6 Secrets and Tips for Moving Home Smoothly

| 6 Secrets and Tips for Moving Home Smoothly: supplies needed featured by popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

Some moves are bigger and more hectic than others. But let’s just get this out there: moving stinks! I don’t know one person who has ever said, “Moving is great!  I love it!” Quite the opposite! That’s because it’s just plain miserable most of the time. Packing up all of your belongings, schlepping them to another town, state, or country? Not fun at all. Am I right?

It would be dreamy to hire a moving company to do all the work, but since that’s not always an option, I rely on some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you to help you or someone you know have an easier time packing and moving — and hopefully making it a bit less miserable in the process.

Ready to get packing? Let’s go!

Living With Kids: Emily Hart

Oh, is Emily refreshing! Hers is the classic and always happy-making story of a family living in not their forever home…but their growing home. I love that term. And I also adore that the Hart family hasn’t pushed pause on living with kids with style just because of that fact; they choose to make pretty when they can, always with an eye on whether it’s a smart project for resale value. So sensible. But so difficult to resist when you’re craving new kitchen cabinets, right? Friends, I’m pleased to introduce you to Emily. I just know you’ll enjoy peeking into her home today!

Recipe: Spring Arugula and Pea Shoot Salad

This delicious spring arugula and pea shoot salad makes good use of fresh, green spring veggies, greens, and herbs — and not asparagus! (nothing against asparagus, but it seems like we eat it and see it all the time during spring. It’s nice to have a few other favorite spring veggies to enjoy too.) Hopefully wherever you live, you’ll have access to the same or similar ingredients because this really is a yummy combination!

This salad uses farro, which is an ancient variety of wheat. It cooks fairly quickly and you can find it near the rice at the grocery store. But another whole grain can easily be substituted. (I’ve included variations and substitutions below the recipe.) It helps to bulk the salad up with extra protein and carbs to make it more filling.

This salad would be great for lunch or dinner as is, but it’s also great with a piece of grilled chicken or fish, or even veggie burger.

10 Great Books for Spring

Does it feel like spring yet where you are? I’m hearing rumors of Mountain West snow, and more atmospheric rivers in California. Or maybe you live somewhere that seasons don’t really exist — and the days just turn from warm to hot without much fanfare. Good thing there are so many amazing books to help us remember the wonder of spring!

Little Farmer Easter Baskets

A simple way to celebrate Spring and Easter is to notice signs of new life in nature. You can carry this idea even further, by transforming a traditional Easter basket into personal mini gardens to be planted for spring. You can use wooden wine boxes to make little raised beds and filled them with veggies, flowers, and kid-sized gardening essentials.

Not only are these boxes easy (and inexpensive) to put together, but they provide a project for the little ones that will last all spring and summer. Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

One Pot Dinner: Mediterranean Chicken Pilaf

One Pot Chicken Pilaf | DesignMom.com

Who doesn’t love a One Pot or One Sheet Pan recipe? You’re going to go crazy for this Mediterranean Chicken Pilaf for at least five reasons:

1) It’s so easy to prepare and clean-up is a snap, 2) SO yummy, 3) it’s an odds-and-ends recipe that will help you clear out your fridge and pantry, 4) there’s spinach in it, so it’s got to be healthy too, right? and 5) did I mention how delicious it is?!

Without the chicken it makes a nice, light lunch. With chicken, it’s a lovely dinner. (There are variations below, too, if you’re vegetarian or dairy-free.)

Geometric Wire Bunny | Make It!

Let’s make modern geometric bunnies. It’s a simple idea — wire formed to make the shape of a bunny — but it can be used in so many fun ways!

It was a little bit of a challenge to find the right wire but now that the leg work is done, it won’t be as tough for you. Plus, there’s a free downloadable template to help you out. There are two bunny versions in the photos. One is small and simple — you could make a dozen of these fairly quickly. The other version is oversize. As in 3 feet wide! It’s a little more challenging, but still totally doable.

The smaller one is pictured below as a napkin ring, but it would also be adorable as an accent on a gift. Or you could hang one sweetly from an Easter basket. Or you could attach a long ribbon and use it as a springtime bookmark!

The larger one is oversize and quite dramatic. Hang it on your door in place of a wreath. Or display it on the wall above the sofa. It looks good as both interior and exterior decoration — and you can customize the color with ribbons!

Directions for both sizes are below.

Dessert for Two: The Easiest Chocolate Mousse You’ll Ever Make

Who needs a little chocolate fix today? How about the easiest chocolate mousse you’ll ever make

Traditional recipes for chocolate mousse are much more complicated than this recipe. That’s why it’s called the “Easiest Chocolate Mousse You’ll Ever Make.” Those traditional chocolate mousse recipes contain eggs and involves several stages of whipping, mixing, and refrigerating before being ready to eat. This one cuts the time down by a lot and is really nothing more than whipped ganache. No eggs needed. It even cuts out the extra step of whipping the cream. So while it’s not the most traditional recipe out there, it still embodies the same flavor and texture of a much more complicated, involved mousse.

