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Finding Our New “Normal” And Things I’m Thankful for!

Collaborations

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We can all agree that times are different. Figuring out what works best for our family and finding our new normal has been key for me to keep things happy at home! I like to look at the positives that have come from this, and the biggest one is the family time we have spent together. We are cooking with our kids and eating three meals a day together, something we never were able to do before! I have also realized how thankful I am for things like my Samsung refrigerator and its ability to hold the larger than normal amount of food we need right now! It’s little things like that that I wouldn’t say I took for granted, but just didn’t give a lot of thought to. After seeing my kids’ new found love for cooking I thought it would be a great time to teach them another life skill, laundry!!

I think it’s important to prepare our kids to be good functioning adults one day and one of the things they need to learn is how to do their own laundry! Since we have this extra time at home what better use of that time then a little “life lesson” from mom 😂 Plus, with as much laundry as we have around this house I could use an extra hand, or five! Last year we replaced our old washer and dryer with this new Samsung washer and dryer set. The biggest selling point for me was the second washer and dryer on the top for delicates and small loads. We dirty a lot of clothes around here and having the option to do two loads at a time cuts down the amount of time spent in the laundry room and gives me more time back with my family!! That is something that makes these machines a level above the rest.
I hope that when my kids look back on this time in history they will remember the family time and memories made at home together 😉
-Grey Birch Designs-

Organizing Kids Toys

Favorite Things

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One of the projects I put off for way too long was cleaning out and organizing my kids’ toy closet. This was the perfect job to tackle while we are all stuck at home!! The first thing I did was put together a plan. I knew I needed containers that would fit on the shelves of the hall toy closet. I wanted storage solutions that looked nice and were easily accessible for my kids, with the hope they would clean up after themselves. 😉
I headed to Bedbathandbeyond.com and found some awesome toy storage solutions! I picked up these Collapsible Storage Cubes (set of 2). They are perfect to hold lots of books, and with handles on each side my kids can easily take out the whole bin and enjoy their books! Next I found these super cute Pom Pom Pint Canvas Storage Bins They are great to throw things like blocks and random smaller toys in, plus when I saw the pom poms I was sold!! My last and favorite find were these LEGO® Brick Storage Drawer They are huge LEGOs that stack together and have a good size drawer to hold lots of LEGO sets inside! When these arrived in the mail my boys were so excited and could hardly wait to fill them up. I’m calling that a mom win!!


This whole project took my boys and me just a couple hours and the difference it made is night and day! I love how neat, organized, and functional everything is for my kids! My littlest one was so excited to find toys he forgot he had! 😂 Now I’m wondering why it took me so long to tackle!! 
-Grey Birch Designs-

Family at Home “Date Night” + Recipe

Recipes

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During this whole stay at home social distancing thing we are dealing with I have realized how often we used to eat out as a family. Honestly, it was at least once a week and that doesn’t count the lunch dates to Chick-fil-a after kindergarten with my youngest!! (awww the good old days!) 
Seriously though we are missing those family activities and we needed to do something to break up the new normal. There’s a little restaurant we love to visit when we drive up to northern Utah in the spring and summer and they have hands down the best dessert, pizookie!! We always joke that when the waitress sets it down you have to have your spoon ready because my kids will destroy that pizookie and any evidence it ever existed in about 2 mins flat!!
Since this is a family favorite of ours we decided it would be fun to have a little at home “date night” with the kids and make our very own pizookies!! Instead of making a huge one for us all to share I found these cute individual size mini cast iron pan from Bed Bath and Beyond so we could make one for each of us!

The first thing you want to do is make your favorite batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. This could even be made with a different kind of cookie dough for a change. Maybe throw in peanut butter chips or toffee candy pieces!! 
Here is the recipe we love:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
heaping teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
cups packed light brown sugar
large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Place the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, just a few minutes. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until blended.

Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture a scoop at a time. Turn the mixer on low speed until the flour is completely incorporated. Then turn the mixer to high speed for a few seconds to pull the dough together; it will be chunky. Add the chocolate chips and beat on high speed to thoroughly and quickly mix in the chips, just a few seconds.
When your dough is finished you will want to take a cookie scoop and place 4 scoops of dough, roughly 1.5 tbsp of dough into each mini cast iron pan. Then press down the dough and mold it to the the pan. These will bake a tiny bit longer then a batch of cookies but watch them so they don’t over cook!

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, you want them to still be slightly undercooked in the center. Finally put a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top while it’s still warm and enjoy!!

-Grey Birch Designs-

Storing Extra Food – Quorantine addition-

Favorite Things

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If you are like us then you are trying to keep your trips to the market to a minimum right now. For a family of 7 that means we have to stockpile things in our home, something we don’t normally do. The problem I find myself running into is how to store it all while still keeping my pantry organized. Thankfully I have come up with a few tips to fix this overflowing pantry problem!

Tip #1 – Get some storage containers – These have been a lifesaver! I find that they hold a good amount of food, are easy to fit in the pantry, and generally take up less space than boxes. They also keep me way more organized.

Tip #2 – Keep your clear bin of food full – Simply by doing this I eliminated a bunch of extra food bags and boxes, making more room for a stockpile!
Tip #3 – Get some large baskets – I recently added these baskets to the bottom of my pantry. They are perfect for the big packages of crackers or cereal. These bags of food are hard to store because you can’t stack them and they take up a lot of space. By having them in these baskets they are neatly tucked away but also easy to access when it’s time to refill the container! My kids can even handle that job!!
Tip #4 – Utilize the out of reach shelves – Having a tall pantry means the top shelf is hard to access and rarely used. This is the perfect space to stack those boxes from Costco that you’re not quite ready to open yet. It’s out of the way and off the shelves you use every day. Since they are still packaged you can stack those to the ceiling if you want to!!
 

Here are the links to the products I used from Bed Bath and Beyond in my pantry storage project!! #ad
This was the most satisfying project I have done while stuck at home, and I’m loving how nice and organized everything is now!
Happy Organizing Everyone

-Grey Birch Designs-

Best Mother’s Day Gift Ides + Our Favorite Recipe to Make Together

Recipes

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With Mother’s Day coming up next month and the state of our current health crisis, this year will most definitely look a little different. Each year my kids go out with my husband and pick me out something they think I will love. The best part of the gift is that, whatever it is, they picked it out for me! Since that won’t really be possible this year they asked if they could do something around the house that would be special for me. Although I’m sure they were thinking something along the lines of making be breakfast in bed, I had a better idea: cleaning the WHOLE KITCHEN by themselves!!!!
Now I think this is genius since a clean kitchen always makes me happy and makes me feel productive. Even better, a clean kitchen that I didn’t have to clean! Thankfully for them it’s really not that big of a job. Last year we updated most of our appliances to these fingerprint resistant Samsung appliances. Our Refrigerator Dishwasher and Microwave are always fingerprint and smuge free so the kids don’t really even need to clean them!! Before we had these that was a big chore and it took a good amount of time to make our old stainless steel appliances shine. 

The whole thing took my kids only 20 mins to do and they even wiped down the shiplap all around the island, something I never do!! After they finished, two of my kids said they liked cleaning the kitchen and would do it more often!! Talk about a Mother’s Day bonus!! 
Now that I have a clean kitchen the kids and I are going to dirty it up again and bake our favorite Banana Bread Recipe It’s delicious but I make a just a few little changes to the ingredients:
+ Nonstick baking spray, for the pan or parchment paper
+ 8 tablespoons salted butter, softened but still a little cold
+ 1 cup packed light brown sugar
+ 2 large eggs, beaten
+ 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
+ 5 very ripe bananas, mashed
+ 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
+ 1 teaspoon baking soda
+ ½ teaspoon kosher salt
+ 1 cup chocolate chips (we tend to be generous with chocolate at out house)
+ granulated sugar (dusted on top before baking)
We love cooking together and this recipe is so easy my kids can practically make it by themselves. Plus, all the ingredients are staples in our house so there’s no need to go out and brave the supermarket!!
-Grey Birch Designs-

