Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Livingroom Update

It's been over 3 years since moving into our home and for the last 3 years I have struggled to find furniture that fits the space, provides ultimate comfort, and looks pretty. It seems I have always found cute but small couches, had too much or too little storage. After careful consideration, months of planning, and the advice of my husband, we finally updated the living area with a much bigger couch and better organization. Here's the new space:

The new couch, though double the size of our old couch, actually opens up my office, and defines the living area much better. My husband is super happy it's large and comfy and we all can lounge on it at once. We bought the couch over Veterans Day weekend and got no tax and 0% financing for 12months, which made me happy! The white TV stand we snagged for 40% off at ikea because it was a showroom display (score!) I sold all the old furniture on craigslist so my overall cost to redo the livingroom was really only $300 ;)

Here is the BEFORE:

Slightly less floor space BUT way more comfort/seating. And there's still plenty of space to play elsewhere for the kids. 

I think I love it now ;)

Friday, September 19, 2014


I have not posted my weekly spreads in a few months. Why? Because I don't do weekly in the summer. On top of everything else I have going on, we cram in tons of FUN FUN FUN and I want to capture a snapshot of everything (but then where would I find time to keep up with PL?!) I would have to use a whole album just for the summer if I did full spreads during this busy time. Instead, I capture ONE image or make ONE collage image per activity/event/moment I want to remember, edit in Instagram, and print in a Polaroid style photo. I label each pic and then lay them all out over several pages. This way, I spend minimal time editing and embellishing during a time when I know I will fall behind and get discouraged. Plus I love that the summer part of my album stands out in this way, just like summer stands out from the rest of the year! This year it took 6 pages! Take a look :)

The cards I used came from various summer themed sets, except the one that says "Vacation," I cut from some ombre paper I had and used some thin alpha.

I really love how the summer Instagram photos turned out for this year. I can't wait until next summer already!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

De-crust the Uncrustable {make ahead PBJ lunches for school}

Part of my organizing process coincides with my money saving techniques when it comes to the weekly lunches for my husband and my kids. I have to make things that can be made ahead and ready for the entire week, otherwise my weeks get to hectic and I know I would forget and end up missing lunch days. My daughter loves PBJs, and they have protein rich peanut butter, so I let her have one everyday. It makes her happy to bring a sack lunch, and she eats every strange and crazy thing I feed her for dinner, so I let her have this one. We tried the uncrustables, which are fantastic, easy, and fairly cheap. But I wanted to out-cheap them and DIY my own make ahead freezer PBJs. Heres the process:

Its as easy as it looks. Take a loaf of bread or two (I am using 100% whole wheat), some P and some J, make 20 or so sandwiches, zip lock them shut, freeze, enjoy later! If your worried about soggy bread, try spreading the P thinly on both sides and putting the J in the center of both slices.

My husband gets sandwiches, rotisserie chicken from Costco (split into 5 meals), casseroles, etc. Both of them get a basket of sides/drinks that vary from week to week.

Uncrustables are around 50-60cents each. The cost to make them yourself is around 25cents per sandwich. Knowing your awesome and made your kids lunches from scratch (the easiest way possible), priceless!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Playroom in the Closet {30sf to play}

I haven't posted in a while, mostly because during the summer I try to jam pack my kids lives with special outings, vacations, camps, and fun. Also because I didn't feel like I had too much that needed to be shared, of course until now! I have a small, long, low closet under our stairs which seems to harbor a rotation of random bins, trash, bags, various cleaning supplies, and all around clutter. I hate it. Then one day it hit me. I have a garage 5 feet from that closet that I use for storage, which is actually very well organized (and by no means will it ever hold a car, it is a giant storage unit). Why was I using this really awkward space for storage at all? I have complained to myself numerous times that I didn't have a fun playspace for the girls (1500sf home, no spare rooms) and though I realize YES the girls have their own rooms which they can play in, they rarely go upstairs during the day. They prefer to be downstairs (as do I), close to the crafts, yard, toys, and puzzles that I WONT let into their rooms for fear of disaster away from my watchful eye. Thus, the playroom closet idea was born. I searched pinterest but only saw large spaces or really boring spaces, so no inspiration there. I drew from my creative chi within and saw twinkle lights, a cute, cozy cubby for reading, a fuzzy carpet for laying on to play with toys, a dress up wall easy to find the perfect dress. I saw blue. LOTS OF BLUE. So I enlisted my husband for a weekend project and headed to one of my favorite decor stores, Target, and let the fun begin. I spent under $100 at Target and came home with a rug, curtain and rod, cubbie unit, and twinkle lights. I made a banner from paper and reused some spare fabric bins from my closet.

