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.  :)

Dec 17, 2013

My Favorite Things 2013


I am so honored to be a part of Melissa's favorite things blog hop!  What a treat!  I have been reading her blog, 320 Sycamore for years!  If you're coming over here from All Things Thrifty, WELCOME!  I'm so happy to have you here.

Ok, lets get started.  I'm a pretty simple girl with pretty simple tastes.  But maybe we have a few favorite things in common...
1.) Penguin classic hardcover books.  I adore these cloth bound books.  Not only are they pretty to display but they are all classic reads.  Good stuff for not only myself to read, but for my whole family to read and learn to love too.  I only own about four of these so far.  But maybe my collection will expand a little bit after this Christmas (wink, wink).


2.) Locker baskets.  I love the industrial look of locker baskets.  But up until recently, the only ones I came across were just too expensive for my budget.  Then I found this one on Amazon and the price was right.  My locker basket is currently holding my growing collection of Penguin Classics.   :)


3.) Studio Decor frames from Michael's.  I have some chunky frames around my home that I love.  But for gallery walls, these frames are my favorite.  They're simple, they come with a simple mat, and with a 40% off coupon they are super cheap.  Which is great when you want to buy a lot of frames all at once.


4.) Be Enchanted Bath and Body Works body lotion.  My favorite lotion by Bath and Body Works is actually "Sweet on Paris".  But has been discontinued.  Grrr.  But this stuff rates pretty well in my book too.  My hands get so dry in the winter and this stuff helps and smells amazing.


5.)  Mrs. Meyer cranberry dish soap.  Doing the dishes is not my favorite thing to do (except in the winter because it warms my hands).  But this soap smells divine and sweetens the experience.  I love it and need to stock up on more.


6.)  Mary Kay Raisinberry lipstick.  I'm not a Mary Kay consultant or anything.  But I do love their makeup, especially this lipstick.  I have very pale skin and have always had the hardest time finding a lipstick that didn't look too pink or that wasn't so dark that it washed me out.  For me, this lipstick is juuuuust right.  I've been told that it's a color that looks good on most people.  :)


7.)  Faded Glory women's essential button down cardigan.  From about October to April my daily uniform consists of jeans, a t-shirt and cardigans.  This particular one is from Walmart of all places.  It's priced at only $12.54, and is probably my most favorite cardigan out of my whole collection (and I have a lot!).  The fit is perfect and it's super soft.  I own one in gray and one in mustard. 
 

8.)  Succulents.   Do you kill plants as easily as I do?  Haha!  These don't require much water, which is what attracted me to them in the first place.  They are my favorite in cute little bright colored pots.


9.)  These Drinking glasses.  We have pretty hard water.  So recently I replaced our worn drinking glasses with these guys and I love the texture of them.  At first my husband teased that they looked like golf balls, but he was just giving me a hard time.  They are sold at Walmart and are priced to sell. 


10.)  Fresh sugar snap peas.  These are my favorite go-to healthy snack.  Sweet, healthy and absolutely guilt free.


11.)  Angie's classic kettle corn - sweet and salty.  Annnnnd this is my favorite unhealthy snack.  Oh my goodness it is so addictive.  Just warning ya.


12.  And last of all,  The movie "Dan in Real Life". This is one of my all time favorite movies.  I love the music in it, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it stars Steve Carell.  What's not to love?

Well, thanks for stopping by!  Don't forget to stop by Home Stories A to Z to read about Beth's favorite things next!  (Goes live Wednesday morning.)

Merry Christmas to you all!

Dec 11, 2013

Our Living Room Built-ins


I can't tell you how many times I've cropped all these (tv, internet, phone) wires out of pictures.  Too many times to count!  We've had plans to build shelves around our fireplace to cover up the wires and add more character to our living room forever.  But for one reason or another, they just hadn't taken priority in our budget.  Then about a month ago my husband and I were on a date at Home Depot, pricing out and day dreaming about a future kitchen update (are we the only ones who go on dates like that???).



