progress in the playroom

most people when they move into a house probably get super excited over a certain space. for me, it’s been the girls’ playroom. for some reason, i have been spending most of my ‘house planning/organizing’ time on this room.

it’s not a large room by any means. it’s a great size – don’t get me wrong, but it’s a modest, square room at the front of our house. most people with a home similar in layout may be using this room as a second living room, a sitting room, office, etc. we have found that, with three little ones, a playroom was the best fit for the space.

i started out with this plan (remember this previous post?):

but, it felt like a little box, and the girls almost never played in it. so i had to go back to the drawing board. i decided to break up my wall of storage. even though the expedit bookcases (oh how i love ikea) fit perfectly lined up on the long wall, the wall of black drew my eyes down, which reminded me of the mess on the floor. i never had the opportunity to visually appreciate all of the other great treasures in the room…

like our beloved button rug (also from ikea)

or this incredible dhurrie runner from pottery barn (that an extremely generous friend so graciously gave to us to use in this space)

or my little ikea laptop desk/office nook (i found my little chair at ikea too btw, and it’s the perfect fit!), complete with inspirational wall art discovered at tj maxx…

or our quaint, little play kitchen…

our ikea tables (the first being ‘avey baby’s artsy tea table’ from this post and the second was handed down from a good friend and we use it for crafting/homeschool)

with ava’s birthday in december, followed by christmas, the room was just over-run with new toys and lacked any function.  it was almost never played in looked a little like this most days:

i found inspiration while perusing my ikea magazine for the seventy-fifth time (about 90% of this space is from ikea, if you haven’t noticed already) and spotted this sweet gem:

to my delight, when i checked it out online, i saw that it was on sale!  so, i cleared it with the mister, high-tailed it over to our local ikea and brought this baby home (in the minivan with three car seats and not a centimeter to spare!).  it’s perfect for our space, and floating it in the center proved to be just what i needed in order to create the flow and functionality that i so desperately longed for in the space.  

the kids and i haven’t left this room for more than ten minutes all day!  i now have a workspace that keeps me within arms- and ears-reach at all times, the girls have a movie-watching retreat (hubby is going to appreciate his tv being freed up for football games), and we have a bright and cheery school space now (thanks to the front windows).  it’s awesome.  

i can’t wait to put the finishing touches on it and reveal it in its entirety.  the wall coloring that i’m planning on using is serena and lily’s ‘rain’.  it’s so calming and light; it’s just what we need in a room like this.  it will balance the bright, bold, playful colors and toys so nicely.  not to mention, it’s the perfect companion for the ebony chalkboard wall.

i wanted this room to encompass both my personal style (‘scandi-chic’) and the girly-playfulness that would speak directly to my girls.  i think we’re on the right track!  it no longer feels like a box.  it’s like a house within a house!  using the concept of centers (thanks to my teaching experience), we now have a space that the girls and i can comfortably operate within.  everything has a place that makes a little more sense.  

here’s the new layout:

a few more pictures for your viewing pleasure…


on the radar (short- and long-term):

  • paint (serena and lily’s ‘rain’)
  • curtains (i have a fun idea in mind for them, also thanks to ikea)
  • complete the ‘eric carle’ number chair rail project (for the chalkboard wall)
  • purchase tall shelves/bookcases to sit on top of the smaller expedit bookcases flanking the chalkboard wall (taking advantage of the vertical space available for craft supplies, books, framed art/pictures, trinkets, etc.  looking into the billy bookcase from ikea.)
  • slipcover (possibly something plush and feminine that i will make myself, to balance the modern items in the room)
  • paint the school table and chairs
  • organize my desk area (sewing/homeschool supplies)
  • create a family photo gallery wall (including extended family)
  • hang wall art previously purchased from trafalgar’s square
  • create a space for displaying the girls’ artwork
so what do you think of our progress so far???  i’d love your feedback or suggestions!

shared on remodelaholic.com.

