Monday, March 31, 2014

Five Favorites: Places to buy kids clothes

Hey!  How's your week going?  Demo and clean up in the office is slowly plodding along.  So I figured while we work on that, I'd pop in with another installment of Five Favorites!

So over the last 2.5 years, I have sharpened my bargain hunting skills.  I always love a deal, and I know that being frugal is important for stretching our dollars.  That's especially true now that we have to keep two kids from running around naked :) Also, having a rough and tumble toddler boy means that I need to buy clothes that are only cheap in the dollar department, not the quality department.  And these 5 places are winners in both counts :)

First up, Target!  Oh man, that red bullseye and I have quite the relationship.  It is so good at taking my money, and making me smile while it does it :)  Every week when I grocery shop, I browse the clearance racks.  And if something goes on clearance that I love, I keep an eye on it.  Eventually, it will be 50% or even 70% off! and then I walk away spending $3 instead of $10.  Gives me a rush every.single.time. (Clearly I need more excitement in my life)

Next stop, Old Navy!  This one is great for your basics.  Shorts at $8 a pop?  Yes please!  Flip flops for $2?  Don't mind if I do!

Macys, oh macys.  This one is tricky, but also one of my faves.  I happen to love Quiksilver and Hurley stuff for my little guy (and his daddy too!). I don't love the price tag though.  So, I shop the clearance rack at Macys.  It's hit or miss, so I try to go about once a month.  But when it's good, it's great!  I have sweatshirts I've bought for Gage at $5 a piece.  The quality is awesome, the designs are great, and they hold up extremely well.  So, if you're willing to check on a regular basis, you can happen upon some killer deals!

Then there's the Gap Outlet.  Now that Persephone is here, this place is double trouble!  I literally want all the things!  But my number one purchase from here is jammies.  Have you seen them?  Holy cutes batman!  Plus they hold up amazingly well through all the washes.  While they are normally about $24 each, I buy them on clearance at the outlet, and don't pay more than $8.  Maybe a bit pricey for pjs, but you can't beat the quality!  Or the cutes :)

And last but not least, TJ Maxx.  I'm especially loving this one for P clothes.  I happen to love Carter's little girl clothes, just not the price tag.  $18 for a onesie?!?  Who am I, Donald Trump?!  But at TJ Maxx, that same onesie is only $4.  And that is a much more Robyn friendly number price :)

So there you have it, five places where I love to shop for the kiddos.  Or maybe just plain love to shop. If I had an infinite budget, I'd shop every day.  I think Dano is grateful I have two kids to keep me busy, so I'm not out draining his wallet on a daily basis.  But then there's always the internet!!!  It's a sickness, I tell ya :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's ok to change your mind!

Have you ever had a space in your house that you weren't sure what to do with?  The possibilities are endless, you just have to pick a direction.  Well the previous owners had a clear vision for this space.  It was the quintessential man cave.  Complete with a mini fridge and theater seating :)  the room definitely has a cool factor, but since moving in we haven't really used it.  

This room has plenty of holes in the walls too.  And lots of random mess that needs fixing :)

After taking down the cabinets on the wall to use in the laundry room, this room just looked worse.  So Dano and I discussed, and thought about, and envisioned what the space could be.  And we changed our mind :)  while the loft upstairs makes a nice playroom, we decided it would function better as an office space.  That way, at the end of the night, Dano can enjoy time on the computer without having to come back downstairs.  Plus, I had worried about how to make the open window spaces in our loft safe once beansie started to get curious about them.  But now that it won't be a play room, we can just keep the kiddos out of it when we aren't in there.  And we can move the playroom downstairs into the former man cave!

The repair has begun, along with some demo.  I think this is going to be one of those projects where it looks worse before it gets better :). The holes are getting spackled, but I'm trying to figure out how to make the walls look nice before we repaint.  I'm not sure if all these spots will be super obvious because of the texture on the walls?  We'll see!

