19/ 03/ 17
It’s your sink.
My house is a huge joy in my life. It’s not the structure necessarily but all of the memories that it holds. We built our house right before we got married, it’s the metaphorical and literal foundation to so many things for me. I love getting to work from home a few days a week, there’s no stress and I have complete control on my environment. I love the feel of coming home after being gone for the day and getting to sit on the front porch and rock. I love to watch the chickens and cows. Home really is the beat that keeps me going.
Now, the pleasant vision I gave you above isn’t how it is every day. Some weeks feel like a revolving door. I constantly fight dust and dog hair. I have a husband and a 6 month old. Maybe this is what makes the simplicity balance so perfect?
I was recently reading the Magnolia Journal about simplicity. Joanna was discussing what helped simplify things in her life. Clean closets, etc. This inspired me to, yes, clean out closets and donate. I even cleaned out from under the beds.
After this euphoric feeling of organized and clean, I was on a roll. I finished off with whole house and realized the one focal point of my simplicity. The kitchen sink. I truly cringe writing this thinking about anything laying in my sink. I honestly can’t remember a time growing up that my mom left anything in the sink over night.
Now, this internal drive to keep my sink clean causes some conflict between Joel and I. It’s mostly a battle he doesn’t know he’s participating in. However, at the end of the day, regardless of how tired I am or what went on I try to make sure that sink is empty and clean.
White, empty and a clean slate. It makes me happy, less stressed and ready to start the next day. So, I challenge you in the midst of everything that goes on in your life to clean your sink each day. See how it makes you feel and if it adds some simplicity.
27/ 02/ 17
Kids were always in my future. The future…back of my mind…distant thought future. However, GI Joel and I started the “Let’s just start trying ” conversation and two months later I had a positive test.
I am a very prepared person. I was thankful, excited and joyful for that positive test, but I don’t think anyone is truly ready if they’re honest. I wasn’t expecting to have little jeans on my clothesline so soon. I didn’t have a checklist prepared and my Type A self hadn’t meticulously organized everything.
It didn’t matter though. We we’re having a baby and it was the role I never knew I wanted to play so badly.
We publicly announced we were expecting a year ago and this tiny bit is 6 months old on Wednesday. We love watching her personality blossom everyday.
…to this in the blink on an eye. From wife to mom in what felt like a blink of an eye.
19/ 02/ 17
I’m dreaming of Spring. Starting up the garden again, sunshine and just getting to go outside without bringing half the closet with us. Who knew a 5 month old required so much baggage? Ok, anyone who has had a 5 month old. Got it.
The beauty of living in Southwest Missouri is experiencing all 4 seasons, sometimes all in one day. Right now we are experiencing the gloom of winter. I feel like I’m at the slump of the Bell Curve and climbing that mountain back to Spring is going to take an eternity. Probably being a little dramatic, shocker. So, today I’m thinking of some dreamy places to enjoy this Spring in the 417. If you’re not a local reader, 417 encompasses the area of SW MO from Springfield to Branson and everything in between.
Here are my 4 in 417 to try this Spring:
You haven’t lived if you haven’t had a Thunder Muffin. Persimmon Hill’s specialty, blueberries straight from the farm go into a ginormous muffin for your pleasure. My mom brings them home each summer after she picks up my brother from Kamp. They are fantastic and I am embarrassed to say I haven’t been there myself. Blueberry farms are the sweetest photo opt and berries are even sweeter if you pick them yourself. Of course, they have them ready to buy if picking isn’t your thing. Full disclosure, blueberry season is typically in June/July but they have a restaurant and store too. Blueberry sauce, syrup, mushrooms, etc. Now I need a blueberry scone.
Located across from Sequitoa Park, my sister and I spent several hours walking the trails here in college. They have an open eating area for sandwiches, soup, salads and slushes. A perfect combination of words that begin with “s”. They also have a bar with craft beers and offer dog friendly dining. Of course there are bike rentals for families including tandem bikes. We have a terribly unsafe place to ride bikes at our house so this would be a nice alternative.
Sycamore Creek Family Ranch
I had no idea this place existed until a friend posted her wedding photos here. It’s beautiful and located in Branson. I loved their winter events… petting zoo, Christmas tree farm and lately they’ve been having monthly barn dances. 2-stepping people! I can’t wait to see the fun Spring events they come up with.
Located in Purdy, MO this Creamery focuses on craft cheeses and old fashioned cream-line milk. They are getting their product everywhere in the area but I fell in love with their store last Spring. The drive out there gives you your farm fix and the store is clean, rustic and offers their products as well as some meat. My husband loved the jalapeño cheese curds and the pork products they sell are crazy good. Best bacon ever. Visit for a dairy farm tour (call ahead) or look for some special events coming up. Last year they had an event with grilled cheese and I missed it, adding it to our list!
