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Interior Motives

Decorating and DIYing our house to make it a home.

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Good Enough To Eat

Tried and true recipes my family loves.

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Life Lessons

Navigating motherhood through life's little lessons.

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I Heart Pinterest

When all else fails, go to Pinterest!

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Pretty As A Picture

Photography tips and tricks for the average person.

Friday, May 27, 2011

My First Craigslist Purchase

I should have entitled this post "Why Listening To Your Husband Is The Best Decorating Tip," but honestly, it wouldn't fit on one line.

I am giddy with glee. Not "GLEE," the television show, but the old fashioned glee, happiness if you will.

When I began my search for a headboard, frame and box spring for our six year old daughter, I knew I'd have to get a deal, especially if I wanted to spray paint it. I mean why spend the money if you're only going to change it up? So I did a little math (ouch.)

Here's the thing with "decorating-on-a-next-to-nothing-budget," you really have to spend NEXT TO NOTHING! I'm not talking "I got it at Pottery Barn on clearance" kind of budget. I'm talking dumpster diving. Not really. Well, maybe, in the future. Hmm.

Anyway, so I found a bed (frame, headboard, box spring and mattress) on craigslist. That's right, you heard me. The whole thing was $75! What a steal!

Here's the thing, we didn't need the mattress because we already have one. (Long story short, our youngest went right from the crib to this bed, but the house we currently live in has bunks built into the walls, so we only needed the mattress. Phew.)

Since we're moving, we will now need the rest of the bed. Okay, so would this guy be willing to negotiate without the mattress.

He was. For $50. Plus the 60 minute drive to pick it up. (More math, cost of gas, time, use the minivan instead of the car...)

Husband said uh-uh, call them back and tell them we are only willing to pay $30.

What?!? Are you kidding me? We are going to lose this! Did you see my math? Did I add wrong?

Husband thus began to explain to me his theory in economics (blah blah blah, blah blah blah...) and how when I become a desperate housewife buyer, I will lose in the end.

{I did not raise my hands to my ears and shout "I'm not listening!!" Well, maybe in my mind I did.}

So I called back. And got the wife (yes!) And was willing to leave my name and number just in case (does anyone smell desperation?) And she said...

      "Just a minute, let me talk to my husband..."

There was a smattering of "we haven't gotten any other hits on craigslist..." "I just want to get rid of it..."

And holy-Toledo. We made the sale. And I spent the next two days praising Husband telling him he was right and I was wrong still in shock and thank goodness for his tightness economic prowess, we now have what we need, at a price we could afford.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why You Should Move


I've been packing for a few weeks now and I've noticed how much stuff we're not living with. (ie. extra sheets, certain dishes, books, toys, games) If we really need this stuff, we don't seem to be missing it one single bit.

Part of me just wants to chuck all our boxes into a ditch.

I mean, we are downsizing after all.

Lots of people have been asking if we are moving to a bigger house. (I guess when you have three kids, people assume you need more room, not less.)

The first house Husband and I ever owned. That was SIX houses ago...

My stock answer is:

"Smaller house, smaller mortgage!"

People seem to like that response, and I don't have to say anything after that.

So I think everyone should move for the following reasons:

  • you can get rid of your crap, I mean your stuff.
  • you can be content with less.
  • you have less to dust (or store, or wash...)
  • most importantly you'll realize you're not as materialistic as you thought you were. ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Who doesn't have a graduation/birthday/anniversary party to go to these days? Take along these bars which were a hit with my family. If you love chocolate and peanut butter, you'll love this recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

*1 king-sized milk chocolate bar      
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups brown sugar      
2 cups rolled oats
*1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts
1 egg, beaten
14 oz sweetened condensed milk     
*1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter

*I used Hershey's Symphony Chocolate, omitted the nuts and substituted creamy peanut butter.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Finely chop the chocolate. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.

Add the butter to the flour and rub in until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar, oats, and chopped nuts.

Put a quarter of the mixture into a bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Set aside.

Stir, the egg into the remaining mixture, then press into the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan.

Bake the base in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the condensed milk and peanut butter together. Pour the mixture over the base and spread evenly, the sprinkle the reserved chocolate mixture on top and press down lightly.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan, then cut into bars or squares.

Makes 25

Adapted from the "Blissful Brownies" cookbook.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Domesticity As An Art

Moving gets me in the mood to decorate. I'm watching HGTV again, scouring all the DIY books and magazines. I love it!

Then I found this gem of a book at our local library. Ironically the author started out as as a blogger. Her photos are wonderful and it's one of those books that's nice to look at and read. (I finished it while sitting in the dentist office waiting for my kiddos.)

"Domesticity as an art..." The domestic life, the domestic housekeeper, domestic pleasures.

do-mes-tic/ adjective: Of or relating to the running of a home or to family relations.

And isn't that what we mothers do? Aren't we the "domestic engineers" of our homes? Is it not us that keeps the cogs of this well-oiled "machine" (called our household) running?

