HOME IMPROVEMENT: CUTLERY + UTENSILS

HOME IMPROVEMENT: CUTLERY + UTENSILS - This Wild Home

Cutlery and general utensils are those things where it seems like there’s an obvious space for them, but the obvious space isn’t always the most practical.

If there’s something I’ve learned from moving a billion times and just finding my own adult rhythm, it’s that the conventional thing is not always the right thing.

This could be explored on so many levels. From being your own type of person to your own type of parent to creating your own kind of career and so on. But for now, I’m sticking to the surface with home organization and creating standards that suit your needs, even if they don’t make sense to anyone else.

So utensils. In a typical home there’s a drawer where they live. You will usually find enough utensils for everyone to use plus a bunch of extras. This drawer can often be found with a plastic organizer that separates the forks from the knives and the spoons and so on. It makes a lot of sense so why not just stick to that tune?

Well, because I have a toddler that can reach the drawer where the knives once lived. Because I’ve lived in homes with big drawers that were made for cutlery organizers and I’ve lived in homes with tiny drawers that barely stretch long enough to fit the cutlery. Not to mention the fact that I don’t like tedious tasks like organizing the cutlery. I like to reduce my chores to be as mindless and quick as I possibly can.

In my life right now, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have an organized drawer for these things, so I’ve had to find another way.

THE CUTLERY

HOME IMPROVEMENT: CUTLERY + UTENSILS - This Wild Home

This was something I found a solution to a little while ago. First of all, I had enough cutlery to where Ian and I each had 5 of each utensil to ourselves. Why? Well, who knows. Because I was suppose to? So I got rid of a lot of it and left us with 2 of each utensil for each of us. For me, cleaning a fork every once in a while is so much better than storing a bunch of utensils that never get used.

IF (notice that really big “if”) we have company - which we haven’t in like, a year. We’re hermits. It’s fine. - we can either grab some plastic or bamboo utensils or just make finger food.

And now our cutlery lives in a jar by the toaster where we can easily grab what we need or put things away without thinking twice.

THE SHARP STUFF

HOME IMPROVEMENT: CUTLERY + UTENSILS - This Wild Home

You guys. The day I learned my son could reach the knives was the day I started having dreams of him horrifically hurting himself in an irreversible way and those knives were moved to a higher location immediately.

To start, we don’t have an on-the-counter knife holder because, ain’t nobody got room for that (remember the moving all the time to places with all different sized storage space?) and also that’s just not how our hand-me-down knives came.

So for a very long time our knives lived on the counter next to my little notebook/planner/computer station and I’ve got to say, that corner went from tidy and organized to a stress inducing mess.

I left it like that for a good while because:

  1. There isn’t a great space to hang a magnetic holder in our current place.

  2. We’re moving very soon so it doesn’t seem worth it to put holes in the walls or buy something that may not work in the next place right before we leave.

I also felt pretty limited on counter space because I haven’t quite figured out how I want to organize everything over here so there we were. A bunch of knives haphazardly sprawled about on the counter.

Finally, my slow pregnant brain thought, “Why not do the same thing with the knives that I do with the cutlery?” DUH. So there you have it! A much neater solution to my very specific problem!

HOME IMPROVEMENT: CUTLERY + UTENSILS - This Wild Home

For these home improvement posts, my goal is really to show that there is no “right way” to do things. Every single one of us has specific problems that need specific solutions. We have our own preferences and our own strategies to bring peace to our lives and they are all the right way.

The right way for us may even change over time. Realistically, I’ll probably upgrade our knives along with their storage when we’re moved into the next place.

For now, here are my solutions to improve my at-home experience and hopefully, this will encourage you to think outside the box and do what you need to do to bring yourself peace in your home!

A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS

The other plus to all of this is that I get to share what I’ve done this year in a time frame that may actually be able to add some value to your holiday season to!

So I’ve decided to make it a priority to take a photo of the kids for Christmas every year. The past 2 years it’s just been Oliver, but come next year, I’ll have a 2 year old and 9 month old to wrangle together. But that’s my problem for later..

When it come to full family shoots for nice photos, I think going professional is best and if you have the budget and a photographer you love, why not support them for the holidays?

But I’ve found that with phone cameras getting higher and higher quality each year, we’re at the point now where it’s possible to do quick shoots like these all on your own and here are some tips on how to make it happen!

A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR THE KIDS

FIND A BACKDROP

A good backdrop is basically the foundation of a good holiday photo. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Even a blank wall is fine as long as there’s nothing too distracting.

Last year, my set up was literally just Oliver propped up in a chair with the tree behind him. This year I just took some garland and made a tree on the wall. You can keep it simple or get creative, stay inside or let the outdoors be your backdrop! really anything besides a messy room will do

(also, how do they get so big so fast??)

A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home
A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home

FIND THE LIGHT

Lighting is make or break for a good photo. Lighting that is too low or too harsh will be very distracting to the eye which will take away from the main focus: your cutie!

