Friday, June 29, 2012

Bedroom Redo...

We recently got new bedding for LM's room.  We actually took her to Pottery Barn Teen while we were in St Louis.  Big mistake.  I'm warning you now, don't do it.  I should have gone by myself.  I would have saved a ton of money.  My husband went also and the two of them are like drunken sailors when they go shopping.  I will say that the sales staff was very helpful and we picked out some really nice things.

LM wanted her new bedding to be blues and whites.  No argument from me there.  The last time we 're-did' her room she wanted pink and brown as her 'colors'.  We painted the walls awhile back a tannish color called 'Pony Express' (by Olympic @ Lowe's).  I think that will still work with her new blue and white color scheme so there will be no painting in there.  For now.

You can see the pink lamp in the picture above.  Not sure if I can salvage that or not but to be honest it's not the greatest source of light, even though it's darn cute.

She has a duvet and a comforter.  You know, just in case it gets cold. :)  Actually, the store had a bed on display with a duvet and a comforter so 'we' decided we 'needed' it.  It is actually really cute.

As we're walking to the register my husband picked up this cute little pillow and asked if she liked it.  It is really adorable and it looks like I needlepointed it myself.

I switched out her brown faux silk panels with some sheer white ones I had in the dining room and it really lightened things up.

Here room has come a long way from this. We have a way to go - purging the things that don't work anymore.  Painting the things that we can.  Editing a few things so that we don't have a Junior hoarder on our hands.

I'm linking up to Show us your life-Kids' Rooms and Nurseries and Kelly's Korner.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pool Table...

I finally got around to repainting this little table that sits by the door going out to the pool.  Affectionately called the 'pool table' due to the fact that it houses sunscreen and towels for the pool, the table sits within reach of the doorway so we can pick up our towels on the way out. Or reach in without making a mess if we forget them.

My dad made this table many years ago when 'country' was a big design style.  I've had it in many rooms through the years but most recently in the garage because it didn't really have a 'spot' due to the style.  I knew I had to either use it or give it to someone that would so I decided to spruce it up a bit and bring it into the 21st century.  The biggest obstacle to an update was the heart cut out.  Cute in the 80's; not as much in 2012.  And while I'd like to say that I came up with the brilliant idea to cover the heart with the medallion, it really came from Wendy over at The Shabby Nest when she had the same heart to cover on a bench (that her dad made for her).

I wish I knew the name of the paint I used but it was one of those 'rejects' at Lowes and I liked the color on the top of the can and bought it knowing that one day I would use it.  For $6 I couldn't pass it up! It is a pale aqua'ish, more green than blue in most lighting.  And I LOVE it!

I picked the medallion up at Hobby Lobby.  I couldn't find a medallion that I loved that was big enough to cover the heart so I also picked up the wood backing that did cover the heart.  $6 total for medallions/backing for both sides.

Here's the table painted before the medallion was put on it.  Much better, don't you think?  I put the medallion on the backer with Gorilla Glue.  Then I put the backer on to the table with silicone.

I'm really happy with the results.  It looks nice and serves a very important purpose. :)

So for a total of $12 I have an updated table.  I love these little frugal projects!

Linking up to Furniture Feature Friday @ Miss Mustard Seed,  Frugal Friday @ the Shabby Nest,  Sizzle into Summer @ DIY by Design. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Things I'll buy at the Dollar Store...

I have a confession:  I loathe 'dollar stores'.  As luck would have it, I believe we live in the town with the most dollar stores per capita.  We have a Dollar Tree, Dollar General, TWO Family Dollar's and a 99 cents only (where everything is really $1) in a town of about 50,000.  That's 1 dollar store for every 10,000 residents if you're into statistics.

Dollar stores are big business.  In 2011 Family Dollar stores reported net sales of $8.55 billion.  Dollar General's 2011 FY sales were $14.81 billion.  That's a lot of stuff! Dollar General positions itself in rural areas, some of which are too small for a Walmart, which makes it the go-to store for all things bargain-y.

