Simply Noel: December 6 – A Clutter-Free Christmas

Simply Noel:

December 6 – A Clutter-Free Christmas

Part of why I decided to start this devotional was simply because the “muchness” of Christmas had gotten to be too much. Between the pressures of normal life and the added stress of the holiday to-do lists, I was mentally bursting at the seams before Thanksgiving even came to pass. I knew in my soul that it was all too much. So, I sat down one night and the words just came to me:

A holiday devotional for the heart that longs for less, so life can be more.

Isn’t that something we could all use? Less? Less of the stress, the constant running, the feelings of inadequacy, the countless distractions…? Our lives are usually full and crowded, and then we are suddenly drowning in packages, bills, lists, and obligations. Add in normal housework, schedules, and responsibilities to that added muchness, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for contempt, guilt, and regret come December 26th.

Awhile back, I began following a funny and honest mom, Allie Casazza, on Instagram. I fell for her delivery of truth so quickly that I soon became a subscriber to her blog. I looked forward to her advice to find its way to my inbox. I then started signing up for her free webinars and would occasionally catch her on LIVE videos. You wanna know know what she told me? I have enough time – I own time, not the other way around, and that letting go of all the clutter in my home would actually make me a better mother and wife. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you know what? She was right, and I’m only halfway through our home.

So much of my stress comes from the house and its contents. How much of your day is consumed by the needs around you in the form of housework or meal prepping/making and other mundane tasks? Wouldn’t you love to love on your kids more often than you nag them to clean up those seven piles of toys? Wouldn’t it be nice to save those extra ten minutes wasted looking for that elusive piece of mail, because you have a simple system in place? Wouldn’t it be nothing short of a miracle to be caught up on laundry?

Maybe your trouble areas have nothing to do with the ones that I mentioned, but I bet we all have clutter somewhere in some form. It’s time to let it go and bless it as it travels out the door…

Whittle it down, friend. We don’t need all of this stuff, only so that we can pile more stuff on top of it in two weeks. Less is more. Less gives us room for more and to be more. Less gives us more time, and especially at Christmas, more time is more precious than gold.

Give freely and enrich your life. Bring blessing to others by letting go and be refreshed by His Spirit. Trust in Him, value what Heaven values and watch your life flourish.

xo,

Kristi

picmonkey-image

Klover House Christmas:

Tomorrow, our schedule is pretty free, and I already have several bags and large items waiting in the basement, so I am going to make a final trip to our local mission, and, then I’ll take a walk around the house and do a quick sweep. If you haven’t even started de-cluttering, don’t become overwhelmed. Simply, take a box or bag and walk around, room by room, and remove any items that catch your eye. Mail piles? Just pitch them. Are you really going to use all of those coupons? Be honest with yourself. Are you really going to order something from those sixteen magazines? No? Pitch ’em. If taking items to a local mission seems like an added stress to your day, due to schedules already full of errands, call or arrange a pick-up online! I did this with the local Salvation Army. There are many donation centers that will gladly bring a truck to your doorstep and load it all up for you. In some cases, you don’t even need to be home!

God tells us that earthly possessions pass away. Our treasures are stored in heaven. You won’t be able to take a single thing with you, so let it go. Bless others with your earthly treasures, and commit to a life of less. Less stuff translates to more money and more time to spend on that which is far more valuable.

 

::December 5::    ::Back to the Top::    ::December 7::

Simply Noel: December 5 – Keeping a Christmas Perspective

Simply Noel:

Day 5 – Keeping a Christmas Perspective

As I was looking over our holiday calendar today, feeling overwhelmed, I caught myself doing something so predictable, and I realized just how important perspective is at Christmastime.

Last week, I was consumed with my firstborn’s birthday activities. This week, we have the girls’ holiday programs, doctor appointments, and the Christmas Shoppe at school. Next week, we have more birthday parties, Christmas gatherings, and special events. The third week holds a spot for our annual Christmas-Before-Christmas with my husband’s side of the family. Then, BAM! Christmas-Christmas is upon us in all of its glorious splendor. Somewhere in there, we have church activities and family bucket list items to tackle, too, but I haven’t gotten myself that organized yet to know where they fall on the calendar.

As I was looking at each week, I found myself using certain events as milestones and had to stop myself. If I keep doing that – looking so far ahead and just focusing on the main events of each week, then the rest of the days of month will simply look like non-essential filler days. Do you do that, too? It’s like I have a dozen days that are highlighted and “special”, but it automatically makes the rest of the days look kind of gray.

God has given us twenty-four gifts a day. Twenty-four hours in which to live, not just fill up time and space, but to live! It’s time to stop living on the special days and for the special days only. If we keep seeing the rest of our days as merely days leading up to x,y,z, then, we unknowingly forfeit them. Time is precious. Even if one hour of the day is spent reading stories and snuggling, let’s make sure that we give it the same mental space as that holiday party prep. I have a feeling that when eternity knocks on my door, I will be more grateful for the cuddles than the cocktails, and I personally don’t want to have regrets when it comes to feeling like my days are squandered.

Each day is a main event. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “business as usual” day, a birthday, a cookie baking day, a shopping day, a driving around in pjs to see lights day, or an ordering pizza and catching up on DVR shows day… Let’s practice having a new Christmas perspective everyday, starting today.

xo,

Kristi

perspective

Klover House Christmas:

Tonight I plan on revisiting that calendar that had me all worked up this morning. It occurred to me that I spend a little chunk of time twice a month meal-planning for my family. I then spend another chunk prepping food ahead for an easier time when dinner rolls around. I also feel more prepared and efficient when I grocery shop, because I take this time in preparation seriously. So, why not put a little extra effort into prepping ahead for a very busy month? Are there things that I can group together, like errands or meals, that will inevitably make life easier in a couple of weeks? Any days that look really good for a final shopping trip? What about a coffee date with a friend? Is there a day that looks convenient for that?