You’ll love it. Guaranteed.

DIY: Adorable Felted Spring Chicks

Welcome Spring! The daffodils are blooming along the highway, cherry blossom buds are beginning to pop up along the branches, and the sunshine gets a little earlier, brighter, and warmer every day. This little row of felted spring chicks is sure to be one of your very favorite home decorations.

These birds are so fun and simple to make, once you get the hang of it, you can make about forty in an hour or so. Make a few for everyone you know — they are perfect decorations for spring and Easter! And you can leave them perched in your home year-round to make you smile. Now, let’s get started!

How To Grow Your Own Wheat Grass

Have you ever planted wheat grass for the spring holidays? It’s super easy and gratifying, and a lovely little ritual to welcome the new season. Sometimes I plant wheat grass to be used as a centerpiece. Other times as spring decor for our entry table. One year I planted it in Easter Baskets. It takes about 8-11 days to fill out and look lawn-like, so think about when you will want it on display and then count backwards to find the best planting day (sometime this week will be ideal if you’re aiming for Easter).

Here are my easy directions:
-Fill and level your container with potting soil. Leave about an inch of space at the top.
-Place an even layer of wheat kernels on the soil. It should be a pretty solid layer with only a little bit of dirt showing.
-Water daily. Keep the soil pretty moist. For a 6-inch container, I pour in a glass of water each morning.

That’s it. You’ll see sprouts in about 48 hours. And grass in about a week. The wheat won’t look great for ever — some people trim it with scissors to extend it’s life — but I prefer to just replant. (You can also juice it if you’re into that!)

A note about containers:
I’ve had success planting wheat grass in all sorts of containers, as long as I’m considerate of drainage. I’ve planted in metal buckets with no drainage holes, using a couple inches of foam peanuts underneath the soil. I’ve planted in glass containers, lining the bottom couple of inches with pretty pebbles. And I’ve planted in traditional ceramic containers with built in drainage holes.

P.S. — Natural dye Easter eggs in every color.

Flora June’s Room

We’ve been living in the Tall House for a year and half, and I’m happy to report that Flora June’s room is officially finished! And it is so cute I can’t stop staring at the images.

I’m going to give you a tour in photos, with notes in the captions, and then at the end I’ll show you what the room looked like when we first visited the house, and some of the in-between stages. First I’ll start with some overall shots, and then we’ll look at some details.

Recipe: Simple Baked Salmon with Kale Salad

Looking for a light, refreshing meal to bring into regular rotation? How about fish and a hearty salad? Simple Baked Salmon with Kale Salad just kinda hits the spot when you’re tired of winter meals.

Salmon tends to be the go-to because it’s pretty easy to find wild-caught frozen salmon year round. But if salmon isn’t your thing, you can still make this with your choice of protein — be it beef, chicken, pork, plant-based protein (tofu and tempeh), or other types of fish.

But forget about the salmon for a bit, because the real star here is the citrus. Winter is the season of citrus, so why not welcome it with open arms. So many different types of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, limes, and more! It’s glorious and you can use every meal as an attempt to add more citrus into your day. This kale salad is full of yummy ingredients and drizzled with a bright and refreshing Blood Orange Mint Dressing.

You’ll feel so good after eating this! And it’s delicious. You’ll love the fresh crunch of raw cucumber and pepitas, and the pungency of the red onion. If you can find them, try blueberries too. There’s a whole lotta flavors going on — and then there’s the avocado! So creamy and decadent.

Ejaculate Responsibly Book Tour

Since I’m heading to the U.S. for Alt Summit in March (Alt Summit is the conference that I run), my book team has put together a little coast-to-coast book tour!!! I am REALLY looking forward to these events. If you can make it, I can’t wait to meet you and connect with you in person and hear your stories. These are the dates and cities:

March 1st – NEW YORK CITY
7pm at P&T Knitwear Books & Podcasts
180 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002
In conversation with CBS anchor Tony Dokoupil!
Click here for NYC event tickets.

March 2nd – WASHINGTON D.C.
7pm at Sixth & I
600 I St NW, Washington, DC 20001
In conversation with writer and activist Charlotte Clymer!
Click here for DC event tickets.

March 7th – BOSTON
7pm at Porter Square Books: Boston Edition
50 Liberty Dr. Boston, MA 02210
In conversation with neuroscientist turned multi-media creative Dr. Christine Koh!
Click here for Boston event tickets.

6PM at Book Passage at the Ferry Building
One Ferry Building 42, San Francisco, CA 94111
In conversation with artist and author Carissa Potter Carlson!
Click here for SF event tickets.

