How to Keep a Beautiful Home with Kids

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
It is no secret that keeping a pretty home is so much harder with kids. There is always more messes, questionable sticky marks on the floor, the never ending supply of Magic Erasers, and of course random leggos and doll shoes hanging around on stairways, bathroom sinks, and under couches. As parents we struggle harder to keep our houses clean and organized and sometimes want to give up on all of it. Love my kids, but hate their messes.

I find one of the hardest parts to keeping my house "pretty" is the organization of their toys and belongings. There is nothing like having a bright red ball sitting in a room that you have grey painted walls and white furniture. Lucky for the ones that have basements to hide all this non-appealing endless supply of TOYS in. For this lady...I have not one extra inch of space to keep the kids stuff after shoving most of it into their bedroom closets.

SO, I had to learn to live with it! And there is only one way to do that....use their belongings as part of the room and hide what is not appealing in decorative storage spaces that will work with your house. I promise it is possible!

Here is what I've done in my home...this is the main area that I store their toys besides their bedrooms and I found smart ways to conceal their toys or use them as part of the decoration.

finding smart storage solutions for your kids toys

Mxing Kids toys in pretty spaces.
 Above is a new/old table for the kids. The hubby found this Pottery Barn Kids Table on the side of the road last week. Eek can you believe it? I know I was thrilled to see four legs pulling into the driveway on the roof of his care last week. He knows what woos me! I painted the top with chalk paint, and cleaned up the brand new! The table matches our decor in this space and it is a great place the kids can play and do projects. By adding decorative accessories to the table it helps to keep the table sophisticated to fit within this space.

Since the kids love using their new table to do crafts and coloring. I decided to add a hidden storage spot for their crayons to make it easy to grab, yet pretty for me!

 These boxes above are a RH Book Knock off that I created. I will post how I did this at another time, but these look fabulous on this grey top table.
And ready for coloring time!

The above photo is concealing tons of toys, but you can definitely see one toy peaking out from the corner of this photo.
 I love decorative pillows just because they add a cozy feeling to the room, but they are also great to use when you get that unwanted stain on your couch. My kids don't hesitate to destroy the couches. I have stains no matter how many times I clean them. I have to say it is not their fault, I am the one that loves light colored fabric couches. So in this case when I do get a stain, I just add a pillow or throw blanket to cover it up the best I can. This couch is not too bad since the kids rarely watch TV in this room, mainly the couch and chair in our family room are usually being covered by throws and pillows.  Though they have slipcovers on, the stains still do not come out that well in the wash...and it does take a lot of work taking those covers off, washing, drying, and then putting them back on...phew!
Here is that big red blob that was in the corner of my other photo. It's quite the rocker from Ikea that my kids love to play on. Something they have not yet to grow out of and I can get rid of at a yard sale. Since they use it often, I just tuck it away on the side of the couch. It is visible (since it's BRIGHT RED), but when you first enter the room you can not really notice it. Also see that toy hanging out under the couch? Yea..that's a gigantic floor keyboard the kids got from their grandparents on Christmas. It is easy to store this away right under the couch and can be taken out to play when they want. See...a spot for everything!

Matching Kids toys with Adult furniture
 The above photo you can see just about the entire room here. The color of the table matches so nicely with the rest of the decor in here. If I had bought a primary colored table and put in this same spot, this would definitely make the room clash. At first sight you may not even realize it is a kids table. I just love how it all blends together. The table may be temporary, but it still needs to fit within the space to keep it feeling my kind of pretty in here. 
Can you guess where the other toys are in this room? I swear they are here...

Smart storage solutions for toys
 Yep those drawers in our TV stand are filled with coloring books, puzzles, and activity books for the kids. Since it is so low for them, they can easily grab what they need.
Decorative Storage Solutions
My bookcase I bet you thought was filled with books or decorative accessories...nope just some more Kids storage. 

The bookcase is close enough to our front door that I can store our winter accessories in this basket. Found this adorable basket at Target last month and thought it was a perfect solution to keep all of the winter hats and gloves together.

See I promised it would be possible to still have kids toys hanging around without creating clutter. We can still have our adult home and places for our kids to play. We are not all fortunate to have that extra room to have a playroom, or a basement space to store all the toys. I just wanted to show how I made it possible in my home and you can too. 

Now for keeping those floors clean and not tripping on the toy car going down the stairs....yea I have no answers for that haha. I think the best way to think of it is that one day there wont be those little toys hanging around the house and we as parents are going to miss it like crazy. So embrace the mess sometimes, but finding smart solutions to storing and hiding messes will keep your sanity when guests come over and your having a selfish adult moment ; )

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Sunday Favorites

Sunday, February 22, 2015
I am desperate for Spring! Longing to see the grass again in my yard and to finally get this winter chill out of my body. Though I feel we are in for a very long winter and that the grass may not peak through until April, I am rounding up all kinds of ideas for outside and what we should do to our yard...or what I wish we could do to our yard. These are pins from this week, so if you love my inspiration and are not yet following me on Pinterest, I would love if you do click here.