Yes, I want to have an easier and less busy month, but if I don’t prep and plan carefully and intentionally, even the least busy day can be quickly wasted.

Lord, help us to plan wisely and make the most of each day. Help us to be quick-thinking, slow-speaking, and easy-going. Father, guide us with your Spirit, so that each day is fully lived. Let even the days that seem insignificant feel like days well-spent. Help us to shift our perspectives, so that we don’t just profess that each day is a gift, but so that we truly feel and see each day as a gift – each hour as a gift. And lastly, please give us the wisdom and grace to make the most of our time, so that our families are blessed and we ourselves are less stressed and stretched this holiday season. In Jesus’ holy name we pray, Amen.

 

::December 4::    ::Back to the Top::    ::December 6::

Simply Noel: December 2 – Know and Be Known

Simply Noel:

December 2 – Know and Be Known

I literally opened this screen with the intention of writing on a completely different topic, and my heart tugged, “Not yet.” And the sentence came to mind, “Know your triggers.”

Know your triggers?

As I sat to ponder this statement, I remembered the bit that I shared yesterday about the tree-trimming fiasco. So many triggers. So many mistakes. So many emotions.

Looking back, I can see where I had made a beautiful moment far more difficult for myself and my sweet kids.

We had put the tree up several days earlier and had made a choice to leave it barren. Decorating has always been a family affair. We throw a Christmas movie or music on in the background, and we get to work.

In previous years, the kids were so small, and, believe it or not, actually more helpful in a sense. No one had an opinion. No small person had a plan. They toddled and flitted about, just happy to be surrounded by magical items and loving parents. They sported jolly Santa hats and elf ears and smiles as wide as the moon. In hindsight, it was giddy and glorious.

But things have changed. Now, we have two school-aged children, who are quite opinionated and headstrong (imagine mini Martha Stewarts in thought, Amelia Bedelias in deed). Our smaller two are comparable to wrecking balls…endearing, but still. Life has shifted, and I, apparently, resisted shifting with it – all in the name of tradition.

As I sat and reflected on the disaster, I could easily pinpoint specific “triggers” that had caused my unraveling. I just had to take the time to realize them – to know. And not just know, but be patient enough to take those few moments of reflection and visualize my place in, not the ideal scenario but rather, the reality.

As much as I have loved the idea of the whole start-to-finish decorating tradition, it just isn’t the best choice during these wrecking ball years. So, I made the decision that, until the children are older and we’ve crossed into a calmer chaos of sorts, I will simply put the lights and garland on the tree the night before. The girls really love the ornaments most anyway and barely give the other stuff a glance. Trying to explain to them why we had to dress the tree in layers only confused them and frustrated me. It’s a trigger that I can very easily eliminate. Changing my course of action doesn’t tear apart our tradition, and it still grants them the joy of ogling every shiny, dangly, blingy thing. Next year, I will breathe a deep sigh of OCD relief, knowing that I can just go along with the fun and leave the incessant arguing and complaining in the past.

Knowing myself, knowing my children, knowing our family dynamic, along with each of our limits, allows me to navigate these Christmas waters much easier. By eliminating stress-triggers, I can encourage, and even cultivate, joy-triggers. A small, practical, and even simple adjustment can make a huge impact on any experience. By impacting the experience, you can’t help but impact the memories, too.

Are your routines or traditions in need of any adjustments this Christmas? It’s okay if your reality doesn’t line up with your expectations. Maybe it’s not your tree trimming; it’s the feast, or the Christmas card, or *enter your stressor here*. God knows your hopes, and he also knows your limits. He knows your shortcomings and your strengths. If what you’re doing isn’t full of joy…love…that’s not Jesus. Wanting something magical…dreaming of peaceful, beautiful outcomes…God is in those hopes, but the forcing part – that’s all us.

He knows you. Let Him show you how well. Quiet yourself today – or any day that you find yourself faced with discouragement or disappointment – and ask Him, “Lord, what do you see? How can this be different? Be better? How can this honor my family and glorify You?”

I believe that, sometimes, He will show you a solution, an easy fix, an adjustment… Other times, He may give your heart the green light to just eliminate it altogether…

And that is okay.

Today and every day, let’s build our homes, not tear them down. Know your triggers, and then ask Jesus what it is He wants you to do with them.

xo,

Kristi

 

Klover House Christmas:

I love making lists. I’m kind of old-fashioned that way. So today, as they come to me, I am going to jot down those holiday family traditions that I love and look forward to year after year. As I go about my tasks today, I will let my wandering thoughts find purpose, and I will wander there – to that list. What can I adjust? What can I eliminate? Even if it’s just for a season, what just isn’t working for us right now? Is there something that I have been wanting to implement, but just never took the time to actually consider it? Our schedules don’t have to be packed to be impactful. Our days don’t have to be full of doing, but they can be full of being. So, today, I am going to be and not do. Today, I am going to ask my husband and my kids what they love most about our usual Christmas activities and really take their responses to heart. Many of you have Bucket Lists, I’m sure. I’ve been wanting to jump on that train for years! But, the more I think about it now, the more I know that my Holiday Bucket List wouldn’t need to be 25 days long… My Bucket List would most-likely be a five-liner, and that is nothing to feel pitiful over. Knowing what you want is great, but more importantly, let Him reveal what it is that you need.

