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.

2016-01-13 11.53.34

2016-01-13 11.53.522016-01-13 11.54.40

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.

2016-01-13 11.55.132016-01-13 11.55.00

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.

2015-02-06 12.02.44

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.

2015-02-06 12.06.50

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. 😛

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…

IMG_0063s

The orange one that got away.

IMG_0065s

Friends came over = snack time x 2.

IMG_0069s

A little extra decoration in daddy’s office…

IMG_0074s

The vehicle lineup, protecting our fireplace from… something?

IMG_0078s

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.

oldhouse_mockup

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.

furn_unfinished

table_sanding

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

door_2

Isn’t it lovely?

door_1

furn_halffinished

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

legs_on

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!

table_done1

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

table_doneend

It has so much character.

table_doneedge table_donehandle

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?

craft: palette wood blanket rack

So, I had a leftover piece of palette from my palette wood hanging garden project, and I knew I wanted to make it into a blanket rack for the living room.

palettewoodhanger

Finally did!  A little time consuming, but so easy!  The palette I had, had slats that were spaced out pretty well, so it made it great for this project – some palettes, the wood is too close together, so you’d have to take out every other one.

photo1

Basically, the work included sanding, sanding and more sanding to make sure there weren’t splinters or rough edges that could get caught in the fabric of the blankets!  Then I stained it with some leftover water sealer stain I had, and sprayed with a matte finish clear coat to give it an even more smooth surface.

photo2

That’s it!  Lean against the wall, hang blankets on it, and you’re done.

learning to be and do

A few weeks back I had a day all to myself with no kids, so I treated myself to a trip to the local antique store.  Is that a pregnancy craving… antique shopping?  Cause I have that.

Anyway, I found this fun little wood-framed window screen.  I didn’t know what he was for, but I needed to bring him home with me. 🙂

In the meantime, I found myself thinking about all the things I want our kids to know (practical stuff) and be (character stuff) so I was wanting to make some type of visual for them to remember our behaviors and virtues.

Hello, little window screen.

IMG_0908s

I decided to focus on 4 practical tasks each month, and one character quality per month, that I’m taking from Galatians and the fruit of the Spirit list.  With each “fruit,” I looked up a few words that describe it and put them as a definition (one that kids would understand).

IMG_0902s

On the crafty side, the screen is metal, so it was great for magnets. I covered the fronts of the magnets with fabric (glued) and made a little pocket that could hold the future cards.  The cards, I just printed on the computer and cut out.  Voila.

I’m hoping that this will encourage us to work on our character, as well as simplify our learning; we can still work on other behaviors, but we’ll be especially intentional to learn and work on these 4 practical skills, then move on to 4 more… and more independence!

What behaviors or skills would you include on a list for kids under the age of 10?  Also, if you’re interested in a pdf download of the cards I made, let me know!