If you are somewhere cold like I am I hope this brings you hope for spring and summer.

Use Lattice as a Screen

Pretty Pintastic Party

Friday, February 20, 2015
Did you notice the new welcome banner???  Yep, we've added new hosts!  The party is now on 16 blogs, with 15 hosts!  We think this will help our party grow even bigger!  Because of this, we will also be giving you more of a chance to be featured!  Starting next week, we will have 6 features every week!  
But as always all posts are pinned; features pinned by all!
First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3
Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!

dotten-co-host Every week we will have a fabulous co-host!
Our co-host this week is Katelijn from KusKat.
 Katelijn blogs her unique designs and fun creations.  Check out this gorgeous Natural Color Linen-Cotton Apron! apron Show Katelijn some love by following on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.                    
Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party! You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!
  This week's Features:       PPP42 Features PPP19-Features

5 Ingredient Red Velvet Cupcakes from Living Better Together
Dresser to Media Center from Redo It Yourself Inspirations
20 Bacon Recipes from Dreaming of Leaving
Leftover Ham Pot Pie from Atta Girl Says
Red Velvet Cake Mix Yogurt Dessert from Sewlicious Home Decor
Cinnamon Candy Popcorn from DIY Beautify

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         Everyone else grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!   button       

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Restoration Hardware Dining Table Knock Off

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

 It has been one long day! We headed over to Easton, PA to check out the Crayola Factory to keep the kids busy on this Snow Day. Kids loved it, but mom and dad are pooped! About a 2 hour ride from where we live and a pretty cranky 2 year old just about the whole way back. I can say silence feels pretty good right about now. Easton just happened to be quite beautiful. A really great downtown feel with historic buildings and nothing greater than their antique shops across the way. I couldn't help myself after a day full of KID fun, mommy needed some "Mommy Fun". I unfortunately, did not buy anything but I was in Vintage Heaven. I need to get my butt over to PA more often. So that was my day! How bout yours? Are you local and have taken your kids to crayola factory? Guilty mama like me for stopping at the antique shop before getting back in the car? Oh and did I mention we had to do Texas Roadhouse for dinner (they don't have those in Jersey) Yum...def a favorite of ours.

So since I took a little DIY break today and spent some time with the fam, I couldn't think of a better time than to show some pictures of the Dining table that we completed....wayyyy back in October. I know I've mentioned it a few times, and I guess I owe you all a few photos. As for the construction of the table we decided to go with Ana White Instructions for this one. The only difference we had made was the length of the table to 4ft (unfortunately my dining room is quite too small for what her plans are made to) and then we altered the other measurements to fit with the 4ft long size.

So before I go and show you my Oh so wonderful table. A few things I should mention first...

Reality of a DIY project and all that can go wrong

So the honest truth! My table is not perfect. And Mr. and I love DIY and projects and we do them constantly. We are no contractor or expert though. This being said...mistakes happen, and life goes on. I just want to always be completely honest with my viewers. Especially, those who love DIY and are maybe not always jumping into a new project like us. For you this may be the very first one you decide to do as a married couple and I just want to give you 1. a heads up on what can go wrong and 2. That it's alright! onto those pictures and then I will point out what went wrong, how we "fixed" them, and what we would do differently. 

One more thing...the decorating in this room is still not even close to being finished. I am mostly waiting to finish our bedroom, and then I have a few things in mind for this room.

So back to what went wrong with this project and how to prepare you for what can go wrong even when you follow the directions.

1. We bought our wood from Lowes lumber section. Just thick pieces of pine (the cheapest option) We of course were going for saving $$$ here and did not intend to go to a more expensive wood. This being so you need to treat the wood careful as it sometimes has a mind of its own.

What am I talking about...right?

 Well, the best way to adapt any wood to the temperature of your home is to let is sit in that environment for at least 24 hours. This way the wood is comfortable in that temperature and will not alter in shape.

Alter? bend, crack, etc.

We decided to build the table partially in the garage where there was definitely cooler temperature since it was in October. Once we starting building the top, this is where we brought the wood from the garage into the home and did not give it enough time to adjust to the room temperature. In the end this resulted to our wood bending and cracking weeks after the table was even assembled.

2. Using liquid nails...your best friend and your worst enemy! I've mentioned multiple time on here how we love using liquid nails to really hold together our projects. It makes it much easier and sturdier and we use it on just about anything. We currently used it on our DIY Mantle and I mentioned there as well, if you are staining careful about getting sloppy with this stuff. We of course found this out the hard way on our table. Do to the shifting wood and the planked table top, the white was showing through in areas  it was noticeable. This resulted in a very sloppy finish. I had to come up with plan B fast!

