Sunday, June 16, 2013

Surprise! We've Moved!!

Not from our house, but from our blog.  We have a new address!  And a new name!  Over the past month we made the decision to combine our two blogs Fresh Coat Of Paint and Crinion Clan into one.  We're giddy excited to welcome you to...

House for Five

The new blog will still be the familiar journal of transforming this old house into our home.  We'll just be sharing a little bit more about our life as a family of five there too.  We were nervous to make the switch but are so excited about the change!  We hope all of you will move over to House For Five right along with us!

Our Welcome post has all the juicy details on why we did it and what's in store at the new blog.  So, come on over and join the house warming!


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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Daily Outfit Sign Update

In case you didn't know..it's FRIDAY!!!   I felt like Tuesday should have been Friday...anyone else have one of those weeks?  Before we get to the weekend relaxing, I'm dropping in with quick update we made to Mia's room.

Awhile ago we created a little area for her to set out her clothes each night so she would be ready for the next day.  The original "Today, I'll Wear" daily outfit sign was cute...
 

But I wanted to freshen it up a bit and work a little more light blue to her room.  A few minutes playing in Photoshop and we were rocking a whole new look.
Daily Outfit sign and hanger


And if you would like one for your own little bambina, or someone else, feel free to grab one of the three below by clicking on the download link below the image. They're all 5x7.  



 







We'll be back on Monday with some exciting news for the blog!  Until then, have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Labeled Under-The-Bed Storage Bins

Way back here I warned you to brace yourselves and shared these pics of my little girl's room:



I tried to identify the problem areas and solutions in our breakdown of the chaos, and spilled the deets on our plan for some room design updates here.  This mood board sums it up...



We are trucking along at a turtle's pace but are making progress one project at a time!  The bookcase and the dresser traded places and the swap made such a difference in the room's function and space!  The bookcase is a much better fit in the closet and having the dresser in the room is giving us another surface to play with accessories and cute storage.

I'll have more of those details soon, but today I'm embarrassingly giddy over some simple storage we added in a very underused spot.

When we first did an overhaul of Mia's room, we added a long shallow tub under her bed to store out-of-season clothes or clothes in the next size up.  We love this system so much that we have one for each person in our house.  But we only access those bins about twice a year when we swap out clothes for the warm/cold seasons.  There was still a lot of usable space left under Mia's bed and we knew it was the perfect spot to store some of those little toys that get lost all over her room.

I loved the bins that The Centsational Girl used in her daughter's bedroom, and found these online through One Step Ahead.  I love that they have a zippered lid to keep dust out and small pieces in.
zipper lid under the bed storage for toys


We printed up some quick labels and were one step closer to organized bliss.
under the bed storage labels

In our last room attempt I thought keeping all of these doll pieces in plastic tubs on the top shelf of her closet was the answer.  She would have to ask me to get them down and need to put them all back before having me put them up and away.  It was nice in theory but they usually ended up on the floor taking up space and it didn't foster much independence when it came to keeping her room clean since she needed my help to complete the job.  And when they were away on the shelf, she didn't play with them as often since she couldn't get to them.  
organize kids toys under the bed

Now she's able to easily access her toys, easily put them away, and hopefully not lose as many of those teeny-tiny parts that tend to come along with all these girly goodies.


I know that girl's toys are not the only tiny-accessory offenders.  How do you keep all those little toys organized and together?   What ways have you used the space under the bed for storage?  Any other tips for taking advantage of unused space in a room?


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Monday, June 10, 2013

A Weekend Of Yardwork and Goodbye To An Old Green Friend

It's Monday y'all and we're still waking up to the new week over here.  How about you?

A jungle of a lawn and a monstrous army of rose bushes, greeted us when we came back from CA, so our Saturday was spent mowing, trimming, pulling and bagging.  And cleaning out the garage, which was a bigger mess than our yard.  At least we had sweet friends (who love to cook) offer to bring dinner and grill at our place.  We're totally spoiled by their friendship and their food!

We also said goodbye to the jolly green giant in the living room. 
 

This couch was my first "big girl" purchase when I got back from my first deployment and moved into my first apartment in San Diego.  (How many times can one use the word 'first' in a sentence?  Too many is the answer).

Anyhow. This couch was super comfy and has held up great over the 11 years we owned it.  The chaise was one of my favorite spots in the house....BUT lately it's been a challenge to create a room around the dark muted color. I'm itching for a fresh palette for this house and something that will work well with the other spaces we've already tackled.  The chaise also limited the furniture layout and we would love more seating for hanging out with friends.

When James and I decided that our big project for the summer would be the floors in our master bedroom, we realized we would need to move our bed into the living room while we work on the floors.  And that was all I needed to list that puppy on craigslist! 

