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FAMILY/ Featured/ Kids/Family/ Parenting

3 Reasons Why You Should Let Your Teenager Have A Messy Room


I have 3 teenage girls, and I am super surprised that as a parent, I am at peace with all 3 of them having a messy room.  Does this mean their rooms are always messy? Well, honestly it depends on their personalities. They all 3 eventually get to a point where they can’t stand the mess anymore and give into choosing to pick it up. But that time frame differs for each of my girls, depending on how organized they like to be & how they are wired.  I have been shocked at times to see how long it can take for them to get to the point of picking up their room!

My pastor is the one who is responsible for the peace I have found in just shutting their doors and moving on. I am so glad I was there the Sunday he talked about parenting and gave some practical tips.  I don’t remember much from that sermon, accept the tip that surprised me the most, and that was to allow your teenager to have a messy room.



3 Reasons Why It is OK For Teens To Have a Messy Room:


It Is A Place For Them To Just BE

This was the main reason he gave for letting your teen have a messy room, and the one that really hit home with me.  He said that in this day and age our teenagers are under immense pressure to perform, everywhere they go.  Social media has taken this to the extreme, where teens are constantly feeling the pressure to be ‘on’ & to present the best of themselves to the world. Presenting self authentically in such a public space is something I talk about often with my girls, recognizing it is a hard thing to grasp for adults, much less for a teenager.

I love this tip that my pastor gave, to give teens a space in this world that they can call theirs, where they can totally exhale and be who they are with no pressure to perform. What better place to do this than in their own bedrooms?

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Featured/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Simplifying

18 Things You Need To Throw Away

18 Things You Need To Throw Away

It is springtime, and while most people are getting their spring cleaning on, I find myself once again much more motivated to get rid of clutter, throw things away & organize.  I do not like to clean, but I love the feeling of organizing & minimalizing, and in order to really get things cleaned, I need to get the unnecessary out of the way & out of here!


Get Rid Of Clutter

There are 3 big things I have learned that motivates me to get rid of clutter.

~You Cannot Organize Clutter

~Clutter Attracts Clutter

~The More Items You Keep, The More Those Items Will Need From You. (putting them away, dusting them, fixing them when they break, etc)


Throw It Away


Old Magazines

Thanks to Pinterest, I don’t subscribe to many magazines anymore.  The few catalogs that come in the mail, keep in a round, shallow wooden bowl in my living room, to grab & read when I have a moment of slow living. I purposefully chose this container, as it will only hold a few magazines at a time, so it forces me to cull & recycle magazines before they pile up


These can pile up quickly and if not organized, can become expensive as buying duplicates can be pricey! Check the dates on medications & vitamins & dispose of them properly.

Receipts, Bills & Documents

Get the paper shredder out and get rid of out dates receipts & bills.  Something we do every day that really helps with this type of paper clutter is going through the mail shortly after it comes, throwing out what is trash & filing what isn’t.  My Todd gets credit for this daily habit.

School Papers

Now that my girls are all teenagers, we don’t have as many school papers as we did before, at least, the crafty kind.  I have a system in our home that works well for school papers. Each girl has a designated drawer in our home office desk. When I find my girls school papers laying around, I will gather them and put them in the drawer to whom they belong. That way I am not throwing away papers that need to be turned in.  My girls will go through their own paper drawers when they get full.  If you don’t have extra desk drawers, these stackable letter trays work well for this, too. You can use a labeler and put each child’s name on their letter tray.


I stopped keeping boxes “just in case I need them.” I used to keep them just in case I wanted to return the item, store the item or because the box could be used to wrap or mail a gift.  I have decided that living a minimal life means getting rid of a lot of things I usually would keep “just in case.” Boxes, no matter what size, take up way too much room to store just have them hanging around. I break them down and take them to recycling as soon as possible.

Extra Plant Pots

I have great plans every year to use up all my pots but have found that they just sit around, year after year.  I use a few large pots & got rid of all the small ones, including peat pots that I had good intentions to use, but always end up buying starter plants from the store instead of starting my own.  I let go of that ambition to keep life simple.

Pens in a mason Jar

Pens & Pencils

I have invested in some good quality pens and pencils, and keep them in just a couple of places in the house.  I find they last longer than cheap pens and are much more enjoyable to use.  There is something about a container of matching pens & pencils that just makes me happy! I keep a jar in our living room area where I like to sit and journal, a few in a kitchen drawer and the rest go in our home office.  I also keep a few in my purse.