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Netflix Inspired Pre-Thanksgiving Feast! (BBQ Ribs)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Happy Holidays, friends!
Are you cooking like crazy? I have been! Today was off to such a wild start. The little turkeys and I went grocery shopping this morning.  (It took us three hours to go to two stores!)  We have such a busy week ahead…Thanksgiving and then Ava’s 4th birthday, and then, before we know what hit us…Christmas! I don’t think I leave the kitchen long enough to breathe during this time of year.
Thank goodness for nap time, right?! Seriously, one of my favorite things to do, especially during this hectic season, is to put the girls down for their naps and turn on the TV while I start the nightly dinner process alongside ‘my girls’ Giada or Pioneer Woman. There is just something wonderful about hearing another mama (or human over the age of five) talk to me about life and food after a long, hard day. It’s like therapy for me. I feel like I’m in the kitchen, cooking with friends.
That brings me to what I have to share with you today – Netflix! I always thought of Netflix as a ‘movies only’ company. Really. I was that clueless. But, after looking into it more, I found that Netflix let’s members enjoy their favorite TV shows too, anytime and anywhere they want! With Netflix you can watch your favorite shows on an iPad in the kitchen, the big screen in the living room, or even on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store. This is such good news! Netflix has been making some BIG changes regarding the consumer’s experience, in regards to streaming, making the process visually appealing and easy to navigate. (You can even connect your Facebook account to Netflix and share what you’ve been watching with friends.) Netflix also can suggest shows for you based upon the season (i.e. Thanksgiving) or your own personal streaming history. True fact. Oh, and instant video streaming is just $7.99 a month! Now, I don’t know about you, folks, but my cooking shows are costing us, oh, about ten times more a month. True fact, also. This is definitely a product that my husband and I are going to seriously consider for our family. I think the unlimited access to documentaries is a plus for him too. He loves them. Strange guy. 😉
Anyway…on to dinner! Turkey is NOT on the menu tonight! We’ll have plenty of that soon! Tonight, it’s all about the mister, and we’re having Curtis Stone’s “Freddy’s Sticky Saucy Barbecued Ribs” (inspired by the political drama ‘House of Cards’. I’ve yet to see that show. You? I’m more of a Hallmark channel or HGTV kind of gal.)
These are ready for the oven!  Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to try!  Can’t go wrong with Curtis Stone and ribs, right?!
Freddy’s Sticky Saucy Barbecued Ribs
Every time I’m watching “House of Cards” on Netflix, I want to taste those ribs that Frank eats from Freddy’s BBQ Joint. Now we all can sink our teeth into those sticky saucy ribs right along with Frank! These ribs are served with a barbecue sauce more like the one you’ll find in North Carolina (where Frank is from originally) – one with plenty of vinegar, mustard, and a touch of heat. I’ve included two cooking methods for you to try –the original true barbecue method where the ribs are slowly smoked in the barbecue, and the quicker oven-baked version – both are finger lickin’ good! (Curtis Stone)
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 5 hours (includes marinating time)
Cook Time: 4 1/2 hours (for barbecued ribs) or 2 1/2 hours (for oven-baked ribs)
Make-Ahead: The barbecue sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated; reheat before using.
Ingredients
Spice Rub:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup whiskey
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Ribs:
4 racks pork baby back ribs (2 1/2-pounds each)
3/4 cup cider vinegar
Optional Special Equipment to Barbecue the Ribs:
One 13 × 9-inch (or larger) disposable aluminum foil pan
3 cups hickory wood chips, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour
Clean spray bottle
Method
To prepare the spice rub:
1. The day before you cook the ribs, make the spice rub. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and cumin together. Place the ribs on 2 large baking sheets and rub the ribs all over with the spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, to make the barbecue sauce:
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic is tender.
3. Stir in the paprika, then stir in the whisky and vinegar, bring just to a simmer, and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Bring the sauce to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered, stirring often to prevent scorching, for about 30 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat. 