The bottom part of the bar has met its demise!  It actually came apart pretty easily, and the cabinets and counter will be a great work surface in the garage!

A big empty space where the bar used to be!  More floor room for the kiddos to play on :)  And more holes to be patched, boo.  We are thinking about trying to stain the concrete subfloor, if it's in decent shape.  And I'm trying to decide if we should take down the chair rail, or repair the pieces that have been cut out.  Decisions, decisions :)

There is still a lot of work to do!  We are going to take down the raised seating area, and move the desk and computer up to our room while we handle the walls and flooring.  I'm going to work on a mood board for the room, just to see how our ideas look together.  Oh, and I plan to do lots of consulting with little man to see what his ideas are for a fun play space :). Can't wait to see where it goes, and of course share it with all of you!

So what have you changed your mind about recently?  Any spaces you used one way, that you later decided would function better as something else?

Covering the damage

Hey!  So I'm back today with an update on the laundry room!  See how that says 'update' and not 'after photos'?  Yea, it's taking a while :)

Anywho, remember that wall?  You know, the one full of holes?  Well, we figured it would need something a little more substantial than some spackle and paint to fix it.  I thought some bright white beadboard was just what the space needed to make it feel clean and new!  After doing a little research, I figured we didn't have the tools necessary to cut and install beadboard.  And as much as I'd love to buy those tools one day, I was trying to keep this makeover low budget :). 

Enter this little beauty!  Paintable wallpaper that looks just like beadboard!!  At $20 a roll, and no extra tools required for installation, this was exactly what the doctor ordered.

We measured the wall, and then cut strips to length.  No paste required, simply wet the enire strip and let it rest about 5 minutes.  

Maybe have a beer while you wait for the wallpaper to get tacky :)

Then just line it up at the top of the wall, and smooth it down.  We just smoothed things with our hands to get the bubbles out, but you could also use a damp sponge.


Three strips down, one to go!  As the paper dries, it becomes more opaque, but it still needs paint to fully cover the wall behind it.  One coat of the same white paint we used on the cabinets, and it was perfect :)

Oh and you can see in that picture that I went with a light blue gray for the rest of the room.  It really made the space feel so much cleaner and brighter.  Also, it's almost the exact opposite of the fleshy pink that was on the walls, which makes me super happy!

So light and beautiful!  (Ignore the laundry :)

The cabinets are up, and the space is 90% finished.  I'm just adding some finishing touches, artwork and functional hooks, and it'll be finished!  I just found out one of my favorite bloggers created a collection of hooks that will be in Target by the end of the month.  Soooo I'm waiting anxiously for them to show up at my store!!  I'm absolutely loving the changes so far :)

Hope your DIY adventures are treating you well!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cabinet Facelift

Hey and happy Monday!  Did you do anything fun for St. Patty's day?  We made a trek over to Animal Kingdom, all dressed in green :)

So last week I showed you our dark hole of a laundry room, and that we were planning to use the cabinets from the 'man cave' for storage.  They are nice sturdy wood cabinets, but they were a little worse for wear.  Which is fine, since I wasn't the biggest fan of the finish on them anyway.  I'm going for 'clean and bright' in the laundry room, so I thought white would be a good choice!

First we took the doors off the cabinets, and then removed the hardware.  I actually really like the dark handles that are on them, so those will be staying.  Once they were disassembled, we sanded them.  These only needed a light sanding, since they didn't have a super glossy finish.  If you are painting something that has a lot of varnish on it, you probably want to wipe it down with a deglosser before you paint.


So once that prep was done, it was time to prime.  One coat of kilz did the trick.  We used little foam rollers to give the doors and cabinets a nice, even coat.  Then came two coats of paint.  Just a white paint from Valspar, nothing fancy :)  be sure to keep your coats thin, again using a foam roller.  I also used an angled brush to get in the grooves of the trim on the face of the doors.  Once everything was good and dry, it was time to hang those bad boys up!

