Kids and All Their Stupid Stuff

As much as I have loved having the kids home this summer, it has been a real struggle with the amount of messes that are made throughout the day. My parenting style has always been pretty laid back. Eat lunches in the living room? Sure! The toy shelf in the dining room? Why not?! I would roll my eyes at those moms who had a no toys or eating in living spaces rule. Gah, so uptight. But now, I get it. I don’t know if its that I’m just getting old and grouchy or if the drinking glasses, food wrappers, crumbs, and toys in every room downstairs just broke me this evening.  I took a photo of the living room to post on instagram, and if you look carefully you can see toys strewn about the dining room floor, smudged fingerprints all over the pocket door windows, and cleaning supplies and clutter in the kitchen.  P1040884

I think tomorrow I’m going to turn into one of those uptight moms. Toy storage will be moved upstairs and there will be rules about eating in the living room. Now, I just have to figure out how to fit all the toys into the smallest bedroom in the house that I share with my 6 year old daughter (because 90% of the toys are hers). Why do I share a teeny tiny bedroom with a first grader?  And why does my teenage daughter have a ginormous bedroom with a fireplace all to herself???  That and other dilemmas that go with having lots of kids that are spaced very far apart and living in a 3 bedroom apartment will have to have its own blog post…

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Thrifted Treasures

Today, I thought I would share some of my recent, and not so recent, thrifted treasures.  I love the thrill of the hunt and that feeling when you spot a little gem hidden among the bric-a-brac.


I love these stacking bowls and yellow Mikasa sugar bowl.  The sugar bowl is missing its lid, but that’s okay because it’s just the right size for a little succulent.



Asa calls this the “fairy, sphinx mouse”.


More brass, animal figures.


I love its sweet, little acorn shape.


This is my favorite recent find.  Love the colors, shape, and design.


I found several of these Target planters at Goodwill for $3.00 each and I love, love them.


I’m still deciding if I should paint the base of this vintage lamp.  I like the shape, but not crazy about the colors.


This brass tray is the perfect spot to hold mail, keys, etc.

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Dining Room Before and After


This is a photo of the dining room taken the day I met my landlord to tour the apartment.   I promise I didn’t take a crummy photo on purpose-you know, to make it look so much better in the after.  There were lots of random toys scattered around that the previous tenants had left behind, and I’m not sure why the oven was hanging out in the dining room??

I couldn’t handle the red carpet that covered the whole first floor and the stairs, so out it went!  You can’t tell from the photo just how disgusting it really was, but trust, it was totally grody.


Okay, this is what the dining room looked like a couple months after moving in.  The table was teeny tiny (3ft. x 3ft.), so small that we couldn’t all sit together to eat dinner.  And the chaise lounge looks good there in front of the windows, but was not very functional.  It was rock hard, even with the sheepskin, so nobody really wanted to lounge around on it…


So, I replaced the little, baby table with a huge 8ft. long giant table.  We can all comfortably sit together for dinner and there’s tons of room for art projects, homework, and friends to join us.  There is this weird hole that you can see on the tabletop and that’s because in its former life it was a work table at Indiana University.  I picked it up for $50 at the IU Surplus Store (run to your nearest university surplus store-you can find the most amazing things!) and recently refinished it because it was a mess.

Looking at the photos, I think that I actually liked how the dining room looked before I brought in the big table and replaced the chaise lounge with a sofa.  But, the room works so much better for us now.  I’m thinking the white shelves need to be painted the same color as the walls, but I’m also considering painting the walls a darker color.  I do like the color a lot, but it feels kinda wishy washy.

P1040386Here you can see the tapered legs of the table.  When I bought it, we were still living at our old house in Bloomington, and I had absolutely no room for it.  I was determined to use it some day so was thrilled when it fit so perfectly in our new dining room!

Now, I feel like I need to go and immediately change around paintings, plants, etc, so it looks similar to how it looked in the earlier photo.  Even when I have a room just right and love how it looks, I can’t help myself from rearranging-it’s a sickness I tell you!

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Corner of the Living Room-Before and After

Have you ever walked into a space and immediately felt a connection to it?  There’s  something that just feels so right that you can overlook flypaper hanging from the ceiling and ignore the stained, red carpet that covers every square inch of the hardwood floors and so what if there are plastic shower curtains hanging from some of the windows.  Because you can look past all of that filth and hideousness and see beautiful, original woodwork and built-in cabinets with leaded glass door fronts and gorgeous, green tile and more built-ins.  You weren’t even daunted when the neighbor lady suspiciously surveyed you as you pulled up, eyes narrowing as she exhaled a cloud of smoke in your direction.  Because as you walked up the crumbling steps, you knew there was going to be something special on the other side of the door.  You ignored the pit bull chained to the rusted iron railing on the porch, as it nosed through a bag of garbage and saw this: photo-56 Your heart skipped a beat because you always wanted to live in a home with built-in cabinets.  Who cares that the train tracks are right at your backdoor or that the backyard is the size of a postage stamp?  Who cares, because you just discovered pocket doors with beveled panes of glass and more built-in cabinets in the dining room.  You ignore the cries from well meaning family and friends that the house is appalling and the neighbors look dangerous.  Because it feels right to you.  It feels like home. P1040269 P1040264 P1040191

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Apartment Therapy

Anybody that knows me really well, knows that Apartment Therapy is my all time most favorite website ever. Ever.  When it was just starting out around 2006 I stumbled upon it and have pretty much visited  every day since.  There is something so satisfying about a good before and after, and I love getting a peek into all of those wonderful homes.    So, the other day I thought, “Why not send in a before and after of my bedroom?”  I sent it off and lo and behold, the following day I had an email in my inbox from an editor letting me know that they would be sharing it in the next month.  Well, I pretty much stopped breathing and almost passed out, and I said to the people I was with, “Omg, Apartment Therapy is going to share the before and after of my bedroom!!!” and they were all like, “What’s Apartment Therapy?” Oh those poor, sad souls.  How do you survive without viewing pretty pictures of houses everyday? I don’t even know.  So anyways, it was such a thrill to go to my fav website the next day and see my little room! But, there was one thing I knew I had to be prepared for: the comments.  If you’re an AT reader then you know how people will find something, anything to crucify.  I just wasn’t prepared for what mine would be.  It was my pillows.  My “flat” “depressing” “dingy” pillows.  I have always, as long as I can remember, slept with two, flat pillows.  I had to reassure all the pillow haters that I did not suffer from neck problems and that I actually sleep really well on those freaking flat pillows.

