Mom-to-Mom Monday

Welcome to my first "Mom-to-Mom Monday!"  This is YOUR time!  This is when I answer questions from all of you, discussing the fun, the fearless, the intimidating, and the causes for celebrating!

We moms need a place to come together and connect.  After three kids, I've realized that one of the most important things I can do is take care of myself.  It's not selfish to go out with friends every once in a while, treat myself to a mani/pedi, or simply lock myself in the bathroom for a long, relaxing shower.  In fact, it's unselfish!  When a parent gets stuck in the daily routines of their children they will, over time, start to lose themselves...and that won't do any of you any good!




At first, we chalk it up to loving our kids and simply wanting to put their needs first because we want to give them everything, every moment, every ounce of energy, that we can...because we love them, SO much.  But between the carpools to soccer practice and piano lessons, endless rounds of Row Row Row Your Boat, and constant shouts of "Look at me, Mom!", our love for our children becomes overpowered by the sense that you no longer have a life that's your own.  You've given up your personal identity in lieu of mom jeans, baby wipes, and "Messy Hair, Don't Care" trucker hats.  And though you love your family to the moon and back again, you've begun to harbor resentment, and perhaps, depression has even set in.

We are going to reclaim your light!

There IS hope!

YOU are beautiful.  YOU are inspiring.  YOU have a capacity for greatness that you don't fully realize.  YOU are WORTH IT!

As I've struggled to feel inspired to create content on my blog over the past couple years, I've realized that I've been desperately seeking a way to connect with my readers.  I want to give back, even in this small way, and create a safe, trustworthy environment where women can go to receive encouragement, inspiration, and find kindred souls to give them strength!

Meet here every Monday morning for some encouragement, tips, and life hacks to help make your life easier!  I'll be sharing suggested topics from moms like you via blog and Instagram comments (Facebook to come soon!), so don't forget to leave a comment with a topic you've been struggling with, a link to an uplifting article or quote, or an experience you've had lately that I can share!

Until then...YOU'VE GOT THIS!

Hugs and High Fives,

Holly

Pre-Holiday Purge - Why You Shouldn't Wait for Spring to Clean

Do you think that spring is the best time of year to declutter your house?  Think again!  After years of following the trends, and dealing with enough stuff for three families, I'm here to share one of my favorite new holiday traditions!




Ah, spring.  That magical time of year when you purge, sort, and organize all the stuff creating cute little dust bunnies during chilly winter months.

Also popular is the great January purge.  Overwhelmed by an excess of stuff after the holidays, along with the desire to start fresh in the new year, you'll see a huge influx of social media posts about decluttering and organizing your stuff after the big winter holidays.

But!  After years of dealing with pack rat syndrome, and three young kiddos with waaaay more toys and clothes than necessary, I've realized that RIGHT NOW is the best time to declutter!

Don't wait until after Christmas to pare down on kids' toys and clothes!

This is the PERFECT time to sit down with your kiddos and let them know it's time to let go of some of their toys to make room for all the awesome new stuff they'll receive in the coming month.  This is also the perfect time to teach your babes about the importance of giving and providing for others who are in need.


A TIME TO GIVE BACK

The year my husband was laid off, we were the recipients of a couple gifts for our daughter (our only child at that time) from our church's giving tree.  It was also that year that I purchased her Christmas gifts at the local thrift store.  It was one of the single most humbling experiences of my life, and I've never been more grateful, and full of joy, to watch her open her sweet little presents.

Did she notice her toys and clothes weren't perfectly pre-packaged with tags from a store?  Not at all.  Did she care that the pink doll castle that I literally prayed I'd find for her was pre-loved and a bit worn in a few places?  Nope.  Did she care that nothing we bought for her cost more than $5?  No way.  She loved everything, and I loved experiencing a Christmas where it truly wasn't about the presents.

Now, I'm not going to go on about the true meaning of Christmas.  But though we are in a stable situation now, I want all of my children to know what it is to give back, to show gratitude, to remember that we all struggle at some point and are in need of a little cheer.


TOYS & CLOTHES

So!  Around Thanksgiving, when thoughts are on family and gratitude, we have started the tradition of going through all of our things and finding ways to donate.  This is great for everyone!  Purging BEFORE the new year, before December, even, gives kids the chance to rid themselves of things they don't play with any more, while also giving them a better idea of the new things they might actually want or need.  Having clean, decluttered kids rooms is, like, the best Christmas present I could ask for!  Haha!

Decluttering before Christmas is good for the home, and the soul!

Purging toys and clothing before December also gives you the opportunity to donate during a time when many shelters are full of families in great need of a coat, a blanket, a pair of gloves, even a simple toy for their child.  Thrift stores are heavily shopped this time of year as well.  Not only for warm winter items, but for children's toys and discounted holiday decor.


