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Taking Time To “Mom”

Hello All! First of all I am pleased to say that we at Little Whale Spouts LLC are back at it! We have all taken some time to “mom,” but now we plan to have more presence online. I, Valerie H., am pleased that I have gained a new niece and nephew! Congratulations to Tonya and Val! With that being said, I am also excited to tell you that even though we have been offline, we have been working on some exciting new products for in the shop! Stay tuned for those!

With Mother’s Day coming up, I have been thinking about what it means to “mom.” I tend to think of it in a couple of different ways.

To “mom” (noun): To be the person responsible for the care and nurture of sweet little people.

To “mom” (adjective): The act of  caring and nurturing of sweet little people.

IMG_3000Let break down the noun version of “mom.” This is a huge responsibility for a person! It means sacrificing your physical body, mental state, social status, and your emotions sometimes daily! It is a tiring, yet so rewarding job! The identity of “mom” brings on so many feelings of satisfaction, but also the pressure of responsibility. I remember being so excited to hear my firstborn call me “ma-ma.” Its such a sweet memory. Now I hear my children call “mom” for so many reasons. It could be that they are looking for me just because they like to know where I am. Or it could be that they are hungry, scared, tired, hurt, or in need of a referee. :/ Whatever the reason, being that person for them is a pleasure.

The adjective form of “mom” is hard to completely explain. It has many facets to it. It could mean wiping up the 2nd spill of the day at 8 am. Or it could be having Dad watch the kids so that you can have some time off. It could be seeing your children’s faces light up with excitement over the littlest things or nursing your children back to health. Whatever it takes to allow you to act on caring and nurturing your sweet little ones.

IMG_4604The noun version of “mom” is very appealing. Mothers tend to be associated with tender loving care. Who wouldn’t want to be looked at as a source of love?

The adjective version of “mom” is most often what I struggle with! It’s hard to know how to raise your children in the way they should go! It’s even harder to do it with love and care! An area of struggle for me is knowing when to spend time getting things done and when to stop work so that I can spend time with my children. I try to remember that they will not always need me so much, so I should find joy in being needed.

IMG_2901Regardless of which “mom” version I am at the moment, I do know that motherhood is a very unique experience. Every mom has their own story of how they became known as “mom.” There are so many happy and endearing moments of motherhood. Along with that, there are also very hard “help me have patience” and “I’m not sure I can do this” moments.

During this season of “mom”-ing I have found it especially encouraging when people have told me that I am doing a good job. It is such a simple thing to say, but in the midst of everything, it means the world. Offering encouraging words is one way anyone can show love to mom. Because being “mom” is a very important role, let’s help her to feel special and loved this Mother’s Day! God Bless!IMG_2951

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Recipe for Canning Peaches

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I love being able to go to my shelves in the middle of winter and pull out a jar of these peaches! So maybe it takes a bit of work now, but it pays off in the long run. There is nothing quite like homemade!

Not only do we eat them straight out of the jar, but we have found a couple other ways that we love to eat them as well. We make a fresh fruit salad and then add some of these peaches along with a bit of the juice. It adds a bit of sweet and helps keep the fruit from browning. We also combine these peaches with bananas, yogurt, and miscellaneous other fruits in the blender to make smoothies.

So here it is.

 

Canned Peaches

3 Baskets of Peaches, peeled, seeded, and cut in halves (I use Red Haven)

24 Cups of Water

6 Cups of Sugar

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

You will also need canning jars, lids, and rings.

 

Combine water, sugar, and lemon juice in a large kettle. Bring to a boil. Stuff jars with peaches and one seed. Pour sugar water over peaches until liquid is one inch below the top of the jar. (Be careful not to pour hot liquid into cold jars too quickly or they may break!) Lid and ring the jars snug but not too tight. Place them in a water bath canner. Bring them to a boil and start timing for 20 minutes. When the time is up, tighten the jar rings and place them on a counter top. Let them set for 24 hours. Enjoy.

