Thursday, April 24, 2014

Playroom Mini Update

Loving the shelving already in place in the playroom. Thanks to a great hubby who is handy with a saw. And, I always check the Clearance aisles when I go to Target. You never know what great finds are waiting there!! The blue baskets were a score!! Target Clearance aisle. Originally $21 each. I purchased them for $7.00 each for a total of $14. One holds balls right now and the other is holding blocks.

Target Baskets {Clearance}
Pottery Barn Shelving 

Shelving by Gary 
We have to still add the doors to the bottom portion and one more shelf will be in the playroom by the end of the week after the backing is added.

Very excited about the progress. I also have painting a rolling cart {Will repaint a color other than yellow} to add as art storage and making pillow covers using some IKEA fabric I purchased a while back on my TO DO list. I still love the IKEA cart since the sides come up and would prevent supplies from rolling or falling off, but my flea market find will do for now.

Flea Market Rolling Cart
IKEA Cart I would Love to Have

IKEA Fabric
Stay tuned for the finished product. More to come.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Minimalist Living: Saving Time on Housework

Minimalist Living is all about saving your time for those things that really matter. It is sometimes overwhelming for stay at home moms as well as those moms in the workplace to get it all done, especially when there are children involved.

The sure fire way to save time on housework is to just have less stuff, but how do you keep up with the essentials like laundry, dishes, meals, etc.?

There are a lot of sayings out there about housework like, "Please Excuse the Mess, The Children Are Making Memories" or the one my hubby used to create a gift for me "Good Moms Have Sticky Floors, Dirty Ovens, Piles of Laundry and Happy Kids."

I do like the idea behind both of these sayings - we shouldn't let housework and chores and errands take precedence over spending quality time with our kids.


If everyone left their dishes in the sink every day, there eventually wouldn't be any clean dishes and there would be a smell. If the laundry were left undone, you would soon hear, "Have you washed tennis clothes this week?" or "Mom, did you clean my favorite shirt? I HAVE to wear it tomorrow." 

So, how do you balance the work with spending quality time with your kids? You take care of what really has to be done and you don't sweat the other things. You go play instead or take time for a hot bath and that book you never seem to be able to finish reading!!

A Few Tips to Make Housework Faster and Easier
{Things I Do}

  1.  DELAY START feature on your appliances {Washer, Oven, Dishwasher and Dryer if your dryer has one}
         - Load the dishwasher after dinner and set it to begin washing after baths. In the morning,                 you will have clean dishes and your kitchen will be clean enough to prepare breakfast.
         - Load your washing machine at night. Set it to wash about an hour before you generally 
           wake up. When you wake up, turn on the coffee machine and put the clothes in dryer. 
         - Use your oven's COOKING TIME feature if your oven has one. I have only done this one 
           time, but you put the food in and the oven shuts off when the food is done. Of course, you 
           do need to check at this point to ensure the food is completely cooked. 

    2.  Time saving appliances for cooking {Crock Pot, Vacuum Pot, Steamer, Pressure                           Cooker, Rice Cooker   

        - You can pretty much cook anything in a crockpot - just keep it healthy! A Whole Chicken 
            is great for Sunday lunch {The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot}
           {Slow Cooker Hamilton Beach}

         - Thermos Thermal Cooker {Thermos Thermal Cooker}. The one we own has two size       
           inserts and was a gift from Gary's mom from Asia. We use this mainly in the winter for                  hot soups or Asian dishes. The insert is filled with the food you are cooking along with the              (water or stock) and boiled on the stove. You then place the lid on the container and put it               in the outer insulated cooker and close the sealable lid. You can even do a search for       
            thermal cookware recipes on Pinterest. 
            Recipes: {Corn and Pork Rib Soup} and {Chicken Apple Soup}

        - Rice Cooker - of course you can cook rice in this! But, if your rice cooker also has a     
           steaming tray that goes in the top, you can steam veggies or potatoes (This is great with    
           small children) You can also mix chicken, eggs, or other ingredients in with the rice. 
           {Stainless Steel Rice Cooker}  Dear Hubby - this would be a great one to replace our rice 
           cooker with :) 

   3. Weekly Meal Planning
       - Plan your shopping list and then menu based on local sales. Buy produce using the Clean 15          and Dirty Dozen lists to save money. 
      - Shop the perimeter of the store buying fresh fruits and veggies, meat and dairy to save money         and time and eat healthier. 
      -Buy only what is on your list to save money. If you are lucky, your hubby will let you go    
       alone and you can have a coffee while you casually peruse the aisles!