I was especially anxious to get them on the wall, since all of my laundry supplies were hanging out on top of the dryer.  Along with tools, random stuffed animals, anything else we happened to drop as we came in the door.  You get the picture.  It was a hot.mess.  Anywho, I was pretty anxious to get my cabinets on the job!

Well hanging them turned out to be a bit of an adventure.  We knew we wanted to take a different approach than the previous owner.  Although bolts through the wall and into the bathroom might have been fun ;P We planned to just nail them right into a stud.  But, after using the handy little stud finder, turns out there aren't any studs behind where I wanted to place the cabinets!  So we were going to use the stud that runs along the top of the room.  Well, turns out that sucker is metal.  Onto plan C- toggle bolts!  Thankfully, this method worked like a charm :)  hubs got some toggle bolts, rated for 100 lbs each, and put 4 through the back of each cabinet and into the wall.  And since I'm only putting laundry detergent and shout in them, I think they'll do the trick quite nicely :) Once the cabinets were in place, we just put the doors and handles back on, and voila!  I actually only have enough stuff to fill one of the cabinets right now.  But you know what they say, you grow into the space you have!

So that's phase one!  I'll be back with an update on a fun wall treatment we did soon :) Have you ever refinished any cabinets?  The thought made me nervous in the past, but it turned out to be really easy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

2 months

Persephone is two months old today!  I can hardly believe it.  It's such a short amount of time, yet it feels like she's been part of our family forever.  

She's growing so fast!  The fact that she is already past her newborn faze makes me sad.  But it's also fun to see her little personality emerge.  She's starting to recognize us when we walk in the room, and smile when we talk to her :)

So far, sleeping has been pretty good, and she eats like a champ!  She loves to nap in her swing, or on my lap while nursing.  Dano just put together her crib yesterday, so hopefully we'll try out some naps there soon.  

Her likes: nursing, laying on her back, shower time!
Her dislikes:  the car seat, being put down for stretches of time

While she has a normal amount of fussy time, I'm grateful that she is generally a sweet, easy baby!  

Gage is really good with her, just kinda letting her be, and not fighting for attention too much.  Until she starts to cry.  And then he puts his fingers in his ears and looks at me like I need to fix it :)

Life is definitely more hectic with two littles!  But I'm trying to focus on being even more patient, and cherishing each moment.  Time is gonna fly!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Managing Expectations

Hey!  How is your week going?  Mine feels like it's flying by!  Between two kids, outings, DIY and just trying to keep after the house, life is hectic.  

So time management has never been my forte.  But B.K. (That's Before Kids, in case you were wondering), things like all-nighters or an entire day of DIY were totally doable.  Now, not so much.  And what used to take a couple hours can now take days.  Which can be very frustrating for an instant gratification lover like me.  

On top of that, as I get older, I notice that not having things picked up or cleaned regularly bothers me even more.  And now that P is here, it's getting even tougher to keep up with things.  And

Take for example our master bedroom paint job.  When we bought our first house, I painted three rooms in one night.  That's right, one night.  This time, notsomuch.  I think it took a whole week to get our room fully painted.  Which left our room in chaos for that entire week.  And drove me batty!  I mean, painting should not take that long!!  So, I got frustrated.  And I got snappy.  And I begged Dano to help (he despises painting).  And then I thought about all the other spaces I wanted to paint.  I may have shed a tear at this point.

So I had to stop and take a deep breath, and reevaluate my situation.  Manage my expectations a little bit.  Learn that I need to love the journey as much as I love the destination, cuz the journey is a little longer these days.  I'm making more lists to help me manage my day-to-day.  Trying to spread things out over a longer period of time, since having a chunk of hours to work on something rarely happens.  And I'm learning to be okay with the chaos :). It's better to take more time and really do something well.  Especially when we are going to be living with it for years!  

And with that, I'm back to work in the laundry room.  What is it now, two weeks?  Three?  That's alright, it will get done.  And it will be so worth it!