We just had our kitchen remodeled and updated last summer, and it was a great opportunity to get rid of dishes.  Just like my pens and pencils, I am all about dishes that match.  No more cupboards full of unmatched cups, mugs, and glasses.  I buy square white dishes, use mason jars instead of plastic for food storage, and all other dishes & serving trays white and as simple as possible. These 16 oz goblet glasses are what we use for water now that we have teenagers, we do not have a need for unbreakable glasses or plastic.  This has made a huge difference in keeping our kitchen cupboards organized & even simplifies loading the dishwasher since everything matches and fits well.


If a whole season went by and you didn’t wear them, get rid of them! If you don’t love them, get rid of them.  If they only will go with a couple of outfits, get rid of them. You won’t believe how good it feels to donate unloved shoes to your local thrift store.

Nail Polish

I recently went through our bin of nail polish and was amazed to find how many had become thick & gloppy.  Some bottles were even empty & some we couldn’t get the lid off of.  It is so nice to just grab the bin and know the few colors left in it will actually open and go on smoothly.


We updated our basement & moved a couple of bookshelves.  In the process, we got rid of a bunch of unloved books.  Oh my, talk about freeing! I now have empty shelves to decorate with things that I love.  I was also amazed at what dust collectors books can be.  We all have Kindle Fire’s, so we only kept reference type books & some classics that we couldn’t bear to give away.  I noticed most of my cookbooks went, thanks to Pinterest I rarely use them.  I also gave away a bunch of gardening books for the same reason...Pinterest! Another huge hull–old piano books that my girls used for piano lessons when they were young.


I tackled my closet last week and got rid of 2 big bags of clothes.  Same rule for shoes applies here–if a whole season goes by and you don’t wear it, get rid of it.  I started working on a capsule wardrobe, & I’m really enjoying the simplicity of my closet, even if I’m not doing the whole capsule wardrobe perfectly yet, I’m already experiencing how great it is to take away excessive options of what to wear each day.


I recently came up with a new system of jewelry storage & got rid of all my out-dated jewelry. I will share with you soon how I store my jewelry.  It is a simple, non-perfect system that includes an egg carton and small cardboard bowls in a dresser drawer. It is not typical but it sure is working for me!

Makeup & Perfume

I am very minimal when it comes to makeup and all that I own can fit in one makeup bag. Yay! I recently went through all hair products, lotions, perfumes & essential oils and kept only that which is pure and that I use daily. Everything else I got rid of.


I used to buy so many notebooks when they went on sale during back-to-school time.  Not anymore. It is just extra clutter.


Don’t keep it unless you love it. If it was given to you and you want to remember it but don’t love it, take a picture of it. Did you child make it? Again, take a picture and make an album of their creations instead of keeping every single creation.

Old Electronics

These can sit and sit and collect dust. Updating our basement helped us get these moving, but we moved them upstairs and then they sat and collected more dust. Gotta get them out the door, not just moved around!

Home Decor

Minimalize, minimalize, minimalize! It is so easy to keep decor for years because you don’t even see it anymore as it has sat in the same place for so long.  Look at each item and think “is this worth the dusting that I have to do to it?” “Does this bring me joy?” “Does this make my home beautiful and warm?” “Is this item dated?”


I am sure there are many more things that one could throw away, but this list is a great start and has really helped me lately.  Our home is feeling more and more streamlined & simple, but I do have more work to do, especially when it comes to our craft closet, an upstairs desk, and our laundry room.  I am seeing progress, especially as I get rid of clutter instead of trying to organize clutter!


The More Of Less Book 


Want more inspiration to get rid of clutter and learn just how much purpose there is in doing so? Joshua Becker’s The More of Less is super inspiring and one of my favorite reads. Buy it on Amazon here.

What about you? Does clutter frustrate you? What are your clutter problem areas? Do you have a hard time throwing things away?

Featured/ HOME/ Homemaking/ Organizing/ Simplifying

Best Kitchen Drawer Organization

kitchen drawer organization system

Kitchen drawer organization has been on my to-do list for quite a while now.  This past summer, we had a full kitchen update (posts coming soon!) and I have been so very happy with it! Everything works so much better now, but one area that quickly became a problem was my kitchen utensil drawer.

We only have 2 drawers in our kitchen, but thanks to the update they are now nice & wide drawers that give us lots of drawer space.  I keep utensils in one and kitchen towels and knives in the other.

The drawer with the utensils is the one I will focus on today.


