photos below show each color on the chalkboard and then on the whiteboard. They erase much easier than typical dry erase markers and didn't leave a stain on my whiteboard. Bonus! The chisel tips and rich colors can provide a lot of great detail if need be.

A few more ideas:

  • Decorate for the holidays!
  • Leave yourself notes and reminders on your mirror
  • Have a glass coffee table? Go nuts! Draw boxes underneath and get your toddler sorting!
  • Liquid Chalkers would be much better for decorating a car...while they would come off easier...they would come off easier! The typical paint markers for cars took some good scraping after our wedding (a year later)!
  • Decorate windows or mirrors for your family members birthdays while they sleep. What a fun surprise in the morning!
  • TIP: When decorating glass, if you need some help with drawing, print a photo to trace on the other side (this is especially helpful for text...writing backwards isn't easy!)

Go to and use discount code: EXCLUSIVE15 for 15% off your order!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursdays - #1

I've been seeing some posts on Facebook from folks giving what they are thankful for each day. I think it is a fantastic practice and something that we should do throughout the year. Especially during those weeks you may have where you feel down in the dumps. Remembering what you have to be thankful for can lift your spirits. So today, I begin Thankful Thursdays. Every Thursday I will write a warm & fuzzy post outlining things I am thankful for that week. I feel I am very blessed and want to put that into writing. If nothing else, it will be great to look back on over the years. But I do hope these posts help to inspire you as well. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and the daily posts, I will give one for each day, 1-14. I'll start with the biggies and work my way on to the little things :)

I am thankful for:
  1. My husband. Let me count the ways:
    1. He loves me. Like a lot. 
    2. He works hard for this family, both in his career and on The Homestead.
    3. He gets sh*t done. Over the past year, he really has made this house a home with those strong, hard-workin' hands of his, and he is still working on it.
    4. He doesn't have a "man complex." He couldn't care less about sports or doing "manly" things for the sake of being manly. He had no issues going out to buy me pads after our son was born (for some reason I bought one pack...what was I thinking?). But no one who knows him will argue his manliness.
    5. He can fix anything he has the tools for.
    6. He shares my belief in gentle parenting.
    7. He has his priorities straight, and our son & I are at the very top of his list. He doesn't have to say it, he shows it. 
    8. He shares my beliefs in eating real, healthy food. 
    9. He lets me take the first sip of his beer (since I don't drink much more than that because I'm breastfeeding).
    10. And just to have an even 10 reasons, he's quite handsome ;)
  2. Our son. Any parent knows that this one is hard to put into words. Being the one thing someone needs and wants in the world is a huge & awesome responsibility that I wouldn't trade for anything. 
  3. My mom, aka Ma. I didn't always have a super warm and fuzzy childhood, but she was the rock for me to lean on and the glue that kept me together, and the one who made sure that I do have a lot of great memories. The best parts of me are there because of her. 
  4. Staying home. My husband is a third-year teacher, so he doesn't make loads but he makes just enough to allow me to stay home and watch a couple of youngsters. We are both grateful that I can stay with our baby man, especially since he is super attached to his momma. Like, I can't leave the house without a crying fit attached (which I am totally fine with btw, he will only be little once, and for a short time!).
  5. Alaska. I plan to write a post on this sharing my photos and experiences, but way back in 2006 I spent a summer working in Skagway, Alaska. I was on the Denver Glacier living with 25 other folks in a camp without running water or electricity (other than the generator to keep up communications and give us a treat of a movie now and then). Other than being surrounded by beauty and sled dogs everyday, I did a lot of growing up there. Amazing what disconnecting from modern technologies can do for a person. It left such an impression on me that I decided to tattoo the stars of their flag on my back two years later, which coincidently symbolize strength and looking to the future, and that's exactly what I needed at that point in my life. 
  6. Coffee. I don't drink much, but I love my morning cup! Especially when I get to share it with my hubby on the weekends :)
  7. My camera. It has brought me a lot of joy, as well as some income, and I use it almost daily to capture the cuteness of E as he grows. Could you imagine life before photos? It's pretty awesome that we get to preserve our memories.
  8. Wisconsin. My mom's side of the family lives there and we try to visit twice a year. I have always loved the relaxed feeling there and I think growing up visiting my family in the middle of nowhere has a lot to do with my priorities and the relaxed life we live now. They work hard, eat, play games, and laugh with a cup of "slush" in their hand. My husband loves it too and fits right in (which was kind of a requirement). Not to mention I'm a big Packers fan. I don't do trash talk btw :)
  9. Generosity. We have many generous people in our lives and I have to give a lot of credit to them for our ability to be where we are in life. After E was born, we received so many clothes, meals, and gifts it was humbling. We had tons of girl clothes at the ready (that's for another post) and since our friends and family knew this, everyone brought at least one outfit with them when they visited. Not to mention the meals brought to us by a moms' group I joined. Those were fantastic and unexpected. 
  10. Ellen. Yes, of the Ellen Show. I don't watch it every day, but she is the type of person we need to see more of on TV. I love her message and how much joy she brings to people. She reminds us of the good in the world.
  11. Chai Tea. Those flavors instantly relax me and brighten any chilly, gloomy day.
  12. Our Veterans. Both of my grandfathers were in the military, and currently my uncle Brandon is in the Army. Other than serving our country, he has been there for me in the past when I needed him, and took me out for my 21st birthday (who better to keep you safe on a night out?). But seriously folks, remember those who fight for our freedoms, and remember what those rights are that they are fighting for. Some are quick to give them up for a false sense of security. Grrr don't do it!
  13. Animals. Specifically our own little Ruger (dog) & Tippy (cat). I have loved animals my entire life and have volunteered and worked with many in the past. They have brought me much joy and peace over the years. We rescued both of our animals, and while Ruger has his quirks, he was our first baby and is wonderful with our son. Tippy has kept the mice at bay and is a very cool, tough cat. He and Ruger wrestle and play on a daily basis. One of those things that warms your heart.
  14. Cloth diapers. This one popped into my head since I just changed one...I'm thankful that I found that they exist at one of my newborn photoshoots years ago. They have saved us so much money, and kept our little man away from the chemicals that are filling most of today's disposables. Not to mention their eco-friendliness. 
Whew! There, I'm all caught up for the month. I'll see you again next Thursday! Until then, what are you most thankful for? I would love to hear it! Sometimes folks bring up some of the little things that I may forget about and it's a great reminder for us all!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Feed Your Crafty & Competative Side With Fat Quarter Challenge-GIVEAWAY!

