...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I have the BEST hubby.  Ever.  He is always supportive of any new venture I want to take on.  (Okay, well, maybe not the time I asked him if vinyl flooring could be painted.  And I’m still trying to convince him…and myself…that 3 kids could be fun.)  Even if it means time away from him or our boys, he still encourages me.  He knows that the time I get to myself to study home magazines, pour over home decor internet ‘porn’ or just tweak things here and there will pay off in the end – for everyone.  We are a great team.  If I’ve got a home improvement idea that’s metaphorically or literally over my head, he can make it happen.  (It may take a few weeks/months but it WILL happen.)

So today, the day to be thankful for all things in life that matter most, I’m thankful for my hubby and the family and home we have created together.  (And also for him not judging me by my cooking alone!)

…that’s what everyone has been asking when they come to our house lately.  Not only is there a huge box sitting in the middle of our great room (it’s been there for a week now), but it sat on our porch for about 4 days first.  (It’s heavy, I’m little.)  My boys are starting to accept it and treat it as a play table.

Check back next week for the answer.  Hint:  it’s white.  (Okay, that’s not a great hint but still it’s a hint.)

11.24.09 / An IKEA Makeover

When Steve and I first got married 7 years ago, we ‘splurged’ on an IKEA entertainment console for our (then) basement.  (Yes, IKEA was a splurge for us.)  It suited our needs well for 6 years supporting our ginormous box of a TV and all the equipment that comes with that sort of thing.  When we moved into a bigger home (the one we live in now), I gave Steve the okay to purchase a flatscreen TV… something neither of us regret.  We were able to mount the new TV on the wall in our family room.  Our faithful IKEA console was no longer needed, or was it?! 

It sat in the middle of our living room (okay, so trying to split up a long room with a console right in the middle wasn’t such a great idea) for over a year trying to find it’s place in our lives again. 

BEFORE

It was fulfilling a very important purpose.  See those baskets?  They held all our mail… one basket for each member of our family.  With the console being in the room closest to the front door, it was functioning quite well as a mail sorter/disguiser.  That orange birch color had to go though.  So, it did…

AFTER

Since it’s constructed of icky (yet inexpensive!) veneer instead of solid wood, sanding and staining wasn’t an option.  Instead, I tackled the 3 P’s: priming, painting and polyurethaning.  We already had the primer and paint (same as the wall color) on hand, so the only thing I purchased was the polyurethane for about $15-$20.  I repositioned it along the wall (i.e., got it out of the middle of the room…what was I thinking?!), kept it’s mail sorting use and then organized all the computer components in and on it.  Gotta love hidden wires and electrical equipment!  It’s now a functional AND great looking way to peruse through the mail and pay bills online, on time.  I would like to get a glass top cut to fit as even with the polyurethane, a few chips have surfaced on the worktop.
So, that’s how I saved our IKEA console. 
11.20.09 / Hide and Seek

Our house is a REAL house.  We have two kiddos that come with lots of toys, books and games to keep them busy (while Mama blogs).  In an effort to save my sanity, we have a system for keeping toys in check.  To begin with, we don’t keep a ton of toys in our home.  Every Christmas, it’s out with the old and in with the new.  I make my boys go through their toys and pick a few things to donate.  (I’ll usually throw in a few more things after they’re done choosing… things they don’t play with.)  Also, we rotate toys periodically.  Most kid stuff stays in the playroom or unfinished basement.  We only keep everyday favorites in the main floor living space.  When they want to bring in a different item, they select a toy to go down to the basement.  (I know this sounds like I’m a drill sargent but I’m really only talking about the big toys i.e. ball pit, kitchen set, pop-up house, etc.)  This keeps our family room from becoming over-run with kid stuff.  Plus, I find my boys are more apt to focus and have a longer playtime when they have less choices.  And they get really excited when they bring in a ‘new’ toy from the basement that they forgot about.  Half the time, we even end up playing without toys… family dance parties, rhyming games, wrestling, etc.

The playthings we do keep on the main floor are disguised.  (I like ‘disguised’ better than ‘hidden’ because my kids know where their toys are.)  We have dozens of bins, baskets and organizers devoted to this purpose.  There is a console behind our couch chock full of toys but you’d never know by looking at it.

Our entertainment console has even more kid-friendly storage.

We have a small table in our sunroom that stores Lincoln Logs.

At the end of the day, we all pick-up together and everybody knows where everything goes.  All of this makes me a happy girl at the end of the night when I’m sittin’ on the couch with my hubby.  Pretending we don’t have kids.  Until one of them cries.