4. Prepare an outdoor grill for low cooking over indirect heat: For a gas grill, place the foil pan over one or two unlit burners and half-fill the pan with water. Turn on the remaining burner(s) and heat the grill to 300°F. Spread 1 cup of the drained wood chips on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the foil directly on the lit burner and wait until the chips are smoking before you add the ribs to the grill.
5. For a charcoal grill, place the foil pan on the charcoal grate on one side of the grill and half-fill the pan with water. Build a charcoal fire on the other side and let it burn until the coals are covered with white ash and you can hold your hand just above the cooking grate for 4 to 5 seconds. (To check the temperature more accurately, cover the grill and drop a long-stemmed metal candy thermometer through the top vent; it should register about 300°F.) Sprinkle 1 cup of the drained wood chips over the coals.
6. Combine the vinegar and 3/4 cup water in the spray bottle. Season the ribs with the salt. Place the ribs on the cooking grate over the water-filled pan. (Don’t worry if the ribs extend over the pan, as the pan will still catch the majority of the dripping juices.) Grill, with the lid closed, turning the ribs over and spraying them every 45 minutes or so with the vinegar mixture, adding another cup of drained wood chips at the same intervals, for about 3 hours, or until the meat is just tender. For a charcoal grill, you will need to add 12 ignited charcoal briquettes (or the equivalent in hardwood charcoal) to the fire along with the chips every 45 minutes to maintain the grill temperature. (Light the charcoal in a chimney starter on a fire-safe surface, or use a small portable grill or hibachi.) For either grill, do not add more wood chips after the 1 hour and 30 minute point, as too much smoke will give the ribs a bitter flavor.
7. Once the ribs are tender, begin brushing them lightly with the barbecue sauce every few minutes or so, allowing the sauce to set before applying the next coat. Continue brushing the ribs with the sauce, turning occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until the meat has shrunk from the ends of the bones. Transfer the ribs to a carving board and let rest for 5 minutes.
Alternatively, to bake the ribs:
8. Position the racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the ribs on the baking sheets with foil. Bake the ribs, rotating the baking sheets and basting the ribs after the first 45 minutes, and recovering them with foil, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender and the meat has shrunk from the ends of the bones.
9. Uncover the ribs, baste them with the barbecue sauce and continue baking for 10 minutes, brushing them lightly with the barbecue sauce every few minutes or so, allowing the sauce to set before applying the next coat.
To serve:
10. Using a large sharp knife, cut the racks into individual ribs. Arrange the ribs on a platter and serve with the remaining sauce on the side.
Some notes about the above recipe and my own diversions… 
One – I went with a smaller cut of ribs (and boneless), because this was more than enough to feed me and the hubs.  The children are living on mac ‘n cheese.  Another true story.  I stuck with the original amounts on the sauce recipe, because we will put a good BBQ sauce to use any day.  I wouldn’t be shocked to find the mister drinking it.  Eww!  haha  Did I take that too far??
Two – I don’t go into the liquor store, like ever. If you saw the kind of day I’ve had, you may suggest that I do… However, I chose to substitute apple juice for the whiskey called for in this recipe. I’m sure that they would’ve tasted just as delicious, if not better, but I have to shop with three monkeys, and a store full of glass was just not happening this week. 😉  You can make the sauce ahead, pour it into a glass canning jar, like the one pictured, and store the extra in the refrigerator.  (We’re having pulled pork on Monday, so I will put the leftovers to good use!)   
Three – As far as cooking, I went with the quicker, oven method.  For the same reason…I have three monkeys to tend to, plus, it’s 20 degrees outside!  We’ll be revisiting this recipe for sure once the weather is warmer, because my hubby loves ribs on the grill…and in the smoker…  He loves ribs.
Thank you, Netflix (and Curtis Stone), for access to a great recipe, and now an affordable, user-friendly TV experience.  You have made us one happy household…
Happy Thanksgiving!!!  Enjoy watching your favorites with your favorites this holiday season!  xo!
Like Netflix on Facebook.  Follow @Netflix on Twitter, and Follow Netflix on Pinterest to get the latest streaming updates!  
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good find friday: week 7