I think we all have at least a tiny creative bone in our bodies. Personally, I can't go more than a day without doing something creative. And I don't just mean slapping some cool filters on an Instagram photo. I try to sketch, photograph (with my "real" camera), or if I can, paint, sew, bake, or build something each day. It's good for the soul and I highly recommend it. Since having our little guy and watching other little ones at our house during the day, I find myself putting creativity further and further down on my priority list. Have I mentioned I was an Art major in college? I need this stuff! What about you?

I know I'm not the only one who needs their "me" time, momma or not. And these days we all seem to be busier than we used to be. A friend of mine, Jesse, over at Wooden It Be Nice has an adorable little family and was feeling the need for some time to herself to get crafty. So she started what I think is a super fun endeavour, the Fat Quarter Challenge! It is an inexpensive way to force yourself to get creative each month. For $12, you get a "fat quarter" of fabric and three notions (ribbon, buttons, etc). This also includes shipping costs. Everyone participating that month receives the same materials and you can do anything your little heart desires, as long as you use all of the materials in one way or another. So not only does this get you crafting, it gets you in on some friendly competition as well! I'll get into more detail after a word from our sponsors of the Great Gifts Giveaway Hop!:


What is a Giveaway Hop? It's a chance for you to check out a bunch of fun giveaways going on all at once! Be sure to check out our sponsors, Planet Weidknecht & LeahSay's Views, as well as the linky at the bottom of this post to find them all!

Disclaimer: Bloggers and Hosts are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfil prizes.

Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to see the list of participating bloggers...

Alright, so back to the Fat Quarter Challenge! Jesse sent me October's challenge materials. I scoured my brain for ideas for the challenge. My first thought was to make something for my baby man of course. But then I received the fabric and it was pink! Now Momma gets to make something for herself!

Image via

I have been saving up sewing ideas since my hubby got me a sewing machine last Christmas (see Jesse's board here). I kept coming back to the quilted wine tote that I found at Needle & Spatula. I hadn't quilted before, or sewn much more than your basic curtains or pillow, but I took it on anyway and added my own twist. I took some coordinating fabric that I'd picked up and fused two layers together (fusing made it thicker and less see-through, and also prevents fraying). I then traced a wine glass silhouette that I drew & cut out and used the sequins from the Challenge as my "wine." I then painted a "D" for Duda for a fun monogram.

Then, I cut out my fabric according to her directions, and quilted and sewed and put it all together! I have to say that I impressed myself and can't wait to show it off to my mom, who is quite the seamstress.

Here it is all put together!


I used the pink ribbon in the FQC package as my bias tape to finish of the top, the sequins as "wine," and the blue ribbon as a cute little finishing touch under the glass. And guess what? I WON! Folks voted on all of the submissions (see here) and I won. I was so humbled and excited. Last month's prize was a Diamond Candle and I got to choose the scent, Pumpkin Chai. Yummmy! And it comes with a ring inside that you get after it burns for a few hours (ok several...unless you're like me and dig it out with a spoon after a few...). Love it! And it is soy, which burns much cleaner than your traditional paraffin wax candle.

So do I recommend you participate in the challenge? Yes! I am participating again for November and can't wait to receive my materials and get crafting again (I did receive October's for free in exchange for this review, but I paid for November)! Here are some common excuses that you may be giving right now:
  • I just don't have time for that.
    • Well it's due on the 22nd, so you have 2+ weeks from when you receive your  materials. And how good will you feel after you actually DO it?! You need to get crafty, you know you do.
  • It costs money and I'm on a budget.
    • Be honest with yourself, when was the last time you left the craft store without spending at least $20? $12 is more than fair for fabric and notions, not to mention the fun competition and chance for a prize worth twice that amount!
  • I'm just not very creative.
    • Psh...get on Pinterest, find an idea you love and do it, girl! I believe in you, and it'll be a lot of fun!
  • I can't sew.
    • No sewing required! I chose to do a sewing project because that's how I wanted to challenge myself. You can easily create a winner with some glue or one of the many no-sew projects I see floating around on The Line (sorry, we just watched The Internship).
I'm so glad that I'm doing this for myself, and I think you will be, too. You can go to and sign up for just $12. If you have a local group, make it a party and hold your own local contest along with the online challenge! An excuse to craft and get together with the girls! Let me know if you do! I'd love to connect with you!

 So what is this giveaway I metioned? The winner will receive a TWO month subscription to the Fat Quarter Challenge, and I'm throwing in a little sewing kit to help you out ($31 total value)! Good luck! And, don't forget about all of the other great giveaways going on in the hop!

**Note: Please only enter if you can/will participate in the challenge with the materials sent to you. You get to keep your creation, you just submit a photo!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...