Yield: Approximately 32 Quarts

 

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Me-Time

Your child/children are asleep (or at a sitter) and you have some time to yourself…what do you do? Chores or Relax? Something for the good of the family or something for yourself? If you’re like me, I tend towards the chores and stuff that benefits the whole family. As moms, we’re used to putting other’s needs before our own, but we also need filled up. A friend of mine wrote a good blog recently about this (https://tendinghearts.blog/2017/05/28/fill-er-up/).

 

So, if we actually do take the time to do something we enjoy, what do you choose to do? I actually wrote a list of things I enjoy and/or that help me relax. So when I do get some me-time, I’m not trying to figure out what I should do. I look at the list and whatever sounds the best for that time, is what I do. I’m not going to lie: most times that I’m home for my little one’s naps, I do housework. However, my husband and I take turns having a night off. We picked Thursday as the “evening off” night. So one Thursday, I will have the evening to do as I please and the next Thursday, he will. This can be a social time like a  girls/guys night out or something as simple as reading a book at a park or hidden in a bedroom in a comfy recliner.

 

Do you need some inspiration? Below is my list of things I enjoy or find relaxing:

  • Crafting
  • Reading
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Girls night out
  • Gardening
  • Walking in nature
  • Sitting in nature
  • Yoga
  • Organizing
  • Drinking a glass of wine, Kombucha, hot tea or coffee depending on the time of day/year)
  • Soaking in bath tub
  • Taking a nap
  • Meditating
  • Listening to my alternative playlist on Spotify
  • Watching an episode of Fixxer Upper
  • Creating healthy snacks
  • Going antiquing
  • Or do a combo like: drink wine while reading a good book in nature or listen to music while crafting

 

If you have suggestions to add to this list, please comment! I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

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Crochet

Crochet. What exactly is it? How do you do it? Is it hard?

I, Valerie, thought I would take a chance to tell you about my crocheting experiences thus far.

First of all, crocheting is different than knitting! Knitting involves two needles where crocheting uses one hook. You change the hook size or the yarn texture to get a different look or feel. You use different stitches to achieve dimension. You can make many items by learning just a few stitches! I think it is easy to do once you learn, but like anything it takes practice. The more you do it the easier it comes.

I learned how to crochet when I was just four years old! My mother is an avid crocheter and I saw her crocheting a lot during that time. I asked her to teach me and so she did. However, I didn’t do much at that age. I only learned a couple of the basic stitches which allowed me to make dishcloths and such. That was a bit boring to me after a while so I didn’t crochet for years.

I picked crocheting up again here and there as a teenager. I crocheted a bag and a queen size blanket. Still nothing too fancy.

Once I got married I took more of an interest in it again and even more so when I was expecting our first child. The rest is history. I taught myself more stitches by watching videos on you tube. It was fun finding a pattern and picking out yarn to make it. Isn’t it incredible how you can take a piece of yarn and turn it into a functional item?!

I’ve made quite a few different items by now including, blankets, slippers, bags, headbands, hats, barefoot sandals, baby shoes, scarfs, toys, and even a summer cardigan. I enjoy a challenge and the opportunity to try a variety of things.

So, that is my crochet story. Here are a few facts about my crochet items in our etsy shop.

  1. My crochet bumpers take about 10 hours to make.
  2. Each bumper (aside from the striped one) is made with only 2 pieces of yarn.
  3. Most of the afghans are made with only 5 or less different stitches.
  4. I made up the pattern for the bumpers by myself.

I hope I was able to give you some insight on what crochet is all about. Don’t forget to go check out the items in our shop!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleWhaleSpoutsLLC

Here is a sneak peek of one of the blankets listed.