articles (good to know):

modern christian homemaker brings us 15 uses for coffee grounds – who knew?!  i already do one of these simply by chance, but i learned some great new tricks through this as well!  i’m eager to try them out!

dave ramsey’s three easy ways to pay off a mortgage early – say what?!  😉  seriously, who wouldn’t want to pay off their mortgage earlier?  i love tips from trusted, God-fearing professionals.

deseed a pomegranate in 10 seconds – yep.  it works.  it’s beautiful.  you’re welcome.

dry, itching skin remedies – yay for ppl out there finding ways to help ridiculously dry ppl like me!  i will most certainly be keeping this page up all winter long.

articles (good for the soul):

sarah mae’s maybe your two year old just needs you – if i could (well, i could), i would love to just use sarah mae’s motherhood posts as a parenting devotional.  she gets right to the heart of everything that i am personally experiencing with my own babies.  check out her writings.  they will really hit you in the heart.

and, finally…10 marriage tips every WIFE needs to hear – i am sooo guilty of NOT doing many of these lately.  i hope you find it as motivating and helpful as i have today.

happy friday, my friends!  stop in tomorrow for the weekly pinterest link-up.  be blessed, and hope you have a healthy, fun, cozy weekend.

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good find friday: week 6


articles:

hands free mama’s ‘the important things about yelling’ – this is all too familiar. remember when i wrote this post on the mean act? well, it seems i can’t quite shake it. i mean seriously, isn’t there a better way to treat my children when my nerves are snapping? “With deep sorrow,” she writes, “I realized that was not the mother I wanted my children to grow up with, nor was it how I wanted to live the rest of my life.”  i’m in those shoes far too often.  this is a really great post for the stretched mama.

‘the measuring stick principle’ by a holy experience – this post is true revelation.  seriously.  you must read this if you are a female or the parent to females.  this is precious truth and wisdom.  i thank God for fellow humans that seek out the deeper things in life and share what they have learned in order to change the world we live in and the traps that try to snare us all.

for the home:

dreamy white bedrooms from remodelaholic i don’t know about you, but i love white spaces! i started out (in my first apartment) with very bold, deep colorful spaces (think pier one), and then, when my hubby and i got married, i tried my best to mellow out my bold, girly tendencies and make a homey space that fit us both. we had a lot of warm tones, dark woods (think pottery barn). now that we’re in a new house, and i am aging and growing in my tastes and styles (and learning his little by little – since most men are kind of mute when it comes to decor), i am craving more of a laid-back, clean, breezy feel when it comes to decorating. a designer friend gave me a name for my style and she couldn’t have been more right! scandi-chic. yep. that’s me! all that said, enjoy this post by remodelholic featuring some gorgeous, white spaces.

video: 

my hope with billy graham: the cross – lacey sturm formerly the lead vocalist of flyleaf and music artist, lecrae joined great evangelist, billy graham in delivering a moving message on the purpose and power of the cross.  a few excerpts from the video:

…but talk about the depth and the real meaning of the cross and it becomes offensive.  why is that?
the cross is offensive, because it confronts people.  even so, it’s a confrontation all of us must face.
the cross is offensive, because it directly confronts the evilness, which dominates so much of this world.
…because it demands a new lifestyle in all of us.  sin is a disease in the human heart.  it affects the mind, the will, the emotions…

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good find friday: week 4

articles:

the ugly truth about bravery – i thought this was a really great post on bravery, written by jon acuff.  i’ll say – i agree with all but the very last line…  if you want to take an extra minute, read his short ‘about’ section also.  inspires me to do something meaningful with my own life.

the day i left my marriage – those of you that are married know how challenging sharing your everything with someone else can actually be.  i am no picnic; that’s for sure.  not too long ago, i confess that i googled the words, ‘i don’t like my husband.’  what?!  i know…terrible.  we were going through a rough patch, and frankly, he was just on my nerves.  all.of.the.time.  he’d just look at me, and i would get annoyed.  hormones, right?  so anyway, i typed this phrase into the search bar and then looked for a ‘christian’ domain name.  b/c seriously, a christian wife should NOT feel those things, right?!  yeah.  i found this article, and i am so happy that i did, b/c it really helped to shift my perspective.  i have an awesome husband.  he loves Jesus 110%.  he is an amazing father.  he is thoughtful and takes care of others’ needs before his own.  he prays with passion.  he believes with passion.  he hasn’t left me, even during our darkest days.  he’s a gift that i have taken for granted.  i  hope this article helps you out, if you ever find yourself feeling frustrated with your spouse.  changing perspective often changes everything.  and actually, i like him a whole lot!