 

::December 1::    ::Back to the Top::    ::December 3::

Longing for a Clean, Calm Home…

Feel like having a *clean* daydream with me for a minute? lol  Literally?  Imagine your living room…tidy, candle lit and a sweet, calming aroma lingers in the air.  It mingles with the fresh, minty scent of recently cleaned windows (thanks, Method lol), and a cool breeze coming from the opened back door.  The kids are playing, happily on the swing set just outside the kitchen window, and there’s not a single toy in sight.  Ahhhh…bliss.  And total fantasy, right?  We can wake up now…

There’s just one little hiccup in accepting this reality… I kind of believe the statement you are about to read with my whole heart…

clean

This has been my personal belief for our home for several years now. I stand behind it 100% and remind myself of its truth daily. But, ladies, can I get a witness that it is so hard?!?!?!?! When I developed my “One Day to Clean a Dirty House” routine, it was because I was so tired of cleaning one room at a time and NEVER EVER feeling like I was actually getting anywhere! So, I combined my personality “quirks,” with my frustrations and the acceptance that I clean best in those few, panicked hours before company arrives (I’ve always been a “procrastinating perfectionist”), and created a solution. My method gets the job done, but I’m telling you truthfully – It. Is. Work.

So, when Sarah Mae announced that she was looking for applicants to help spread the word about her new book, “Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul,” I applied without an ounce of hesitation. I knew that I needed help. I’m so thankful that Sarah Mae’s team recognized my insane desperation chose me 😉 to receive an advance copy, because I was so eager to read her advice and find some help as soon as possible – not just for my home’s sake, but for my soul and sanity’s sake.  I don’t want to just give my family a decent place to live; I want to create for them a healthy and loving sanctuary.  I need help in doing that in the way I long to do it.

Next week, I will be meeting with an intimate group of friends that are feeling the pull too, and we’re going to be sharing our hearts while the kiddos play and we sip our coffee.  We’re going to dig into this book together.  I couldn’t be more excited about it.  I plan to write about each week, just to fill you in on what the Lord is doing in MY heart and MY home.  I believe that meeting with women that also desire to learn “gentle homemaking,” as Sarah describes it, will only enhance what will already be happening in our hearts and homes, individually.  I’m excited to hear their stories – their ups and downs, tips and tricks…their wisdom or fears.  I’m just excited.  It’s going to be one of the most beautiful and fruitful times of my week this spring.  I just know it.

It’s my hope that you will want to jump on board and take this journey with us.  If you are longing for a fresh breeze to blow through your home, in the form of a renewed mind and spirit when in comes to being a homemaker, I invite you to grab a copy of Sarah’s book and join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.  You are also invited to message or e-mail us (kloverhouseblog@gmail.com) anytime!  Though we start our discussions this coming week, our 31-Day challenge won’t officially begin until the following week, so there’s plenty of time to grab a copy of the book!

So, back to what I mentioned earlier about “a clean home being a calm home”… Sarah Mae hit the nail on the head in her Intro, when she wrote the following:

mary and martha

Let’s do this, friends.  Let’s take our focus off of the dust, the grime, and the feelings of failure we struggle with as women in charge of families and households.  Let’s instead get down to the heart of the matter and help make that daydream a reality we can actually enjoy.

Before we know it, we will be that much closer to Having a Martha Home the Mary Way.

xo,

Kristi

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links to products I both love and use in my home!  Feel free to use them if you’d like.  Our family says “thank you” in advance, for using our links to purchase some pretty awesome products that you may come across while reading!

One Day to Clean a Dirty House

Can you believe it only takes ONE DAY to clean a dirty house – top to bottom – one day.  I promise, because I did it, and you can too!  Come mid-week, you’ll be searching for things to clean, like lint in the laundry room!

Your guests are arriving in two hours, and your house is not-so-tidy. Your adrenaline kicks in and, whoa mama, did you really just “clean” your whole house?! Seriously. That overwhelming mess was no match for your determination, right? That’s me too! I am what you would call a “procrastinating perfectionist.” If I can’t do it ALL, do it WELL, and do it COMPLETELY, then, I CAN’T DO IT. So, whatever I am intimidated by or feel that I don’t have enough time to accomplish…I put off. And that is almost always the housework.

Trouble is – I have this motto. It’s this nagging motto, that I actually want to live by, but can’t seem to consistently, because of my little character flaw mentioned above.

A Clean Home is a Calm Home.

And I believe it 100%. Or at least, I feel like it’s calmer. Maybe because I am calmer, and there’s a trickle down effect happening with the children, and my hubby catches it…it’s glorious. Calmness is glorious.

But what happened?! How did I end up here, in utter desperation?

Well…  We held our daughter’s birthday party here at our house in early May. Like every other time we have company coming, my hubby and I busted our tail-feathers the night before and morning of to get the house in respectable order. Mail piles were stashed, not dealt with, laundry stacks were straightened, not put away, surfaces were cleared and dusted, and the floors were tended to, BUT…the house was not clean and the calm that came after the exhausting hustle would be gone within the first hour of the following day.

That’s what kiddos do, right? Destroy a”tidy” house in just minutes.

The laundry is put off a little longer; the vicious cycle continues.

Forget getting down to the nitty-gritty levels of clean, because you’re just looking to maintain a little sanity and have your home not resemble a warzone come 9PM nightly.

I try following cleaning schedules like Clean Mama’s (she’s my favorite by the way), but on vacuuming day, I was like, “But I would have to CLEAN the mess off of the floors to vacuum…” Wahhh!  I would end up frustrated and overwhelmed. It affected me, my kids, my husband. I couldn’t keep my head above water.

I even had the kids sit down and watch an episode of Hoarders with me during our usual Sesame Street time-slot in hopes it would give them a proverbial kick in the rear. It didn’t. Three and five year olds apparently don’t care if Miss Mess lives in squalor. They can’t see how it relates to toys constantly underfoot.  Then, the straw came that broke the camel’s back in form of a bug…a carpet beetle.  Ewwww!