Pink 1

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Nursery Bundles

Our vision for Little Whale Spouts is to be a “one-stop shop” in regards to nursery decor. But since we are 3 woman with families and not a manufacturer, we had to start with realistic goals. So while furniture, curtains and storage solutions aren’t in our inventory, we do hope that a stop at our Etsy shop can help check off a good portion of your nursery wish list.

Our bundles are an even easier way to get all you need in one purchase. Plus, it comes at a savings! Each bundle is marked down for a savings total of $60 and even more if you add the changing pad cover!! We don’t make multiples of the bundles either, so each one is unique. If you like it, snatch it up before it’s gone.

Our Woodland Bundles are  currently available! It includes: Crib skirt, sheet, breathable bumper, quilt, mobile and customize-able sign. You also have the options to add a changing pad cover and the choice of changing the crib sheet to organic cotton.

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A Shabby Chic bundle will be available very soon. Nautical and neutral bundles are also in the works as well and are excited to share them with you! If you have a design theme that you would like to see us tackle next, comment below with your idea.

Explore more details on the bundles following the link below

http://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleWhaleSpoutsLLC

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From Husband to Father

Before I even became pregnant, I knew that having a baby would change my relationship with my husband. I didn’t know exactly how, but I knew things would be different. I expected to be more tired and have less time with him because I would have to care for a helpless tiny human that depended on me to feed and care for him. I didn’t expect my love for him to change the way it did. Watching him interact with our son has made me fall in love with him in a different way than I did when it was just the two of us (Que Will Smith song….good luck trying to get that song out of your head now! You’re welcome!).

Raising a kid deepens your character and I have watched that first hand  in my husband. You learn to be more patient, to enjoy the little things, to be more selfless than you ever imagined you could be (on some days anyway) and to rely on God more than perhaps you had in the past. I’ve seen evidence of these things as my husband cares for and raises our son. It’s awesome to watch him love him. My favorite moments are when he gets down on the floor and plays trains or builds legos or reads books to him. My son eats that up and wants to be just like Daddy.

Since having a child changed my view of him, I thought I’d ask my husband what changed for him and how he feels about being a father. Below is my little interview with him:

 

What is your favorite thing about being a Father?

  • When our son shows me affection spontaneously. (I don’t need to ask or fish for it.) He unashamedly loves being around me.
  • When he (sort of) sings along to “Jesus Loves Me” before we put him to bed.

 

How has being a Father changed you?

  • I waste time in a lot smaller chunks.
  • It forces me to be more patient (I can see how much he still has to learn, and how much being tired or hungry influences his behavior.)
  • I want to be a good role model…someone he can truly look up to.

 

What’s the hardest thing about being a Father?

  • Realizing how I use my time and money, and how my goals for the future don’t just effect me, they effect my family as well.

 

What surprised you the most about becoming a dad?

  • The level of pride/joy of watching your kid learning new things. It’s as fulfilling as you learning it yourself.

 

Who do you look to for Fatherhood advice?

  • My Dad
  • Cousins & Brother-in-Laws who have older kids than mine

 

How do you feel about the upswing in culture promoting involved Dads?

  • I love it! Advertisers realized the “dumb dad” doesn’t appeal to the millennial generation. We don’t see being dead-beats as something to aspire to.

 

Today is Father’s Day, so let that be a good reason to let the Fathers in your life know that you appreciate them. Tell them how it has impacted you (whether it’s your Dad or Step-Dad, your child’s Dad, your Grandfather or someone else entirely that has played a Father figure in your life). They might not realize how much you respect them for the way they have carried the responsibility of Fatherhood.

 

Recipe, Uncategorized

Basic Roasted Vegetable Recipe

Getting my almost 2 year old son (& my 30-something husband) to eat vegetables can be a war sometimes. Let’s be honest: Sometimes getting myself to eat vegetables can be a struggle too. I know that they’re good for me and that I should eat more than just a spoonful at each meal. That being said, I decided I needed find other ways to prepare vegetables than just boiling them in water and throwing a few spices on top. The soggy results were never appetizing to me (or the rest of my family). So I decided to try roasting them instead. I looked into different recipes and came up with my own, which I am sharing with you today. (Grilling is another option we like too!)