Since all of our family is out of state, sometimes we're lucky enough to get a gang of visitors at one time.  So, we could also use more options for overnight guests.  We're hoping to find a sofa bed for our replacement couch that James and I can bunk on while extra guests have our bedroom.  

But before the couch search commences, we have some floors to tackle.  SO. EXCITED.  If you only knew the grossness our carpets, you would understand. 


Hope you all had a great weekend!  Anyone else taking on a big project this summer?   Anyone have a piece of furniture that's just throwing off your design mojo?


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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Our Daily Summer Routine

When it comes to structuring (or not structuring) our time, we all fall on different ends of the spectrum.  Some of us are utter free birds, where the mere thought of having to be somewhere at a specific time is cause for beads of sweat.  Others of us get a small high when someone makes mention of the word 'schedule', 'timeline', or 'flow chart'. 

We've tried approaching our day in both ways - flying by the seat of our pants and sticking to a strict schedule.  And like most things, we've found that balance and landing somewhere in the middle works best for us.  My children thrive on routine and ultimately I'm at my best when I'm in a good groove too.  But we like a bit of spontaneous fun thrown in the mix as well.

As much as summer brings to mind grilled meals on the patio, endless fun playing in the water, and carefree days in the sun, it can also have me begging for my own padded room if I'm trying to entertain three young kids and avoid playing referee with them home all day.  A loose summer routine that can flex with our calendar activities is key to us truly having fun, taking care of our home, and keeping us from wanting to kill each other.

So, here's what I came up with for our 2013 summer routine on days we're home.  I tried to structure it in a way that we can easily work in things like play dates, classes/camps, and whatever else pops up on our calendar. 

a daily summer schedule for home


This may seem super detailed to some of you, but we don't stick to this to the minute.  It just gives us a way to break up the day, get outside, avoid unnecessary screen time/boredom bugs, and make sure the house doesn't get out of control.

We got into the bad habit of letting the kids watch a show in our room as soon as they woke up so we could catch a few extra zzz's.  I'm not knocking this - it was great for awhile, but then the kids started waking up earlier and earlier just to watch Special Agent Oso.  A 5:30am wake up call to the tune of "Can we watch a show?" - no bueno.

Since returning from CA the kids have been waking up at 7am and we're going to try to keep it that way!  Hopefully this routine will allow me to wake up before them, so I'm ready to snuggle them up with a few books when they get out of bed, instead of fumbling around for the remote control.

It is summer, so we try to make meal time a little more fun than it is during the school year.  Eating breakfast outside in our pj's, letting the kids help cut the fruit, a picnic on the lawn in our bathing suits...it all makes the day a little more enjoyable.  For them and for me.

We have not done the best job of having our kids share the load in taking care of our house.  It puts all the work on us (which doesn't bode well for my patience meter) and it has fostered some pretty bad habits. Namely leaving a trail of dolls, trucks, puzzle pieces, and whatever else they happened to be playing with, wherever they go.  Our kids are a little older now, and after reading Jen's post about her family's cleaning plan I'm even more motivated to get our whole clan involved in taking care of our home.  

It's going to be a main focus of our summer and we're hoping to do that by really focusing on cleaning up throughout the day, especially before moving from one thing to the next.  More specifically, we'll have the kids help with clean up after meals, working in a 30-min "Family chore time" each day (that will correspond with a clean up schedule I'll share next week), and in scheduling a 15-min clean up time at the end of each day.  It's amazing how much you can do in 15 min when everyone works together.  And who doesn't love the feeling of having the house picked up BEFORE the kids are in bed?  Well, I image I would love that feeling but can't really tell you since I'm not very familiar with it.  I can tell you what sucks though - closing the kids' bedroom doors for the night and turning around to greet a disaster of a house.  Yup, the stuff of anxiety and depression right there.

We also want to continue with the progress that the kids made in school last year by carving out some time for handwriting, numbers, etc.  I have a mini learning center in the works and am excited to share that with you soon!

I shared our summer wish-list last week and we decided that Wednesday's will be the day for some of those special summer adventures.  Having fun together and taking better care of our home and relationships are the goals for our summer.  And we tried to create a summer schedule that would help us do just that!

How's your summer shaping up?  Do you have a summer schedule?  What things do you work in?  Whatever your summer looks like, I hope you're enjoying every minute!




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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Window Treatments To Help With The Heat

Happy June Everyone!  May was a blur and I'm not even sure it really happened.  We just got back from a week with family in CA and I'm still attempting to tame the suitcase explosion that occurred as soon as we walked through our front door. 

If there was any doubt that summer had arrived before we left, the smoldering oven that is now our car is proof that the dessert summer heat is here.  And a sign that we need to seriously clean out the garage so that we can start parking the van in there again.

It's also that time of year where an intricately coordinated cool-the-house-down operation commences each day.  The hubs is all about giving the a/c a break whenever we can, so based on where the sun is a certain times of the day, we'll have specific windows open and ceiling fans on in various parts of the house.

