Category Archives: house keeping

Grams and our Living Space

Recently while my mom and dad visited. I got the itch to rearrange my living room furniture. Am I the only one who loves moving furniture around? Is it an OCD thing? :) Ive done this numerous times since moving into our current home…. I for some reason could not let it be. I loved our living room, yet something about it bugged me. We originally had our TV on the left side of the room. We placed it there when we moved in because that is where the cable hook up was. Because we had purchased our first home, had to have cable installed and so forth for our internet… we got a special deal on cable. We never had it years prior, but decided why not, since it was discounted. After the year “discount” ran out however, our price got jacked up…. so, we canceled our cable. So now all we have is the internet. Because our TV no longer has to be hooked up to the wall for cable, I figured we could play around a bit with the arrangement now.


ED9A6199So I relocated the TV to the right side of the room and made the sofa’s into an L. While I loved the open space of no sofa’s cutting the room in half from the kitchen area… for the way this room was shaped and the functionality of all our kids being able to see the TV on movie night and family/friends when visiting, it was what worked.

Once it was all set up, I really did like how it turned out. It makes the living room feel separate yet still part of our kitchen. It created a divide so that when the living room is trashed, it doesn’t bug me as much now. Now all of us can sit and enjoy a movie comfortable… and I feel like this set up works well for family worship too.


With the rearranging of furniture, I also played with our mantel some. I have had a wonderful painting up our mantel since moving in. A painting my friend Melissa Payne Baker made me. I LOVE IT. So moving it was not easy for me. It however was relocated elsewhere, in a place we still see often. So its ok :) – it will always be a special part of our family decor, even if its not the center piece on a mantel.

*I am debating hanging it right behind the large sofa in the room. It go good there. I just need to get proper hanging screws to do so. So we shall see if I can get that done soon*




I recently got some Instagram photographs printed by a company called ORIGRAMI.
(cute name huh?) A play off on the word Origami.

I loved the look of them and their price was good IMO for a thick high quality print, so I picked out the SQUARE PRINT option. Its basically $21 for 36 images. So its less than $1 an image. Great price. The quality is thick and well done. The backs of the photographs have the date the image was taken printed on it. They come packaged in the most adorable square camera box.


I had fun figuring out how to display these… and while I still have more to display, what I have done so far, is a start.

The first place I started displaying them was on the mantel in the window panes I had set up. I got these old windows at a guys house when we first moved into our home. They cost $5.00 each. So a great price… I love windows!

instagram display

To attach the images, I used a rustic thread from the dollar tree. So $1.00 :) and tiny little clothes pins I got from the walmart craft dept. I believe they cost around $1.50? It came with a generous amount too. We use these same pins in our school room to display art. To hang them I just taped the thread to the actual window. I taped it generously (with clear scotch tape). You can’t see the tape when looking at the display, but trust me, theres a lot there haha… I suppose you could use small thumb tacs or nails too. I however didn’t have any, so tape it is!



ED9A6223 ED9A6224

Another spot I decided to hang some, is located between a deck door and our kitchen area. Its a thin strip of wall. Its to thin to hang much of anything… but is one of the first walls you see as you enter our living room. To hang these I just got sticky adhesive tabs (I had them already for hanging stuff in our home school room). I cut them real thin to fit behind the tiny clothes pin…. and just put them straight onto the wall. Was super easy to do and very fast.

instagram display

printed instagram

So if you are looking for a simple and fun way to display your Instagram images. Do check out Origrami. I have hopes of creating a few more fun displays using the rest of the images I have.

Their website btw allows you to download your instagram straight into their photo ordering process. It took me literally 10 minutes or less to do.

DIY Essential Oil Cleaner

I am all about saving money… and this truly is a super easy way to save some cash. Although maybe not a HUGE amount of cash. It still yields its savings… and for some weird reason, I enjoy making it ;) – who knows. It also isn’t filled with a lot of chemical junk that most surface cleaners contain…

Lets say you purchase this surface cleaner over at Walmart (SIMPLE GREEN All Purpose Cleaner). For $3.97 a bottle. If you used TWO of those bottles a month, the cost of surface cleaner would be around $95.00+ a year.

Also, in this particular case…
“Simple Green is far from green. It contains 2-butoxyethanol, a solvent that soaks through the skin and damages red blood cells; even more dangerous is that some people miss the fine print and don’t dilute it.” – source

So while the savings may not seem huge. Consider the damaging of red blood cells and so forth the real reason for trying my recipe ;-)

For this DIY Surface Cleaner you do need a few items that may seem expensive up front… but a little goes a long way!!

