It has been AHWHILLLE since I did a Fryday! It’s high time and I’m covering a bunch of questions from my DMs lately and if there’s anything I missed let me know. Happy weekend!!

READING: My reviews for December are below this post, but I already started my bookclub’s pick Goodbye For Now which is a story of a computer programmer who finds a code that creates an email response allowing people to hear from their dead loved ones, one last time. So far it’s cute, not blowing my mind but I’ll update once I finish!

I also have queued up A Fine Balance — which has 1000+ 4.5 star ratings. About India in 1975. I can’t wait to start, from what I hear the author is a beautiful writer which earn major points with me.

WATCHING: Good Girls Revolt! (Amazon) I just started this show but its amazing and SO up my alley. Set in the 1960’s-70’s this story is based on a true one of how women researchersat a magazine sued the company for discrimination. They weren’t allowed to be reporters but they worked along side them, same hours, at times writing pieces for them but getting no credit. Music, fashion, and Nora Ephron. I always said I was born in the wrong era and would’ve loved to live during that time, but when I see the BS they dealt with. I am glad to be where I am at. Even more so after Iceland mandated same pay for the same job for women there.

WEARING: Just picking up a few things here and there, doing my best not to shop too much. Clear glasses // Loving gingham for Spring and starting early collecting items like these $16 loafers and these slides. If you follow along on Instagram you already know a few of my 2018 resolutions.

Raleigh is getting into my makeup like mad. Ruining stuff, dropping and shattering it left and right! I got him this play set to try and keep him occupied but replacing my favorite highlighter and trying out Laura Geller’s. It is SO pretty! Also in love with this DryBar dry conditioner. It makes your hair smell so amazing I am getting stopped in the street.

I tell you what though after he opened his Christmas presents he is hardly getting into things anymore. He just plays! Here’s what we got him that he loves if you have a toddler who is also driving you crazy. Push Car // Shopping Cart // Cleaning Kit // Globber Scooter (they sent this to us but I am under no obligation to post, it really is awesome! Just like Micro and nearly half the price. The foot bed has a different shape than the Micro — almost like arch support, but my boys don’t seem to mind.) // Vacuum.

FEELING: Amazing about resolutions this week! First, which caused quite a ruckus and I wrote about last week was No Yelling. Going to go a little deeper on this since it was highly requested. The first step in stopping the hollering was to find my triggers that cause me to yell.

  1. When my kids don’t listen after several times of polite asking.
  2. Trying to squeeze to much into a small amount of time.
  3. Food messes.
  4. When they boys fight or hurt each other.
  5. Fall out from stressful work or social situations.

Some of these things I can control: I stopped letting my kids eat anywhere but the table to eliminate stumbling on a mess that would set me off. // I consciously tell myself I don’t have enough time for something and skip it or wait and do it later instead of plowing through and then trying to rush three kids out the door. Not their fault we’re late so why am I screaming at them to get their shoes on? // I started noticing that feeling arise when I get a text or email or have an interaction that puts me in a fiery mood. Instead of carrying my irritation around I just have to let it go right then. It not only hurts me but I take out those feelings in the way I speak to my family. Usually this only works if I literally say out loud usually TO my kids so they don’t think I am nuts: “That text made me so irritated. But I don’t want to be irritated right now, so I am letting it go.” When it comes to the boys not listening or hurting each other I am still disciplining. Instead of yelling I take them by the arm to time-out. Or tell them they will get soap in their mouth. Or give them a scenario where if whatever it is continues they lose their favorite privilege.

You know what I found? Talking quietly works just as well. As long as I am near them, or even touching them or kneeling at their level. Its been nearly a week and I have only raised my voice once to say their name and then quiet back down. I am surprised at myself, I didn’t think I could manage it. But I also knew deep down I could do better than I was. Our house is already so much more peaceful. I go to bed feeling exhausted and even tension in my shoulders from all the trying not to yell (ha!) but I don’t feel guilt and shame. What a freaking gift.

Other resolutions:

You all know we’re budgeting like crazy, saving all extra funds for the house, etc. etc. So I am confusing on cutting any and all expenses that I can.

Eat at Home More. We live to go out to eat, I love to go with friends or on dates, or with the kids. But I making the choice to eat at home whenever possible. We went from 5+ times a week out to 2. Stoked.