I’m giving you the basic recipe today. However, feel free to also use this as a guideline and experiment by adding your own variations of herbs and spices. I’ll probably post some of my favorite spice and herb combinations on here at some point, so check back for those at a later date.

If you are already roasting vegetables and have a favorite recipe or herb/spice combo, PLEASE feel free to share! I love trying new mixtures!

 

Basic Roasted Vegetable Recipe

Ingredients

Vegetable, chopped into 1-2” cubes

Olive Oil (or oil of your choice)

Salt

Pepper

Herbs/Seasonings (optional)

 

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2) Toss chopped vegetables in a bowl with olive oil.

3) Place parchment paper on baking sheet and pour veggies onto it.  Spread out so that there’s only one layer.

4) Sprinkle salt, pepper and any herbs/spices evenly over the vegetables.  Put sheet in the oven.

5) Halfway through the bake time, get sheet out and toss the vegetables so that they cook evenly; Return to oven.

6) Check vegetables at the earliest time listed. If vegetables are soft, you may serve them. However, my family likes to wait until they are starting to get caramelized before removing them from the oven.

Roasted Veggie Pic

 

Note: You may combine different vegetables as well and play with the times. It’s a great way to use up those leftover veggies from recipes that only called for a small amount. I just chop them and throw them all in the olive oil, add some spices and bake. So far I’ve never had a bad combo.

 

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Motherhood

All females have the capability to mother whether they have given birth or not. Caring, giving and nurturing are the top three words that come to my mind when thinking of mothering . You can do this not only for your biological, foster or adopted child(ren), but other children (related or not) and even adults (usually younger than you). Mothers help to shape people.  Again, not just physical moms are shaping their kids. My son goes to a babysitter a couple times a week while I go to work. The sitter is also helping to shape my child.  I’m so thankful that she gets to speak into my child’s life as well.

(Side Note: In the Bible, Eve was called the “Mother of All the Living” before she ever became pregnant. Genseis 3:20 ESV)

Motherhood is a blessing and a gift. It teaches you a lot about yourself and the world around you. Below are just a few things motherhood has taught me thus far. This is by no means a comprehensive list!

What Being a Mother Has Taught Me (Or Still Is Teaching Me):

  • Putting other’s needs before your own is hard, but rewarding. (I do believe you need to take time to take care of yourself so you can serve your family , friends, etc. better too.)
  • It’s a huge responsibility and no one is perfect at it. I’m thankful that there’s grace in the process.
  • Being a mom isn’t easy. I’m learning the balance of letting go and yet holding on, protecting and yet letting them fall occasionally for learning’s sake, when to talk and when to listen, etc.
  • In the day to day it’s easy to grumble and lose sight of the point, wonder why we thought it was a good idea to be a mom, but then in a moment, an unexpected “I love you.”, a sloppy unsolicited kiss, a choosing to do the right thing without being prompted …reminds you that it’s all worth it.
  • It’s dying to self and not expecting anything in return.
  • Mothers wear many hats : Protector, Teacher, Disciplinarian, Monster-Chaser, Comforter, Advocator. This is not a comprehensive list by any means!
  • Children share their worldview with you. It’s not tainted by politics, media or all the worries of this world. It’s one that’s full of adventure and one that reminds us to look for joy in the little things, to stop, breathe, smell the roses, RELAX and enjoy life.
  • Motherhood inspires you to be the best version of yourself for their sakes.

This post was written by Tonya. Photo credit goes to Sheila Marie Photography.