These days haven't we taken what used to be the mundane and turned it into something we love? There's nothing wrong with loving the walls that we look at or trying to beautify our spaces. How about getting creative with our baking, so it becomes a kid-friendly activity instead of another task on our to-do lists.

I understand that times have changed and many mothers work outside the home now, but we can still turn the menial things we do (that relate to housework) into something we actually like.

In the end whether it's a new recipe or organizing your child's bedroom, if you put your heart into it, it can be meaningful, it can be pleasurable and maybe even artful.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Designing For A Princess

From my mood board on olioboard.com

With all the busyness of moving, I find myself daydreaming when I should be sleeping. Amongst the paperwork of mortgage commitments and appraisal reports, I've secretly been designing our youngest's bedroom in my head.

My inspiration? The web. I've found pieces online that I love (but could never afford,) I've visited paint stores (hoarding their paint swatches) and scoured craigslist for treasures (which I'm still working on.)

It's what motivates me to move, again. Husband cringed when I said "paint the woodwork," but I (lovingly) shushed him, because ALL I ASK FOR IS TO LET ME GO WILD IN THIS ONE ROOM, the rest of the house can wait.

I'm also trying to convince our six-year-old that having her own bedroom will be amazing and wonderful and full of pink (without shocking our senses.) One night I even made up a story about a princess (with her name) moving to a new castle (house.) That's how desperate I am for this transition to be a positive one.

The plan:

- mocha'ish' painted walls
- white woodwork
- a headboard (from craigslist) painted white
- pink curtains
- and pink accents

Elegant, yet still girlish. I might have to live in that room. I love it already.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Really? You Don't Have An SLR?

What's more mundane than clothes pins?

I'm living proof that you don't have to have a fancy-schmancy camera to take great pics.

In fact my Canon point-and-shoot is a hand-me-down from my mom. Not to belittle the power of a Canon, (I happen to still have a manual one that uses film) but if you don't have an SLR, you are capable of taking great pics with great lighting.

The above clothes pins shot was not manipulated at all. I do use a photo editing program (Photoshop Elements) but truth is all you need is good lighting and you can pull off some pretty shots.

I wouldn't compare my pics to those of professionals (or the bloggers with Nikon and Canon SLRs) but I'm pretty proud of photos. In fact blogging made me realize how much I really like photography and how much I  love taking pics of food!

Apple Pie, yummm

Or even those rainy day pics...

I guess even in the blogosphere there can be a feeling of "keeping up with the Joneses," and it really shouldn't be that way. Our blogs are expressions of our creativity! Not how much we spend on gadgets or designers. So enjoy! Love your blog and your little point-and-shoot! :)

So They Say It's My Birthday...

According to my friends on Facebook, it's my birthday today.

Yeah, it's almost over, but I think it would be weird not to post today.

So after getting up at 5am, sending one child off for a field trip (at 6:15am), two children to school (driving to two stores for cough drops for one child with a sore throat), two hours of frantic cleaning for the house inspection, 4 hours at work, 20 minutes at the DMV renewing my driver's license, 10 minutes of phone tag with our banker and a night of grocery shopping and cheesecake, I'm a year older.

Tired. And yes, a year older. :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

How To Stage Your House

No, this is not my house, but it is a model home in Florida.
Husband asked me why I was up so early today. I said because I was going to do my Bible study homework, but I couldn't, because all my stuff was in a laundry basket in the back of the minivan.

His reply: That is so you.

Hey, I don't watch HGTV for pure entertainment reasons! The last thing potential buyers want to see is "your stuff" when they walk into a house. Including your kids photos, artwork, what you read, the bills you pay...

Speaking of bills, I've put our bills in a drawer.

Husband: Why would you do that? Are you afraid they might pay our electric bill?


Anyhoo, the point is cleaning and decluttering isn't always enough. Buyers have to be able to envision themselves in your home and not be thinking, "gee, their kids are slobs..."

Our son's "stuff." Is that an empty water bottle in there?!?
'Staging' as it's technically called in the house-selling business is about making your house look move-in ready for a buyer. They need to say "yes, I could see myself living here!"

So clean off that refrigerator, put away as many photos as you can and allow your buyers to imagine themselves living in their 'new home.'

Spoken like a true house-selling veteran. (FYI- this is the fifth house we've sold.)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mommy Guilt

We interrupt my regularly scheduled program due to some unforeseen illness...

Funny thing, and I don't mean ha-ha funny, I wrote this post on March 31 but never posted it, and have been home two more times since then with sick kids.

I ended up not going to work today, which was tough. Not because I don't have my priorities straight, but because of what I like to call, dum-dum-dum-dummmm: The Mommy Guilt.

I know mommies who work outside the home can relate. We would like nothing but to stay home with our sick child and care for them knowing work can wait. I was fortunate to have been able to do that for 12 years!