Make Bread. I got this Zojirushi bread maker and it literally does everything include stir the ingredients yet I feel smug as can be that I made bread. It tastes amazing too.

Make Smoothies. Smoothies are a food that everyone in my fam will eat and allows me to add protein, magnesium (both my boys are anxious in different ways), probiotics, and of course fresh fruits and vegetables (Cal avoids fresh veggies and most fruits like the plague.) Its something I used to do everyday but stopped, so I am re-implementing! I also had them tricked into eating ACF popsicles which they will no longer do, but that stuff is magic so mix it into grape juice and see if your kids will take it! My kids NEVER got sick when I used it! They love their chewy vitamins and we do this Elderberry one for their immune system and this Vitamin D one which I’ve been told we are all crazy depleted in and it helps with depression and energy levels.

I already talked about switching out the Dirty Dozen for organic produce. That is still in effect and things like making bread and smoothies and cooking more will allow those swaps without costing extra money out of pocket. Shifting funds if you will.

Did I cover it all? I hope so!! Have a great weekend. See you all Monday. xo



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mine + ours: books #5

Reviewing Books Read in December 2018!

december books


The Untethered Soul — This was my December book pick after reading a SLEW of similar books. It was interesting to see how they all sort of recycled the same truths but this book had something that I hadn’t read anywhere before. And that was to view your inner dialogue, your incoming thoughts, the negative and positive self talk as other. Or not from you. Just stimuli or information that you let pass through you. It was so true to me to read that our thoughts cause nearly all of our discomfort throughout the day. I know that was true for me at least. Happy to try this method out. There was lots of good stuff in this book and Oprah gives it to all her friends if you need a better vouch than mine. 😉

Secret Life of Fat — this was a book club book and it was actually super fascinating. I’ve heard the author has a podcast episode that sort of encapsulates the topics covered but it really was super informative and eye opening about all the ways fat acts differently in different people. It was just released as a paperback too which is great news!

Four Agreements — I had never read this which is shocking to so many people. I guess it’s basically required reading, but somehow I had missed that train. This is the first time I’ve ever said this but once I felt like I was already doing most of what it suggested, so that was a win! The Four Agreements are to be impeccable with your word, take nothing personally, don’t make assumptions (one I need to work on!) and to always do your best. My assumptions lead me to take things personally so I know once I shake that everything else will improve too. Anyway, a short read but a great start if you’re on a self improvement kick.

OURS: I am starting a little kiddie BOOK + MOVIE club where we pick an audio book to listen to together (or read, depending on your preference) in preparation to see the movie adaptation. It doesn’t always have to be a movie going to theaters but this time we’re doing A Wrinkle In Time, since it it comes out March 9th, I know we’ll have plenty of time to read / listen to it! I remember loving it as a kid and hope my kids do too!

We got this Paddington Pop-up book about London and it is so darling. So intricate and a must for any kiddo’s book shelf! This book feels like an experience on a whole other level, I think it would make an awesome gift, too!

What are you reading? What should I read next?


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Home Tour: Wholly Mother

Welcome back to Small Fry Home Tours! Today we have Diane Schallert all the way in Cape Town South Africa – she blogs at Wholly Mother and has quickly become an online friend of mine. So happy to share her amazing space today! Welcome, Diane!Home Tour: Wholly Mother

“In 2008, after only dating for a few months, my husband broke up his band and I quit my job as a receptionist at an advertising agency. We sold nearly everything that we owned and moved to the Big Island of Hawaii to volunteer with an international NGO. Two weeks after we arrived, in the parking lot of Pololu Valley, steeping with waterfalls, cliffs, and a black sand beach, he proposed to be with a ring that he had hidden in my backpack. He said he couldn’t wait to hike all the way down into the valley, so I said a very sure of myself, “yes” by the trash bins in the parking lot. Nine weeks later we were married and two weeks after that we were in Afghanistan teaching English in a children’s school and distributing food rations to villages that had been experiencing a drought. For the next three years, before welcoming our first baby, we spent most of our time traveling, India, Panama, Pakistan, Haiti, Jordan, Mozambique, Norway, Finland, USA. Our home base was Hawaii and when we were there we stayed in a studio apartment. All of the work that we do is on a volunteer basis and our salary is paid by donors. We never dreamed of owning a house and were quite content with the contents of our suitcases and the midcentury couches that we had gotten for free on Craigslist (that we later had to get rid of because the cat stench from the previous owners was just too overwhelming). 10 years and 4 kids later, we have found ourselves, through a series of miracles, living in our dream home and putting down roots in South Africa. Home Tour: Wholly MotherWe found this house when it was nearly completed and every detail felt like it was made for our family, right down to the exposed brick wall and vaulted ceilings.Home Tour: Wholly MotherHome Tour: Wholly Mother In South Africa, we don’t have one-stop shopping giant hardware or superstores, so much of what you see is custom designed. We got to pick the finishing touches, like the screed concrete floors and the subway tile backsplash, the Smeg oven, and the floating shelves. We are inspired by open space, clean lines, and good acoustics. This house has all of that! It is designed in the shape of an H so the bedrooms are all in their own corridor of the house. This is the perfect setup for putting the kids to bed and inviting friends over to entertain. Home Tour: Wholly Mother

