mom hacks no. 1

Or simply: Things We Do in our House to Make Things More… Simple.

1. If it’s not labeled on the toy itself, write the type of batteries that a toy requires on the outside, so you don’t go through the trouble of getting out a screwdriver only to find you don’t have the right kind of batteries. And then the kids cry.

2. Put stuff close to where you will use it.  I used to keep my daughter’s hairdo supplies  in her bathroom upstairs, then I moved them downstairs to the cabinet in the guest bathroom. Then I thought, “That’s dumb too.” I do my daughter’s hair at the breakfast table on school mornings, so this is much faster.  Weird to have hair supplies on the fridge? Maybe. Nice to have extra time on school mornings? Absolutely.  (PS – there are tiny rubber bands in the bottom of the basket.  I’ve found that the whatchamacallit popular loomy- bracelet-making rubber bands are the BEST for doing little girls’ hair.  They hold tight enough and they don’t get tangled when you pull them out.  And there’s like, a bazillion in a package, so I don’t reuse them… just trash them after each use.)

3. If you have younger kids who don’t go to school yet, pack their lunch when you pack your school-age kids’ lunches. You have all the stuff out already anyway, and then when hunger strikes, you can direct them to their lunchbox instead of scrambling to decide what to feed them.  My 4-year old starts asking to eat his lunch at like, 9:30am.

Sometimes I let him. What?

4. Lay out a week’s worth of clothes at a time. (or sometimes I do 2-3 weeks at a time if I have enough clean laundry for it.) See this post for one of my favorite school morning saving-grace projects: day of the week hanging shelves.

5. And/also… Have your kids sleep in their clothes if you know a particular morning is going to be hectic. Kids’ clothes feel like pajamas anyway, right?   We do this specifically when we know we’re leaving early in the morning for a road trip, etc.

More hacks to come as I come across them in every day life…

Any quick tips that you use to make school mornings, or just mom-life in general, go more smoothly?

craft: laundry room layout

So, I don’t like doing laundry. (or dishes for that matter)  So, I’ll do anything I can to make it better.  That includes making the laundry room, albeit small, a happy place to look at.

I  saw this idea of hanging a ladder for drip-dry laundry items, so I immediately called my antique-barn-sale friend to see if she had any for sale.  Awww, too bad.  She did. :-)  We needed to solve the problem of our drip dry clothes hanging from the doorway; one of the things I love about our house design is that our master closet has a sliding door that leads to the laundry room.  However, it makes a bad spot for hanging clothes because it’s a walkway.

I  found these free printables on CraftGawker a while back, and the idea for the “laundry” sign on Etsy and already had the materials to make one, so those were a quick afternoon projects.

I originally wanted to hang the ladder from the ceiling like all the photos I had seen, but my hubby wasn’t too keen on all the clothes hanging over our heads in that same walkway, so after much brainstorming, this was the solution.  I had to be careful to hang the ladder high enough, and the vintage printables had to be hung with stick-on adhesives rather than nails because the sliding door recesses into the wall behind the ladder.

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I hinged the ladder in the studs above the doorway, and drilled a hole in the back of the ladder to insert a pole to hold the ladder out away from the wall. (I used a bamboo paint-roller extension pole from Lowe’s).  I also put felt pads on the bottom corners of the ladder to keep it from scratching the paint when it’s let back down from the upright position.

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I’m really happy with the ladder solution.  It’s great as a decorative element most of the time, and only gets pulled out when we need to hang a few garments.  Good compromise.

Someday, I think I’d like to paint the walls a fun color, but for now, this makes doing laundry a little less painful.

craft: wooden spool table

So, I really wanted to make a clock out of a wooden cable spool. Voila – new construction down the street, and there, stacked on top of a pile of pallets by the dumpster, a wooden spool. Perfect size.

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Brought that guy home.

Then it sat for a few weeks while I decided that our home didn’t actually need any more clocks. But I remembered seeing something like this on a blog one time.

So my little man helped me take it apart, sand it and put it back together.

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Both the big kids helped paint the sides, we attached some wheels, and done!  I love that it was originally constructed with the metal screw rods inside the wooden spool (we removed half of the wooden supports) so we could use the rods for book props underneath.  They love it!  It’s just their size.  We already had the chairs, and I already had the paint, so the whole project was $4.97 for the caster wheels on the bottom.  I love those kinds of projects. :-)





Now I’m realizing that our playroom does need a clock, so I guess I’ll have to go find another spool. 😛

just remember…



My daughter was upset that I wouldn’t let her take her indoor toys (dolls, Barbies, etc) outside to play in the yard with the neighborhood kids.  We had a little timeout for her attitude – one thing we work on constantly is being content with what we have. (Our motto is, “be content with what you have or you lose what you have”.). 

She was upset because she wanted to have a “club” with the neighborhood kids, which really just means playing like they do every day, but with a special hand drawn sign saying “club” taped to the front door.  😛

I offered her a few options – have a club with outdoor toys, make a fun sign or invitations… She balked at those but then eventually ran off to do her thing. 

Then, I see her in the kitchen, cup after cup disappearing out the front door. Then plastic straws, then crayon and paper. And my immediate thought is, “What a mess!” 

Then… I went outside to see what she was doing. 

“I got everyone a drink so they wouldn’t have to run all the way home if they got thirsty. I was thinking of others as more important than myself.” (Another motto) 

Well, melt my heart. 

So, just remember…  We’re not just here to make sure they don’t make a mess.