Designing a Sitting Area

Design Tips

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When designing our living room I always envisioned creating a cozy, relaxing sitting area; a place I could see myself curling up next to the fireplace reading a book or watching a movie with my kiddos. Can you visualize it?? Now fast forward to my reality……
I tried a few different chairs but they either lacked the cozy factor or were comfortable but not stylish. This was a lot harder then I thought it would be, maybe because I had been creating this little corner in my head for so long and I had some serious wish list items! This was when I decided I needed to go custom. This way I could pick the comfort level and style so it would match my other living room furniture.
That’s when I found this gorgeous Amelia Chair from Sixpenny! It’s an oversized chair big enough for cuddling with my kids and bringing my vision of the perfect sitting area to a reality- exactly what I was looking for! The first step was picking the fabric. I ordered a bunch of their samples so I could get a good look at how they would work with the other furniture in my living room. I decided to go with the Cotton Linen in the Pacific Pearl and it’s simply beautiful. For the chair fill I wanted something ultra cozy so I picked the feather down fill and it didn’t disappoint!
Next I added a throw blanket and a few pillows with some fun patterns and great texture to give it that cozy welcoming feel. Then I completed the look with some faux greenery and a few of my favorite pieces of decor! 
This little corner has become the best seat in the house, literally!! I thought I would spend a lot of time here but truth be told, I have to fight my kids for a turn in our new sitting area….haha!! Needless to say we are thoroughly enjoying it and because this chair has a slipcover I don’t have to worry about spills and sticky fingers.
-Grey Birch Designs-

Easter Laundry Room Decor

Seasonal Decor

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How many hours a week do you think you spend in your laundry room? When I sat down and really thought about it I was shocked!! With this being such a highly used room I decided to give it a little Spring/Easter update like the rest of my home. I’m convinced it makes doing the laundry that much more enjoyable!!
I added a Spring wreath on the door, a set of cute ceramic bunnies on the floating shelves above my washer and dryer, and a fun letter board on the wall to change out the quotes during the year! It was fun to dress up this space with some seasonal decor but the stars of the room are my Samsung FlexWash Washer and Samsung FlexDry Dryer #sponsored I can honestly say after updating my washer and dryer to these beauties from Samsung I actually enjoy doing the laundry. Say what?! I know I’m as shocked as you!! Although there are so many things I love about these machines I have to say by far my favorite is being able to was 2 loads at once – one regular load and one delicate or small load in the top. Talk about a game changer!

Now if that doesn’t make you feel like a super mom or super dad I don’t know what does! You can find out more about these awesome machines here: FlexWash Washer and Electric FlexDry Dryer Now I’m off to do about 100 more loads of laundry in my newly decorated Spring laundry room!!
-Grey Birch Designs-

Teen Bedroom Update

Design Tips

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Last year when I updated my daughter’s room the one thing I didn’t change was her bed. I knew what I wanted but just couldn’t find the perfect bed, that is until I came across Charles P. Rogers They have an amazing selection of metal frame beds, exactly what I was looking for!
I’ve always loved metal beds but it’s hard to find a high quality one that doesn’t wiggle and squeak. Charles P. Rogers is known for their high quality beds so I felt confident going with a trusted name! When I came across this  Cottage Bed it was love at first sight! The style and lines of this bed are perfect. It’s soft with round corners, perfect for a girl’s room but can be easily dressed to fit a boy’s room!

I have been extremely impressed with the quality of this bed and how well it fits the style of my daughter’s room! Right now they are running a special sale for all of you so you can save between $50-$500 off your entire purchase of $299 or more with code: WSB2020 from Charles P. Rogers Check out all their beautiful beds and take advantage of the sale while it lasts!!

-Grey Birch Designs-

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