Oct 1, 2014

31 Days Series: Make Your Home a Haven From the World

Hey Friends!  So the idea of doing this makes me a little nervous, but I have decided to take part in The Nester's 31 days writing series.  The topic I have chosen to write about every day, for the month of October, is "making your home a haven from the world".  

I'm not saying I'm an expert on this at all.  
But I'm a wife, 
a mother, 
and a homemaker.
I have the greatest desire to make my home a safe and happy place for my family.  A place where they can feel love and security.  A refuge from the storms of life.  A place where the spirit of the Lord may be felt by all who dwell here.

One of my favorite quotes about home is by David O McKay.  He said,"
The home is the first and most effective place for children to learn the lessons of life:  truth, honor, virtue, self-control; the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life.  Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and no other success can compensate for failure in the home."

That last part is my favorite.  
"No other success can compensate for failure in the home." 
No matter what other amazing accomplishments I could do in this world, none of them can compare to the importance of the work I do in my own home.


Sep 29, 2014

More Little House Updates

I really need to update the page that leads to the before and afters of our split level fixer upper.  Over the past year, as I was doing home school with my three kiddos, enjoying the summer with my family, and really not blogging much at all, we managed to cross a few more updates off our to-do list.  Some of them have been small (like updating a window valance) and some have been big (we put new carpet, bedroom doors, and closet doors in the upstairs bedrooms!).

Ok, so let's start with the window valance in the kitchen.  This was an easy update.  I did the same thing I did in this post.  I just ripped off the old burlap and replaced it with some new fabric from Hobby Lobby. 

Another more recent update I did was paint our front door.  While we've updated a lot of the inside of our home since we bought this house five years ago, the outside has not had a major overhaul yet, nor will it get one for a couple of years.  New siding, garage doors, etc. are muy expensivo.  It will take a while longer to save up for those things.  In the mean time, I make do with the itty bitty changes that a cheap tiny can of paint can do.

I didn't get a before shot of the front door, but it was just an off-white color that needed to be freshened up.  I chose to repaint it a dark gray.  (Cracked Pepper by Behr.)  Also, because I only wanted to paint the door aaand I didnt want to spend very much money, I bought one of those 4 oz Behr Ultra Premium Interior/Exterior paint samples.  It covered the whole door and I still have a little bit left over in the container for touch ups if need be.  For under $4.00, this is one of my favorite "cheap" updates.

Now onto some of the bigger updates.  See that old worn carpet up there.  Ugly.  Old.  We seriously lived with it for five years.  We knew when we bought this house, that we'd have to practice patience because not everything would get updated as quickly as we'd like.  But finally patience has paid off.    

Check out the tear out process!  Nice, huh?  The padding was so old that a lot of it literally had to be swept up into little dust piles. (Cough, cough!)   After all the debris had been cleaned up, we sealed the floors with Kilz primer.  This ensured that any old smells that were left behind from the previous 30+ years, went bye-bye before the new carpet was laid.

Ahh, this is better.  Nice, new, clean carpet. We're in heaven over here and feel super blessed to have finally been able to make the switch from nasty carpet to nice carpet. 

The last thing we've updated lately is our master bedroom.  Over the last couple of years it looked like this.  Right before the new carpet was put in, my husband made a board and baton wall, we painted the surrounding walls a darker gray, added some white grommet curtains and some new lamps from ikea, and ordered a new bed frame from amazon.  I am totally loving it and feel so grateful for this bedroom update and all the other updates we've been able to make here lately.

Making a house feel like a home doesn't always happen as soon as the boxes are all unpacked.  It takes time and patience, usually happening over weeks, months, and even years as you tweak and personalize every nook and cranny and build memories within the walls that shelter you.

Sep 18, 2014

A New Plank Wall in the Entry Way

 So I love white plank walls, do you?  I had a birthday last month and instead of asking for a mini shopping spree for clothes or something, I asked my husband if he wouldn't mind installing a plank wall in our entryway.  In case you forgot, or have never seen what the before picture of our entryway looked like, it was all orange shag and dirty and seventies looking.  Yuck.  Of course, since moving into our home five years ago, we had replaced the flooring, painted the walls, and opened up that mini stair wall on the left there, with a more open stair rail. 

But the plank wall brightened up this small space even more.  This picture above was after the planks (thin plywood cut into 5 3/4' wide planks) were glued and nailed in and one coat of white paint was applied.
Here is the plank wall all painted with most of the molding added around the edges, etc.  It's not perfectly finished yet (there's still a piece of molding missing on the right side), but I'm loving it.  The thin plywood we used, we purchased at Lowe's for just under fourteen dollars a sheet.  I think the whole project cost us around $150.00 total, which included the plywood, nails, paint, and molding.  Not bad.  It's one of my favorite birthday presents by far and I get to enjoy it everyday for years to come!