Home Tour: Wholly MotherA few months ago we added the loft in the bedroom that my 4 and 6 year old share. We wanted to create a cozy, yet functional, playroom/homeschool room, away from the main living space that all four of our kids could play together in. Home Tour: Wholly MotherThe loft gives the room dimension, while separating the play space from the sleep space. At first the ladder seemed daunting as I imagined my four year old coming down in the middle of the night for a drink of water (or to find any other excuse to not stay asleep) but the builder custom designed the railing to be kid-friendly and so far we haven’t had a single mishap. Home Tour: Wholly MotherAnother feature of this room that I love is the house shelf. I saw a similar shelf in a shop and asked to buy it. It was part of their display and not for sale so I explained it to our builder and I was so thrilled with the end result that he produced. Home Tour: Wholly MotherWe got this double sided carpet when my eldest daughter was a baby and used it for a few months. We moved so much in the past five years that it got packed away and I only recently found it again. I love the vibrancy it brings into the room (the flip side is even brighter). Home Tour: Wholly MotherHome Tour: Wholly Mother

Home Tour: Wholly MotherWe try to keep toys that spur on imaginative play, are versatile and incorporate as many natural elements as possible (which has proven to not be very difficult since my children insist on collecting and hoarding rocks, dead palm leaves, and pincushion flowers from the neighbors bushes any time we are outdoors).      Home Tour: Wholly MotherHome Tour: Wholly Mother Home Tour: Wholly Mother Home Tour: Wholly MotherI love this story and this space and this fam! I have come to find that you can tell a lot about a person based off the art or words they hang in their kids’ rooms. This is so good and you can tell the Schallert’s value authenticity in every are of their life.Home Tour: Wholly Mother


Kids Room

House shelf: custom // Table and chairs: Mambo’s Plastics Warehouse // Double sided carpet: Mr. Price (similar: Kazimah Carpets) // Wicker doll pram: vintage, thrifted // Play Kitchen: Hape (40% off) // Wooden Waves and Fire: Grimms Wooden Toys // We Brave Women Cards: Ashmae // Dolls house: Hape (50% off!) // Wooden Sewing Machine: Wooden Toy Junction // Wooden Blocks: Harp and Lyre Co. // Basket on Shelf: Mr. Price  // Wire basket: Mr. Price // Small African baskets: thrifted // Flower Mirrors: H&M Home // Clothing Rail: SimplyHome // Height Chart: Sticky Things // Beds are bunkbeds that we dismantled and shortened the legs // Bedding: H&M Home // Black and White Circle Carpet: Urban Outfitters // Speak The Truth Print: local south african shop


Subway tile: Similar: American Olean at Lowes // Bar stools: @Home Store // Kelim: Afghanistan (similar Kazimah Carpets) // Oven: Smeg // Nesting spatulas: JosephJoseph // Glasses: Woolworths // Dishes: @Home Store // Trivets: Present Space (local south african shop) // Throw Pillows: H&M Home // Couch: @Home Store “Henning 3 Seater” // Table w/attached benches: Bespoke- Marc Pincente // Table Runner: H&M Home // Vase: Woolworths // Magazine Holder: Mr. Price // Fabric Plant holder: Mr. Price

Living Space

Leather Couch: “Capri Corner Unit” @HomeStore // Wooden bench: IKEA // Throw pillows: all H&M Home except Kelim Pillow Case (similar Kazimah Carpets) // Rug: Urban Outfitters // Faux Fur throw: Target // Wooden Chair: @Home store


best of 2017

Best of 2017 as it pertains to me and only me. 😉

BEST GAIN: The house! We bought the lot in January of this year. Broke ground in June. Insulation wraps up on January 3rd and then we start sheetrock. This dream has been slow coming and the building will continue to be that way, too. But I love that this is OUR baby. Each day Russ builds it, and I get to watch (and work, too, more on MY projects later!) Such an amazing experience.