HOLIDAY DECOR

This is also an awesome time to take a hard look at your holiday decor and decide what you don't want anymore.  Certainly, there were Halloween and Thanksgiving items that you didn't use this year, and probably won't use next year, either.  Go ahead and let it go!  This goes for your winter decor, too!

(I was personally staring down 10+ bins of holiday decor, I began to think to myself that maybe...just MAYBE...I didn't really want all of it.)

Don't get me wrong, I like to switch up my throw pillows and color scheme as much as the next gal, but if you're looking at a box of holiday decor, wondering where to put things, or feeling fairly uninspired to put out a decor item, then go ahead and donate it it.  Give it to a friend or neighbor.  Offer it up to a family member who's admired that item in the past.  They'll love you for it!

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We all love to give (and receive!) special presents during the holidays.  I promise one of the best "gifts" you can give to you and your family this season is the gift of a clean home, ready to receive all the bounty and blessings that you deserve!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Quick Tip Tuesday | How to Clean Your House in Two Minutes

In a desperate attempt to maintain a home that doesn't look like an episode of Hoarders, I've implemented a daily ritual called the "Two Minute Tidy Up."

So many times I've gone to bed with socks, blocks, and Barbie's laying all over our great room floor.  Too many mornings I've lamented at the condition of my kitchen counters, certainly not eager to make breakfast in a cluttered space.

Enter our little Tidy Up Routine.



QUICK TIP *

Play a song, gather the kiddos, and make a game of who can tidy up the fastest!


The concept is simple: Turn on a fun, upbeat song, clean up quickly for the duration of the music, call it good.

I like things to sound snazzy, and I figure the average pop song or Disney musical number is roughly two minutes long.  I needed a simple, fun way to get the kiddos on board with picking up at the end of the day without the moans and groans that typically involve me doing most of the work. :P

How To Save Your Sanity (aka. "Two Minute Tidy Up")
  1. Set a timer for two minutes or find an upbeat song to play.
  2. Tell the kids it's time for the Two Minute Tidy Up, and that they need to be super fast (get competitive, it's okay!)
  3. Let the kids run around picking up toys and putting them in a bin or basket to take to their room
  4. Parents take the time to pick up their own things, clean up kitchen counters, dining table, or whatever will make you feel most accomplished
  5. When the timer or song is over, stop.  You're done!  Don't keep going.  The kids can take their things to their room to be put away, and you can wrap up anything else you want to finish after they've gone to bed.

The point of the Tidy Up is to get the family to work together, for a short amount of time, and reinforce the importance of being responsible for their own things.  Sure, I still straighten and wipe up all sorts of things (eww) all day long (double eww), always reminding my kids to take care of their own dishes, put their shoes away, clean up the Play-Doh, etc.  But working together at the end of the day, and having it be a few minutes of productive fun (yes, they like it!), has been incredibly rewarding!

P.S. If two minutes isn't quite enough time, go ahead and play another song!  Make it a game and I guarantee that your kids will be into it!  Then once everything is picked up, your kids are happily panting from cleaning while having fun, then feel free to kick your feet up and enjoy an iced beverage, you Mary Poppins, you. ;)

Dude, Get On That Already: A DIY Home Project Update

When you buy or build a house, you can't help but start day dreaming of what it's going to look like once you've made it your home.  The new furniture, the special touches, family pictures on the walls.  Maybe you've got a "honey-do" list of improvements or upgrades that you want to add over time.  We built our house from the start, and I've had a running list going since before we moved in!



For me, interior design is a way of life.  It's a hobby, it's a job, it's a passion.  As much as I think I'll be happy and can relax when the list has been checked off (so satisfying!), I've come to the conclusion that I will never be done!  But that's okay!  Whether I'm plugging away at a DIY furniture project, revamping a kid's room, or researching what to plant in our yard, this sweet little home of ours is with us for the long haul, and I'm going to do my very best to enjoy the process!

Listed for your enjoyment and disbelief (it's a lot to-do's, I know), here's the latest version of our "Dude, Get On That Already" list...and for you curious folks, you can read the previous list here.