I loathe bugs. I keep watch for them. They don’t stand a chance in this house. I had seen a little beetle like this before. I googled him, after I flushed him good-bye of course, and I read that they are common in homes and show up in the springtime. And what do they eat? Organic matter. Ick. I didn’t want any parts of it. So, how do you keep them at bay? Vacuuming. Yes. The chore I most often neglected, because I could never get down to the bare bones of cleaning before bedtime, and no one would dare touch the vacuum while the three blondies were snoozing.

That’s when it hit me. The idea that I could clean, really clean my entire home in just ONE day. It works, friends. My husband has asked me what I have been doing differently to keep our home clean. It’s that clean, folks. It looks clean, it feels clean, it even smells clean. I love it!

When I shared my process (that works perfectly for this adrenaline-loving, procrastinating perfectionist), he said, “You know what you did, right?” Me, I responded with a blank stare… “You created a project plan.” And then he joked that I needed a GANTT chart, and I had no clue as to what that is, but I took it as a compliment, because, seeing that he’s a Director of PM, it must have meant I was doing something right.

All it took was a list, an estimation of my time, and a challenge – a challenge to beat that list and the estimations.  The desire to beat the times that I had listed is what gave me that rush of adrenaline I needed.  That same feeling of, “Come on; let’s do this!” that you get twenty minutes before the doorbell is due to ring.  And you know what? It worked. Every time I tested it. As you’ll see in the attached video, this was my process:

  • Grab a sheet of paper
  • List each room in your home
  • List each task to complete in each room in order to consider it “clean”
  • Attach an estimated timeframe to each task
  • Mark you starting and finishing times as you go
  • Enjoy your clean home!

A few tips:

1 – Notice, I don’t always get to finish a room in one fell swoop, so if I spend one hour in a space or ten minutes, I mark my list accordingly.  It may take three or six “visits” to that particular room, but it will eventually be completed.  I want to stay true to my chart and make sure my times are accurate, so I stay on task for those minutes or hours and focus on the space that I am in.

2 – Clean the rooms/things that make sense.  Don’t try to clean bathrooms while your kids are in the kitchen eating lunch.  You know that they are going to need you anyway.  Why make yourself extra crazy?  Allocate meal prep time and eating times to coincide with doing the dishes, wiping down the appliances, cleaning out the refrigerator, clearing a mail pile…  I chose to clean the playroom in the morning while the kids were in there playing.  I told them each to grab one thing, I put in Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast on their mini tv, and I went to work knowing that they were going to be entertained.  Because I was in the room with them, they were on-task, playing nicely, and we were able to have conversation easily while I worked.  I was able to clean everything with the exception of my fabric stash.  I wasn’t too concerned with that, and it wasn’t a goal on my list anyway.  I tended to it later, after they were in bed.



3 – Consider doing this on a Monday (if you stay at home).  Mondays kind of stink for me anyway, and so I’d rather devote one day to hard work, so the kids and I can enjoy the rest of the week.  Knocking this out in one day also allows you the opportunity to do the nitty-gritty stuff over the course of the rest of the week.  For example, I was walking around yesterday morning actually looking for things to clean.  I cleaned the stair banister (which honestly hadn’t been really cleaned since we moved in almost TWO YEARS AGO!)  It was gross.  That’s a perfect example of something that looks clean, but really isn’t.  Those things are often overlooked and neglected because we are trying to stay on top of the obvious areas.  Today, I plan on tackling the shoes piled next to the front door.  I don’t recommend stretching this out over more than 2 or 3 days, though, and here’s why:  KIDS.  Small children will destroy those spaces you’ve conquered faster than you can blink.  My girls knew that “today, Mom means business,” and they kept themselves a little more in-check.  When I’ve tried to clean at a prolonged pace, it has backfired every time.  My estimations told me that I could have a clean house from top to bottom in 7 hours, and by golly, that’s exactly what I needed.

4 – Follow a schedule throughout the rest of the week that involves LIGHT cleaning.  Like I said, I love Clean Mama’s.  I now have a routine of Five Habits that Kickstart a Good Day (post coming soon), and plan on devoting just 10 minutes of every hour to tidying up.  That’s what I call, 10 Minutes to Better.  

I am proof that this method is effective.  It’s great exercise too! Lol!  Think about it…it’s honestly like going to work for ONE day a week!  I know our job as mama is the toughest, most-involved and time-consuming job in existence, but you can do this!  

I used to buy into the, “The kids come first, forsaking all housework” stuff, but let’s be real here.  When your house stinks, your day kind of does too.  You feel overwhelmed.  You feel defeated.  You even feel like a failure.  

You’re not!  You’re not any of those.  Take it from me.  I considered selling things off to afford a cleaning service, because I felt so out-of-control.  

I thought I needed outside help with four small kids, but I did this, and we’re on top of it now.  I like my home now!  Even with the unfinished-project to-list staring at me, I.Love.My.Home.  You can love yours too!  And in just one 7-hour workday, I was given back the chance to enjoy what really matters…

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making a house a home: where we are today – the family/living room

welcome back to our making a house a home series!  today, i’m sharing our living/family room.  just like the kitchen and dining room…we still have a loooong way to go!  so put on your designer’s cap and feel free to add your thoughts once you take a look!

our first family home was a brand-new three story townhouse. we spent probably 75% of our time in the main living space. since it was a townhouse, we didn’t have any other sitting rooms, or play rooms for that matter, so all of us – the adults and kids – spent our time together in this one large space for the majority of the time.  that being the case, i had to find little nooks and crannies for all of our young ones’ toys, books, puzzles, craft supplies, etc, etc, etc!  it was quite the challenge at times!  thanks to my grandmother’s sideboard/hutch and ikea expedit bookcases, we were able keep our spaces looking adult-friendly while being kid-appropriate.