BEST PERSONAL GAIN: This time last year, I committed myself to working out every morning at 6 am. I went to whatever class was available and was hitting 4-5 times a week then, now it’s more like 3, but I am so glad I did this for myself. It is everything for my mental health and how I feel about myself each day. High Fitness (a cardio work out class) was my best gain for my physical health, by a landslide. It fills me with so much happiness and such a feeling of accomplishment every time. I get an actual high. Sometimes I cry (ha!) because I’m so overwhelmed by the good energy. After the founder @highfitnessemily told me to get these Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 34 shoes it made it even better. I have super narrow feet and they along with my shins would kill afterward. Get these shoes if you do high impact work outs! They’ve saved my legs.

LOSING in 2018: I am 100% committed to stop yelling. I grew up in a yelling household and I hated it. Yelling begets yelling in my experience so I just have to take it off the table. I know I will probably slip up at times, but zero is the only acceptable goal. Wish me luck and also give me your tips. 😉

BEST BEAUTY PRODUCT FINDS: Urban Decay Setting Spray, Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, Stila Glitter shadow, and my new favorite red lip Beso. This La Roche Posay mascara for a heavy duty all waterproof day hold that doesn’t fall, This Skylar Body perfume in Arrow is my new signature. This Diptyque shower foam is incredible and leaves your skin so soft and smelling amazing.

BEST ALBUM: The Japanese House. Came out in 2016 but I don’t care. I listened to this album all. year. long. I love it. If you liked Frou Frou / Imogen Heap you’ll love this. Close second with Big Thief.

BEST MOVIE: The Greatest Showman. LadyBird was a joy to watch too.

BEST SERIES: Manhunt: Unabomber. The Crown. Peaky Blinders. Anne With An E.

BEST BOOK: When Breath Becomes Air. So so beautiful.

BEST PODCAST: I do not make time for these like I would like to and I feel like there are about 1 million I could or should be listening to. I just don’t ever get to them. But I love SuperSoul Sessions, and if you’re LDS there’s a Podcast that goes through the Book of Mormon chapter by chapter and explains it in the most digestible way: Help Me Understand the Book of Mormon.

BEST LESSONS: I feel like I learned and re-learned so much this year. #1. Things always work out for the best. This is no longer a theory I have, this is law. It has been tested so many times and the quicker I become fluid and acknowledge that no matter what it is — it is for the best, the happier and more peaceful my life has become. I can say it with so much surety, I truly don’t doubt it for a second anymore. #2. I am not a robot. Feel whatever feelings may come, let them move through you, but kick them out the door if they don’t serve you. Hearing this particular lesson at Alison’s workshop was perfect timing for me in my work life, but it has become huge in my personal life, too. It’s strange how taking Small Fry over solo has made me feel infinitely more vulnerable about it. It’s higher highs and lower lows. It’s okay to feel the sting of losing followers, or to be bummed when a post bombs.` I am not a robot, but if I dwell on it it paralyzes me and my creativity, too. So let it sting for a second and then move.on. Luckily the hard days always seem to end with the nicest DM or positive feedback from a reader or brand!@smallfryblog

#3 Numbers do not and cannot define my success. Connection sustains me far longer than any stat on paper ever will and so numbers can no longer matter. I know they matter to my sponsors and I will always do my best to perform. But, my goal is connection. A party of people who want the things I want: To express themselves fearlessly. To parent with awareness and courage. To create a life they love from top to bottom. Who unapologetically love books and music and fashion and art and movies or politics or travel or knitting their cat pajamas. Who love to learn and create, AND love their family.  Who are mothers and fathers and also so much more. Who know that they are the only people who can give their children a happy mother who loves life. I try to show up on Small Fry as this person everyday. Sometimes I do better than others, but that it my intention for 2018. Let’s do this!

So happy to have you here!  Happy New Year. It’s going to be amazing!!


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