IMG_4284This is the after picture I sent.  I did a little rearranging with the side tables and added some plants I had just repotted.  And you know what? Looking at this picture, the pillows really do look like they are wearing pillowcases that are way too big for them.  Like they are little baby pillows playing dress up with their mom’s pillowcases.  Weird.  Also, some people thought I needed a headboard.  I have put a lot of thought into this since I first painted the room and I’m still not sure what I want.  At first I was thinking of a wood headboard and found a mid century one, but it was pricey and it was just a headboard that I would have to find a way to screw into the wall (plaster with brick behind it=not fun to deal with).  I think a tall upholstered headboard in linen or velvet would look great, but for now a washi tape banner from Beatrix’s birthday will work!

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Another Bedroom Makeover Sneak Peak

IMG_4469This is a photo of the fireplace in my oldest daughter’s bedroom.  How did she get the biggest bedroom in the house with a fireplace and closet?  And I’m sharing the smallest bedroom with a four year old and no closet???  It doesn’t seem quite right, but my bedroom has a door that opens to an upstairs balcony that we share with our duplex neighbors, and I think everyone is the boogeyman just waiting to whisk away my children.  So I took one for the team and wound up with the tiny bedroom with access to a crumbling, very unsafe, unusable balcony. Anyways, this bedroom had lovely, baby poop colored trim and of course had some horribly stained wallpaper like the rest of the house.  Now, a few people actually liked this wallpaper and thought it had a vintage charm to it, but it really was ugly, so it had to be painted.  This wallpaper had a textured finish and thick seams that are more noticeable painted,  but it’s definitely an improvement!IMG_4468-2

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Before and After: My Bedroom


This is a photo of my bedroom that was taken soon after we moved in.  Sad. Ugly. Dingy.  The wallpaper from the 1970’s was badly stained (how do you even manage to get stains on your walls? Oh, and I won’t even go into the blood splatters that were found on the walls in the hallway and in two of the bedrooms… )  There’s no closet and it’s the smallest of the three bedrooms.  It was a flashback to this sad, but true story:  One year in college I rented a house with four of my friends.  It was a cute bungalow with four bedrooms and a large semi-finished basement that was the fifth bedroom.  I thought for sure one of the boys I was going to be living with would want the basement, you know, because it could be like a man cave.  I was the last one to arrive on moving day and everyone had already picked out their bedrooms and I was stuck with the basement.  As I descended down into the depths of this dark, dank hell, all I could think of was the last time I had been down those stairs.  This had been a notorious party house and I had fuzzy memories of a crowded, sticky floored basement filled with college kids. and a band. and kegs. and I was going to be living down here. dear god, no.  My parents came to the rescue with a van load of furniture and turned it into my own underground apartment, so that was kind of cool.  They made it bearable, but I still have a bit of ugly, creepy bedroom post traumatic stress disorder that surfaced when I saw this sad, little room.  Okay, enough of reliving those painful memories, let’s get back to the present!

This was a seriously depressing room, so to cheer it up a bit I painted it:


Even though it’s dark, it’s a cheerful and warm dark.  Maybe it’s my high school goth side emerging mid-life, but right now I need a room that envelopes me in soothing darkness.  Now, it’s like my own little caccoon that makes me happy every time I walk in.




To really up the cozy factor I painted the ceiling the same color and I love the results.





So, one of the worst rooms in the house is now one of my favorites!  I’m still not completely recovered from my basement bedroom PTSD because there’s a couple more bedrooms (while I don’t have to sleep in them, I do have to look at them everyday!) that are fairly creepy (they had the blood splattered walls!), but rest assured they are also getting a dark and cheerful makeover-stay tuned!




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Back to School

It seems so early still, but back to school they went.  What a morning getting three kids off to three different schools and throw in a grouchy, tired four year old and the fact that the kids rolled in about 11 o’clock last night after a day at an amusement park and you can imagine the kind of morning it was…So, on the first day of school I always like to make something special for an after school treat.  One of our favorite recipes are these banana, chocolate, raspberry, blueberry muffins.  It’s a King Arthur recipe that I adapted and I love that they aren’t loaded with a ton of sugar or oil like a lot of muffins are.  IMG_3422

You know how some people style their bar carts with bottles of alcohol, martini glasses, and cute little cocktail napkins? Well, once you have teenagers you can’t do that.  I hope that my son and his friends wouldn’t help themselves to a drink late at night while I’m upstairs thinking they are just geeking out on video games, but why tempt them???  So my bar cart holds muffins and flowers and pencils.  Lots and lots of pencils.



Our Favorite Muffins

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 1/3 C Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 2 Mashed Ripe Bananas
  • 1/3 C Milk
  • 1 C King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 C King Arthur All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Red Raspberries
  • Blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla, mashed bananas and milk.

In separate bowl whisk together dry ingredients, then stir into butter mixture.

Spoon into lightly greased muffin tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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