here’s a glimpse of our previous home:

kitchen/dining

family/living room

now that you’ve seen where we came from (design-wise), you can see how our desire for a living room that doesn’t double as a play room and catchall was one of our top priorities when looking for a new house.  this house has a formal sitting room (which we happily converted into a play room) and an open-concept living space.  i love the openness, b/c once we find the right stools for the kitchen island, there will be so many spots for people to sit and chat between rooms during get-togethers.  

another desire of mine was to create a space that felt light and airy in comparison to our old space.  i was ready to say good-bye to our brown sofas and our current color scheme.  

that’s when i came upon the perfect couch.  a light tan leather sectional from value city furniture.  the color was perfect, the size was perfect, and the price was perfect!  that was in april of 2013.  i held my breath while we waited for a buyer and finally in august, we were able to move and much to my surprise, my dream couch was still available and still at the same, low price!

i love this couch.  it’s comfy, yet firm.  i like that i can sit my anthro coffee mug right next to me and it doesn’t tilt or spill!  unless the monkeys come running towards me, of course.  the pillow shown is actually a play room pillow that we brought out.  i have inserts for this couch, but i can’t seem to make up my mind on the covers yet, so no pillows as of right now.

we chose to keep our old loveseat for the basement (whenever it actually gets finished), the full-size sofa went to a friend, and the over-sized armchair went up to our master bedroom.  the kids enjoy using it as a springboard onto our bed…

we kept all of the rest of the pieces, like the end tables (tj maxx and target finds), the tv stand (target), and the slate top coffee table (a $3 estate sale find).  the other two end tables (greenish ones from tj maxx) also went up to the master bedroom.

my plan is to eventually purchase the liatorp sideboard from ikea in white, once the tv is mounted to the wall, and use it to pull in other pops of white throughout the space.  (it’s a great size and will hold our dvd player, direct tv box, photo albums and books perfectly.)

i may paint one of the wicker pieces, the base of the coffee table, or the distressed end table white.  feel free to share your opinions on that one!  i feel like i change my mind every day!  the trim and baseboards will all be a crisp, pure white, so that will help tremendously.  i also plan on painting white borders onto the wall behind the frames hung on the tv wall.  i saw a friend do this in her nursery, and the finished look is gorgeous!  you trim out the painted area in white molding/quarter round, and it creates the look of a large, matted frame.  love it.  i plan on putting updated family photos in those frames.

the frames were target clearance finds.  the ‘love’ and ‘pray’ pieces were tj maxx finds and used to hang in isla’s nursery.  the mirrors are also from target.  they are a great price when compared to others of similar design.  (i wrote about that in this post.)
the old flooring was ivory carpet.  i am a fan of light carpet, especially since we don’t wear shoes in the house, but hubs is not, so i let him pick the new carpet.  it’s a little darker than i would’ve wanted, but if he’s happy, i can live with it.
here’s a peek at the chaotic week of carpet/flooring being installed.  that sheet-covered mountain was our laminate flooring ‘acclimating’…aka sitting in the middle of the floor for two days while i yelled at the monkeys not to climb on it.  awww, sweet peanut eden was just a wee babe at four months.  *sniffle*

and here we are back in the present… 
(notice the girls playing ‘store’.  they are too funny.)

here’s a better view of the mirrors.  i liked the one that i bought so much, that once we decided on this house, i gradually purchased two more, knowing that i would want them in this space opposite the large window.

the lamps are from kirkland’s, and the chair was a pier 1 clearance find.  noticing a trend?  i buy almost everything on clearance!  eventually, i want to help that chair and its cushions out.  it used to be in ava’s old bedroom.  i had my eye on a gorgeous arm chair from home goods last october.  i was in love with it and its price.  hubby drove me all the way out there (like 35 mins) with the intentions of buying it for me.  he took one look at it and said, ‘no.  no way.’  i cried.  i really did.  i couldn’t believe he was that against it.  the pattern wasn’t even crazy!  it was a gray and muted yellow ikat print.  i think there may have been a little blue accent.  it.was.gorgeous.  i am still mad about it.  so, this old chair is here in its place for now…  once i make a decision on fabrics, i will recover the cushions.

the curtains shown are actually our bedroom curtains.  i still need to purchase a new rod for this space.  i’m thinking a cream, pottery barn style one.  i will be hanging them midway between the window and the ceiling.  we’re waiting on installing all of the rods until after the windows are replaced.  the curtains i plan on using for this space are threshold from target.  they are oatmeal in color with oil rubbed bronze grommets.

the picture shown is one from our wedding day.  the actual photo is an engagement photo, but we had our guests sign the mat and to the right, i plan on vertically hanging pictures of our children as newborns.

what we have left to do:

  • purchase the liatorp sideboard from ikea
  • paint the walls (an undecided color)
  • paint the tv wall a darker accent color (also the bottom portion of the pillars)
  • paint the trim and baseboards white
  • replace the windows
  • replace the back door and adjacent window with a slider or french door
  • update rods and curtains
  • paint furniture
  • cover cushions and make accent pillows
  • paint ‘frames’ on tv wall
  • mount tv to wall
  • add kids’ baby photos to wall above chair
here’s a link to my ‘living spaces’ pinterest board.  you’ll notice i love light, airy, and eclectic spaces!