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Introducing Little Whale Spouts

We specialize in creating nursery themes that consists of matching crib sets, mobiles and nursery signs. We consist of three sisters: Tonya, Valerie and Valerie. (No, that’s not an error…The one Valerie married the brother of Tonya and Valerie. We usually call her Val to differentiate between the two.) We all have at least one child and have had fun designing our own nurseries with some input from the other two. We all enjoy crafting and had thought about selling our creations online for some time.

As we were discussing Valerie’s new nursery design and the bedding sets she was making, the idea of selling online resurfaced. This time Val had just quit her job and had much more time on her hands. We decided to venture out and give it a try.

During our research phase, we noticed that there weren’t many shops on Etsy that gave people the option to buy theme nursery sets all in one place. We each have different parts of the nursery that we specialize in, so we decided to coordinate so that all of our pieces go together to create a congruent theme. We each design and create our own items: Tonya-mobiles, Val-signs and Valerie-crib sets. We hope to expand our lines over time, but decided to start out with the things that we enjoy making at the moment.

The Process:
Crib Sets: Valerie creates crib bedding sets including a quilt, crib sheet, crib skirt, and a breathable crochet bumper. The crocheted bumper is made using 100% Premium Acrylic yarn. All other pieces are home sewn with cotton fabric and thread in a smoke and pet free home.

Mobiles: Tonya creates the patterns for her mobiles. She then cuts them out of 100% Merino Wool Felt, sews them together by hand using cotton thread and finally stuffs them with hypoallergenic poly-fil. For the animal patterns, she uses buttons for the eyes. (For more information about 100% Merino Wool, see product descriptions.)

Signs: Val collaborates with her Dad, Bob, to create the wooden signs. Bob is a cabinet maker and wizard at making just about anything wooden and often without a pattern either. He’s got serious skills and takes pride in the quality of his work, so these signs are very durable. Most wood is sourced from recycled pallets, barnwood or scraps from other projects. The wood is cleaned, sanded and pieces are secured with two braces in the back and hanging hardware attached. The final project is sealed with polyurethane spray for longevity. Both canvas and wooden signs are painted with acrylic paint.

Meet the Sisters:
Valerie: Are you that person who always is looking for a different approach or a unique to you design? Ever since I was a young girl that was me. I love the idea of being the only one who has a specific item or feel in my house or my wardrobe. Because of that, from a very young age I started learning how to sew or create my things unique to me.
Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom and my husband and I just had our fourth child in April. Ever since my first pregnancy, I have found joy in making adorable baby accessories. So much so, that even after my son was born I would make items for other expecting moms that I was acquainted with. Then after having my daughters I started sewing little dresses and shoes for them. I love to go to the fabric store and try to picture each fabric in a completed design!
Overall, I have found that making baby accessories is an enjoyable way for me to express myself and yet contribute to the household. It gives me a chance to be more than “mom” and often is therapeutic. I would love to have the opportunity to create something unique for your little one too!

Tonya: Valerie and I’s mother is very crafty and we both have followed in her footsteps. I am the oldest, then Brent (Val’s husband), Valerie and the youngest is Jennifer. We grew up on a farm in Hopeland, PA. Now we’re all married and all but the youngest has kids. Currently, my husband, Anthony, and I have one son, but we hope to add more in the future. At this point, I’m still employed as a church secretary and I work on my mobiles (and everything else) in any free time that I can scrounge up. Ha!
A few of my favorite things would be: coffee, cafes, old houses, Chip & Joanna Gaines, antiques, flea markets, creating aesthetically pleasing décor, the beach, interesting one-of-a-kind things, tree-lined streets with no power lines, repurposing older items into fun functional pieces, plants, and gardening.

Val: I began crafting with a friend for fun to try out the latest pin we like on Pinterest. This lead to us selling our own creations at craft shows and doing custom signs for friends and family. I recently quit my job to raise my baby girl, but am excited to be able to still help support my family by doing something I truly enjoy. Painting is my happy place. Decorating my daughter’s bedroom was such a delight and I look forward to helping you create the perfect finishing touches for your little one’s nursery.