  4. Clean as you go
      -Rinse dishes and load the dishwasher as you cook
      -Turn clothing and socks right side out when you take them off; have laundry hampers to sort          clothes; use mesh bags for socks

The Container Store $59 {Ours Came from IKEA - much cheaper}

      -Spray stains and soak items right away {Especially kids' stains - save those expensive clothes           for the next child, donating or consigning}
      -Clear clutter at night before bed

 5. Pack away toys and other items your kids don't play with right now - this helps eliminate a lot        of extra clutter and toys around the house

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Playroom Dreams {A place to play and learn}

For now, our playroom is in what was intended as our dining room. We do have space upstairs for a playroom if we did away with our guest room, but placing D's playroom where it is has two advantages:

1. We still have room for guest(s) [ie family from out of town]
2. D is much easier to watch downstairs where I can also do a few chores
3. It is open, but we were able to enclose with gates for a safe place for him to play (without the dogs interrupting)

Playroom Now

Having the playroom in the dining room does present a few design issues. For one, our dining room is completely open to the front door so lots of toys = messy unwelcoming entryway. This is not okay since the entryway is supposed to the the spot people see when they come in that makes them want to kick off their shoes and stay awhile.

As you can see from the photos above, many of the toys are just lined up around the room or are in large bags. The canvas bag with the "Moose" came from Home Goods, the grey felt bag from Target and the Lion chair from Costco.

Secondly, we have a baby gate to keep Declan separate from our two dogs while he is playing. This, along with the entry dresser causes a tunnel effect and really makes getting in and out of the front door a challenge at times.

So, here is what I envision for this space to help alleviate some of these issues:

A. Cameron Storage Wall {Shelving/Storage}and IKEA Expedit Shelf {IKEA Expedit} (this will be moved to his big boy room at some point)
B. Seating Floor Pillow/Poufs {Pillow} {Poufs} {Adult Seating} {Adult Seating/Extra Guest Bed}
C. Table{Table and Chairs}
D. Wall Art - envisioning world maps and bright art
E. Bins - you have to keep things organized - to an extent {Bins}
F. Flooring {Floor Tiles} {Carpet Tiles}
G. Organization for Learning
H. {Possibly} Barn Doors {Barn Doors}
I.   Accessories {Globes}

We don't want anything too permanent on the walls since this room will at some point become a dining room again. So, here it VISION.

A  Container Store Smart Store System {Container Store}
B  IKEA Raskog Rolling Cart {Art Cart}
C  IKEA Knappa Pendant Light {Current Lighting} **Note: We got this same fixture at Lowe's
D  DIY Canvas Rug {Rug}
E  DIY or Buy Floor Pouf {Land of Nod} {DIY}
F  Pillows {Serina and Lily} and {Land of Nod "D"} or {Serina and Lily Initial Pillow} Pottery           Barn also has some Initial Pillows
G  IKEA Latt Children's Table and Chairs {Table and Chairs}
H  Pottery Barn or Ballard Designs {Comfort Swivel Rocker} or {Sleeper Chair}
I   Pottery Barn Cameron Shelving {Cameron Creativity Center}
J  Chalkboard for Daily/Weekly Scripture and Map Wall Art {USA Wall Art}
K DIY Book Storage and Target Tote Storage {2Sisters2Cities Rolling Cart} {Canvas Basket Navy}

If you went to all of these links and added up the costs, it is WAY more than we can afford. But, there is hope! Here is how we have and will cut costs.

  • I have always LOVED the IKEA cart, but I have a two tier rolling cart from a flea market $30 that I can spruce up a bit and use as an art cart. 
  • DIY Floor Pillows - we were given 3 very large pillows from a friend who was moving back overseas. We have carted these burgundy pillows from state to state and apartment to apartment and somehow they survived the move to our current home. They will be slipcovered and used as floor pillows {I have cute fabric from IKEA I have had for a while}
  • Wall Storage Unit - If you haven't checked out Ana White, you should! Gary and I are in the process of building this unit now (he more building and me more painting I should say) {Ana White}
  • Seating - We were given a glider and ottamen for the nursery that will most likely be reupholstered again and find its way into this space. I will save for a swivel recliner for the next baby (fingers crossed) {Decorating the Nursery for Adoption}
  • The art will be DIY for sure. I have some ideas for artwork that I will paint and I love the idea of the state map on canvas - pretty easy DIY project. 
  • Flooring - We already have the rubber interlocking tiles down so those will stay for the meantime, but if the playroom is ever moved upstairs to a carpeted area, there will also be an area rug added to protect the carpet
  • Save, save, save!! Wipes containers, plastic or metal formula container, baby food plastic containers with tops -- all of these make great art supply containers. 
  • I would also LOVE to have barn doors over this opening to the playroom, but the hanging equipment is expensive. If we stay in this house for the long haul, we will be doing this using farm supplies and building the doors ourselves to save money. 

So there you have it! As soon as the shelving is built and painted and finds its way into the space, I will get it all organized for the unveiling!! Hopefully this will be sooner than later, but we lead the busy lives of working parents of a toddler so..... 

New Fab Playroom Coming Soon! I will add the link here when it is finished.