for the home:

dear lillie – i love this little blog and shop! i love it soooo much, that i hope to offer some of their items in the klover house shop in the near future! i love finding fellow artisans with common interests and passions. amazing hearts and talents over at dear lillie. check them out, and let them know that klover house sent you!

miscellaneous:

‘skinny double chocolate chip muffins’ by sallysbakingaddiction.com made these little guys (little b/c i baked them in my itty bitty tart pans – so cute…) and they were a hit. we drove to dance class with over two dozen. we returned home from dance class with zero! i didn’t have the exact ingredients – for example, i used strawberry kefir in place of the greek yogurt, but they turned out great! i also skipped the chocolate chips throughout. i simply drizzled 5 to 6 on each little muffin. it ended up being the perfect amount for our taste. you’d never guess these chocolately breakfast treats were made with honey, applesauce, kefir, and egg whites!  these will definitely be made frequently in our house!

america’s mood map – just a fun little time-waster.  apparently, i belong in tennessee…or oregon.  how about you?

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good find friday: week 1


{image credit: Linh H. Nguyen via photopin cc}

articles:

  • ten things americans waste money on, by dave ramsey. i am soooo guilty of number ten…why do caramel lattes that don’t require me to do anything but drive sleepy children around a circle have to make me so happy???

home related:

  • making your home a haven challenge by women living well. i am really looking forward to this! i wanted to get a post up yesterday about it, but alas, life happens – which is a good thing! i mean, what would we have to talk about if life was stagnant?! so anyway, check this out. if you want your home to be a sanctuary for your loved ones (and yourself!), you must join the challenge. it sounds like it’s going to bear good fruit if taken sincerely. i’m excited.

brilliant!:

  • happy mommy box – this is awesome. awesome. awesome. awesome. i came across a fellow mommy-blogger’s blog a couple of months ago, and i just loved it right from the start! natalie of the busy budgeting mama is so dear and extremely inspiring! for someone like me, who has an entrepreneurial spirit, she has more than lifted my spirits on the days that seem longer than i can handle, and when my dreams seem too far out of reach. on top of releasing a book (mommy has an angel), she and another sweet blogging mama, mandy, of house of rose, have teamed up to bring us moms something called a happy mommy box. i think this idea is just brilliant and will surely bring joy and encouragement to a lot of women out there – myself included! imagine a monthly surprise on your doorstep…put together with you in mind. such a blessing. love it. love it. love it.

  • stitch fix – coolest thing ever. shopping as a mom of three itty bitties is like non-existent, and even when i can, i don’t want to, b/c shopping with three itty bitties is horribly not fun! seriously. trying on clothes in front of a preschooler is icky. ‘mommy, what happened to your belly button???’ ‘is that where the doctor took the baby out???’ (pointing to a lovely collection of weird-looking stretch marks on a lopsided carcass of a tummy). no thank you. shopping is not fun anymore! well, that is, until a friend shared this lovely site! stitch fix is a a way to put the fun back into shopping! you simply answer a few questions about yourself and your style, and a professional stylist (aka someone who knows what they are actually doing) puts together a collection of goodies for you to try on in the privacy of your own home! glorious! you pay a $20 fee to the stylist up front, and if you choose to purchase anything, that $20 goes towards your purchase. i think it’s worth every penny, so i signed up to receive my first ‘fix’ by the last week in october. i’ll be sure to show you want they send and let you know what i think of the process!

miscellaneous:

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play room plans

so as i mentioned yesterday, i (we) have big plans for the play room. having an elementary ed background and deciding to home-school ava for this first year of ‘pre-school’ have really been the driving forces behind planning this space for the children. ever since deciding that this was the house we were going to buy (back in april), i have been planning the space out and hunting for items that will compliment our style and serve the room’s many purposes – all without spending a lot of money.