As you can see, we were just throwing all utensils in there and it became almost impossible to close the drawer. Even the rubber mat that was supposed to be under all of those utensils was all bunched up. It was driving me nuts!

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FAMILY/ Featured/ Kids/Family

A Family Update


{photo taken by Jenna Spurlin}

I recently wrote a post titled My Journey From Hobby Blogger to Influencer, and talked about how this blog is my recipe binder, my memory keeper, my cancer journal & a place to connect with such a great and caring community.  It has certainly become something very special to me and my family over the years. It is especially comforting as a 2-time cancer survivor that my words and our memories are in a place where my 3 girls could easily access them and know the things I think about and am passionate about.

This post is one that I am writing just to capture this season in life. I find myself with 3 teenage daughters and I wonder where the time has gone? When did this happen?

I don’t write as often about my girls now that they are teens.  It is a delicate thing, letting their stories be THEIR stories & not oversharing.  I will be doing a dance with this delicate sharing in some upcoming posts where I will write about a teen parenting class I have been taking.  It has been so good and has really helped me embrace these years and realize just how wonderful they can be.

But for now, I’m just going to share these family photos with you and try to take a ‘word snapshot’ of my 3 lovlies and their sweet lives.


{photo taken by Jenna Spurlin}



My firstborn. My overachiever. My hard worker. My heart. You can find her most nights leaning over textbooks with pens, pencils, a water bottle & snacks diligently studying. She is 16 & a sophomore in high school, is a cross-country runner, & is super involved as a leader in her youth group. She has always chosen great friends to hang out with & is wise beyond her years. She is very self-aware, knows her strengths and weaknesses, has a beautiful thinking brain, does not like a lot of emotional fluff, & finds humor in so many things.  She usually has a smile on her face and I marvel how it rarely goes away…she has this amazing ability to smile even while talking. It is her default face and it is beautiful.  I find myself trying to hang on to every moment, as I know we only have a couple of years left with our girl.


She is my red-haired beauty & my hero at age 15. Life has given her some great obstacles the last few years but she has come through them with grit, perseverance and a resilience that I am just in awe of.  She is incredibly creative and musical and has a love for instruments including the violin, guitar & piano.  She has a soft heart that cares for others.  She is very in tune with the emotions of others and will be the first to ask “are you ok?” when she senses something is wrong. She, too, has a wonderful friend group & is truly a great friend to others.  I have always called her my creative, caring, kind, quirky Colsie & even as a teenager she still is all that! She will frown at that ‘quirky’ word, but I love that she is unique and delights in things that are not always mainstream. Case in point? She is going ‘hammocking’ with a friend after school today. She saved money to purchase this awesome portable hammock,  (affiliate link) and she and her friends will just take their hammocks and ‘hang out.’ It cracks me up.  They are also going to take some photos while at the park, as Colsie is a very gifted photographer.


Avery is 13 and in middle school.  The strong will that we saw when she was young has chilled out into something so wonderful. She is the perfect balance of soft and strong. It is quite remarkable to watch. She is a very determined, gifted and self-motivated student, a great soccer player despite the challenges that having asthma brings, is a super talented baker & loves watching recorded tv with her Dad. She is not one who needs a ton of friends. She is a good friend to a select few, and truly just loves being at home with her family and ipod. She is a friendly introvert. She gets that beauty is fleeting, even at a young age, and I wonder if she knows how beautiful she really is? She is a bit of a tom-boy, but one who always has her nails polished with quite impressive DIY designs. She plays the piano & usually practices without needing a reminder.  Avery loves one-on-one conversation and will often come sit on my bed in the evening just to talk, or will become quite chatty at the breakfast table each morning, which makes me smile.  She lives for holidays, as they give her an excuse to bake something great or come up with awesome gifts for those she loves. She also values family, as her favorite place to be is at her Grandparents house, jumping on the trampoline with her cousins.


So there are my girls in a nutshell, at this stage in life.  Notice there is much positive and no negative, which is not reflective of how it really is. Yes, there is so much beauty and positive, but there IS a reason I’m taking a teen parenting class! The teens years can be hard as kids are discovering who they are and parents are learning how they must parent differently, and how to let go. There are personality differences which can create much static and drama, especially with 3 girls! We are not the perfect family, so far from it…but I do feel like we are all learning how to love well & I know God will continue to show us how to do that, despite all of our differences & shortcomings. This is my daily prayer. We have come through a lot together & I celebrate that!

I have to mention my man before closing this family update.

My Todd.  