Dollar stores have even made it into the blogosphere.  Blogs like Dollar Store Crafts, & Dollar Store Mom feature really neat crafts using supplies from dollar stores.  Many are kid friendly which I know I like.  Many of the crafts are so amazing you would never know they were so inexpensive.

While I don't personally care for dollar stores there are a few things I will venture into one of them for.  Remember, I am pretty frugal and there are some things I just don't like to shell out a lot of money to purchase when it's not necessary.  So, the things I'll buy at the dollar store are:

  1. Party goods. $1 for 8 paper plates that will get tossed in the trash? You bet.  $1 for a plastic table cloth that I won't feel guilty wadding up and throwing out?  Sold.  Anything that has a short life is something I want to spend as little on as possible.  In my experience, the dollar stores have great color selections for any type of party goods.  It's the #1 thing that will get me into a dollar store.
  2. Gift wrap.  This is along the same line as party goods.  Do I want to spend $5 on a gift bag? No way!  I have found lots of cute gift bags and tissue at the dollar store and it's another thing I'll head in there for.  Wrapping paper is hit or miss for me since some of the paper is really thin and I find using it difficult without ripping the paper. (For wrapping paper I usually head to Target and find some on sale for a couple of dollars.)
  3. Goody Bag items.  We still do goody bags for birthday parties and the dollar stores are great for the little tchotchke items & candy that end up in goody bags.  Also, prizes for party games. $1 puzzles or books?  Great prizes.
  4. Beach toys.  Plastic sand castle building kind of toys can be found at the dollar stores & since they are the type of things that get lost why spend a ton on them?  I have also found the foam pool 'noodles' for $1.  Beats $3 or 4 any day.
  5. Cookie sheets. Sounds weird.  I use Pampered Chef baking stones for all my cookies so I went for quite a while without a metal cookie sheet.  But sometimes you just need one.  The one I got at the dollar store has been used for crafts and on the grill.  The last thing I want to do is ruin a $30 Calphalon cookie sheet by using it on the grill.  
Are you a dollar store shopper?  What kind of things do you buy there?

Linking up the Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

City Museum...

We spent a day at the City Museum while we were in St. Louis.  If you are ever in the area it is well worth a trip to the museum.  Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time.  We were there for over 5 hours and really could have stayed longer.  The museum is downtown, not too far from the arch, in an old shoe factory.

As you walk in you see this neat clock.  To the right is the stairwell that takes you to the roof.  There was a line at the elevator and one of us said 'Let's take the stairs. How high could it be?' Famous last words, right?  About 12 flights later we made it to the roof.  My thighs felt like they each weighed 200 pounds!  The roof top area had lots of tunnels and slides & a bus hanging over the edge of the roof.  Just like in the movies.  I didn't get on but LM did and loved it.  She's quite the daredevil.

'St. Louis Title' is to the left of the clock and where we bought our tickets.

When we were done on the roof, LM and I took the slide that took us down 10 stories into a cave like area. My husband took the elevator.  Heights aren't his thing.  Or caves.

The entire building is full of nooks and crannies and it seemed like no area was off limits.  When we got back down stairs we found this huge fish that was a big tunnel and play area.

I loved this blue tile that was part of the fish.

There is an aquarium, which has it's own fee of $6 for entry but you can go in and out all day once you've paid. There were fish, turtles, crabs, sting rays, alligators.  You name it, it was in there.  I love this saying by Chief Seattle.  It's so very true.

Always time for goofing off!

This area was my favorite.  My camera ran out of batteries just as I got here so I only got a photo of the sign.  On display in this area was any kind of architectural salvage you can think of.  There was a beautiful display of old door knobs; one of my weaknesses.  There were old murals from historical buildings in St. Louis, many of which have been demolished.  I could have stayed in this section all day. If I had been able to take pictures here it would be a post (or 2) of it's own.  I can't wait to go back!

The City Museum is for all ages.  There are oodles of climbing structures for the kids - they definitely get a work out.  You can take slides from some of the higher floors to the lower ones.  Some are easier for adults to get in than others.  They even had a 'circus'.  It was really just a juggler but he was really entertaining.