i knew from the start that we would get a ton of use out of a chalkboard wall, so we will be converting a wall into a magnetic chalkboard wall from about mid-way down. giving the girls ample amount of chalkboard space will allow for each child to utilize the wall without bickering (we hope), so i can be working with ava on her schoolwork, while isla doodles to her heart’s content in a separate area.

it’s amazing what you can do these days with a little paint. i’m sticking with black, b/c it will coordinate with the bookshelves we already own (ikea’s expedit line) and will go well with the pale wall color we have chosen (serena and lily’s ‘rain’). you can see from this photo i found on apartment therapy that the magnetic paint does actually work, and will end up costing us around $40 or so, depending on how far just one can will go.

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as i mentioned, we already own three of the black/brown expedit bookshelves from ikea. we had them in our living room and dining room of the townhouse. i love this line, b/c they are both versatile and inexpensive. you can use them vertically or horizontally. and the little cube inserts are so cheap! we own a ton of the black ones, but they recently came out with new colors too. i’m loving the teal and yellow… anyway, i plan to sit the shelves side-by-side horizontally. doing that against this longest wall, i’ll still have about three to four feet to spare. i plan to place the girls’ fisher price toys on top of the cases when they’re not being played with, along with the tv. (the tv only plays vhs tapes, btw. we did not run cable into this room, b/c i wanted to be able to control what they will be watching and for how long easily. i scored a ton of safe, appropriate vhs tapes at a secondhand book store in the area. they were selling for $1 a piece! i picked up prince of egypt, mary poppins, and aristocats, just to name a few.)

we have a little laptop desk that we had been using as a tv stand in our old master bedroom. our future plan is to mount a small tv above our dresser, so for now, our old tv is sitting on our dresser, which freed up this little desk (also ikea). i wanted a desk in here that was small enough to blend in. i wanted the other features of the room to stand out more than my little workspace. i like that i have a place to sit and read, write, or catch up on emails while still being able to interact with my girls only a few feet away. we have a little desk/counter in the kitchen, but i like being able to see what they are doing and be consistently engaged in their play activities.

aside from using things we already owned (like the furniture, lamps, curtains, and toy bins), we have also been able to control cost by buying little things here and there over the past few months. once i had the wall color picked out, i was able to find additional items at random times. i came across some adorable prints on etsy. i had my hubby pick out one for each daughter (based upon the girls’ individual personalities). they were all created by the same artist, so they go together, but each is entirely its own subject. you’ll love them! they cost about $14 each, which is a splurge for me, but i planned ahead and purchased them at an opportune time. the same goes for the canvas art i came across at tj maxx about two months ago. it went with our color scheme, and the saying on it is perfect for our family, so i bought it. it too was $14. the last accessory i have on my immediate list is an adorable ‘button’ rug that i found at ikea for just $39.99. if you know rug prices, then you know that this is a steal for a large rug. plus, it’s soft, which is key when designing a kids’ play space. i wanted something fun, colorful (but not in-your-face), and SOFT. it’s perfect, b/c it’s all three.

as far as a cute chair to go with my desk…i’m going to be patient and picky. i hate spending money on anything just to get it. i want it to be the right chair, at the right price, so i’ll just keep my eyes open while i’m out, and if i find that perfect, little seat at a price i can swing…i’ll grab it up! until then, my tush will be fine on a folding chair…

so…that’s where we’re headed in this room! i can’t wait to share our progress with you! the flooring should be completed by mid-september, so once that’s finished, i’ll be able to tackle some of the rest. here are those ‘before’ images again with my chicken-scratch all over them! 😉 let me know what you think! let those creative juices flow and play design with me!


