Life Hack: Keep No Show Socks from Slipping

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack

The temperatures are warming enough that the bare ankle look is in again here in Iowa. I love the look, but hate the feel of my feet in shoes with no socks. I hate how sweating feels if you’re wearing shoes and not socks. I also hate that every pair of no shoe socks I’ve ever tried keep slipping off my foot like a snake shedding skin.

Until I figured out a no cost life hack to keep no shoe socks from slipping. Prepare to have your life forever altered.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Never have THIS uncomfortable feeling again!

I discovered no show “sling backs” if you will.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Take your no shoe socks and snip off a small horizontal line off of one end.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

You’ve created a small hole.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Don that end at your heel.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

They stay on all day. They don’t fray in the wash. There aren’t any issues with sweat. It’s perfect!

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Now if only there was such an easy solution to kids bickering.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica


Pottery Barn Knock Off Budget DIY

I adore winter! It’s one of my four favorite seasons!

I am however, ready to think ahead to spring. Looking for some table decor which would make the transition from winter to spring, I came across this delightful hydrangea arrangement.

$49.50!?! Yes. You read that right. Immediately my evil little mind went to work, trying to think how I could steal this idea from Pottery Barn for much less.

Turning to the Dollar Tree, I bought a small glass jar and several hydrangea sprigs.

Total: $7

Supplies needed:

Hydrangea branches

Little sticks

Small round short vase


Wire cutters


Hot glue

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I traced the top of my vase on this applesauce box, and then cut it a little smaller than that diameter so it would fit tightly a few centimeters inside the glass container.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I sent the kids out to get a branch from the yard and broke off tiny sticks from it.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Then I cut them all to the same lengths and glued them together once I made a roundish bundle.

I cut off most of the stems of the hydrangeas and bent what was left at almost 90° angles. I glued these to the cardboard, bending them as needed until they looked good enough.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Making sure the stick bundle would fit, I glued it to the opposite side of the cardboard circle as the hydrangeas.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter floral centerpiece

There you have it! A Pottery Barn DIY at 1/7th of the price!

Where would you put a cute flower arrangement in your house?


Christmas Home Tour-Frugal Edition-Living Room

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

We got our 9 1/2 foot Christmas tree from a moving sale. It’s prelit, and may work just fine, but I can’t figure out how to connect them, so this year I used the Tree Dazzler. The children all “help” with the decorating, and then alter I go in and space out the ornaments and add the ribbons.

Our star is from Dollar General, as is the burlap and glitter wired ribbon. The red ribbon is from the Dollar Tree.

Under the tree you can see our fantastic collection of Christmas books.

Christmas home tour Christmas tree living room decor

Our mantel isn’t everything I want it to be this year. I’d like to make all matching Christmas stocking hooks, or have some that don’t show at all. These are all from Goodwill and they do for now.

My amaryllis is sadly just the one leaf, because someone broke off the bloom stem just as it was emerging from the bulb this year.

My dad brought the giant pine cones back front the redwood forest for me. The garland is a hand me down from my sister-in-law.

I’d like the candles tucked in among the garland so you can’t see them, but alas, kids. If you zoom in you can probably also see my half broken speaker and ziplock baggie with ornament hooks in it because I never got around to getting it back upstairs to the holiday closet.

I made the stockings without using a pattern and so I didn’t line them. That wasn’t the greatest of ideas. They all have pieces of cardboard inside them to make them hang straight-ish.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon ceramic vintage tree

The large ceramic Christmas tree I bought at an antique shop before they were popular, and therefore it was a steal. The smaller one was given to us by The Farmer’s mom, and was from her younger days.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

I found a plain inexpensive garland at Hobby lobby and hot glued the same non breakable many years old ornaments we have on the tree and berries to it. I can’t believe they can charge so much for fancy garland!

Twelve year old wrapped the banister with colored lights. I did have garland over the lights on the newel post, but I also have a three year old.

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

Holiday pillows I have collected, which never stay on the couch, and a snoozing schnauzer

Christmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbonChristmas tree mantel living room decorating decor holiday DIY garland ribbon

This is an inexpensive and easy DIY.

I keep my decorating to a manageable amount. Since this is the most decorations for Christmas I’ve put up in years, I felt compelled to record it!

What is your favorite decoration in your living room? Do you love pre-made or DIYs? How do you keep decorating fun and frugal? I’d love to hear in the comments.