We did run into a few issues, the biggest was the cubbie. The room is exactly 36" wide a the baseboard, and 37" wide at the walls. The cubbie is 36.5" wide, which I didn't think to measure from the baseboards of course, so it wouldn't fit on the floor. We also assembled it then realized there was no way to get it way back into the closet and turn it into position. It was impossible. So we had to disassemble and reassemble it with a little elbow grease and sweat so that it would in fact face the correct direction, then once pushed into place, we cut some spare wood from the garage into legs which held i just above the baseboards so that it would in fact fit. WHEW.

Here are the before and after photos. What do you think?


Why it the wall patched? I cut it open to see if I could remove it to add height. NOPE. Thats the landing support. OOPS.


Removed the door and added a curtain.

Twinkle lights make it nice and bright in here. There is no power source in here, so we ran an extension cord around the corner behind my desk in the livingroom. I had some hooks and a spice rack laying around from ikea (which I painted blue) and used for dress up supplies.

The bulk of the closet is n the back under a low ceiling (just a few feet tall), the perfect spot for a secret cozy book nook.

A few cute papers and some twine make a cute decoration that also hides the power cords and makes the tall space in the front of the closet flow into the lower space.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2014 Project Life {WEEK 23 + Art}

This week was all about Art. The school had the annual art walk this week, and the girls were all interested in doing as much art as possible! I decided to use only photos that had to do with art/school this week, since nothing else extraordinary happened and I like the cohesive Art theme that was happening all week anyway.

I used asterisk stamps, colored them in with copic markers, and used my Studio Calico asterisks from a previous monthly kit and some wood veneer asterisks from SC as well. I think using a variety of similar embellishments made this page fun and even more cohesive! PS I LOVE STUDIO CALICO, have I mentioned that before? You get a fun stamp set, embellishments, usually an alpha and around 30 unique exclusive PL cards every month for just $20 plus shipping. Its one of the best deals around and the sets are beautiful and unique and make any layout look professional!!

2014 Project Life {WEEK 21 + Camping}

I decided to use the camping trip photos as the only photos for week 21, since this was the highlight of the week anyways. Rather than use camping themed cards, I decided to use green cards and washi to pull this layout together!

You can find my YouTube Tutorial HERE on how to create collage prints (how to put more than one photo together and print as a 4x6" photo).

{WEEK 21}

I used washi tape to draw the eye to certain photos that were related.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DIY backyard CARNIVAL Party {Emily's 8th Birthday}

I love birthdays. I believe they are very important and must be a BIG DEAL. Therefore, every year I try to throw my kids a huge party followed by a whole day of one-on-one time together. This year, Emily requested a Carnival. OH BOY. How am I going to pull THAT off? A combination of borrowed decorations, Oriental Trading Co. supplies, some print outs I made at home, a few volunteers, and a whole lotta prep! Here's the party and some tips to do this yourself!

Here is the setup, with the refreshments, prizes, and cupcakes under the pop up tent, and the 3 games (ring toss, ball toss, and duck hunt) to the left with face painting and the bounce house to the right. I had the party in the park behind my house because my yard is so small it would only fit 1/3 of the bounce house, let alone the party and the 19 children!

The morning of the party I popped 10 bags of popcorn and then divided them into about 20 smaller cute carnival popcorn bags. I bought 4 bags of $1 store cotton candy and divided them into 20 small plastic bags and tied them off with red twine. And I served capri suns.

The day before the party I made boxed cupcakes as directed, using $1 wrappers I found at the craft store. I made my own frosting using this recipe (which always comes out the perfect thickness for frosting with my tips), and divided it into 2, added yellow and red color, put into 2 bags and then carefully frosted the top of the cupcakes. I added yellow sprinkles on the red cupcakes as well. The whole process took me 2 hours because its only the 2nd time I have made my own frosting and I am still getting the hang of it without making a huge mess!

This bean bag toss was generously lent to me by a close friend (she made this herself!)

For the ring toss I bought a $1 store pack of glow sticks, and attached 2 sticks together making a circle (the rings). I also took wine bottles, filled them about 1/2 way with water, corked them, and wrapped them in duck tape. This took about 30 mins.