March 12-15th – PALM SPRINGS
At the Alt Summit conference, Saguaro Hotel
1800 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264
I’ll be speaking at the conference and doing a book signing.
Click for conference tickets.

March 16th – LOS ANGELES
7pm at Second Home
1370 N St Andrews Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90028
In conversation with writer and podcaster Caissie St. Onge!
Click here for LA event tickets.

Recipe: Valentine’s Day Mocktail Trio

My Valentine’s Day gift to you? I invited Lindsey of Café Johnsonia to come up with three gorgeous + fabulous + delicious mocktail options. So good! 

They don’t need much planning or preparation, so if you haven’t made plans yet, but want to do something special for the holiday, these are perfect. Make them with the kids (and for the kids) to let them know how special they are to you.

Animal Track Valentines — Plus a Free Printable!

Here’s a super cute option for your Valentines! And it’s an easy one too. Print and trim the free printable, and attach an inexpensive rubber stamp. That’s it! Yes, it’s candy free, and yes, it’s appealing to all sorts of kids. Who wouldn’t love a little stamp with animal feet!

And bonus, the printable is a little ruler, so your kids can measure any real animal footprints they come across. Best valentine ever!

Now, let’s get to it!

10 Great Books For Valentine’s Day

Looking for a special book for that special someone? I’ve got ten ideal recommendations for you from award-winning children’s book author, Carter Higgins. These books should satisfy that longing to express love in words and pictures, whether your Valentine is a tiny tot, a partner, or one of life’s dearest friends.

1) Oh, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams might be the most gorgeous rendering of love in all of literature. It’s harder to find a more fitting description of the side effects of being loved than described in this book. May this be true in your lives on February 14th, and every day after!

2) Eve Bunting and Jan Brett have a Valentine’s Day gem in The Valentine Bears. Because bears are usually deep in a winter slumber in the middle of February, Mr. and Mrs. Bear have never celebrated a Valentine’s Day together. So this season, Mrs. Bear sets an alarm clock for the special day, and prepares the best of parties for Mr. Bear. Their love is so romantic and real, and chocolate covered ants have never sounded so delicious.

3) Ever wondered what would happen if you really did plant a kiss? In Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Peter Reynold’s Plant a Kiss, our Little Miss plants one in the ground and carefully tends to it. Soon it blossoms and blooms into something delightfully shareable. The words are spare and lovely, and the tenderness is hypnotizing. (And it truly sparkles thanks to glitter in the illustrations!)

4) Is anything more lovable than the monkey on the cover of Jez Alborough’s Hug? His banana-shaped grin on the sunshine colored cover makes me smile every time I see it. All he wants is a hug – a perfect monkey-sized mama hug made extra special and just for him.

5) Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to roll around to enjoy I Like You, but it seems especially sweet this time of year. The sentiment of a love story or a beautiful friendship are stuffed into this little book. It might be the most perfect gift you ever leave with someone you love.

Living With Kids: Janette Maclean

My most sincere apologies before we even begin, friends! Because Janette Maclean’s home is going to make you want to shop. And collect. And shop some more. And then collect some more. For antiques and uniques of any genre, treasures without a care about provenance, and anything and everything one-of-a-kind meaningful in between. This is a home decorated with layers and layers of love and wanderlust, brightening today like an unexpected postcard from the other side of the world. Please enjoy it!

Chocolate Alphabet Wraps — Plus a Free Printable!

This is the cutest little project! And even if you are not crafty, this is doable, I promise. Can you print things out? Can you buy chocolate? Do you have scissors and tape? Then you can make these! You’ll love writing sweet messages with them, and so will your kids.

These wraps were originally brainstormed as a Valentine’s Day project. But once the chocolates starting getting wrapped, it became clear that these wraps would be adorable any time of year!

Write messages for Mother’s Day, birthdays, book club, new babies, dad’s day, kid’s day, after-surgery day, teacher gifts, a treat for the mail carrier. Even a ho-hum date night. Everyone, EVERYONE, will love this. Wrap up initials as place markers at a dinner party. Drop off a sweet chocolate note for a friends who is having a hard day. You simply can’t go wrong with these happy little wraps!

Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pasta Bake

Raise your hand if you love casseroles! I’m such a fan. To me they are total comfort food and a symbol of home cooking. We may call them “bakes,” “pies” or other nicer sounding names, but a casserole is still a casserole. This recipe for a Spinach Artichoke Chicken Pasta Bake takes is really a very easy recipe. While the pasta cooks, the oven preheats and the sauce ingredients are combined. Toss it all together in a pan and 30-ish minutes later, dinner is done. Bonus: this pasta bake uses ingredients you probably keep in your fridge and cupboard anyway.

So let’s do a quick run down of the ingredients, plus you’ll find helpful tips about substitutions, etc.

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