Airing my dirty laundry

Good morning!  How was your weekend?  Mine was awesome, very productive, and way too short :)

So I have a dirty little secret.  I have this dungeon in my house.  This dark, dirty little room where I am forced to do load after load of laundry.  I affectionately call it my 'laundry room'.  Oh, you have such a dungeon in your house too?!  Glad I'm not alone :P

In all seriousness, I've had a love/hate relationship with this room since we moved in.  I like that I have an actual room for laundry, in my house instead of the garage.  I hate everything else

The ceilings are low, there's no natural light, and the walls are painted this god awful fleshy tan color.  Ick.  There are two great big wire shelves, which are kinda ugly and just over kill for me.

Then there's the wall'o'holes.

Yea, so when installing the bar in the 'man cave', the previous owners thought the best idea was to run giant screws straightthroughthewall.  You read that right.  Through.the.wall.  Oh, and that drilling giant holes to pass electrical wires through was also a good idea. Facepalm

Did I mention that this is the room we always enter the house through?  So stepping through a dark, dirty little dungeon every time you enter the house=kinda depressing.

Some sweet little details, that just aren't my thing.

And the room just needs a solid cleaning in general!

So there she is, in all her former glory :). That's right, my dungeon is getting a face lift!  Because if I must be tortured with laundry, at least a pretty view will help me endure :)

I'm trying to keep this pretty low budget.  So, a little paint, maybe a wall treatment, some homemade art.  Oh, and the bar from the man cave!  Yep, we are taking those giant screws out of the wall, and reusing some of the cabinets for storage!

We've got a bit of work ahead, but it's looking sooooo much better all ready!  Can't wait to get to the finished product!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Five Favorites: Baby Items

So I don't know about you, but when I'm looking for new items, or products to try, I love reading reviews from my favorite bloggers.  It makes me feel like, if someone I connect with digs this item, then I will too!  Which led me to want to share some of my favorite things with ya'll!  Thus my Five Favorites posts are born :) 

Since I am definitely in 'baby mode' these days, I thought the first group of things I'd share would be baby related items.  Let's get to it!

First up, the JJ Cole Stretch Agility carrier.  Love it.  Like, hardcore love.  Basically, going out in public with Persephone without this thing, is impossible.  It's stretchy and comfy, and offers multiple ways to wear baby as they grow.  Plus it folds up super easily in the diaper bag, and can just get tossed in the wash whenever she spits up all over me.  Did I mention I love it?

Next up, California Baby products.  In particular, I dig their French lavender shampoo and body wash.  It smells clean, and is very soothing.  Plus, all their products are made right here in the USA!  Woot!

Aden and Anais swaddle blankets.  Need I say more?  I never used these with bean.  I thought they were too expensive and didn't understand the hype.  I get it now.  These are huge, and made from a nice light weight material.  So when you swaddle baby in their jammies, they don't get too hot.  I've used these as everything from a swaddle blanket, to a nursing cover, to a car seat cover.  I also love that they fold up nice and small, so they don't take up too much of my precious diaper bag real estate.  With two littles in diapers, every square inch counts :).  Bonus, they are ridiculously cute!

The swing.  Oh man, how did I ever survive newborndom with Gage without one of these?!  We decided to get the Graco Snuggapuppy swing for P, and I'm so grateful we did.  Other than on me, it's the only place where she will take a nap.  Actually, the only reason I am able to write this post right now is because it's gently rocking my little girl while she sleeps :)

And last but not least, our city mini double!  We had the city mini single for Gage, and it is still the best stroller I've played with.  It's so easy to open and close, it's the lightest weight one I've come across, and it has two giant canopies to cover the littles.  Plus it's super sturdy.  It's taking a little bit to get used to the double-wide action, but I like it!  

So there you have it, five baby items I'm really digging this time around!  How about you?  Any kiddo products you swear by?  Anything you used the second time around that you wonder why you never bought for the first one?  Live and learn, right!