Whole Parenting Family

Knit Dresses, What I’m Reading, and More

Linking with Kelly and the gang for a late seven quick takes!

Organic Knit Dresses are for sale tomorrow!

I have so many fabrics and sizes range from 12-18 through 6/7! I’ll add them all to the shop at 10am central on Monday so keep your eyes out for them! It’s been a big labor of love to make them all ahead of time instead of custom orders but this way, they’re all ready to ship!!


I’m not a swimmer by any way, shape, form, means, etc unless my life or my child’s life depended on it. I always got a nose full of water when I was on the swim team as a little kid and quickly decided that head above water, doggy-paddling was the life for me. Alas, I seem to have produced at least two children who also feel likewise.

In the land of 10,000 lakes and lots of swimming pools, I’d like for them to have the basics down so they don’t drown. My oldest girl is staunchly against it. The oldest boy is like a fish. And the second boy, well, the jury is out. BUT I did take all four kids to our little neighborhood pool, with the youngest two in life vests, because, you know, in case. It went swimmingly. (ha)


I’m still reading this book to help me raise my spirited children. I don’t know that it’s helping immensely but I do see patterns in their behavior that mirror descriptions in the book of personality “types”–though I’m not one for pegging kids early. I’m more than half-way through despite it sitting on my nightstand every night for months because I get sucked into articles and debates like this about parenting instead.


Summer means lots of easy going meals. Lately I’ve been baking my fav bread recipe and then slicing it up for french toast combined with sausages from the freezer. Fresh berries on top and we’re covering almost all bases! Also, I’m not good at grilling and AA isn’t home at dinner time so hit me up with your grilling tips!? I just burn stuff.


I had to change my driver’s license the other day and I walked briskly through a Sears store to get to the DMV (I know, right? Why?). I never shop in person anymore. If I can’t snag it on amazon prime, I just don’t. Do you guys go to stores to buy clothing? If so, where? My kids are living in these (for the boys, these) this summer and I’m okay with that.


I am going to night wean the toddler when we get back from a trip in the next few weeks. And I just hate when she cries and wants to nurse. So I’ll probably do it like I have before–sleep in a different room and let Dada rock her back to sleep. I had better invest in ear plugs. But I am ready for a full night’s sleep. It’s been so.long.yes.i.know.i.could.have.done.this.long.ago.but.she.is.so.cute.


We’re off to the East Coast to visit my sister and her family at their new beach house next week. I hate traveling with small kids. The airplane, the rental car, the things I know I’ll forget. BUT I love arriving and cannot wait to be reunited with my sis and her family. Any packing tips that work for you?

I usually let the kids who can carry a bag pack a very light back of their own amusement tools for the plane, a change of pants just in case for the middle two, and snacks. Then I toss everyone’s clothing into one or two huge suitcases to check. The tot will have her own bag for the plane with outfit changes and diapers and snacks to be strewn about the airplane floor. #sorry




  1. Lindsay on June 24, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    This reminds me so much of how I grew up! We were “family suitcase” people, too, which meant that I struggled to figure out how to pack the first time I had to do it. (That was for a grad school visit.) But in the era of high luggage charges, you do what you gotta do.

    I spent four years in Okinawa, Japan (Air Force family), which is an island. My mom doesn’t swim, but she demanded I learn because it seemed ridiculous to live on an island (albeit a massive one) and be unable to swim. There’s also some black cultural baggage there, but it was mostly the island thing. 🙂 I hope your kids take to it!

    • Natural Mama Nell on June 24, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      haha yes! Oh I hope your learning wasn’t too tough!

      • Lindsay on June 24, 2018 at 7:52 pm

        Getting over the fear was the biggest hurdle. My legs are too long for me to bother with diving, but I can swim now, so I call that a win!

  2. Emily Kelly on June 25, 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Hey there!
    A friend recently traveled from MN to CA for a week with 6 kiddos and here were her tips. Since the place they were staying had a washing machine, they brought minimal clothing. She and her hubby each had a carry-on, plus a diaper bag/purse with baby stuff & snacks. The kids had nothing to carry/keep track of & they rented videos on the airplane to keep them occupied. She said she has no fear/anxiety of flying now, and the $30 or whatever the video players cost was totally worth the peace of mind. Hope that encourages you! I’m sure you probably have it all figured out already! Enjoy the coast!!!