Steadfast, loyal, loving, wise. He serves all of us ‘girls’ with humility & consistency. We all know we are his priority & that he would do anything for us. He spends his days working hard for our family and never complains.  He is in full-time ministry and does work every day that is meaningful and makes a difference.  He lives for family nights and junk food on the weekends, and the occasional date night with ME. I am a very, very blessed woman and I’m so thankful to call him mine!


If you have made it to the end, then I must thank you for reading this.  I am so very thankful for this space to record things that matter to me, and the fact that you come along with me in that means the world to me! Thanks for reading New Nostalgia!


What about you? Are you a parent to teens? What are you learning? Got any tips for me?


FAMILY/ Featured/ Leaving A Legacy/ Sponsored

My Journey From Hobby Blogger To Influencer

I started blogging back in 2009, with very little knowledge of what I would be getting myself into. My first post was titled “My Love Affair With Mason Jars” & it used a low resolution, pixelated image from my point-and-shoot camera, & was super short with no paragraphs. Let’s just say there was much room for improvement!

I was constantly sharing recipes and craft ideas with friends over email, so I decided I would just start blogging these ideas as a creative outlet and a way to easily share things with others.



Brands are searching for voices like yours. A TapInfluence profile is a great way to attract attention from top brands who are ready to harness the power of influencer marketing. To get started, create your free profile here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of TapInfluence, the leader in connecting influencers with opportunities to collaborate with brands.

Featured/ RECIPES/ Sides

Kale & Lentil Salad With Cranberries & Coconut Bacon

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It is amazing how excited I can get about a kale salad. This Kale & Lentil Salad with Cranberries & Coconut Bacon is really delicious & reminds me of something you could order at an upscale vegetarian restaurant.

This kale salad is full of beautiful.  It has gorgeous color from the cranberries & the kale itself. The texture is great with curly kale, chewy dried cranberries & crunchy coconut bacon. The cranberries are a nice sweet touch while the coconut bacon adds amazing smokey & salty flavor.

Chopped Kale

Kale Tip

Kale is different from other salad greens as it is not as delicate.  I love this about kale because you can dress it and put it in the refrigerator to eat the next day, as the leaves will not get soggy like typical salad leaves.

I like kale chopped up small like in this salad, with the dressing “massaged” into the leaves to help soften them a bit. It is best to do this before adding the other toppings to your salad.

Lentil Kale Salad

Kale Nutrition

This salad is full of protein & fiber, phytonutrients & antioxidants. You can read more about the amazing nutrition of kale here. It is filling and can be a meal in itself or  makes a great side dish, too. It is a great recipe for potlucks, and can be enjoyed all year but is especially festive looking at Christmastime.


Coconut Bacon

Did you read the post I wrote about coconut bacon? It is SO DELICIOUS & very easy to make. Most regular bacon has nitrates in it that are cancer causing and harmful to your health. This coconut bacon has a nice smokey flavor from smoked paprika & has a great salty flavor like bacon, thanks to the addition of soy sauce. The oven crisps the coconut flakes up just right for the perfect crunchy texture to top salads and soups.  Coconut bacon is great sprinkled on top of lentil soup or even just eaten straight from a jar!


I use precooked lentils that you can get at Trader Joes in the refrigerator section.  If you don’t have a Trader Joes near you, lentils are super easy to make, or you can get canned lentils.  Want more ideas of what to make with lentils from New Nostalgia? Try Easy Taco Seasoned Lentils or Sloppy Joe Lentils.  Both make great Meatless Monday/ Vegetarian meals.

Coconut Bacon Kale Lentil Salad With Cranberries

This salad has a simple homemade dressing made with apple cider vinegar which gives it great flavor.  It is the perfect dressing for an amazing salad!

Kale & Lentil Salad with Cranberries & Coconut Bacon

{Serves: 6 small or 4 large servings}

1 medium head curly kale, stems removed, washed, dried and chopped (about 7-8 ounces after preparation)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (or one can of cooked lentils, rinsed & drained)

1 cup coconut bacon

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped shallots


Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar,maple syrup, salt, pepper, and shallots.  Set them aside.

Place the kale in a large mixing bowl.  Toss the dressing over it and massage thoroughly with your hands, until all of the leaves are coated with the dressing.  Add the cranberries, lentils, and coconut bacon, and toss everything to combine.  Pile the salad into serving bowls & serve.

Note: Leftover salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.  I love storing it in smaller mason jars for a quick, grab & go lunch.