The Incredibly Easy Way to Put on a Duvet Cover

I have always loved snuggling up in a down comforter, but I, like much of the middle class, want to also have a catalog type bed with too many pillows. This means a duvet cover.

Duvet covers are stupid. I have watched so many videos on the tortilla roll and rolled and rolled and re-rolled attempting the perfect spread of cover to comforter ratio. I have tugged and fluffed the down comforter inside the duvet cover until my arms figuratively fall off. It seems like every time the comforter falls off the bed it gets smooshed up to one side and you have to redo it or deal with a bunched up comforter inside the duvet cover.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

Who can deal with that? Not this girl. I love my bed like I love my mother! I just want to cozily crawl in and have it comfort me. I don’t want to mess around with messed up blankets.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

Finally I hit upon the perfect solution which always works! Always!

Here’s how to put the duvet cover perfectly on the comforter.

Just lay it on top like a sheet. Seriously. Presto change-o. You’re welcome.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

You can either put it on zipped, or tuck up the zipper.

Here’s what it looks like zipped.

How to Easy way to put on a duvet cover

Now go snuggle in your cozy, comfy bed without having to fuss with the duvet cover ever, ever again.


How to NOT Pack Light

How to (NOT) Pack Light

My Handsome Husband and I recently went to Washington DC without kids! We hadn’t had a trip with just the two of us since 2009, when we came home pregnant with Denton (baby #4). Don’t worry, we didn’t bring home any special surprises this time!

Kevin was representing Scott County in a Farm Bureau of Iowa in a lobbying trip, and was allowed to bring a guest. I’m so glad he chose me! Farm Bureau paid for his expenses and some of mine, so that made the trip even better. Even though they would have been paying for one checked bag, I swore to myself that I would be able to pack for the six day trip with only our carry-ons and one personal item each.

I couldn’t do it.

The morning of Packing Day, Kevin took the middlest (and the most in-the-way) of the kids with him on an outing, so I could concentrate on packing. I had a list. I had been watching “How to Pack for a Week in a Carry On” YouTube videos all week. I knew which outfits I was packing for him to wear to the Capitol, for his talks with our senators and representatives and with officials from the EPA and the Canadian Embassy. I had ordered packing cubes. I had checked out a fully loaded Kindle from the library so I didn’t have to pack any heavy books. I was ready.

The first 10 minutes went well, until I realized half of the Handsome Husband’s shirts had a serious ring around the collar issue and I had to do laundry. After that, I couldn’t settle down and get to work. I couldn’t figure out where to begin again. I felt like I was spinning in circles. I was Marco Poloing with a dear friend and told her jokingly that I needed her to come over and help me. Miracle of Miracles, she did! What a blessing to have a tribe who supports you in tangible ways.

She helped me stay on task, and get completely finished packing. This was key, because I almost always leave something to the last minute, but we were leaving at 4 am the morning of the beginning of daylight savings time, so I couldn’t do that this time!

Thanks to her steadfastness, I finally got packed, but it wasn’t light. I went awry, and if you want to NOT pack lightly too, here’s what to do.

Pack for the Gym

I packed gym shoes and clothes. I didn’t realize I would be walking an average of six miles a day, and not only wouldn’t NEED to work out, but wouldn’t want to work out.

Pack Extra Shoes

I decided I needed to bring my slippers. I didn’t. I also thought I wanted cute boots for the plane ride. I not only didn’t need cute boots, I mistakenly kept them on our first day of touring, which amounted to almost eight miles of walking and multiple blisters. Never choose cute over comfort.

Bring Work Along

I thought I would tour around DC the mornings that Kevin had his meetings, and then head back to the hotel and write, possibly read. That didn’t happen. Not only did I not open my computer or decorate my planner one time, I couldn’t restrain myself from over stimulation of all the wonderful history and museums which DC has to offer. I basically flew my laptop from Iowa to DC and back again, just so it could get out of the house.


I packed a different shirt and tie for every day Kevin had meetings, and then some. I accidentally counted to four wrong, and packed too many shirts. Additionally, I realized too late, since he was meeting with different people every day, he could have worn the same outfit (or only had one alternate button down) every day with a different undershirt and been just fine.

Pack Too Many Toiletries

Since I was going to be attending a few of the meetings and going out to dinner, and I had read online that DC was a dressy city, I thought I would need all of my make up (well, a lot of it). My curling wand. Different jewelry.

