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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celebrating 10


In our house, we flip-flop birthday party years. If it’s your off year for a party, then you have the choice of a special dinner in or out and/or a special family event. This year my son’s tenth birthday fell on an off year. I struggled with not giving him some sort of party for this big double digit birthday. In the end, we opted to celebrate his day by giving him a day of “tens.”

Here’s the way it went!

10 balloons:


First we decided to decorate his door with a barrage of 10 balloons.

One through 9 scavenger hunt:

Next up, he had to go through a few different rooms in the house to find the numbers one through nine posted on various photos around the house. The photos were my best to guess of his age in different family photos in the family room and our bedroom. He ended at number ten in front of his breakfast for me to take his ten picture.

Ten donuts on top:


His special breakfast request was donuts, so we made him a do-nut tower 10 donuts tall. (and no, he didn’t eat all of them in one sitting!)

10 pencils hiding in a pocket:

When he got to school, he had a fun pack of these 10 crazy mechanical pencils I had found at Wal-Mart hiding in his planner. (alas, I forgot a photo of these!)

A lunch of ten:


For lunch, he requested a hot thermos of soup and then I made a collection of ten things. Each little cup had ten of something in them. Ten mini reese’s cups, ten goldfish, ten pieces of cheese, ten animal crackers, ten pretzels and ten cracker halves.

We ended the day with a great dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and the biggest piece of cheesecake I’ve ever seen!

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what’s up…

Things are a little nutty around here. That’s the way life goes I guess.
The stomach bug reared it’s ugly head for at least a week last week and boy I’m so happy to see it gone.

We sold almost every table and chair we own this weekend in less than 24 hours. Standing in our empty kitchen we both wondered if we had done something irrational (don’t answer that!) and we are now eating on my grandmothers rickety antique table that has served as a table on and off for us for more years than it should. That said, our reward is a new matching table and chairs for our upcoming anniversary. Sixteen years is a long time to wait for a matching set!

I decided to do a little local blog advertising right about the same time I was offered an interim teaching position. Great planning. But I’m clinging to the promise that the Lord never gives us more than we can handle and I’m planning on keeping the shop up and running…just the felt cape kits are on a requested basis only.

Talking about the little bit of advertising love: head on over to frugalissa finds and read about the history of my little shop, some of my favorite items and enter in a give away for either an embroidered pendant or 5 DIY felt cape sets.

And say a prayer that our family makes it through the next few weeks with me working full time, plus etsy, plus more I’m sure that I don’t even want to think about.

But you know what? Irregardless of how crazy the next few weeks are, I’m crazy thankful for this opportunity and the reality of how well God takes care of me.

If you are visiting here from frugalissa finds…consider yourself welcomed!

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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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