Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ordinary Days....

Sometimes there's not a lot going on even though we seem really busy.  It's just an ordinary day when we do things like:

Enjoy summer strawberries

Put babies down for naps

Head to Starbucks

Hit the pool

Purge our closets

Just an ordinary day....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hanging it up...

A while back I bought some door knobs at Hobby Lobby.  I bought this green-ish one and a brown one.  They were 50% off and I really liked them although I had no idea what I was going to do with them.  So they sat for months in my office.  I thought about painting them but didn't know what I'd do with them after I painted them.  So they sat a bit longer.  Then one day, out of no where I thought that one of them would be perfect in my bedroom to hang the clothes I would be wearing the next day.

I hung it on the wall next to my closet which was not only the perfect place for the knob but the only place for it.

It's the perfect place to hang the outfit I'm wearing the next day or to hold an outfit I am wearing right after ironing it.

Such a simple but useful way to use the knobs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Our Family Room...

I am linking up to Show Us Your House @ Thrifty Decor Chick today.  Today's feature is family rooms.  There are some fabulous ones over there and I have oodles of ideas churning in my head.

We have one family/living/great room in our house.  It's a decent size but I always like a formal living space (we've only had that once & I am sad to say that we used it for a pool table).  My husband says there's no need for a formal living room - I guess not if it houses a pool table! :)

Our family room is to the left of our front door.  This is the view as you walk into the house.  I think the lighting is horrible in the room.  We have two large corner windows  & a tube skylight (hate it) over the red chair, so you'd think there would be plenty of light. It just always feel dark to me.  When I open the blinds it's too hot with the sun in the summer, although the winters aren't too bad.

The view as you walk in from the front door.

We have a leather sofa (easy to clean) which is curved and I really like it.  The curve gives it a little something extra.
He's always right there with me.
 This is the display on the largest ever coffee table.

My new pillow cover - an attempt to lighten things up.  I love it!

Coffee table/couch view.

Below is a view from the corner windows looking out.  The red chair is my husband's and can't be moved (for TV viewing reasons) and the tan chair is mine.  I am not in love with the tan chair but it beats the old, huge recliner and it's pretty comfy.

View of the coffee table from the sofa.

Looking into the room from the hallway.

A few mantel views.  The TV hangs over the fireplace.  I have a love/hate relationship with that.  It's out of the way up there but makes decorating the mantel a bit challenging.

Close up of the plate I made at 'Color Me Mine' and my DIY mercury glass vase.

Here's the window corner.  I LOVE corner windows but these drive me crazy sometimes.  The blinds are closed here but still let in quite a bit of light yet the room is still kind of dark. And, doesn't everyone have a dog bed in their family room?  Please tell me you do!

My other little window dilemma is this:  I want to add some sort of window treatment-other than the blinds.  I was thinking a panel on each of the far ends - nothing in the corners as I think it would be too heavy.  Any thoughts?  Ideas on colors?

There are a lot of individual things I love about this room but I feel like it just doesn't pop.  Some areas of the room seem really sparse and some feel too busy.  I know this is a share your room post but maybe I need therapy instead!  I think I need to paint the room lighter - right now it's a very light tan (Barely Beige by Sherwin Williams I believe).  Again, I welcome comments and thoughts. :)

Thanks for taking the tour or our family room!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Before and After - kitchen

I was going through some old blog posts looking for some pictures of my kitchen before we re-did it a few years back.  I came across this one and my first thought was "That's my old kitchen.  I can't believe I lived with it like that."  Isn't it funny how our taste evolves over the years?

This is the before. Yuck.

This is what it looks like now.  Cabinets painted, new counter tops, new back splash, under cabinet lighting (maybe it's just as well we didn't have that before).  Hard to believe it's the same room.  Here's the entire post on the backsplash reveal.  You'll notice the wall was brown, not yellow, before we put in the back splash.  We painted it after the cabinets were painted and the counter tops were replaced.

I sure do like my new kitchen better.  You agree, don't you?

Friday, August 17, 2012

A little change...

While my husband was out of town a while back I did some moving of furniture and other stuff in an effort to open things up in our house - specifically our bedroom on this mission.  I moved out a dresser and a love seat and moved my dresser to one of the open spots.  It's so nice to be able to move around better in this room. 

When I was doing all of this I noticed that our mantel had become a hodge podge of all kinds of things.  All things I like and want to keep but didn't have a new home for.  I started here:

With some editing I ended here:

That waterfront print was in our room on a wall that housed the short dresser I moved into LM's room (are you still following me?)  When I moved my tall dresser to that wall, this print no longer worked there.  But I am loving it over the fireplace.

I bought nothing new for this makeover.  I put away a lot and pulled a cute little frame out of the closet.  I love the transformation and am enjoying the space we have now.  I love the idea of creating a totally new look without spending a dime.

I'm currently working on my office/craft room.  I have already thrown out two bags of trash and 1 1/2 bags will go to the Goodwill.  And there's still more to do.  One day I hope to have some really neat pictures to share.

Oh, my husband hasn't said a word about it yet!  I'm not sure if he hasn't noticed or just hasn't said anything.  It's a pretty big change and I figured he'd say something.  But not yet...

Linking up the Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I tackled my first re-upholstery project a couple of weeks ago.  It was really more like re-covering since it was super simple and no-sew.  I have to apologize for the poor quality of these photos.  They were taken on my phone.  I really need to get my camera out from now on.

I have had this little bench for almost twenty years and the entire time it's been covered in this fabric.  I've never been in love with it but only recently did I decide I wanted to do something about it.

I went to Hobby Lobby to look for some fabric.  I had something bright and geometric in mind.  But I don't always hardly ever end up with what I have in mind.