DIY/Crafts/ Featured/ FUN/DIY/ Seasonal

Snow Day Memories & 3 DIY Snow Paint Ideas


Have you ever made snow paint? It is one of the easiest DIY’s we have done & is lots of fun too!

We are on day two of blissful snow days. I’m wearing the same pajama pants that I wore all day yesterday and you would all just laugh at me if you saw the state of my crazy hair. It is 10:30am and even my husband is still walking around in his pajama pants, so we are truly taking advantage of the forced slow that snow brings!

Snow days are so different now that my girls are older (16, 15 & almost 13). I found myself reminiscing about snow days of old, and I remembered a few photos of one particular snow day from 2013.  My Avery was 10 and was so very excited to stay home from school. Those were the days when she was young and snow was magical & she couldn’t wait to get out in it. I dug the pictures out to keep the memories alive on this blog & to share them with you!


I vividly remember my Avery waking up that day in her snuggly jammies with a cozy bathrobe wrapped around, but still her feet were bare.  Is it just me or do naked toes on cold days drive any of you other Mama’s out there nuts? To see naked feet on a snow day just makes me shiver.

“Put some socks on those cute feet, you are making me cold!” My kids have heard me say this more than once on cold winter days.

That morning, Avery made a list on the white board she kept in her room. I love that she made plans that took action. Now, during the last 2 snow days, the action is less as she lays in her bed with her ipod and Netflix.  I do know those cute toes got a coat of polish yesterday, so I guess that counts as movement!


She did come our from her room yesterday afternoon and baked some cookies.  I can always count on my Avery to get in the kitchen on the weekends or days off of school to bake something yummy.  She LOVES to bake.  Back in 2013 on that fun snow day, we baked brownies while waiting for the afternoon sun to warm the day up a bit.  Look at that brownie batter all over her face! Now, the only mess is in my kitchen after she is done baking, but not on her face. Both are precious moments, though, and I know I will miss that messy kitchen someday, as much as I miss mess on her face!


We continued to pass the time by making paper snowflakes. My goodness she was so adorable! I loved that stage with adult teeth but child face. So cute! Soon she will be getting braces on those teeth and look very much like the middle schooler that she is. Now if I want snowflakes, I make them myself. This is the first year she has not been too into crafty things. She is growing up!


I snapped a picture of her boots warming by the vent.  She outgrew those long ago.  She now is in the stage of her feet staying the same size for more than a few months at a time. A blessing, as adult size shoes are about double the cost of children’s shoes.  She now wears the same size I do.



Before she went out into the snow, we decided to make some DIY Snow Paint. This is so simple to make. It is just food coloring and water.

~Fill squeeze bottles halfway with water.

~Add drops of food coloring until desired shade is achieved.

~Put your finger over the hole and shake to mix.

Kool-Aid Snow Paint

~Fill bottles up with water.

~Add a packet of kool-aid

~Shake to mix

~Enjoy the fun colors that smell wonderful!

Magic Snow Paint

~spinkle areas of snow with baking soda

~fill squeeze bottles or spray bottles with vinegar & a bit of water

~add food coloring for color & shake to mix

~have kids find the ‘magic snow’ by spraying the snow and watching for a bubbling reaction of the baking soda and vinegar



Avery had fun that day painting snow, but the highlight of the day was when a local news crew saw her shoveling and stopped to ask her a few questions. They featured her snowman & asked her why she liked shoveling. Her answer? “Because you get to help out your parents’s just FUN shoveling!”  Aww…be still my heart.  She told me today that even though she looked cute and composed, she was a little freaked out as they didn’t ask us to interview her and just started filming. We still have it locked and saved on our DVR. I need to figure out how to get it off and save it another way! It was fun to watch again today as a family. Her little voice was so sweet.


After her big interview, she came in to warm up… with an icicle?!? Love the pink cheeks & the willingness to pose for a photo.  I find that my teenage girls are now much less likely to let me take their photo.  Now I just steal their instagram photos and use them as my own when needed, knowing they are already approved for the public.  Or pictures like the one below, where they are prepared & ready to smile!

BOWMANCHRISTMAS_2015-13 resized

{Christmas 2015}

As much as I miss my girls and their younger versions, I am cherishing every moment of them as teens, as I know there will be a day coming where I will miss their teen version! I am so very thankful to be here, to be their Mom in every stage they go through. I love my girls…oh, and that man in the middle? He’s not so bad either!


Do you have snow days in your part of the world?

What do you love to do on snow days?

Do you have littles or teens? How do you enjoy every stage?

SNOW-PAINT-HEART{for your pinning pleasure}