Any other suggestions from locals?
18/ 01/ 17
A lot has been happening in our household. A new year brought a new part time job for me and a new name for the blog.
As far as the name goes, Miss Morgan Aliana seemed to fit the style of the blog. You can continue to locate the blog in both locations www.slpcaravan.com and www.missmorganaliana.com. I wanted all my social media to be cohesive to make things easier for my readers so now my Facebook page missmorganaliana and my Instagram handle is @morganaliana. All together now!
Ok, enough on the PSA. I started a new part-time job as a Teletherapist this year with DotCom Therapy. I am loving it and wanted to give you a glimpse into my day. What’s a Teletherapist you ask? A Teletherapist simply provides therapy via a licensed therapist using a video chat platform.
7:30am: Make breakfast, start laundry then send GI Joel and Waverlee off to start their days.
8:00am: Make my morning commute to the office a.k.a. my living room. Set up for the day. I compile all electronic materials, apps and tracking sheets on my desktop to be ready for sessions. Check e-mail and correspond with school personal as needed. I have 2 baskets of materials/papers and that’s it. The computer is actually sandwiched between my kitchen and living room so being minimalistic is key. (Most therapists use an extra room as an office, but no room in this tiny house.)
8:30am-11am: Complete morning sessions with students ranging from Kindergarten-High School. Same articulation and language sessions you are thinking of, just using a different platform to present them. I use my desktop and the iPad, iPad apps are very engaging and work cohesively with my video chat software. I also use a whiteboard feature or can share my screen with my students.
11am-11:30am: Take a lunch, let out the dog and throw dinner in the crock pot. Switch over laundry and return to the “office”.
11:30am-2:30pm: Continue with afternoon sessions and plan for the next week. Begin making a visual schedule for a student.
2:30pm Rush off to my other gig to finish out the day.
The beauty of working from home is that I don’t have to leave. I am cutting out the stress of a commute and have complete control of my environment. I can work from my tiny town and service kids across the country. I love the flexibility and working with students again. I love being part of a company that allows me to grow independently as well as grow with their team. Most importantly, I am providing a solution as a speech therapist, not a last resort. For more information about DotCom, their mission and job openings visit their website www.dotcomtherapy.com.
09/ 01/ 17
It was everything I imagined it would be! Detailed from the cloth napkins, to cast iron skillets and beautiful floral packaging…Ree Drummond is a visionary! I spent my Saturday at the Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, OK with my mom, sister and Wave. We left early in the morning to make the 3 hour drive and we were not disappointed.
After easily spotting the black and white Mercantile sign, we found a parking spot with relative ease and were greeted at the door with an immediate feeling of euphoria. All the right colors, the excessive small trinkets, perfectly selected objects that reflect that Pioneer Woman style and her family…right in front of you.
After a bathroom stop, we headed to the line for the dining area. We got in line at 10:15 and were seated for lunch by 11. We would’ve been seated earlier, however we didn’t want breakfast this trip. Full disclosure, a woman behind us in line said she wait 6 hours the last time she was there and the line was out the door and down the street by the time we were leaving.
Lunch did not disappoint. The spinach dip was great but the chili con queso dip was out of this world. After appetizers, our lunch consisted of fancy grilled cheese, fried chicken sandwiches and homemade potato chips. Visually pleasing and delicious. Go ahead and splurge on the tea, it’s 25 cents! If you don’t want to sit down and eat, you can grab a sandwich, meatloaf, meatballs, fancy mac and cheese and so on from the deli. We brought the Rancher Sandwich home and it was GI Joel approved.
Across the deli is the coffee bar and you may be lucky enough to spot one of Ree’s daughters behind the counter. Upstairs is the bakery where they offer a variety of sweets. My recommendation is the blueberry scone. I personally enjoyed the upstairs area because there was comfy lounge seating. It’s beautiful with open brick and large windows looking over the downtown area. This area is also where Ree does book signings, not while we were there though. (Missed her by about three hours.)
Back down the stairs we finished off the day shopping in the general store. Tons of her own line but also items she uses on the show were available. Charlie themed items, all of her books, her own clothing line and stuff for your kiddos and your Marlboro Man. I scored a box of the fancy plastic wrap she uses too.
It was overall an excellent day! Bring people you love and plan to spend the whole day. I will say, it’s not the most kid friendly place. Waverlee was great but it was hard to maneuver a stroller and we didn’t know until leaving that there was a separate room with a changing table because it wasn’t marked. Now I wish I would have snooped behind that mystery door.
16/ 12/ 16
It’s nap time here. So I’m trying something new. Below is a product review video on two of my favorite products, the EZPZ Mini Mat and the Lil’ Sidekick. The review focuses on why I like them for transitioning to eating solid foods. Lets not make fun of how many times I say “super easy” and focusing on these amazing products. If you want a discount on an EZPZ mat, click the link under the video!
Click the link for the video (It’s on the SLP Caravan Facebook Page)
22/ 11/ 16
I’m just going to flood your screen with Scottish Highlander Bliss. You’re Welcome!
17/ 11/ 16
As the Christmas Season approaches, or blows up in our faces at every major retail store we enter, I wanted to focus on something a little smaller with a bigger impact this year. In our house we decided to start the three gift rule. Something you need, something you want, and something we can do together. I like that it takes away the feeling of purging on Christmas gifts and allows us to focus on our Savior, Family and Sweet Traditions.
That being said, if Santa is reading this, Waverlee would like to support small shops this year and we have compiled 10 shop small stocking stuffers under 10 dollars!
2. This teething bracelet from Chewable Charm is really like a gift for baby and mom. I have one of their necklaces and love it! It’s beautiful, and you don’t hear that about a teether very often. Visit www.chewablecharm.com for their whole line.
3. This turban beanie is $8 available Milania’s Sweet Boutique. She has the cutest hoodie and sweats sets to match as well. Use code Morgan at checkout for 20% off. Visit www.milaniasweetboutique.bigcartel.com.
4. We will probably be ringing in the New Year with extra drool at our house. Aren’t these cute for $8? Visit Little Panda Treasures for bibs, bows and affordable outfits for your little. www.storenvy.com/stores/330001-little-panda-treasures
5. If you’re a Disney fan you need to visit Emma Grace Shoppe over at Etsy. Waverlee has a buffalo plaid head wrap and it’s the best! Big bow (she will send you a diagram to learn to tie as baby grows) and doesn’t leave a mark on her head (Daddy’s rule on headbands/bows). Priced at $10, but use code FAMFRIENDS20 for a discount. www.etsy.com/shop/EmmaGraceShoppe
6. Baby knee high socks. Do I have to say more. Little Stocking Co has socks and tights in all colors and sizes. These beauties start a $6 a pair. www.littlestockingco.com
7. This awesome product retails at 10.95 but if you sign up for their newsletter you’ll receive 20% off. The Lil’ Sidekick comes in four colors and adjusts length . The creators claim they keep a hold of you child’s toys, silverware, etc. saving you from losing items or having to pick them up over and over again. www.lilsidekick.com
8. More of a small shop turned big….these snack containers are super cute and functional. We have their diaper pail and it’s awesome! Available at www.ubbiworld.com
9. I love these little bracelets, this snowman is only $6! If you head over to www.alittledollyshop.com and use code SHARE20 you get 20% off.
10. Dylbug has a variety of eating wear designed to let kids play with their food. (Big plus for this Speech Therapist). You can customize the boy, girl, animal on your plate and then add these cute shaped food items with their cookie cutters starting a $8. You can even customize freckles. (Another plus for this freckled human). Adorable. Visit www.dylbug.com.
09/ 10/ 16
It’s not a secret, I haven’t stayed home much since having the baby. I’ve been enjoying this season and sharing it with baby Wave. From festivals to the smells of the season she’s been well cultured the past few weeks.
We hit up the the pumpkin patch and snapped a family photo.
We’ve visited the local orchard and picked up a few apples and some cider. I’m not a pumpkin spice fan but give me apple cider any day, hot or cold!
We’ve hit up several festivals like the Ozark Craft Fair, Apple Butter Making Days and Farm Fest. These are all local to our area.
But this is how we spent most of the time at all these festivals.
We’ve decorated the shouse for the fall season, I’ve already managed to kill a few mums so nothing new there. Aren’t they supposed to be hearty?
Waverlee and I have played around with some fall pictures too.
16/ 07/ 16
Since the nursery is pretty much complete now, I’ve been nesting in all the other areas of the house. From organizing junk drawers to purging my Pinterest boards (everybody does that right?) I’m trying to stay busy and prepare for baby. Freezer meals, washing baby things and redecorating.
I redid my photo clip board recently and replaced it with some hooks to hang hats, coats,etc. I moved the Magnolia Market sign above it and felt like it tied in well near our staircase.
Since I moved the Magnolia sign I replaced it with this Grocery sign painted on tin. I also used an egg gathering basket to update the light fixture. An Edison bulb adds a finishing touch and a soft glow.
A very inexpensive window frame from the flea market and my cotton wreath add a nice touch to our “entry area”.