But the last part of the day is by far the worst.  The sun shines right into the kids' rooms, right as we need to cool the room down for bed time.  Today it dawned on me just how much of a difference the blinds we installed last year have made it keeping their rooms bearable.  They were such a great investment and I posted about them way back in the beginning of this little blog's life.  So, while I unpack from our trip I thought I would share that post for those that may have missed it.

I was not compensated in any way to write this post, just love to share the goodies that have worked for us.  After the kids' naps we open these just a couple inches to let enough light in to see and then turn on the ceiling fan (if it wasn't already on during their nap/quiet time).  We keep the lights off to avoid unnecessary heat and by the time the kids are ready for bed the room is pretty comfortable.  By that point we can crack the window if it's cool enough outside.  Here's the details...


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Since moving in, we've been using blackout curtains in both rooms.  I wasn't disappointed with them in function...they lived up to their name and blocked out a good deal of light. 

The real problem was this:

Note the skiwampus curtain rod?  Mia's curtains are right by her bed and since the kids constantly climb up there, the curtains are pulled, sat on and tugged, on a regular basis.  Hence, wonky curtain rod.

We didn't have the same problems with the curtains in the boys room, but the crack of light that seeped out the sides in the morning, landed right on Sully's pillow.  They also did not slide very easily and it was a two-hand job to get them open. 

The solution? Levolor blinds from Lowes. 


I appreciated that they come in multiple color choices.  We picked the "snow" color for Mia's room, to complement her pink walls and white furniture.   And for the boys, we went with the "toffee".  They offer a light filtering or light darkening option...with kiddos that still take naps and like to wake up with the sun, light darkening was an absolute must for us! 

The other feature that makes them super convenient, is they all come in a standard size and can be cut down to fit the exact size of your window.  Right there in the store.  For free. 

And let me say, these things are amazing.  They were super easy to install - just screw in the 3 brackets and snap in the blinds.  They are also kid friendly and kid safe.  No cord hazards...they are easily moved up and down by the simple push of a button. 

Obviously they still need window treatments (and I apologize for the poor lighting) but here's the boys' room Before:
  
And After:

I'm super happy with the warm medium brown color in the boys room

Mia's room Before:

 And After:

They completely block out the light, are super easy to use and they cleaned up the windows really nicely.  Not to mention that they help immensely with temperature control (help keep the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer).  I'm a totally happy camper!  Now onto valances or something to pretty them up :)


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So let's hear from those of you sweating it out in the heat too....how do you keep the house cool without breaking the a/c unit's back or having a jaw dropping electric bill each month?  Any window solutions that have worked wonders for you?  Do tell!


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Our Summer Schedule

I'm typing this post from the deck of my parent's mountain cabin.  This place has always been a summer retreat and it's exactly the kind of thing I'm longing for this summer - lots of time outdoors, fresh air, away from the daily to-do's, making great memories with our family and friends.

Before we left for CA, the kids and I had a little summer planning pow-pow.  We sat down with a blank piece of paper and wrote down all the things we wanted to do this summer. 

Here are their ideas...
 
-take a dance class
-slip n slide
-spray park
-zoo/aquarium
-swim lessons
-hike along the river
-play dates
-make our own ice cream
-water balloons
-grow a watermelon


Aside from growing a watermelon, I think we can make all that happen.  And I added a few of my own to the list (on top of a few house projects)...

-start an herb garden
-be regulars at the Farmer's Market
-make some art for our blank walls


We already registered the kids for swim lessons last month, and before we left for our trip, I signed them each up for a dance class.  Mia's in a 5-6 yr old Fairy Tale Ballet class; Sully's going to bust a move in Comic Hero Hip Hop for 3-4 year old boys (holy moly, I may die!); Mack Daddy Jack will be in a 2 year old Dance is Fun class, likely with a bunch of other little ladies. 

As soon as we get back to ABQ the kids will be in swim lessons 5 days a week for two weeks.  If you have little ones that are afraid of getting in the water, I think these 4-5 day/week classes are best, as opposed to one class per week.  Otherwise, you have a whole week in between the pool (if you aren't able to get them in the pool on your own), and are almost starting from square one each class when it comes to becoming comfortable in the water. 

After those two weeks, we'll slip into a more regular weekly routine for the summer.  We decided to choose one day a week for our field trip/special activity day.  So, every Wednesday we'll pick an activity from our summer list and have some extra fun!  Then they'll have dance on Friday mornings for most of the summer, leaving Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for a regular daily routine, and the weekends open for the Farmers Market, picnics with friends and whatever other lazy or not-so-lazy things we want to tackle. 

I'll be sharing our regular daily routine for the summer next!  What do your summers look like?  Do you have a schedule or fly by the seat of your pants?  For those of you that work through the summer, how do you schedule in time for fun?


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