So if you're in St. Louis and looking for some family fun you should check out the City Museum!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Decision time...

Well, I'm ready to get painting around here.  First stop, the hall bath.  A while back I wrote a post about my decision to paint this room grey.  Just like every color under the rainbow, there are a zillion shades of grey so while I made the grey decision I still needed to decide on which grey.  Light, dark or somewhere in between?

I headed to Lowe's and narrowed it down to these four shades:

I think I know which shade I am leaning toward but I'd love to hear your ideas.  If you haven't seen the room in it's current state you can see it here.  

So, what do you think? 1,2,3 or 4?  Let me know!  Thanks!

Monday, June 4, 2012

St Louis 2012...

We found out we had to make a quickie trip to St Louis a couple of weeks ago. My mother-in-law had to go into the hospital for open heart surgery and my husband was on a plane a week later while LM and I followed the day after him.  The timing couldn't have been better since LM was out of school the Thursday before we left (we left on Sunday).

The surgery was on May 31 so we had some time to see my mother-in-law at home before she went into the hospital.  She was tired when we saw her but I think it was good for everyone to see her at home and not just after the surgery.  The surgery went well and the doctors were pleased with her recovery.  She is now out of ICU, no IV, walking a bit each day and eating solid food.  We felt comfortable coming home yesterday since she was doing so well.  That and the fact that there are 12 other siblings there to keep an eye on her!

We were able to squeeze in a few fun things while we were there since, as you might imagine, this will be considered our 'vacation' this year.  My husband took LM to Six Flags  one day while I stayed at my sister-in-law's and just puttered around. I am not an amusement park fan so this suited me just fine.

We headed downtown one day.  Drove by this landmark.  It's hard to miss.

This is where the St Louis Blues play hockey.  It's like a shrine in my husband's mind.

We took in the City Museum which is a really amazing place.  It is in the old International Shoe Building in downtown St. Louis.  It's got a roof top play area, aquarium and much more.  It really deserves a post of it's own so I'll do that soon.  Below is what it looks like from the parking lot.

This building below was on the way to the city museum.  I have no idea what it is but I loved it.  Hopefully I can research and figure out what it is (or was).  If you know, leave me a comment.

Saturday we took LM by the church in which we were married.  As you can imagine, she was beyond thrilled. HA.  One day she'll appreciate it. 

A huge highlight for LM was playing in the grass at my sister-in-law's.  It's the little things.

We are home and getting settled back into our routine.  Which means lots of laundry and going to the grocery store.

Have a great week!

Friday, June 1, 2012

What to do with kids' schoolwork...

Kids' schoolwork.  It can over take your house if you let it. But there are always a few things that are 'keepers'.   And a lot of things that are not keepers.  How do you decide?  Here's what I do:

What I keep: 

  • Certificates (honor roll, straight A's, star student, science fair participation, etc)
  • Art projects - not necessarily every single drawing but any different media (watercolors, chalk, etc) & ceramics.
  • Things that are handwritten - again, not everything but poems, short stories, etc.
  • Small projects that involve writing & coloring.  I love being able to see the progress from year to year.
  • Test results involving reading levels. Again, I like to see the change from year to year.
  • Report cards.
What I toss:

  • Fill in the bubble type tests.  We have TONS of those in our school so we get to toss a lot.
  • Multiple choice worksheets/tests.
  • Flyers from teacher, PTA, etc.
  • Lunch menus (this seems obvious but I thought I'd mention it).
  • Anything really big that won't fit into the folder (see below for info on that).  I might take a picture of these things.
At the beginning of the year I get a two pocket folder (I would suggest one folder per child).  As work comes home it goes into the folder.  At the end of the grading period I go through what's in the folder and keep the keepers and toss the rest.  If there are ever any questions of grades being recorded properly you will have access to those papers until the end of each grading period.  

I label the front of the folder with the grade and year and at the end of the year it goes into a drawer I have for LM's school and art work.  If I want or need to find something for a specific grade it will be in the folder.

I would think that as the kids get older there will be less in the folder but during those first few years of school there is so much and plenty to keep.  

How do you manage your kids' school work?