We chose to buy some brown caulk to cover up the white and the cracks in the table. I was thinking quick about this and probably should have thought this out more...caulk is glossy and I definitely did not want glossy in the cracks of the table. Well...I guess it is better than white...honestly I would have preferred small gaps and that's it, just as the real RH table looks like. Now when the crumbs fall to the table they go right into our cracks and I have to vacuum them out lol.  I know sounds like a nightmare right?!

Okay so it's not. I have bent and cracking wood (added character) and glossy caulk (a runner covering most of it) and I have to vacuum my table instead of sponging it down.

It still feels beautiful and I am glad we did it. Honestly, if hubby was up to it I prob would try to make another one now that we know what could go wrong, but yea...he's not quite up to it! haha

3. Lastly, once you decide on the table and build it then figure out the decor and buffet you want to add to this room. We worked this backwards and now I have a stunning buffet that does not quite match my table. Not sure what do here and just waiting it out until we the have time and money to fix this.

The project overall was not as hard as we had anticipated. If we knew ahead of time about the liquid nails and the temperature of wood, then the table would have turned out just right. I hope this helps for anyone who is attempting to build their very first piece of furniture and that not all DIY's turn out "perfect".

Sunday Favorites

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Hope you all had a lovely weekend. I've been working as usual styling my brides and tomorrow I will at work once again. Looking forward to a day on Tuesday with the family. The hubby has off tomorrow and decided to take one more day off Tuesday, so we can have a little family time. Looking forward to it all...if we don't get snowed in! It has been one cold winter...I have to say I am so OVER IT! I am ready for my migration down south.Waiting this weather out...maybe I'll start some early spring decorating in a few weeks. Not sure if that will make these winter blues go away, but I am so ready for some Easter and topiary decor throughout the house. 

So, since this week I started hosting Pretty Pintastic Party on Fridays, I've decided to show my favorite Pins on Sundays for now on. I usually have a big gap between Friday's and a new post on Tuesdays, so this should be a nice in between inspiration. Looking forward to being more active here and love to hear your comments and feedback.

Please follow me along on Pinterest to see more of the inspiration I pin weekly! Love to have new friends there : )

Hope you're staying toasty near the fire tonight, as I've been! See you all back here on Tuesday for more DIYing!

French Dining room Indeed Decor

Garden Backdrop

Dreaming of changing our landscape this spring/summer. What better way than with a Trellis fence.


Pretty Pintastic Party

Friday, February 13, 2015
Hey Guys! I am so excited to be a new Host of the Pretty Pintastic Party! Looking forward to seeing all your linkups and hosting weekly with the other 15 Amazing blogers each week! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, I will be back with more next week.

new-welcome-banner Did you notice the new welcome banner???  Yep, we've added new hosts!  We think this will help our party grow even bigger!  Because of this, we will also be giving you more of a chance to be featured!  Starting next week, we will have 6 features every week!  
But as always all posts are pinned; features pinned by all!
new-host-picture First, let's meet the hosts:
Jamie, Kerry, & Lucy from Coffee With Us 3
Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter 
Here's what your hosts have been up to this week!

dotten-co-host Every week we will have a fabulous co-host!       Our co-host this week is Katelijn from KusKat.  Katelijn blogs her unique designs and fun creations.  Check out this fun quilt project! quilt-kuskat-534x800 Show Katelijn some love by following on Pinterest, Facebook, or Twitter.             

  Now on to the Party!!
This is a super relaxed party! You show up with your fabulous posts and we pin every single one! We only ask one thing from you!
 This week's Features:       features41 PPP19-FeaturesBig Boy Nautical Room Makeover by Inspiration for Moms
Rocky Road Cupcakes by Living Better Together
Brownie Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies by The Baking ChocolaTess
"Sprinkled With Love" Valentine's Printable by Happiness is Homemade

If you were featured, grab a featured button!!    

Pretty Pintastic Party


         Everyone else grab a button and help us spread the word about our party!!  Thanks!   button         


By linking up, you give,,,,,,,,, or any co-host permission to feature your post on social media and our blogs using a photo, title, and link to your site. Proper credit and links will be given to you.          

DIY Vintage Mantel

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Remember the Faux Brick Exposed Chimney, I posted? Remember how I said that would be part 1 to the makeover?? and how this was going to add loads of character in our 1980's bedroom?

Well...welcome to part 2!

Exciting right? Well...I know I am excited. Not only do I have a centerpiece to our Master Bedroom now, but it feels like something I stole right from a Vintage space and placed it right here. The best part it cost less than $150!!! Woohoo...those vintage Mantels usually start around $400, or at least the ones I've seen.