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Our flights didn’t have the video players! But we did okay with coloring and card games and bouncing the toddler. It always could be worse, right??

  3. Leigh on June 25, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    We forgot to night wean my third. Or teach her to sleep in her own bed. We were tired and she did not kick, so we just never managed to bother. And she was cute.
    Did Remember with the fourth, but he was a freak who loved his crib

    Puddle jumpers are the only way we can all survive swimming as Family.

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:19 am

      So cute! Puddle jumpers. Amen!

  4. Melisa on June 26, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Hi Nell,
    About grilling… I usually leave the grilling to my husband, but if he’s gone and I want to grill something, I have this nifty indoor grill made by Hamilton Beach. I’m not sure how old it is, but it has served us well over the years for grilling chicken breasts, pork chops, hamburgers, etc. The particular model I have only has room for 2 burgers, breasts, chops at a time – but it only takes about 10 minutes for each cook time, so I just start things before we’re ready to eat, and it’s usually not a problem for our family of 10. You just plug it in, and it has these 2 plates that close together for grilling.

    As far as night-time weaning, I’m no help there: my 2 year old is still happily nursing (naps/night-time) but, strangely, I don’t mind as much now as I did a few children ago.

    God bless!

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:19 am

      SO SMART on the indoor grill!! Ah I know–I love the nursing and she’s probably going to be my longest yet! The third born nursed til 22 months and I don’t see this 19 month old slowing down!

  5. Leigh on June 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Amazon. I’m getting frustrated trying to sort out decent brands from random junk. This past year I have been searching both there and the Target app, and probably a third of the time Target is winning. The free shipping with the red card is great.
    I want to try the drive up pick up one day.

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:17 am

      OOH I really want to try it, too. Yeah, the returns seem so easy on Amazon but then I don’t do them on time!

  6. Kelli S on June 27, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    I haven’t been brave enough to night-wean my 2yo yet… virtual high-five of encouragement and solidarity!!

    As far as packing… we only have two, but I sort their clothes, pjs, underclothes, etc., into whatever categories make sense (usually pjs and undies, outerwear, and regular clothes) and put each category of clothes for each kid into a separate gallon ziploc bag. That way, when it’s time for bed or getting dressed or whatever, I can reach into the suitcase and pull out just the category I need. Bedtimes on the road aren’t easy, but this at least keeps me from rifling through the suitcase in a panic because 4.5yo is melting down and I can’t find his favorite jammies!

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:16 am

      This is brilliant!!

  7. Susan on July 4, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Hello there!
    We must be neighbors – My husband and I are raising our family in St Paul, too, and I noticed your post about Shea, who is a lovely friend of ours! I love your sewing work – inspires me to get the machine going over here!

    What fun plans you have. My sisters and parents live in the south and we travel a couple of times a year to visit. I like packing cubes: https://www.amazon.com/Packing-Cubes-Compression-Organizer-Clothe-Bag-Travel-Laundry/dp/B06XT272H4/ref=asc_df_B072QW3SH8/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=198094095244&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=10414527897323142686&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=m&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9019537&hvtargid=pla-350348585193&psc=1&th=1

    We have 5 kids and these cubes give a little order to the family suitcase. As they get older, each kiddo carries their own backpack of clothing (with a few amusements in the front pocket).

    As for grilling – have you tried grill mats? We have something like these, would help keep things from Falling through the cracks. I imagine you can even make pizza with them! https://www.amazon.com/Aoocan-Grill-5-100-Non-stick-Baking/dp/B01HXQTNVK/ref=mp_s_a_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1530711254&sr=8-5&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=grill+mats&dpPl=1&dpID=51OSQGKSqsL&ref=plSrch


    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:16 am

      Hi neighbor!! I love all these suggestions. Thanks!

  8. Sara R on July 6, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Oooo that book has been on my list for awhile. I have a very spirited middle child who tests us each and every day. I hope you share more about what you take away from this book!

    • Natural Mama Nell on July 10, 2018 at 6:21 am

      It’s SOLID GOLD so far!!