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making a house a home: where we are today – the dining room

i don’t know about you, but we use our dining room for nearly every single meal…breakfast, brunch, snacks, dinner…and every single craft too!  (oh yeah, and sewing some days!)  we use it constantly.  i often catch myself looking at pictures on pinterest with longing or meandering with awe through a friend’s pristine dining space, wishing that our space could be this or that, but the truth of the matter is – we are just in it too much!  with kiddos almost 5, 3, and 1, our dining room takes a lot of abuse, but i guess you could say that it also sees a lot of love.  

in that respect, our dining room is kind of like the tangible kiss i get to put on my family each meal.  we gather there, pray together, share our stories and our hearts (and our frustrations at times), and i get to feed their bellies!  it’s probably my favorite space for those reasons.

as far as inspiration goes…my designer-friend has labeled my style as ‘scandi-chic’, and i think she nailed it, b/c i love this mixture of cottage, vintage, shabby-chic, eclectic, minimalist all at once!  i like pretty things.  i like things with charm, and i like to keep it plain and simple.  to attach some images to what i just tried to explain…  😉  i love the old-world feel of this space (especially the wood tones and chandelier!).  this space reminds me a lot of what direction we seem to be going in as of now.

we were gifted our current dining room table and chairs by the previous owners.  i love the curves in the chair-backs and have envisioned them as white since day 1 (kind of like the ones found in  this pin).  

i plan on reupholstering them soon, but haven’t taken the plunge simply b/c the kids continue to use them as art easels!  so, i do apologize in advance for when we ask you to come over for dinner and you are sitting on milk stains, blue paint, stickers, and dried applesauce.  i’m really sorry.

to give you a quick tour, here are a few photos of the space from when we moved in all the way up to this week:

when we moved in, the dining room was carpeted.  boy am i so glad that we decided to carry the laminate throughout the entire first floor (with the exception of only the family/living room).  had we not, this mama would have certainly cried over spilled milk about 16 times already.

originally, while i was waiting for the chandelier to decrease in price, we spray painted our brass light with rustoleum’s aged bronze, and it really made a huge difference!  i stood in the yard like a scarecrow for what seemed like an eternity dangling it to dry, but regardless of the awkwardness and pain, i highly recommend doing that if you aren’t happy with the finish of your light fixtures.  (i still have it stored in the basement in case we ever want to use it elsewhere).  we also sprayed all of the registers the aged bronze, making them blend into the floor nicely and dealing with the rust spots at the same time. the picture of one below was taken before painting it – see what an eyesore they were!

here is a peek of where we are today:

i found that purple vase and the pear stems in target’s clearance section this past week.  i appreciate that i can’t kill faux flowers – or fruit in this case.  

remember my grandmother’s sideboard/hutch that hubs and i painted and i nearly had a heart attack?!  yes, it was that scary for me! {post here} but we do love how it turned out.  the hardware is from target.  we kept the existing hinges (just sprayed them to match the rest of the piece).

i know that i’ve already shown you this collage, but i just wanted to share it again to point out that this chandelier was the one that i mentioned in yesterday’s kitchen post.  we originally planned to have this one hanging above the island, but the large scale of the island simply dwarfed this fixture.  it really did it no justice whatsoever.  originally $159, it is also on sale at lowes for under $80!  
so many items in this room are from clearance bins, sale racks, and thrift shops.  the shelf, pitchers, runner, curtains, curtain rod, artwork, the mercury table lamp and shade were all sale/clearance finds, and that’s just to name a few.  i think the only full-price expenses have been our books, and my anthro items (initial mugs and flower pot – shown below).  
i really, really, really want these pinwheel curtains from west elm, but they are out of my budget for now.  i found a happy compromise though at target.  the white poly sheers (threshold) and the single tan heathered herringbone panel (nate berkus) were on a clearance shelf.  i plan on cutting the nate berkus panel down the center (hemming it) and using those two pieces to frame out the white sheers, since we have a rather large window.  why not get a second panel, you may be wondering.  the answer:  b/c ppl are flat out greedy on e-bay!  haha  i’ll make do with the one.  anyway, i love the light that comes into this room in the morning, and the white sheers allow for that while granting us needed privacy from the street.  and yes, that is our real ‘time out’ chair (that i made using a thrift store chair, spray paint, and vinyl lettering).  sadly, the girls spend a great deal of reflection time there on some days, thus naturally antiquing it for me…such darlings. 😉
the cabinet that hangs above my great-great-grandmother’s buffet table was relocated from the desk space uppers that we took down in the kitchen.  i store my cookbooks, extra vases, and miscellaneous things in it for now.
what we have yet to do in this space:
* reupholster the chair cushions
* replace the windows
* hang the new curtain rod and draperies
* paint the baseboards (crisp white)
* paint the cabinetry on the wall and update hardware(same as kitchen cabinets)
* paint the chairs 
* update/refinish existing tabletop
* paint the exposed staircase railings white or stain/replace rails to match tone in flooring
* possibly knock down half of the wall shared with the kitchen
so that’s it!  haha  oh, the lists are long, and the days are short, but we will get there eventually!
as i said yesterday, i would love your thoughts/feedback!  please feel free to leave a comment here or on our facebook page!
i’ll be back tomorrow with the weekly pin-it party, and on sunday, i hope to talk you through our family/living room!  until then…

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Klover House to Home: Where We Are Today – The Kitchen

A friend recently told me that she had heard that it takes around three years before your house starts to feel like ‘you.’ I bet that’s accurate, because it was around that mark in our previous home that I had finally finished off all of the untouched spaces in our home and things started to feel complete. Rather than filling the space, we had begun to embellish it.

I think that has been one of my greatest challenges with moving into a home that had been built and occupied by a family prior to our’s…making it feel like my own. I have told my husband on numerous occasions that I feel almost like I’m living in a hotel. Not much feels like ‘me’ or ‘mine’ yet. Everywhere I turn I see something to be done and pieces of the previous owners’ style.  I think time has a lot to do with that. Not too many memories are attached to this home yet, but as they are formed, I believe that its identity will grow and the bond between it and me will develop and thicken.  It’ll definitely take memories and a whole lotta paint, I’m sure.  😉

So here’s day one of where we are today.  Making progress slowly but surely.  Taking one baby step at a time.  There are big things to accomplish and little things to tackle, but we’re doing it and I’m happy to share these imperfect glimpses of where we are in the game, because I hope you will rejoice with us when we finally (if ever) reach the end goal.