This black, grey and brown circle print is what I ended up with.  My husband actually pointed it out saying he liked it so I decided to give it a try for two reasons:
  1. He never says he likes anything home related so I figure when he does he must really like it.
  2. He went to Hobby Lobby with me.

I really love the way it turned out and it couldn't have been easier.  I pulled the seat off, cut the fabric to fit and stapled the fabric on with the staple gun.  Ten or fifteen minutes at the most and it was done.

It was so easy that I am considering recovering our dining room chairs now.

I also have a bigger, honest to goodness upholstery job that I am considering tackling.  I haven't quite got up the nerve for that one, nor have I found just the right fabric.  Maybe I should take my husband back to the store to help me...

Linking up to Sundae Scoop @ I heart nap time & Tuesday's Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Weekend Ahead...

Today is the last day of the first week of school.  It looks like it's going to be a good year:  wonderful teacher, nice group of kids in LM's class, new principal (hooray!) & uniforms (the kids are quickly getting used to this).  LM's teacher doesn't believe in a ton of homework just for the sake of giving homework which, after last year, is a good thing.  If they don't finish work in class, have an upcoming test or have a project to work on they'll have homework.  She wants them to read for 30 minutes each night, otherwise it will be pretty limited.

The weekend ahead will have us doing very little.  Maybe a trip to Hobby Lobby for nothing in particular but other than that we have nothing planned and nothing pressing to accomplish.  It's the first weekend like this since the spring.  Crazy to think, isn't it? 

We have movies to watch that we bought and never had a chance to watch.  Games to play that haven't been touched in a while.  Books to read that have been sitting on a shelf for too long. 

Sounds like the perfect summer weekend to me.

What do you have planned?

Sunday, August 5, 2012


LM starts school tomorrow.  Fifth grade.  She is excited to start a new year but also a little sad that summer is over.  I, however, am a lot sad that summer is over.  As The Mrs. said 'it gives me a stomach ache'.  I couldn't have said it better.

We are ready for school.  Shopping is complete - and on a written budget for the first time.  School supplies dropped off.  Orientation night is over.  All that's left to do is get there on time in the morning.  That we can manage.

What I am finding a little more difficult to manage is the whole summer ending thing.  Weather wise we still have LOTS of summer left.  But the easy, breezy lazy days of summer are behind us.  What makes it hard is that I never felt easy and breezy this summer.

There was just too much going on.  Some of it lots of fun: Disneyland, a road trip to Northern California to see family and friends, hockey camp and golf camp.  Some of it was fun mixed with worry, like the trip to St Louis for my mother-in-law's open heart surgery (she is doing well now). Some sadness like the passing of my mother-in-law's husband in July which meant a not so fun trip to St Louis for my husband.  But we never really felt relaxed and easy, breezy this summer.  A year's worth of activities seemed to be crammed into 10 weeks.  I guess that's how things go sometimes.

We still have weekends to enjoy some swimming and playing.  We'll try to make the best of it even though it's not the same as those long summer days that go into the summer nights and start all over again.  And you know I'll be thinking forward to Fall Break, Christmas Break, Spring Break.  And then Summer will be here again before you know it.  Another chance to get summer right - easy & breezy.

Maybe it's not really over.  Just on hold until next year.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Preparing for Back to School...

School starts here on Monday.  Less than a week.  I could do an entire post on 'where did summer go?' but the fact is, it went and now it's time to prepare for back to school.  There's a lot more to going back to school than shopping though.  Preparation is the key to many things and getting the kids ready for school is no exception.

Here are some tips to prepare for the big day (in no particular order). I am only experienced with the younger grades (we will have a fifth grader this year) so I'm sure some things will be a little different for middle and high schoolers.


Our school does a pretty good job of communicating with parents via email, texts, the school website and newsletter.  As parents we need to do our part as well by reading the communication ( I know that sounds painfully obvious but as a room parent last year I realized that not all parents do this) and passing on what we  should to the kids.  Make sure your school(s) have up to date email and phone info so you get everything you need.  Nothing stinks more than showing up for Back to School Night a night too late because you didn't get the phone call because you changed your phone number and didn't let the school know.


Make sure to attend your children's Back to School Nights (BTS). And get there early for a good seat (or in some cases, a seat at all).  Many BTS nights are standing room only since everyone is usually really excited about the start of school and attends these events.  A lot of important information is disseminated at these events, staff is introduced, school tours are conducted and it's a great time to meet the teacher.  Depending on your schedule & your school's policy, this may be the only time you will see the teacher until parent/teacher conferences.  Getting to know LM's teacher each year has really made a difference for us.

Get Back on Schedule

Summer means late nights and later wake up calls.  Obviously, this won't work on school days.  About two weeks before school starts I start sending LM to bed a bit earlier to prepare for the first day of school.  She doesn't stay up too late even in the summer but on school nights I like her in bed by 8 so I start adjusting by 5 or 10 minutes each night.  I also keep an eye on her wake up times these last two weeks and try to have her up no later than 8.  During the school year she needs to be up by 6:45 and since it's never been a problem I don't worry about it too much.  If you have a little one that likes to sleep in you may want to start getting them up at their school day time when you start the night time routine.


Once you've actually shopped for your school supplies you need to make sure that everything is organized for school supply drop off day or the first day of school.  Pencils, crayons, erasers, etc. need to go in pencil boxes or bags.  Notebooks should go into the back packs so everything is ready to go on day one.  Make sure uniforms or school clothes are clean and pressed.  We are going to uniforms this year (and not a moment too soon since this 10 year old seems to be fairly fashion conscious) so I have designated a drawer for uniform shirts (as of now they can wear the bottoms of their choice) which should make getting dressed easier on school mornings.  I hope so anyway!

With this preparation, I am counting on things running really smooth on Monday morning.

What are you doing to prepare for the first day of school?