This project started out with a lovely little sketch. The sketch turned into me taking the measurements and picking out the wood. Love my man, but he left me alone on this one. He couldn't get inside my brain and it was up to me to figure out the cuts and long as he did the cuts (in our very cold New Jersey garage) and put it together for me.  This point in the project he likes to call me "Heidi" Do you have any clue where that's from? You probably do if you're a big 90's fan like us. Remember the heart throb JTT? oh yea it's connecting now...Home Improvment. I'm the blonde helper on "Tool Time". Not gonna lie Dan does a pretty good Tim Allen impression (hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ha).

So back to the assembling of the mantle. Since we had the Brick Chimney we had to work around it so that the sides were covered as well. If you have plans on making your own mantel without the "chimney" this will be much easier. You can create the box so it is even on all sides. Considering, we had to work around it...this step took a little more thought. This being so, the top of the mantel is done in 3 pieces. The long strip of wood on top and the two short pieces that are the same width of the brick but match together with the front piece.

The idea to creating the frame is coming up with a box...and using your desired measurements. Make sure to assemble with liquid nails, and finishing nails to create a secure piece. Once the box is completed the mantle will look less of a mantle and more of a very plain shape. Don't doubt it's what mine looked like.

The worst part was...we had to live with it like this for about a week. I kept doubting that it would not work...even though I had an image of what the finished product would look like. Keep in mind ever mantle has dimension and this is where it is still lacking. There is still hope!

Once your frame is complete time to fancy it up! That's where molding comes in handy! Molding is probably one of my favorite DIY tricks. Honestly it makes a difference no matter what you use it on. Furniture, Walls, Ceilings, Windows, Doors, etc. It can make something so simple become a custom look. Remember the difference it made in my daughters room underneath and around her window.

I'm not gonna lie...I stayed cheap on this one. Some molding can get very costly...beautiful, but costly. I did not feel it was necessary to do intricate molding here. I wanted to go vintage, but I also wanted to stay with a classic but simple farmhouse feel. The only piece I got a little fancy with was the middle decal...which was on sale for $6.99! Can't beat that! This piece really brought it all together.

So we chose 3 separate moldings (besides the wooden decal) a thick piece to frame the sides, see how plain and large they seem in the above picture? and we also created a small rectangle to frame the decal and add dimension to the top. Lastly, the molding that frames the ledge of the mantle. This is important because it really adds dimension to the piece. I chose only a two inch thick piece, but you can definitely go bigger. To really add the finished look to the molding is to add a top piece of wood, which becomes your ledge. This is where your decorative accessories will sit on. If you really want to get fancy stack another piece on top to give it even more dimension. Make sure when doing so you have a slight overhang from the last piece. Maybe if I did not have to wrap around the brick I would have gone with one more layer.

Here you can see how the Molding is creating the dimension to the fireplace. Comparing the left to the is an extreme difference!

Nothing is perfect and we definitely had some hiccups in this project.

1. Don't forget you have molding on your wall!- we forgot to include the molding on the bottom and that caused us to make additional cuts and the mantle to stand away from the wall a bit. I did not mind so much since I was going for the look like I added this to my room, rather than it looking as if it was a functioning fireplace that was always there. 

2. Don't go overboard with the liquid nails. If you plan to stain the piece the liquid nails that dries will not be able to stain. Luckily we planned on painting, but if we hadn't this would have been a problem.

3. Make sure the two side pieces and the the front piece should be the same size. I initially went with a smaller board and had to add another piece underneath. It just looked odd and not proportionate. 

Next Step Finishing the Piece.
You can do anything you wish...paint it white, grey, black, or give it a good stain. I chose my own method...which was not originally planned but sometimes things hit me as I go and it turns out better than I imagined.

So, I decided to stain it with my DIY stain. A consistency of apple cider vinigar, and dissolved steal wool. I created the mixture when I made my DIY Paris Map frame. The mixture sat in the garage for a few months so turned out slightly more "orange" than grey, but it all worked out. This DIY stain just creates a reclaimed wood look. Something I definitely thought would add more of that vintage feel that I was going for. Next I thought I would paint over the piece with white and then sand down the edges and details, but this changed. As I was about to paint, I tried just dry brushing the white on. And I was loving it. So I did the whole piece this way...thinking if I did not like it I can always just go back over it with more white. To my surprise it looked better than my original plan. After I added a bit of Annie Sloan Dark Wax to some area to create more dimension ( I use this stuff on everything..just love it) 

One more look at the before fireplace....

And you can see more on that post here

Here it is my finished Mantel and Faux Brick Chimney! 

Apple Cider Vinegar Stain

Faux Mantle

Blue and White room

Accessorizing a Mantle

Decorating a non-working fireplace

Vintage Fireplace

Vintage Fireplace

Vintage room

Vintage Mantle

Faux Brick

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