So here we go:

I posted this image on our facebook page last July (we purchased the home in august 2013).

This picture was taken last September.  We were about to have the floors redone by Home Depot.  So, as you can see, the counters were crammed with everything that had once been sitting on tables, the hutch, etc.

Hubby installed the microhood.  I wish I would have gotten the idea to raise the cabinets prior to doing this, but we still may be able to, if raising the cabinet and microwave won’t expose or interfere with the electrical outlet that he had to install.  I still plan on raising the rest, and if this section has to stay put, then, I will just add custom pieces above for an open-shelving/display area.  We really need the space between the range and microwave though, so I am hoping it works out.

The range also came with the house.  Eventually, we plan on changing it and I would love it if we could convert it to gas, but that is a far day off…

Along with the refrigerator and dishwasher, we also replaced the lighting in the space.  Initially, I chose the smaller chandelier for above the island, but once we saw how large the island was actually going to be, we felt the bigger chandelier (that we had intended for the dining room) would be the better choice.
To make the island, we removed the desk area that was on the side wall and reserved the largest base cabinet.  Then, we purchased a sink base (unfinished) from Home Depot for under $100.  Eventually, we will have to add our own dividers and drawer, since it’s a big open space (the little side drawers are actually drawers).  The existing cabinet was the perfect fit.  The top was constructed using two slabs of Ikea’s butcher block.  Hubs attached them using biscuit cuts and wood glue.  We filled in the slight gap in the center (b/c the edges are ever so slightly rounded) and hand-sanded them for a smooth finish.  using the oil sold at Ikea, we finished the top off adding a seal and some shine.  We wanted room for at least 4-5 chairs, so we opted for a single leg to add stability without eating up space.

This 4-light brushed nickel chandelier with faux jade beads was originally $139.  We waited, and waited, and waited, and finally purchased it on clearance for less than $70!  You can buy one too by clicking {here}.  I can’t believe what a great deal this was!  It’s is quite large, but because of it’s design, you can easily see through it, so it doesn’t have a bulky feel to it whatsoever.

 

On the large blank wall that once housed the desk area, I have two options in mind.  1) an over-sized clock (like one found at Target), or 2) opening the wall up, creating a half wall that allows you to see into the dining room and hanging a stained glass window in the center of the opening.

What we have left to do in this space:
* raise and paint all cabinetry (the island cabinets will be restoration hardware’s ‘stone’ and the wall cabinets will be a lighter shade of gray/white maybe like Martha Stewart’s ‘whetstone gray’.)  this pin inspires me.
* paint the walls (also thinking ‘stone’)
* replace basement door knob (all hardware is going from builder-grade brass to brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze)
* replace all cabinetry hardware
* paint all trim bright white for a crisp and clean contrast to the muted tans and earth tones
* find or build seating for the island
* replace windows
* add window treatment
* install exterior french doors (in place of backdoor/adjacent window) like this one.
* update counters
* update sink and faucet
* update range (to gas)
* add mudroom/walk-in pantry/laundry room off of the kitchen (going through the existing pantry door)  like this one.

Please stop by tomorrow for a peek of our dining room in its current state.  The pin-it party will be back on Saturday, and on Sunday, I’ll show you our family/living room!

Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, advice, etc. in the comments section too!  If you have ideas to share or an eye for design, I would love your feedback!

Thanks for taking this journey with us!  See you tomorrow!

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klover house update

oh where, oh where have we been?

i can’t believe it’s been over a week since i’ve posted anything! i’m sorry! it used to be that it wouldn’t bug me all that much, b/c i still have the idea that i’m writing to the sky and there isn’t another human on the other side of the screen waiting to *hear* from me, checking our page, and enjoying our little ditties about life, food, Jesus, and everything in between. that blogger misconception changed a bit though when i ran into someone that reads the blog and she stated that she wished i’d post more! i think about that a lot now, and i’m encouraged. really encouraged. so, thank you for that. i’m happy that this little blog matters to others out there. i hope it ministers to you, makes you laugh, makes you think, and inspires you at least once in awhile. if you like pancakes, this is a good blog. haha (more on that later.)

so what have we been up to?

well…i have a gazillion dresses to make. my mom and i are working hard, burning the late-night-oil, trying to get all of these orders done for our business, eden gray {find us on facebook here}. we’re still tweaking our processes everyday. she works full-time watching my nieces, and i am a full-time sahm/wahm, so we often sew well into the night. hence, i sewed the eden gray women’s nightie prototype’s sleeve on backwards the other night. it was 4am, i was on a roll, or so i thought, and in my tired determination, i screwed up. i even reinforced that baby with a double stitch…  the nightie was abandoned next to the machine, and i haven’t mustered up the motivation to grab the seam-ripper just yet. maybe tonight. 😉

along with dress-making, i’m trying to work on house projects. the paint debacle in the playroom… the bookshelf… i loved the bookshelf. and…then, it put eight large holes in my wall. yep. it’s just ‘okay’ now. maybe i’ll love it again once the room comes together around it. on a happier note, since the new bookshelf gave the old expedit shelf the boot, i was able to put the expedit shelf in the coat closet (another unfriendly space of the house, as you know already if you’re following us on facebook). hubs put a real door on it last night, which took a lot more thinking and effort than originally planned for, considering we had a 29″ opening and the doors were only available in 28″ and 30″. he got creative and handy though (i’m married to a deacon. 😉 our church friends will get that little reference.) so, the door is on; it’s safer than the original, and all of our shoes and winter items have found cozy homes in the expedit cubbies. my broom also has a spot on the inside of the door, so that makes me sooo happy. ahh, the little things. (post/pics to come.)