I did change jewelry, and I did curl my hair, and I did look fabulous, but it would have been fine if I hadn’t.

It’s true. I’m extra. I have a hard time packing light.

We’re going to Seattle in a few weeks for four days. Maybe I’ll be able to go pack for that trip with only a carry-on. But even if I don’t, it will be ok.


Becoming Minimalist: Easy Pantry DIY

I’ve been purging a lot lately.

Getting rid of the past feels good! Getting rid of the junk feels good! Getting rid of all those maternity clothes feels amazing!

I saw a post on organizing your pantry a while ago, and I finally got kind of started on that project. I don’t like investing a lot into my organization though. Spending tons of money on baskets and glass jars for my pantry just doesn’t ring true to my miser’s heart. I’ve been putting a lot of it in Mason jars, but often those aren’t big enough so it’s still not really helping.

Then I saw a Pinterest post (probably) on making your own “baskets” out of cardboard boxes and rope. Brilliant.

So for the price of several glue sticks and a couple pounds of jute twine, I was able to go from this:

to this:
I just used construction paper with white colored pencil as labels. These are up high in the pantry so all you can see are the “baskets”. It really helped a lot, but I’ve got a ways to go 🙂

Autumn Mantel

Our old farm house was built in 1850. You would think being built before the Civil War and only being a few years younger than the first school in Iowa, that it would have a fireplace in every room. Not so. Our builder was apparently an up-and-comer and put the newfangled wood burning stoves in instead. We used to have two chimneys, but the part sticking up out of the roof have been removed and covered up, better for leaks, but not so great for aesthetics.  We have the brick part of our chimneys, plastered over still in parts of the house. Anyway, no fireplace.

I think it should have a fireplace, don’t you?

 And now it does.

Kevin did some welding for a friend of ours who is completely gutting a house and he gave us the fireplace. Although it’s gas and not wood and while I’m not keen on the brass, it will be warm and cozy and inviting once we get it up and running. It’s currently missing a few pieces because Kevin had it in the garage at the same time he was painting some pieces to the family closet and ooops! Oak trim got heavily misted with  white paint.

We are still waiting on our plumbers (yes) to run a gas line and hook it up for us.

I couldn’t wait any longer to decorate it. I am not a huge decorator, mostly out of practicality (and I’m also cheap). The down low places never stay ‘decorated’ because of the small ones and the up high places get undecorated pretty quickly when they get cluttered up with stuff taken away from and put out of reach of the small ones.

But my mantel will be sacrosanct.

For fall, I decorated with a lamp we had on an end table, a cake plate with a pumpkin and field corn. I leaned a window original to the house against the mirror. I put some pheasant tail feathers my dad saved for me in a triangular shaped jar (which happened to have dirt in it from a science project). In a vase we got for our wedding I put an oak tree branch I snipped in our yard and put some stuffed pumpkins in front of that. Cost: $0.

I love my autumn mantel. It makes me happy whenever I look at it. And I really like to be happy.



A book I’ve been waiting for at the library finally came in. I’m reading a book on scheduling. As in Scheduling Your Day.

I am somewhat of a free spirit and I don’t like something/someone telling me what to do (even if it’s myself via a schedule) (or a recipe telling me how far apart to place the cookie dough). I’ve always mentally fought the idea of a schedule.

We have a routine to our day. I thought that was good enough.

But when the author of the book said, and many other mamas quoted within said, that scheduling their children’s day led to less bickering, well! I decided to give this a prayerful look.

And I promptly ordered the book.

I haven’t even finished reading my borrowed copy yet, and yet I decided to try a bit o’ scheduling for the Farm Fresh Fam today.

It was superb.

Basically, I just set the timer for 30 minutes and then we moved on to the next activity, whether it was “craft time” (paper dolls), “kitchen helper” (Irish soda bread), “chore helper” (putting away their laundry and picking up their room, to my standards), it was the best day we’d had in a long time. I started with just a few goals in mind–

I wanted to do Bible time with all three at 9. Check.
I wanted to do a craft with the girls when Cadrian was asleep. Check. (I’d been saying we would for several days, as soon as I get the kitchen cleaned up, as soon as…and it never happened)
I wanted to spend some one on one with each child. Check.

And I’m not even implementing the whole program. This is just me thinking about the ideas and values espoused in this book.

I can’t wait until my kit comes with all my fancy colors and charts. I am so excited to make a positive change in my home.

Or at least have another day like this one.