So here is what you need:

2 cups of warm water

2 tsp. Dr. Bronner Castile Soap (price ranges from $10-18.00 a bottle)

((( Dr. Bronners for those unfamiliar is a great cleaner for all sorts of uses.. you can even bathe with it! Here is a link to the Dr. Bronner website where you can research it a bit more… will also list ingredients in this particular Dr. Bronners under this….)))

—-Water, Organic Coconut Oil*, Potassium Hydroxide**, Lavandin Extract, Organic Olive Oil*, Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Lavender Extract, Citric Acid, Tocopherol
** None remains after saponifying oils into soap and glycerin
*** It is also certified NON GMO

1 tsp white vinegar (super cheap, I always have this on hand, so no purchase needed)
*Update: I no longer put white vinegar in it. I had someone comment saying that theirs began to thicken up for some reason. As if the vinegar reacted with the dr. bronners. I didn’t notice this the 1st few bottles… but the last time I made it, it did the same. So I omit this now. Left it up though for those who may wonder why it went away from the original post :)

8-10 drops of lemon essential oil (or oil of choice) – $9.00 a bottle through Rocky Mtn. Oils aka NAN

Glass Bottle (never use plastic with lemon oil…)

ED9A5500 copyNow before you think, wow thats expensive…

Think about the amount you are using in each bottle of surface cleaner.

My Dr. Bronner bottle is years old… that stuff last so long. Because you only need 2 tsp. a batch, one bottle of Dr. Bronners could last you 3+ years. So for $18.00 you have saved a considerable amount on surface cleaner cost when you add up the cost of each $3.00+ bottle of normal surface cleaner. Hopefully this is making sense :)

The Lemon Essential Oil is a cost as well but I already had this oil in my oil collection… so I really didn’t have to purchase anything extra. There are lots of great uses for Lemon Essential Oil besides cleaning with it btw…

Here is a list of great uses for Lemon Oil Below:

Lemon is the first oil people think of when they want to clean their home. It has a bright, fresh feel to it that makes you feel clean again.

It helps treat many digestive problems including indigestion, intestinal parasites, and heartburn. It helps cleanse the lymphatic system, and helps stimulate and purifies the glands.

Because it helps the immune system (it may stimulate red and white blood cell formation), it is a key oil to help treat infectious diseases, colds, throat infections, asthma, bronchitis, and flu.

Lemon oil is stimulating to the brain. It clears thought and aids concentration. Is very helpful when treating circulatory issues including anemia, high blood pressure, nosebleeds (stops bleeding), poor circulation, and varicose veins, and it helps tighten blood vessels.

• #1 oil for treating gout
• Is a good oil for treating cellulitis and obesity.
• nervous conditions
• Is a great air disinfectant
• Due to its drying nature, Lemon is good for treating acne.
• Very similar properties to Lime. Can be used interchangeably

— Taken from The Rocky Mountain Oil Website.

If you only used this oil for kitchen cleaner, it last you a pretty long time :) – 8-10 drops a batch, is nothing.

I love this particular recipe. I have used many. Some turn out to soapy… some are to strong. Some aren’t strong enough. This one has been great so far and I love it! The glass bottle I got for about $3.00 at our Local Bread Becker store… (im spoiled by that store). I am pretty sure you can find these at Whole Foods though.


Be sure to use my coupon code over at the Rocky Mountain Website on your first purchase. It will save you 10% The coupon expires the end of August… so use it while it is still available. The code is: wood10 —-

***Little tip to remember the ingredient amount for when you have to refill your bottle. Write the recipe on some duck tape or adhesive of choice and stick it to the bottle! I haven’t done this yet but plan too… since my memory often times fails me when it comes time to remix a batch… ****

Disclaimer: I was not paid or compensated for time or products used in this recipe. This is a recipe I use and just wanted to share. For those wanting to purchase Dr. Bronners, it is sold at most Target’s, Walgreens and whole foods. Its great stuff!!

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The Boys Room’s

If you read my previous post from yesterday. You will know where this post is coming from. I talked about how I am not a huge fan of a lot of toys kept in the house. We have some… but I have dramatically cut down the amount by at least 50% over the last year. My boys had way to much… and I found it caused more problems than anything… so to keep that much, made no sense to me what so ever.

My boys rooms are not elaborate IMO. When we moved into our home, we did nothing to the rooms. We did no painting. We didn’t by window treatments. We left everything basically exactly the same as the former home owners left the house. While I would love to pour some money into the boys bedrooms to make them a bit more personal and more eye appealing :) – right now, its not high on the importance list of ways to spend money. They don’t seem to mind thankfully ;-) – and their bedrooms function just fine.

So lets get to it….

First up, Taite & Owen’s bedroom. They share.


Each child has a dresser. The dressers we did label at one point when they had to learn where to put certain items of clothing away at… but now that they are a little older we really don’t need the labels. I sadly haven’t been able to get the sticky stuff off of Owen’s dresser yet. One day ill get some goo-gone and get to that. ;-) Both dressers we got for free from my parents. They no longer needed them. On each boys dresser we allow them to keep some favorite toy items to play with.