i’m also working on some amazingly fun and simple curtains for the playroom. they make me happy just looking at them. hubs was actually so impressed with this project. i love it when he’s proud of the little things i do or the ideas that i come up with. fills my love tank when he thinks i’ve done something awesome. most of the time, he’s like, ‘oh dear. what have you gone and done now, and how much did it cost me?’ haha but not this time! he loves it and it, like i said, it has been a simple and cheap project. i think that you’ll like this post when it gets typed, but here’s a peek… 😉

and of course, the most important and time-consuming…my kids! these three girls take up a lot, if not nearly all of my time. we’re attempting to complete home school work, playing, kissing boo boos, playing dolls, watching movies, eating pancakes, taking pointless showers (them, not me, unfortunately. i’d love a pointless shower.  they figured out that they can strip down and get into mommy’s shower whenever they please. helps when they’re in need of bathing, but sometimes, it’s just a way to convince me to mop the floor…), snuggling (we have a family full of belly aches, fevers, coughs and runny noses spring, where are you????!), and the list goes on. add that to housework and endless laundry, and well, you can see where i’ve been…in the weeds! haha we’ll get it under control someday. 🙂

so those are the physical things that have been swallowing my time up lately. mentally, i think i’m twice as overloaded. alongside the above, i have been giving a lot of my ‘mental space’ to ailing children these days. our six year old second cousin was admitted to children’s hospital suddenly with an unsettling prognosis…and my mind was fixed on her and her parents day and night. what a shock it is, when things like that hit so close to home. i believe that God intervened, and although the physicians were saying the worst was 99% certain, it was not! not a single cancer cell in sight!  hallelujah! she is home now, and hopefully able to return to life as normal for a busy, precious, little girl…dancing, playing, hanging out with her family and friends.

baby sophia is heavily on my mind and heart today. would you take a moment and go pray for her? she’s fighting the fight of her life, but i am believing God for a miracle. He can do it. i literally laid my hands on my computer screen over her sweet face last night and prayed and wept over her. can you join me? i see these babies, and i know i’ve said it before, i think of my own. what would i do? how would i feel? what would i hope that others would do? i would hope that they’d cry out to God for us too. i am thankful. so very, very thankful that our children are healthy. they merely require hugs, kisses, and mac ‘n cheese most of the time. thank you God, for your mercy and hands of protection over our healthy children.


(since writing this just minutes ago, it was posted that sophia has gone to the arms of Jesus.  my heart hurts so badly for her parents right now.  i wish we knew why these things happen.  someday, we’ll know.  please continue to pray for her parents, and any child that you come across in need of prayers.  like a ripple in a pond, our prayers echo into eternity.  a miracle takes only a moment.  like ani’s sweet ruby, i’ll never forget about you, precious sophia. xo)

so that is where i’ve been, both in the natural and in spirit. i’ll try to write more, and get some fun things up here for you. once we finish these current dress orders, we will have more time on our hands for the regular stuff. (like videos of isla shaking her stuff and recipes about pancakes!)

until next time…

xoxo

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more projects in the playroom!

a little project completion in the playroom…

first up…my ‘mom’ work space:

i spent some time working on my functional collage. the ikea arstid wall lamp’s cord is hidden perfectly behind the useful thirty-one wall organizer, which, by the way, is a great place for keeping all of my homeschool items and personal items in place (like my planner, pens, etc.) my sewing machine can also sit here, making the organizer a great place for our ‘eden gray‘ sketches and patterns to be stashed while a project is underway.

my eden’s ‘e’ from anthro has found a home here. not sure if it will eventually move into eden’s bedroom, b/c the kids’ rooms are still a long way from finished, but if it does stay here, i think it’s perfect for representing our business.  plus, it’s so aesthetically pleasing to this mommy.

my favorite watercolor painting. i love this little tree painting and have had it since my single days.

i made a little magnetic board (covered with the teal adhesive paper that you’ll see in a moment). it’ll fit perfectly either above the printer or to the left of the light, where i hang our ‘letter of the week’.  it’s not up yet, b/c i have to figure out how i want to mount it.

on to our little watercolors purchased from the shop trafalgar’s square:

i adore these. this shop is such a gem. i love how quirky, dainty, and lovely kit chase’s work is. i had ava pick her own (since she was three and opinionated at the time), and then, i had the hubs chose one each for our little isla and newborn eden. of course miss ava picked a little blondie holding her ‘lovey’ and balloons.  two of ava’s favorite things!  it was fitting that the mister chose the penguin princess for isla, b/c it’s unique and unexpected, just like her and her style. the cute elephant with the bubbles is perfect for eden, because she is cute, bubbly, and fluffy like a little bubble! haha

i liked the bare insert of these large ikea frames. the rawness kind of reminds me of burlap. i like that element in the space. the pictures didn’t want to stay put in them though, so i knew i needed to add something behind them. double-sided tape wasn’t strong enough and i didn’t want to ruin the art with any other adhesives.  i stumbled upon this fabric paper at our marshall’s and loved the colors, patterns, and price! there is such a nice blend of color in this space. i love that we are using everything from primary colors to black and white to pastels. it all seems to be working well together thus far, and this paper definitely felt right for me.

it was so easy to work with. just cut it to size, peel the backing off and stick. voila! those alphabet stickers were a random michael’s find about two years ago. i thought they worked well color-wise and when you’re teaching little ones, it helps to have the alphabet everywhere and anywhere, right?! 🙂

so what do you think? i’d love your feedback and further suggestions for the space. and if you have a play space to share, please link it up in the comments! 🙂

shared on remodelaholic.com

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