If you’re shooting indoors: figure out what time of day is brightest in your home and try to shoot where your scene is facing a window. Not with a window to either side, but with the window straight on. Or in a room that has a lot of windows.

It’s also good to turn off overheads. They’ll add a yellow hue to the photos that will make it look a little too homemade.

If you’re shooting outdoors: You want to go out during a time when the sun isn’t too high in the sky to avoid weird shadows that will distort your kid’s face. A good tip is to figure out when the sun sets and venture out about an hour before that to give yourself enough time to shoot with good lighting.

SET UP A SCENE

You don’t need anything crazy, but it’s nice to have a few props to make the photos a little more dynamic.

I set up a toy for Oliver to play with, an antique chair, and plant to make the photos look a little more homey than studio…y. But again, last year having just the chair for him to sit in added enough so don’t feel like you need to go crazy.

A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home

SHOOT STRAIGHT ON

Basically, be on your knees and keep your phone straight when taking the photos. It might be fun to try a few different angles, but there are so many factors to keep in mind when taking a good photo that I’ve found it’s easiest to just get on the same level as the subject of the photo and take straight on shots. You can get closer or go farther away, you can even go crazy with a bunch of different angles! Just make sure you get a few photos from a straight on perspective to keep it safe.

THE OUTFIT

This is something I think about when getting their winter clothes. I just throw in a few casual items that I know will work well with a photo so that way I’m not spending extra money on an outfit they’ll wear once. Of course, I try to get the photo out of the way early so I don’t have to worry about the wear and tear that comes with a toddler wearing clothes for the rest of the season.

I like the more casual look for outfits. Something with holiday, fall, or winter colors in any style will work. PJ’s always make a really cute photo too. Then all you need to do is make your bed and throw your kids on it for a photo! (definitely an idea I’ll use next year)

WORK AROUND THEIR MOODS

Lighting is important, but a happy kiddo is crucial. Don’t try and take any photos too close to nap time or if they’re hungry. If they just want to play and hate everything that’s happening, take a break and then try again. Maybe try moving some of their toys to the scene you have set up and take some candid photos of them playing! Honestly, if you can’t get them to cooperate it may be worth it to try another day.

Whatever you do, don’t try and force them into taking photos if they are not into it or else all your photos will look like this:

A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home

HAVE A HELPER HANDY

Spouses, siblings, friends, parents, just someone to help you out.

Sometimes you’ll need a little help getting them set up or getting a really good, genuine laugh. It’s just nice to have some helping hands so you can be set up and ready to get a good shot without having to also make the funny faces and fix their clothes and put them in position and all that stuff that comes with trying to take a photo of a kid.

The only way we got the money shot was with my husband running back and forth while making our tiny dog play peek-a-boo from behind me. If anyone were to see that scene, I’m sure they may be a little worried for our sanity. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.

Either way, in the end we got some great photos of our boy that will be reminders of this hilarious experience we all shared.

A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home
A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home
A DIY HOLIDAY SHOOT FOR KIDS - This Wild Home

5 INGREDIENT SWEET POTATO + CAULIFLOWER SOUP

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It’s soup season! The weather is mostly cold these days and that means I want warm food that is quick and easy.

That’s probably why soup is my go-to. I can make one big pot of it and have meals for a week. I’ve also found that Oliver is far more willing to eat veggies if they’re not in veggie form, so soup it is.

This soup is a fun one because it’s simple, but there are a lot of ways you can mix it up to make it a new soup every time!

SWEET POTATO + CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Before I share the recipe, you’ll find in my cooking that I don’t use a ton of salt (which drives my dad crazy but in the end it’s for his own good), but it never hurts if you’re into it!

INGREDIENTS

1 finely diced onion

1 finely diced green bell pepper

1 head of cauliflower

3 sweet potatoes

4 cups chicken OR veggie broth

Olive oil for cooking

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Chop up cauliflower into small pieces, place on a baking sheet, and toss in olive oil. Place in oven and let bake for 20-30 minutes (or until it starts to look roasted).

  2. While cauliflower bakes, finely chop onion and green bell pepper. Cook in olive oil on medium high in the soup pot.

  3. Once the onion and bell pepper have browned, add in broth.

  4. Peel and dice sweet potatoes and add to soup pot.

  5. Once cauliflower is done, blend in a blender until it’s a liquid consistency.

  6. Add cauliflower to soup and let it simmer until sweet potatoes can be mashed.

  7. Mash sweet potatoes with a spoon and then you’re done!

makes about 4 servings

MIX IT UP

Here are some ideas to change up the recipe:

  • Whisk the soup once sweet potatoes are soft to make it creamy.

  • Add paprika to spice it up.

  • Top it with parmesan cheese because cheese makes everything better.

  • Swap the sweet potatoes with carrots or just do half and half.