As we were about to leave, the topic of "the built-ins" came up again and we decided that we'd rather forgo any other Christmas presents and make these our Christmas present for each other. 


Sometimes it's really hard to wait for the things we want.  We've talked about doing these built ins for FOUR years!  But the wait was worth it.  We always sleep better knowing we paid cash and didn't go into debt for home improvement projects.


These are the plans that my husband drew up.


This is stage one of the right side of the built ins.  We used backer-board for the back of the shelves to cut costs, but the rest of the shelves are made from plywood.


This is stage two with mdf molding around all the edges. 


Now there are two!!!  So exciting!!!  They weren't bolted to the wall yet, but getting some white paint on them was getting us closer to the finished line.


Getting closer!  In this picture, they're bolted to the wall and we're just working on some touch up paint and sanding.


And done!  We added some crown molding around the tops of the built ins and all around our living room/dining room to tie the shelves into the room.  You may notice a slight gap between the crown molding and the ceiling.  That was actually done on purpose because we want to install a diy plank ceiling at some point in the near future.  This way those thin planks can just slide seamlessly under the molding without any rough edges.


I couldn't wait to decorate the shelves once they were finished.  But I soon realized how hard that is!  I just used things around the house I already had.  But I still want to play around with them a bit and maybe collect some new things to put on them, over time. 

I'm just sooo glad we don't have those unsightly wires hanging around any more.  Now they're nicely tucked inside those lower cupboards on the shelf.

Dec 7, 2013

Simple Tip - Box 'em Up


Hey there friends!  Did any of you spend the weekend getting some Christmas shopping done?  I am about 95% done and it feels soooo good to be nearing the finish line.  Now I'm just counting down the days until my family gets to open their gifts.  I can't wait to see the looks on their faces!  I LOVE giving surprises.  

I haven't shared any simple tips on this blog for a reeeealy long time.  But here's a little simple tip for this special time of year.  Maybe it's something you already do, but if not, it can save you some cash.  

Save your cereal boxes, cracker boxes, Costco boxes, etc. and use them to wrap up your gifts.  A lot of gifts I buy would completely give their surprise away if I just wrapped them without a box.  But by putting them in a cereal box first and then wrapping it, I can disguise the shape of the gift and my children are none the wiser.  And it's way cheaper than having to buy gift boxes.

Merry Christmas!

*********************************************************************************

-Next week I'll be sharing a little makeover we've been talking about doing in our home for the longest time!  Built-in bookshelves by our fireplace!
I love the way they turned out!

Nov 16, 2013

Our Chalkboard Thankful Tree


You may or may not have noticed lately that I've taken a little break from blogging.  I knew blogging would most likely take a back seat when I made the decision to home school my three children this past summer.  Life is definitely more busy now than it ever used to be.  Home schooling is harrrrd work.  Just as hard as every home schooling mom told me it would be.  But it's worth it.  It's such a blessing to be able to spend the whole day with my children.  Because children definitely don't keep.

We are in full holiday mode around here.  Our house has been decorated with orange and white pumpkins and other fall decor since mid September.  I love those orange and white pumpkins, especially the cute tiny ones, but I'm so ready to break out our Christmas boxes already.  But I'm holding out, waiting till after Thanksgiving, as per our family tradition.  Besides, there is so much to be thankful for.  I want our family to be focused on all the blessings that we have been given, before the Christmas lists get longer and longer.  We definitely have so much to be thankful for.

I've made thankful trees for the month of November before.  Most of them were out of branches.  This year I decided to make it even simpler and use the standing chalkboard we have in our dining room.  I drew a tree with several branches on it.  Each branch is a line for our family to write down the things we are grateful for.  The branches filled up really fast.  It really got all of us thinking that even the little things we take for granted, are huge blessings in our lives.  The bonus effect from this thankful tree is that it gives us grateful hearts.  

A grateful heart is a happy heart.



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