The duck hunt is made from a beverage bucket full of water, and several cheap ducks with either WIN or LOSE written on the bottom. These ducks sucked so we had the girls close their eyes and pluck the ducks standing backwards so they couldnt see what they were selecting!

I bought 100 cheap prizes, which gave the kids about 5 each. I decided the way to be fair was to limit each child to 5 no matter how many tickets they earned. I made the bounce house cost 1 ticket per ride for the first half of the carnival so that they kids had to continue to play the carnival games to ride it (they would not be able to stay just at the bounce house all day) and it gave them something to spend their excess tickets on after they bought their 5 prizes. Face painting was 1 ticket. Balloon animals and prizes were 2 tickets each. Each time a game was played a child won 1-3 tickets, so they had to play the game several times to have enough for all 5 prizes, a balloon animal, face painting and rides on the bounce house.

After 2 hours we did the cupcakes and presents. After that, the kids were allowed to bounce for FREE until they were picked up 2 hours later. I purposely had a 4 hour party so the last 2 hours would be free jump time (I might as well get my moneys worth, right?)

My friend is an AMAZING makeup artist. If your in the Seattle area I am happy to share her info for parties!

I also had to share this. Since the party was behind our backyard I had the idea to create a special entrance to the park. I like how it turned out!

The 100 foot banner around the park, the balloon animals, popcorn bags, prizes, and much more can be purchased here.

The overall cost of the party was $300. $200 of which was the bounce house. $100 was for supplies to do all the DIY stuff. You could potentially not rent a bounce house and add a fun game like twister or have a dance station. I hope this has inspired some of you to keep calm and PARTY ON!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Car Organization and Shopping with {MY FAVORITE} Thirty-One Bags

I wanted to share how I use Thirty-One Bags to organize my car. I have these bags for everything these days, and will show other ways I use them soon. Today is all about my car, and grocery shopping. Take a look!

Here is my shopping cart loaded into one "Fresh Market Thermal" bag.

This is the trunk of my small SUV with the third row up (notice its not a very large space). I have a Large Utility Tote to catch my smaller bags and items I take in the house after my errands. I keep this and the Fresh Market Thermal together in the trunk and use them daily. This keeps my car from having junk thrown about, and from spilling groceries (the Large Utility Tote holds paper bags upright or can be used to catch plastic bags and unbagged items as I have done today). Both fit even in a small trunk space!

Here is the 2nd row of seats, where my 2 children usually sit. They each have a Thirty One Beauty Bag being used to store their car fun items, and the diaper caddy (which just stays in the car until I need to refill it) sits between them.

My 8 year olds bag has books, puzzle books, colored pencils, a clip board, and her trinkets.

My 2 year olds bag has coloring books, touch and feel books, a doodle pad, a wooden magnetic puzzle, crayons and a clipboard. They don't strap down at the bottom so they can reach for their bag and pull it towards them to reach everything inside of it.

This Keep it Caddy by Thirty-One is the perfect diaper caddy! Inside I have a Thirty-One large thermal pouch where I keep snacks. Even when its fairly hot the chocolate z-bars don't melt! So its perfect to keep snacks the right temperature while in the car right there in my diaper caddy for easy access. Below are a couple photos of items I keep in my caddy.

Lets look back at the trunk space again. Here it is without any bags. It opens up and there you will find... MORE BAGS!

Another Large Utility Tote JUST IN CASE I NEED A HUGE BAG!! Maybe for a costco trip or muddy kids stuff. Did I mention these wash very easily and are thick and durable material?! Well, they are!

Under that flattened bag I keep another utility bag with emergency supplies (jumper cables, bungee cords, towels, and water).

This picture is to prove that my weak muscles and my 5'2" body can in fact carry these HEAVY, fully loaded bags when I need to take the items from the car to the house. The people at the registers can never believe I WANT them to pack that thermal FULL because of how HEAVY it gets. But I am the kind of person who will carry 10 plastic bags dangling off each finger just to avoid the dreaded second trip in the house. I prefer the one easy to carry heavy bag over the 10 very hard to carry heavy bags that break.

Fully loaded, ready to unload! And after 1 hour, the items are ICE COLD. No signs of melting or moisture on the milk containers at all!

Here's what I bought today. It all fit nice and neat, and there was room to spare!

I hope this helps some of you out there see that you CAN organize your car when you have kids and a busy on the go life. I don't sell these bags if you want to shop from my wonderful consultant, just leave a reply below.