Taite’s hamster is also in his bedroom. You may or may not have seen Taite’s old hamster Pip go Viral on youtube. You can watch that HERE if you want. Pip has since passed… and with his passing, Taite got a new hamster Daisy. She is a Syrian Hamster though so a lot larger than Pip was… which created more hamster pee. Gross huh? Hamster pee a lot btw. Pip’s old cage (the smaller one under the big cage in these photos) was to tiny for Daisy. So I created a BIN cage for Daisy recently and we love it. Its light weight… was inexpensive to make… and easy to clean. Taite take’s care of feeding Daisy… playing with her and so forth. I do however have to help him clean the cage since Taite is still so young. Eventually though he will tend to his pet completely. Thats the goal any way ;-)

The small table Daisy’s cage is on, we got thrifted for $9.00. Its solid wood but moves easily thanks to the wheels it had already on it.


Taite’s smaller closet is full of a few favorite books. Misc. Toys. Bags. Belts. Etc. Not much really :)




We do allow the boys to kind of do their own thing with their bunks. These bunk beds we got in exchange for doing someone’s portraits. The family had to move to Costa Rica… so the beds could not go with them. It was a win win. Thankful for the beds they gave us. They are made in the USA and solid wood. Im a fan of solid wood btw ;)




As you can see. Those bunks are far from neat as far as bed making goes. Owen sleeps on the top and he is 4 years old. So you can imagine his ability to make a bed that high up is just not going to happen. On occasion ill make it for him, but it is not high up on my things to do. He doesnt mind it messy ;-) – Taite also has a habit of hanging blankets and stuff toys all around his bed. It drives me nuts but its part of being a kid. So I let him have fun and do it.


They also have a larger closet in the room. It holds some clothing items – extra blankets and shoes. Thats it.


Now onto Reed’s room….


When you walk into Reed’s room, this is what you see. :) Nothing fancy. A crib given to us years ago by a former church member in NC. The crib is old and has the dreaded drop down side… but it has given us years of use ever since Owen was a baby. Works great and our boys have loved it.

The bedding in Reed’s bed is so old. The sheets are Caleb’s old crib sheets. So going on 10 years old! They sport Classic POOH hah… I am so not into that any more… but those sheets are so soft because they are old, I just cant part with them. The green blanket was Taite’s, so its 7 years old… almost everything in that crib was passed down. Besides Reed’s knitted blankets (made special just for him by his Nana). The Fox he loves because it sings. It is from IKEA… and he has a few other stuff animals in the crib he likes to play with during nap time.

Reed’s room has nothing else in it besides a dresser (which was my old dresser growing up, so another hand me down furniture item). The mobile hanging up was given to us by Aliesha when baby Owen was born. :) The room has no decor other than that… Its pretty plain. One day ill decorate ;-) – I hope.




Now, Caleb’s room!


When you walk into Caleb’s room this is what you see. Desk and cages :) – between his bearded dragon… snake and crickets. It is a room full of boy-ness without a doubt. He loves his critters and I am all for it, as long as he tends to the animal care. Caleb takes care of cleaning all his animal cages. Feeding the crickets, dragon and snake. He also takes care of maintaining a clean room in order to properly organize the items needed to care for his animals. His one closet in his room (which I didn’t get a photo of has care items in it and a few shirts/blankets). Caleb does so well with this, if he didn’t, the animals would be gone. ;-)

The Desk Caleb uses to the left we got used at a yard sale for $3.00? – the red table we got for free from a neighbor (its solid!) – from IKEA. The Tank his lizard is in was also thrifted for around $6.00.

The Cricket Tank was also thrifted for $10 (new those types of tanks cost $50+). The dresser in his room (sorry didn’t get a full length one) Was also from my childhood, so given to us. The large red book shelf was given to us by the same lady who gave us the red table. It is also IKEA. We took out one shelf so it has room for Caleb’s snake lamps… the snakes tank was also thrifted for around $6.00.





Caleb’s bed we did buy back when he was 3 years old or so. Was under $200.00 though.. so nothing expensive. Its held up great to many moves. His bedding I got from ALDI’s one grocery run day for $20.00 (included 2 sets!). They’ve held up well too and look fairly nice I think. Caleb does a bit better at keeping his bed decent since he is older.



That concludes the dudes room tours. Again, nothing fancy. It functions for its purpose and we are so thankful for what God has provided for us. One day, when my kids are older, it will be fun to pour more into decorating and making it more my style. For now, this suites us perfectly.

To those curious btw, the little lamps clipped to the boys bed are also from IKEA. They love them!