Sep 9, 2014

Yes, I Still Have a Blog

I haven't blogged since the end of May, as you may or may not have noticed.  As we said good-bye to the end of home school, I had good intentions to begin blogging more often.  But then, of course, it was summer and summer is busy and filled with valuable family time. 

Sadly, we said farewell to summer.  Well, not technically.  I know the calendar says it's still summer for a couple more weeks.  But the kiddos are back in school (public school this time), so you know what I mean.  Summer is over and we're moving on to my favorite season, fall!

I have more time to myself now than I've ever had before, so I'm hoping to get this blog space here rolling again.  I have house updates to share and some simple thoughts on motherhood and the art of homemaking I'm looking forward to writing about too.

I hope everyone had a great summer! 

May 29, 2014

Summer T.V. Time

We are only a day and a half away from the end of this school year! (If only you could hear the excitement in my voice!)  By Friday afternoon we will be able say that we accomplished one of the hardest things we've ever done together.  Home school. 

I have lots to share with you about our home schooling experience, but that will have to wait for another post.  Right now, the biggest thing on our minds is SUMMER!!!  It's nearly here.

I wish I was more of a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal, but I'm not.  When it comes to my kids, I need a plan ( even if it's just a simple plan) to live by during so many of those wide open days of summer.   ...or we (I) get bored and cranky.

This summer, we have trips planned, sprinklers and slip n' slides to cool off in, free movies to go see, arts and crafts to create, and friends to play with... but I know I'll get asked a lot, by my kids, if they can watch TV when their bored of all that.  TV is fine, but I don't want my kiddos wasting away their summer with their eyes glued to the screen.  So to balance it out a little bit, this is how I'm choosing to handle TV time for my children.  I'm automatically giving each of them 30 minutes of TV (think one episode of Full House or Phineas + Ferb).  If their little hearts desire more TV than that, they have to earn it doing one or more of the following:
  • They can do an extra 30 minutes of reading (on top of the daily reading they will already be required to do)
  • Pick a grocery sack full of weeds from our yard
  • Write a good old fashioned letter to a friend or relative (I'm willing to spend the craaazy amount of almost 50 cents a stamp if it gets them writing.)
  • Memorize a scripture
  • Complete an activity from scouts or Faith in God 
They can earn an extra 30 minutes of TV for every "extra good thing" that they do.  As a mom, I won't feel guilty if they're watching a couple of hours of TV every day, knowing that they are accomplishing a lot of other good things too.  

How do you manage TV in your house? 

Jan 29, 2014

Just a Few Little Updates

Just thought I'd share a few little updates we've done around here in the past few months.  First thing was a new light fixture in our dining room.  The fixture you see hanging in the picture above was kind of just a temporary fix.  I'm in loooove with this new shade.  It's totally us and adds a lot more warmth to the room.  And just a side note:  I love that my handyman Mister is teaching our son to be handy too.  Such a valuable skill.

The biggest reason we changed this light was because my husband couldn't stand the harshness of the other light.  This light puts out a much softer glow.

Next update ...this computer desk.  Originally it was a brown console table from Target that we bought almost six years ago.  I lightly sanded it and spray painted it gray.  It works great in this tiny corner of our living room.  I added some of my favorite inspiring quotes and a picture of my cute kiddos above the desk to complete this little corner.
These are the quotes:
quote 1:  "you is kind you is smart you is important" -from The Help
quote 2:  "Try a little harder to be a little better. " - Gordon B Hinckley
quote 3:  "Because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to..." - Jeffrey R Holland

This final little update, I just completed this past weekend.  The picture above is pretty much what this bathroom looked like four and a half years ago when we first moved in.  My little guy in the picture is now almost nine!  Man I miss those days when he wore those froggy green rain boots every where he went.  :)

Last weekend I took down the old builder grade counter length mirror.  I painted over all that yellow paint and the gray paint that was hiding behind the mirror with a small quart of Behr's Irish Mist paint.  It's like a white color with a tiny tint of gray in it.  I found a new round mirror to hang above the sink that I found at Home Depot for 28 dollars.  (Score!) And then I finished off this mini makeover with a new shower curtain from West Elm.

This whole little makeover only cost around eighty dollars.  There's still a lot of bigger projects that need to take place in this bathroom, like updating the cabinets and counter top and replacing the tile.  But these small changes make me happy for now and they were what we could easily afford at the moment.

*Most of these pics are from my Instagram account.  If you're on Instagram too and want to follow along, my user name is keephomesimple .  My account is private because I was having too many crazies like my pictures and that wierded me out.  But as long as you're not a crazy, I'll okay you to follow.  :)
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