But now, with working away from home, albeit part-time, there is this pull. I don't think dads have the same guilt we do. I won't speak for them, but that's my observation.

So today I am home attending to sick children (yes, her brother is home also...)

Here's to a healthier tomorrow?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Some years I get slighted on Mother's Day. My birthday (which is May 11th) sometimes falls on Mother's Day and then I get the combo gift. That's like having your birthday on Christmas!

I think like most moms, we appreciate anything homemade. Last year's impromptu flowers from the garden, were a treasure, anything chocolate is always well received.

Here are 10 Mother's Day gift ideas I found on the web:

1. A certificate for a spa.
2. A gift card to her favorite store
3. A magazine subscription
4. Food
5. Food you cooked for her
6. Photo (of family, children) related gifts
7. Hand-stamped jewelry (all the rage now thanks to the mommy bloggers)
8. Anything Chocolate


9. Personalized items (like above key holder)
10. Peace (on earth, in the home...quiet in general)

Have a Happy Mother's Day! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

The backyard.
This morning as I shared the bathroom with my 6 year old I started singing the theme song from "Gilmore Girls." (Entitled "Where You Lead, I Will Follow" sung by Carol King.) I used to sing that to her when I gave her a bath as a baby, and she recognized it right away.

Then I thought about those words and about who exactly would I follow? And what does that look like?

I've also started to ask myself some difficult questions. Like what if I pursued something I really love? What if I like so many things, I don't even know where to begin? What if it's the wrong choice? What if I fail?

I want to write something with substance, and have it read.

I want to pursue music in the church and share it some more.

I want to keep helping kids at school.

As I write this I notice the "I want" in all of them. What I want and what I'm called to do are probably two very different things. But I said I was digging deep.

The Bible study I'm in has me contemplating in the early mornings. That's really the only quiet time I have. Otherwise my day is like many other moms; work obligations, family stuff, house-moving priorities and such.

Never boring.

I caught a glimpse of the sun today, but already it's fading, hinting of rain. At this time last year, my youngest daughter brought me these from our backyard for Mother's Day:

A Mother's Day bouquet.
This year (having been hit by snow showers in May!) I don't have many flowers to look at, just a few hardy daffodils. But I guess that's okay, because in about 30 days (Lord willing) we will leave this view for a new one.

A final glimpse of this house's backyard.
Bittersweet. But following where He leads me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ideas For A Girly-Girl's Room

Kristin DeMarco, Gifted Notions
We're in the midst of selling and buying. A house that is.

For my many bloggy friends who have moved recently, you're well aware of the burgeoning paperwork and moments of thinking "The house isn't really ours...until the fat lady sings." And I don't mean me! (Still running that treadmill in hopes of being ready for that wedding in June!)

When I have a few minutes, I allow myself to daydream about painting our youngest daughter's bedroom (mocha walls with pink curtains and white accents) I have it all planned out in my head and have been inspired by the design blogs and the pretty combination of pink and brown.

Still wondering if I want to build a padded headboard for her, or scour the second-hand shops for some cheap treasure. Not sure. But definitely wanting these pink curtains from Pottery Barn!

Pottery Barn

Husband didn't like it when I mentioned painting the woodwork white, but come on, just give me this room pleeeeese! I'm going all let's-cut-crown-molding-and-paint-and-build-with-wood-and-stuff on him! I might be scaring him, but a girl can dream, right?

Pottery Barn
What about this bed? There's that beadboard again! And it's on sale for $399!!! Really?!? I don't think so. But it's so pretty. *sigh*

Our daughters are so excited to have their own rooms and leave what they currently have:

Hey! Who did all this?!?
So, if anyone has a link to "how to make a cute girls' padded headboard," send it over! I'm off to tackle that paperwork now. :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Before & After ~ Bathroom

Before it was trendy to showcase your 'befores & afters', before I knew what a blog was, slightly before my fascination with HGTV, Husband and I were remodeling our houses like nobody's business.

(Forgive the quality of the following photos, it was 2002 (?) and I had to pull out ye old photographs from the photo album and scan them!)

Before: Welcome to 1972!
Check out the dark wood, the marble countertop/sinks and those light fixtures, aghhh! The toilet and the tub/shower unit was brown.

Ugh. Helpppp!

After much elbow grease and some shopping, we spruced it up as best we could only getting a professional to install a new white toilet and spray coat the tub and shower white. It was worth it! (I still have that white shelf by the way, it was a Mother's Day gift!)

After: Much better!
As we embark on our next house (#10), it will be another opportunity to remodel (little by little.) I have to say, I'm more than a tad excited.

I love scanning the web, going through old decor magazine tear sheets and just plain digging into the whole DIY thing! Is there such a thing as a DIY geek? Because I am one!

Even though my taste has matured (really?) I'm kinda over the lilac. I'm already bookmarking like crazy and starting idea files for our new house. Stay tuned!

I'm hooking up with Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick: