master bathroom before & after

We’ve been slowly (like painfully slow) working on our master bathroom. The cabinets were this boring natural wood color, but the cabinets and counter top were really too nice to even think about replacing (not to mention we couldn’t afford it).

Here are some before shots:

masterbath sink before



I finally got the cabinets painted last Fall and we hung up the doors. Leaving the floor…

Master bath WIP

Ripping up that first square of sticky tile junk was invigorating and then just plain disgusting. When it came time to start stripping the glue up I had to leave the room. Enter the manly man. He ended up taking over the project and did he ever do an amazing job! We found one snafu when we started ripping up the last corner of tiles and had to feather in some new hardwood (no challenge for that handyman of mine) and after priming and painting the floors we installed a brand new lovely toilet (which was our one splurge on this project). I’m thrilled with how it turned out.

And here are the after shots

Master bath remodel

Master bath remodel

Master bath remodel

Over the last few days I gathered up the finishing touches and was thrilled to find a two tiered rack at Hobby Lobby today for a quarter of the price of others I’ve been eying. Truly the cherry on top.


Here’s a breakdown of what we did and spent:

Painted the cabinets (1 quart of paint and primer – $15)
Painted the walls (1 gallon paint – $30
Finished the shower curtain aka quilt top (free by using an gifted quilt top and an old sheet)
Hung the shower curtain with drapery clips from Target (roughly $6 for 2 packs)
Removed the sticky tiles and glue from the floor (roughly $50 for paint stripper and supplies and paint for the floor)
Replaced the baseboard trim (free – reused it from the basement)
Curtain valance ($10 from flea market – clip rod and rings $10 from Ikea)
Cabinet Hardware ($15 at Lowes)
Toilet ($149 – we did splurge on a Kohler)
two tier rack for toiletries ($20 on sale at Hobby Lobby),
towel hooks ($15 on sale at Hobby Lobby),
mirror was exchanged from downstairs bathroom (free)
floor rug ($8 on clearance at World Market)

I’m sure there are some other hidden costs in there, but roughly the grand total of around $320. Not bad at all!

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before & after: a boy’s room

We spent this past weekend making a day run down to Georgia to visit the holy land of self-serve furniture…that is Ikea. We had two major rooms to tackle with this trip and first up was our son’s room.


Before and after boys room

It had become an absolute pit of despair. I hated going in there and honestly he tried to clean it up, but it had gotten so terrible that it was just overwhelming for all of us. The other problem was that his storage needs totally didn’t fit with the storage that was available to him. A few years go I had bought this little side table for his night stand, this wire shelf for a shelf and this desk on clearance at Target. It was our way of trying to give him some better storage on a super tight budget. We knew that the wire shelf wouldn’t be long term and would eventually find it’s way into our basement.

Before and after boys room

It all truly was a hod-podge of stuff that we had tried to make the best of…but the Legos, books and his other stuff was consuming his floor and everywhere else. Something had to be done. Enter Ikea.


After searching high and low for a nice, inexpensive desk and bookshelf option for him I realized that the best long term option for him (and our budget) was the Expedit system from Ikea. We opted to buy two of the double towers (versus one large system) and then the attaching desk. Our thought was that long term, these would provide greater flexibility for him when he goes off to wherever after high school and needs furniture!

Before and after boys room

We replaced his little side table from Target with a nicer nightstand. This one has a shelf for his radio and a drawer for all his table junk 🙂

Before and after boys room

Before and after boys room

All of us can breathe easier now that this is done and man it is so much more pleasant in his room! Now we just need to find some fun art to hang above his desk and I think we can call it done! A great bedroom for my newly turned double digit boy.


Project number two?

My studio space:

Studio space before

Last January I was flooded out of my basement space and had to move up to the kitchen. Realizing that this is probably going to be where I’m working for the next long while, we knew that I would need to redo my organization too. Stay tuned!!

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14 days of love {day 7}


Today I’m sharing our Valentine gift to our kiddos. Last year we did a year of family adventures. We did pretty well overall, but I did pretty poor planning when it came to the family budget and these adventures. Some months it took us a few extra months to get the activity done and we still have 2 hanging on our fridge. That said, this year we decided to do a mix of individual and family dates.

Our kids are 9 and 6 and at the ages where they are more apt to have a good conversation with us if we are one on one versus as a whole family. I divided up the year and went back and forth between dates with my husband and I and then we have 4 family adventures thrown in there. When one date with a child had money involved I tried hard to make up a frugal or free date for the other one and then swap up as the year progressed. We’ll see how I did as this year goes through!

Valentines year of dates 2013

I printed out labels with distinct clip art, one for the boy and one for the girl. Then I went through and made little cards with the date written on it and whether it was with mom, dad or a family date. My mom had a huge stack of random little envelopes so I just used those and glued down the month labels on the outside and stuck the date cards inside. So this year they will each have a little envelope to open up the first of every month.


Valentines year of dates 2013

Now I’m trying to figure out what to store them in. I know Target has those little fun mailboxes so I may just go grab a couple of those or I might make little bags to hang somewhere in the kitchen where we won’t forget them.


Here are a few examples of our dates:

for the chick:
trip to coffeehouse, pedicures at home, ice cream date, tea party with dad, craft/sewing activity with mom, buy a plant at a nursery and bring it home and plant it, bake holiday treats

for the boy:
trip to coffeehouse, batting cages with dad, fishing, woodworking project with dad, bake a fancy cake with mom, visit to a local museum

for the family:
chocolate fondue night, family water gun fight, day of giant blanket forts, children’s choice holiday activity

If you are interested in a pdf version of my templates, please email me and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.

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thredUp beware


A few years ago I saw a review of a company called ThredUp. The concept was simple. Fill up a box of gently used clothing and then list those items and other parents were able to review all the different boxes and chose one. I did this at least 3-4 times and never had a complaint about the clothing that I had sent in. And while I had a few duds in some of my boxes, for the most part it was all represented accurately.

Recently their company decided to do away with the swapping boxes idea and become somewhat of an online consignment store. The idea is you send in a bag of clothes to them, they go through them and then chose the ones that meet their criteria and give you credit for them. You can go to their website, use their iPad app and shop for clothes online. Simple right?

I thought I would give it a try. I have a local consignment store that I love, but it’s 30 minutes from my house. The idea that I could just fill up a bag, leave it on my step for the postal worker was rather appealing. I ordered my little green dotted bag, filled it up with clothes that I would have normally taken to my local shop and waited.
And waited. And waited.

Finally I heard back from the company that I had received a whopping 80 cents for the one shirt out of 20+ items that they decided met their criteria. I was told the rest of the items were stained or ripped. Totally untrue.

After doing a little nosing around on the internet, I found blog after blog where people had written great reviews about the items they had received from ThredUp (for free to review), but comment after comment about situations like mine. They even have a multitude of complaints to the Better Business Bureau for the same thing.

So, while ThredUp may be a great place to buy clothing…DO NOT send in your clothes there. Support your local consignment store, do a clothing swap with friends, heck give that bag of clothes to someone in your community that needs them. But stay clear of that little green polka dotted bag.

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responsibilities, contributions & expectations


Post Updated June 12, 2018

I decided to update this post a little bit based on constant feedback I keep getting from this post all these years later. This little girl is now about to enter 6th grade and the boy is about to be a freshman. I can tell you that my philosophy on raising children, making charts and all that has changed – but not super radically. I can look back at these posts and see plenty of things I would have changed, but plenty of things that I probably might do the same. This if/then chart is one of them. I might revamp my consequences (but knowing my kids for 6 more years obviously helps in knowing now what might have worked better for them – hindsight is always clearer, right?) At the request of many, I have updated the chart below and made it pdf where the consequences are blank – you can either type or write them in and it’s finally available in my Etsy shop here.


I was a special education teacher for nearly 10 years. One thing that was constantly remarked to me was that I never gave up trying something for something better. If something wasn’t working, I modified it or scrapped it and tried something else. That tenaciousness has carried over into my parenting and home life. I’m constantly drafting and changing all sorts of things in our house. (which drives my husband crazy) Sometimes it’s because it’s not working, sometimes it’s boredom and sometimes it’s because I saw something that might work better.

I came up with this if/then chart a while ago and I’ve tweaked it many times since. Lately some things have happened in our home that have made us realize that this chart really wasn’t working for us and we were going to need to radically change some of the consequences. We’ve really figured out what consequences were working with our children, what were exacerbating the situation and not helping and what areas we really needed to focus on. The primary consequence that works with both our children is a removal from the situation. They both just need that time to collect themselves before they can listen and enter back into family life. My husband and I also just needed help with being on the same page. I came up with some key phrases (maybe like our family mottos?) and verses that would match. (these verses come from Desiring God’s children’s memory verse system we’ve been working through). So here is our updated version:

updated if/then expectations chart

The next big thing I worked on was our new responsibility/contribution system. It will be a few weeks before we get it hung up and all the kinks worked out, but here is a broad picture of it:

new contributions/responsibility charts

Like I mentioned before, I used the idea from here and tweaked it for our family. We basically divided home stuff into two categories: responsibilities (you do these because you are a member of this family with no “reward”) and contributions (these are things you can earn money for).

Every day they see their chart:

individual responsibility/contributions charts

There might be extra responsibility things that I add daily and for the contributions there might be specific things they need to do that day (mow the yard) or it might say “pick 2” and they get to choose.

When they choose, they are choosing from this list of contributions:

contribution magnets

As they finish a contribution, they put it on their cookie sheet. At the end of the day, they add up how much money they earned and put it on their time sheet. On Sundays, they are paid their commission for the week.

daily/weekly time sheet and tech boards

Hopefully by next Sunday (their first payday) I will have 3 change purses for each. One for saving, one for giving and one for spending. For my son, who is almost 9, he will be working towards his first savings account deposit. When he saves enough to open his account, he will start putting all his save money in the bank towards a car when he turns 16. For my daughter, who is 5, we are going to decide on one large item that she is saving for. She desperately needs to learn that in order to get something big, you have to wait for it. (patience is not her strong suit!)

The other thing on their cookie sheets are their technology cards. Each Sunday they get a new card with 10 punches equally 45 minutes of plugged in time. When the card is punched out, they are done for the week. No new card until Sunday.

Like I said, we just unveiled the system today, so this week is going to be a trial and error. They’ve known about the tech cards for a while so they thought it was kind of fun. They probably won’t be laughing come Thursday when they are punched out! 🙂 But I won’t be either!

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