Entry / Foyer

* address shoe hatchery (they're multiplying!) in entry area
* entry table - (preferably 12" deep), white, modern, DIY?
* entryway runner - flat woven, grey trellis style
* board and batten in entry hall
* doorway case molding in foyer
* replace builder lights in foyer (mini chandeliers? star pendents?)
* hang art in foyer
* hang black mirror in foyer?
*

Entry Closet

* throw pillows / bench seat pillow
* add baskets / functional storage for shelves
* decide on function for shelves (gift wrapping, seasonal, etc?)
* organize / donate old coats, boots, etc.
*

Great Room

* add cabinets / built-ins flanking fireplace
* install molding and mantel to fireplace box
* find sofa table
* paint new sofa table (driftwood? white?)
* large area rug (8'x10'? 9'x12'?)
* permanent draperies
* bamboo blinds for lower windows
* paint side tables
* paint coffee table
* hang art over built-ins
* repair and paint toy storage armoire (mint green?)
* add molding to windows (x9)
*

Kitchen / Dining

* paint & reupholster dining chairs (x8)
* paint dining table
* window treatment (draperies / valance)
* kitchen runner
* finish capiz chandeliers
* install Expedit buffet
* paint island
* cabinet hardware / pulls
* paint / stencil accent wall
* rug for dining area

Mudroom

* find narrow drop zone table
* repaint chalkboard frame
* small area rug
* bench seat pillows
* replace builder light fixture
* organize drop-zone kid baskets/mail drop/etc.

Master Bedroom

* hang white draperies
* buy / DIY king sized bed frame
* add white flokati rug
* swap dresser for living room "console"
* new fan (Home Depot)
* fresh duvet
* hang ocean waves canvas art
* replace lack side dressers (move to dressing room)
* twin lamps for bedside tables
* ottoman/bench for foot of bed
* fireplace pass through (2nd phase)

Master Bath / Dressing Room

* install runner in bathroom
* paint cabinets (white? orchid? sea glass?)
* add valance over window
* install chandelier over tub
* install shelving in water closet (spray paint brackets gold)
* add linen storage in corner (phase 1)
* built-in linen storage with pull outs (phase 2)
* frame builder mirror
* upgrade faucet
* cabinet hardware / pulls
* replace builder lights in dressing room
* add lack dressers to dressing room
* add shoe storage
* replace all old hangers
*

Chloƫ's Room

* paint loft bed white
* new rug (5'x8')
* assemble bed
* add curtains to bed loft section
* hang drapes
* paint Ikea table with game board (buy 2nd chair)
* paint vanity table and paint/reupholster bench
* paint princess wardrobe
* hang crystal chandelier
* create organized toy and book storage
* add window seat
*

Ryker's Room (move to basement?)

* new drapes
* add bamboo shade
* playful rug
* install birch Expedit
* toy storage
* new light fixture
* hang art
* install driftwood inspired plank wall
* new bed (Ikea hack?)
*

Loft

* paint vintage console
* paint/re-imagine coffee table to game/Lego table
* install two Billy bookcases (phase 1)
* install doors and upper extension Billy units (phase 2)
* build window seat
* diy valance for window
* daybed / sofa bed for seating and overnight guests
* colorful rug?
* chalkboard wall
*

Laundry Room

* hang art
* board and batten
* hang shelving (phase 1)
* install cabinets (phase 2)
* colorful runner
* fill void at entry with table and laundry basket (phase 1)
* fill void at entry with base cabinets/laundry basket storage (phase 2)
*

Kid's Bathroom

* hang beach / ferris wheel art
* new towels
* add bath mat/rug
* frame builder grade mirror
* cabinet hardware / pulls
* board and batten with towel hooks

Future Guest Room (Ryker's old room?)

* queen bed (previous queen mattress set & frame)
* DIY upholstered headboard
* new bedding / pillows
* nightstand(s)
* window treatment (curtains and shades)
* art
* board & batten
* patch and repaint (Repose Gray or new color?)
*

Future Nursery (basement)

* repaint white crib
* new mattress
* window treatment (curtains and shades)
* dresser (old Ikea birch & white?)
* repair rocking chair
* colors: orchid & coral pink? palm beach inspired?
* hang art
*

Basement

* heating / air estimate (HVAC)
* finish framing office/storage rooms
* kitchenette?
* drywall
* mud
* plan / blueprint kid's hideout
* install low pile carpet
* install firebox
* install faux brick wall
* install water softener
* new sofa / sectional
* TV entertainment unit
* paint vintage hutch (white with fun insert)
* hang family gallery wall
*

Basement Bathroom

* paint vanity
* flooring (tile? vinyl?)
* install tub / shower
* adult height toilet
* vanity lighting
*

Cold Pantry

* add shelving for food storage and extra toiletries
* install insulated door
* add more light fixtures
*

Exterior / Yard

* install sprinkler system, add sod to front yard
* add gravel to 3rd bay side yard for truck
* design landscape layout concept for front and back (trees, rocks, sod, bushes, veggie garden, fire pit, etc.)
* DIY glass fire pit in backyard (phase 2)
* lay patio behind 3rd bay, build pergola and add climbing vines, bistro set?
* build deck (phase 2)
*

You know we're going to keep adding to the list, but that's part of the fun!  Besides, what's more fun than crossing things off a list?  Nothing. The answer is, nothing. ;)