Remember to cherish it, dwell in it, watch what they’re learning and praise the good things. 

Slow down and take a picture of it so you can remember the sweet times. 



mommy pto

My hubby gave me a Mommy Paid-Time-Off weekend this weekend. He was gone on three separate trips this month and thought I’d enjoy some time away from the little people in our house. :-) 

Yes, please. 

I went to my parents’ house; my brother came up to spend the weekend too. Not sure if many people would say, “Gee, I can do whatever I want this weekend – I think I’ll spend it with my little brother and parents.” 

But I would! 

We barely made it there. It was the big Texas Blizzard of 2015, you know. But, once we were there we were iced in, so the weekend quickly changed from shopping/movie theater/out-to-eat weekend… into stay-home-and-do-nothing weekend. 

Well, maybe not nothing



A quiet drive alone…



We made it! And home cooked dinner was waiting for us…



Saturday morning Skype session to watch my older brother (deployed) be promoted to Lt. Colonel! 



Homemade sleds out of cushions, cardboard and trash bags… 



Yes, we’re in our 30s. But who cares?  It was fun. Even my parents tried it! 



Cookies, coffee and board games… 



And a QT drink for the drive back home. :-)

Thanks, Dusty, for braving the ice with me. Thanks, mom and dad for hosting – and raising a brother that I’d want to spend time with. Thanks, Matt, (and nana and pops) for caring for our kids so I could disappear for a while. I’ve got the best hubby out there. 

our house daily

On a good day, when I have the house picked up before my husband gets home, I suppose it can look like we didn’t do very much during day.  I guess if it looks the same in the morning and evening, then nothing happened in between, right?

:-)

Right now, I just have the two boys with me at home during the day, so naturally it becomes “boyish” around here while sister is at school.

Just a snapshot of what happens here on a regular basis…

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The orange one that got away.

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Friends came over = snack time x 2.

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A little extra decoration in daddy’s office…

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The vehicle lineup, protecting our fireplace from… something?

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And I can assure you that those hand weights are not there because I worked out this morning…

How many times a day do you tidy up?  Do you let it all go until the end of the day?  My husband said that he realized our house is like my office or workplace, and having it be a mess would drive him crazy if it were his “desk.”
(What if your co-workers came and messed up your desk 14 times a day?)

I tidy up every day (several times a day) because it is… it’s my office.

But, it does my heart good to stop every once in a while and notice the imagination and fun and childhood that is going on around me.

It’s their office too.
Play is their work.
And who am I to mess up their work? :-)

 

antique door farmhouse table

3 years ago, I went to Canton, TX.  If you live nearby and have never been, well, go.

I drove there in my husband’s little green Honda Civic, which I thought would mean that I wouldn’t purchase anything large.

Wrong.

Years before, a friend said, “Someday, I want to make a kitchen table out of an old door.”  That stuck in my mind… so naturally, when I was in Canton and came across a stack of old antique doors, I couldn’t just walk by.  And then I saw it… he was so beautiful, I had to have him.

A dark wood, 5-paneled, old pocket door with an oval brass handle.  I mean, I couldn’t just leave him there.  … And the dream of the kitchen table, right?  So, I made a quick phone call to the husband, “Hey, I want to buy this door… and make a table out of it. It’s only $30.  I could maybe pay for it now, and come back tomorrow to pick it up with a truck?”

To which he answered (like my awesome husband does), “Sure, whatever you want sweetie.”  Followed by, “I just don’t want it to become an unfinished project that sits in our garage forever.” (he knows me too well)

So I bought that little guy.  And rather than come back the next day, I folded down the seat in that little Honda Civic, stuffed my “future table” through the trunk, hanging out the back of the car, tied it down, and took him home like a true East Texas country girl.

And it sat in our garage for 3 years.
Now, to my credit, I didn’t actually start the project, so that means it wasn’t unfinished, right?
It was just a door… that sat in our garage for 3 years.
I tried it in our kitchen – it was rectangular; our space was square.
My husband said, “I think it’s too narrow to have two people sit across from one another.”

I don’t know how many times I set it up in our garage on saw horses over the years, just to see if it would actually work.

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He looked pretty, but he just never fit in our house quite right.

Fast forward 3 years, and we moved to a new house.  Is it dumb to say that I considered the size of the kitchenette in our floor plan to see if my door table would fit? :-)

After considering tons of other tables that we could purchase, I knew that this was still the one that would make me happy.  And my husband said, “Do what you want.  Get the table that makes you happy.
Thank you, for giving me the freedom to do something that seemed so silly at the time.  (I even cried about it… sheesh)

I bought the chairs, bench, and table legs at the unfinished furniture store.

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We had stain leftover from the cabinets in our new house, so we used that to match the door and the seats.

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Isn’t it lovely?

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The most exciting step for me – putting the legs on. It started to look like an actual table.

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And there you have it.  After 3 years of waiting, and 2 weeks of sanding, staining, painting, sealing, drying, screwing, buying glass inserts… there it is!

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I LOVE it.
I’m so glad I decided to go ahead with it.  And that hubby encouraged me to do it.

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It has so much character.

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It makes me happy every time we use it.
So, I don’t mind cleaning crumbs out from under the glass, or wiping it 3 times a day, or whatever.
I’d have to say, it’s one of my favorite DIYs that I’ve ever done.  And it’s useful too. :-)

So come on over and enjoy a meal with us, or a game night, or a crayon-coloring session with our kids. We’re saving you a seat!

What about you?  Do you have something that you always wanted to do, and then finally got around to finishing?