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welcome home!

we’re in!  we’ve been in our new home since tuesday afternoon.  it’s been a wild ride, but we’re in, and sorting through a sea of boxes.  i said to my hubby last night, exhausted, that i just packed all of this stuff!  now, i don’t want to unpack! 
i often think in pictures…life leading up to the move was like scrambling before an impending waterfall.  then, you’re over, and kind of floating along in the aftermath!  that’s us…floating along in the aftermath…i still can’t find isla’s clothing.  oops.
things have been a tad bumpy, but, like with everything else, i’m sure the kinks will work themselves out eventually.  both our washing machine and dryer went kaput on the first day.  not helpful when your babies are peeing and pooping all over the place!  i currently have two outfits just hanging out in vinegar water until i can’t get them to a washing machine.  both appliances came with the house and are on the old side.  the house itself is about twenty years old.  i take that back…it’s twenty years young!  hubs and i are going to make this place sparkle, right?!  right. 
i feel like we’ve already done so much.  well, the mister has already done so much.  we went and ordered a new, slimmer couch.  the old ones were really beat up and so bulky that they are destined to remain in the basement.  in fact, the sofa is too large to even fit through the door, so we’re just selling it.  the oversized arm chair made it all the way up to our bedroom, and we’re loving it!  it’s nice to be able to hang out in our bedroom without sitting on the bed.  it’s also the perfect nursing retreat.   
he mowed the lawn yesterday with an ancient push mower, because our mower wouldn’t work.  so after church he’s picking up a lawnmower.  we also need a microwave.  we tried, really we did, but we couldn’t live without the convenience of a microwave.  kudos to the previous owners – they didn’t use a microwave OR cable!  i had a useless cup of cold coffee and a recipe that called for melted butter, so mama threw in the towel after just four days!  i need a microwave.  i’d consider myself old-fashioned, but i don’t have the time to warm my coffee repeatedly on the stove.  and if you’re thinking, ‘why don’t you just drink it while it’s hot???’ i’d say, ‘wow.  what a novel idea!  haha reality is that i’m lucky to finish a single beverage by noon.
anyway, the list goes on…he put down new vinyl in the master bath, and then, we realized that the toilet doesn’t work.  luckily, we have two others in the house that do, but it stinks to learn we wasted that money on a floor that will be torn up once we do replace the toilet.
funny how we made our to-do list based on our budget prior to buying, but the house itself is giving us its own to-do list now that we’re here.  the only upside…you’re guaranteed about sixty years worth of project posts on the blog!  haha  slow ‘n steady wins the race, right?  😉
the girls’ play room is still at the top of our list, so i’ll be starting it soon!
here’s a sneak peek at its current state:
the girls already love it, but just wait until i’m done with it!  it’s going to be awesome.  (and done on a teeny weeny budget too!)  stay tuned!
  
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moving on

so, moving day is upon us. we have exactly ten ‘sleeps’ left in our current home. for those of you new to the blog, or that don’t know us personally, i’ll let you in on some of our more intimate details…

hubs and i didn’t live together before marriage. i’m not about to go down that path of stating why or why not – we just knew what we believed to be right for us, and we decided to spend our first nights together under the same roof as husband and wife.

our first ‘place’ was literally under the roof…he moved into my itty bitty attic apartment. poor guy bumped his head at every turn! he was so kind about it though. needless to say, we started house hunting immediately! it must have been a dry spell in the housing market around here, b/c we were faced with slim pickings. our realtor tickled our cramped fancies by showing us this brand new townhouse community in a desirable location. hubs was driving quite a commute to a nearby city at the time, and so being right off the interstate was so enticing. not to mention, we were still ten minutes from practically every family member, and i had about a three minute commute to the school in which i was student teaching. we spent those summer months following our wedding day in sweaty anticipation (my apt had no a/c) for our bigger, brand new home!

fast-forwarding here…we moved in on the first of october 2008, and it wasn’t until december 2009 that we welcomed our beautiful child, ava, into our lives. this is where it really begins.

the other day, as i was thinking about this move…this house…the life that exists here…i found myself dwelling on the ‘good-bye.’  i have been sooo eager to sell this house and move on. since finding out about eden, we have been in the ‘need a bigger home’ mode. we’ve hit it hard, and although we’ve been delivered a few blows and endured what has been a rollercoaster ride of offers and emotions, after having our home on the market for nearly four months, we are finally ready for the grand exodus.