DIY Sofa Cleaner

We have some beautiful Micro Suede Sofa’s. A friend gave us them when we moved into our current home. (I think thats the material it is but im honestly not 100% sure…) We love them… however with 4 boys, the color choice is not the most ideal. Our kids forget to take their shoes off… or sit down with messy clothes… baby drops his bottle upside down… etc. Couches, Sofas, Chairs, Beds :) – it all gets dirty with little boys… so you can imagine with my busy schedule keeping a sofa immaculate does not happen. As each passing day went by though I could not ignore the nastiness any longer. I clean the cushions often – they are washable… but the arms of the sofa you obviously cant unzip and throw into a machine. So I went online and found a few options for suede cleaner… and found one that I had ingredients for… so I had at it!

Here is a before and after shot of one arm on our sofa:

This is one of or sofa arms. So gross! The left side was pre cleaning. Man... Just evidence you do not want nice stuff with kids ;) - any how I used a vodka mixture to clean it and the right side is the result! Took me less than five min to do all the sof


Here is what you need:

1 Spray bottle (I had a very small 4 ounce glass spray bottle – but you could use any spray bottle from dollar tree)
Warm Water
Soft Towel to rub with


Take the spray bottle and fill it half way with warm water. Then fill the rest of with Vodka. You can obviously measure this to your liking. If you have a gigantic spray bottle you can maybe put in a 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup vodka. It works fine either way.

Shake it up.

Then spray it to the spots you need to clean. Once wet/damp take your towel and rub stain until it goes away. May take a few applications if the stain is bad.

Then let it air dry.

Thats it!

Some one had mentioned you could use rubbing alcohol… I cant vouch on this though since I did not use rubbing alcohol. I had a cheap small bottle of Vodka from Walmart I used… its inexpensive enough.

Let me know if you use it! Our couches have never looked so good.

Colors – It works so far

You all will think I am nuts when I tell you this. I seriously contemplated selling everything and living in an RV. No, forreal. I kinda sorta want too. We however probably will not :) – but there is a part of me that would love to try. While on my RV “search of information” spell, I found a blog called Inspiration Station. A family of 8, yes 6 kids… live in an RV. Full time. They are such a cute family too and seem totally normal :) – at least to me they do… but by our world aka social standards they are nuts. Lots of kids and no real house. To them though it is home. There is also a site called the Kellogg Show. This family has 12 kids! They also live in an RV. I am not sure I could do it with 12… this family inparticular seems a little to rough around the edges for my sanity too. Im all for big families. Trust me :) – but im also for structure… I watched a handful of the youtube videos they had on their channel and I was a bit disappointed if im honest… but I don’t know them personally so I wont say much more. Do not think I could live in an RV with 12 kids regardless of how they behaved ;-) but with 4, I bet we could. Don’t worry dad, we aren’t. It is just a random thought I had – that I was “actually” considering. Strange.

One thing I learned though while on Inspiration Station’s blog was how they keep clutter down – for obvious reasons. One thing she talked about was their color coding dish system. With such limited space she had to come up with a way to limit the amount of dishes used. So she gave each person in the family (or child) a color. Each child got ONE cup in their color, one plate in their color, one bowl and so on. Make sense? So if that child came to the kitchen and wanted a drink but could not find their cup in the “normal cup spot” – they would not be allowed to get a drink unless they found their cup.

I cannot even begin to tell you the frustration I have dealt with over cups. By the end of the day I had 15 cups to wash. No lie. Was down right crazy to wash that many cups or use that many.

So! I got color coded cups, plates & bowls for all the boys! I btw pre-color coding was big on ALL GLASS. I had no plastic cups really, only glass. I love glass… not a fan of plastics… but I am giving way to my OCD and anti-plastic desires and choosing plastic for this particular thing, in order to gain sanity with the cup situation. :) I don’t really think plastic is bad unless you microwave with it or put something hot in it. Since we don’t intend to drink hot drinks in these, I am ok with it.

These tumblers came from Dollar Tree. So pleased with their selection these days.
*The Purple cup looks slightly darker. That was my cup and it had tea… it really is a very pretty purple otherwise.*


Caleb is Green. Taite Blue. Owen Red. Travis Orange and myself Purple. Reed because he is still small and needs bottles/sippy cups… we don’t really have a special cup for him. I did however get him yellow plates. So when he is older he will be the color yellow… or possibly white. I haven’t decided ;-) – so far this system is working great! I have not had an endless supply of dirty cups to wash and instead of washing dishes twice a day, I only had to do them but once.

I did btw put all the other cups up high. This way the kids are not tempted to use them. They would have to get a step stool to even reach the normal cups now… We will still use them when guest come…

To end, a few random photos from a picnic we had on our back deck yesterday. Love this spring weather!