What a breath of fresh air…

…today was.

For the first time all week, we didn’t have to go anywhere, so it was declared a pajama day.

While the children did a couple of crafty type things nearby, I organized my new cabinets. They made All About Me collages for my Power Binder. Aviana’s mostly featured ice cream, while Brielle’s had lots of fruit. Interestingly enough, they both included a picture of a bed.

I had also boiled eggs for our noon meal, but it turned out I needed to boil another half dozen because we ate several for a snack and then the girls decorated the others so becomingly with markers, they couldn’t bear to part with them for lunch.

A Power Binder was introduced to me by a MOPS speaker for corralling all those papers you need to know where they are.

Mine is basically clear three ring pockets to which I taped (beautifully pink striped) tabs in categories like Aviana, Brielle, Cadrian, Baby D, MOPS, Coupons ect. Essentially any piece of paper I had had in my desk without a specific home.

I also took a tip from that speaker and put all our Compassion children’s letters and info in a binder instead of a basket. And put all our Samaritan Ministries information and news letters in yet another binder.

I also put my underutilized Control Journal in there as well. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. Especially since my Rubba Sweepa, Rubba Swisha and Rubba Scrubba came yesterday.

Kevin came in for lunch and I dashed off to the library for a quick pick up and return and a blessed hour of thoughts to myself.

I read all our wonderful new books to my chickadees (recommend: The Gingerbread Doll, The House that was Tidy and Neat, and this version Old MacDonald, Circle of Seasons and the Parable of the Lily.)

Then we had an hour of quiet time during which I mostly tried to keep the boy from using my belly bump as a step stool while IMing my mom, but there was a little relaxing in there too.

After Aviana’s reading lessons, we watched The Magic Flute, which is part of this superfabulous series the girls just love. I didn’t realize we were about to watch an opera, but they loved it! I enjoyed it too, and I don’t consider myself at all “cultural”.

Then it was time for our Friday night ritual of pizza and snuggles.

Now it’s time to relax and embark on the beginning of watching Centennial. I remember watching it as a kid on TV, so much so that I even read the book, which is not my usual genre choice.

Not much bickering, disobedience, arguing or tantruming or tears today. What a breath of fresh air, to get to the end of the day feeling like I accomplished something and feeling like I am so in love with my family.

Oddly enough it usually is one or the other.


Messies Anonymous and other steps to freedom

I picked up a book at the library on Friday and God has used it to give me a huge breakthrough to walking closer to him in more freedom than ever.

You see, I thought I was a Messie. According to Mrs. Felton, on a scale of 0-10, on which 0 is disaster and 10 is perfection, Messies are 1-3, Cleanies are 7-10 and average housekeepers–those whose homes fall into disarray on occasion, but not often and not for long, merit a 4-6 rating.

0–No one cares to enter your house.
1–Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
2–If you had to, you could at least find one clean towel.
3–The dishes are clean, but stay out of the upstairs bath!
4–At least once a week, everything’s spotless- for a day.
5–You can read a book without overwhelming guilt.
6–The minister’s wife can drop over unexpectedly without panicking you.
7–You can hold elaborate luncheons twice a week and have everything neat by 3:30 p.m.
8–You gave away the dog and made the kids understand.
9–Your children aren’t allowed downstairs, except to eat (neatly).
10–No one dares to enter your home.

She implores us to strive to be a 4-6–a successful, average housekeeper. Their houses are satisfactory most of the time, varying with the circumstances. They don’t even think a lot about their houses; they just keep them up.

This is what is astounding for me. This is the revelation. Are you ready?

I already AM a successful, AVERAGE housekeeper. If anyone stopped by, any time, I would be pleased to have you. I would love to have you. Please, stop by. (I also really, really like company and someone to talk to)

I just struggle so much with perfectionism. I NEVER feel like what I do is good enough. I have never been able to be ok with good enough. I think, “I must do it right. I must do it perfectly.”

I think I somehow have to earn the privilege of staying home with my children. I have to keep a show home, or I’m not good enough. I have to make healthful nutritious meals from scratch, or I’m not good enough. I have to have well behaved, model children, or I have somehow failed as a mother.

Sometimes, I can recognize those lies, but sometimes, I can’t.

God did give me some wonderful skills and abilities, but right now, while I’m learning to conquer this perfectionistic part of me that takes all the fun out of life, I’m going to strive to be successfully average.

And it will be wonderful.