and here is where my mind and spirit went…

in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Gen. 1:1-2)

now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen. 2:5-7)

and therein lies something beautiful that applies to what happened within these four walls that december. we became a family. we, by the gift of God, formed man in our own image. we prepared a place for this little being, but before her, without her, it was just a formless place, a room, walls, paint, a spare bed and a mess of boxes. then, she came, and God Himself, breathed life into that room, and like a miraculous breeze, He allowed more life to flow into bedroom after bedroom, until four babies later (one in heaven), we have a house whose walls are literally breathing. their rooms became alive when we hung that first piece of decor. our kitchen took its first breath when we put that ultrasound picture on the refrigerator…and like a child moving from milk to solids, the spirit of this home grew stronger and stronger with every kitchen dance party, birthday celebration, bath time, bedtime, late night feeding time…my goodness, our house is alive, and it seems we’re saying good-bye to a trusted friend and the keeper of so many precious memories.  when the new owner moves in, and he hears and feels the cool, kitchen floor creek under his feet for the first time, he’ll have no idea how i’ve come to expect saying hello to those worn boards almost every night for the past three years as i’m venturing in the dark to get a little person a bottle, a cup of milk, or a dose of tylenol.  

i wish, to make it easier on my heart, that our house could feel more like an object, a stepping stone, a place we simply occupied, but i can’t. i’ll never forget any of it. i can’t go into too many details, b/c there are so many, but we’ve brought babies into this home and we’ve lost a baby in this home. i could tell you exact spots in which i felt the first contractions of impending deliveries. i close my eyes an can see us reading stories to ava in her bed…catching glimpses of the girls playing on isla’s floor together…finding them jumping on our bed in the middle of the day while the afternoon sun floods our bedroom… i’ll miss that backyard view from that bedroom too. laying on the bed on a lazy sunday, staring out the window into a sea of trees or a screen of snowfall…i will miss that. i will miss all of these moments and places. i just pray and pray that the life in these walls follows us to those new walls and fills them up with the same warmth and love we’ve shared here.

i don’t know what the girls will actually remember as they grow, but i hope that everything they do remember is as fun and loving as we tried to make it for them every day.  

i hope you don’t mind coming down memory lane with me over the next week and a half as we wind down our time here…

the great thing about the internet is you won’t have to see how weepy these posts are making this mama!  😉

a different way to play with window clings!

during a recent trip to the craft store (michael’s), i raided their clearance bins – buying up all kinds of little artsy crafts and kits.  i picked up two of everything, b/c i have two little girls that are still working on the art of sharing…
one of the little things i found was this adorable little kit that included a sheet of pixies/fairies, flowers, birds, butterflies, etc. and a laminated background.  i gave each of the girls a kit, and we headed outside to play with them on the patio.  for a few minutes, things were going well, but then the little clings started to curl in heat and fall to the ground, collecting dust and dirt…this wasn’t going to work.
light bulb.  
(i can’t wait to see despicable me 2 btw!  haha  i think hubs and i get as into those little yellow guys as much as our kids do.  i don’t know what they’re called, but around here we call them the ‘pip-squeaks.’  i’m too lazy to google while writing, so i will afterwards, now that i’m thinking about it…  anyway, major rabbit trail…  sorry.)
i taped the background sheets to the OUTSIDE of our sliding glass door, and the girls were able to play with the fairies, birds, and butterflies on the INSIDE.  
so simple.  so cute.  so wise, right?  haha

b/c our second floor pops out a good foot or so, the slider is well-protected from above by the house.  the rain hasn’t damaged the paper scenery one bit, so i’ve actually had it up for about six days now.  the kids are still playing with them.

b/c it has been such a hit and so easy to do, i plan on laminating backgrounds for any future clings we purchase.  i could print something off or let the kids create their own scenes.  
the possibilities are endless!  best two dollars i’ve spent this month…on crafts, that is.  
(that blueberry bagel from panera was tops, too.  just sayin.’)

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