summer fun

I've been seeing all sorts of summer to-do lists lately. Like this one:

and this one:

and this one too:

So I decided to use part of our kitchen chalkboard wall and make one for our family. Here's how it turned out:

It is fun for the kids to see all the things they get to do this summer and it will give me some inspiration when everyone starts whining about how bored they are!


a closet mini-makeover

Last week, I read this blog entry from my friend Letia over at Downtown Digs in Diapers about her closet overhaul. Here's her before:

and her after:

Awesome, right? This was just the kick in the pants I needed to finally tackle my own closet. So I looked on Pinterest (totally obsessed, by the way!) and found a couple closets that I love. Here's one of my favorites:

I love the wallpaper, the shelving, the chandelier, everything! So, I decided I was going to completely renovate my closet. It still has the poorly-planned out builder-installed wire rack system that I loathe. Like, seriously detest! I was going to rip that out, repaint or wallpaper the closet, and then install a beautiful yet functional wood shelving system with multiple bars, shelves and a wall of shoes. Everything was going to finally have a home.

Here are some before pictures of my horrendous closet:

So, first step....remove all of my stuff from the closet. After the Semester at Sea t-shirt incident of 2003, I have learned not to touch Jay's stuff. As much as I would like to throw away most of his clothes and start over, I decided to leave that side of the closet for him to deal with.

So I took all my stuff out and laid it on the floor. You know how you don't realize how much stuff you own until you move? Well, I had no idea how many clothes I owned until I started laying it all out on the floor. It's probably a good thing Jay wasn't home for this process. The amount of times that, "ooh...I forgot about this!" came out of my mouth was disturbing. Here's a look:

For, those of you wondering...yes, I keep a level in my closet, along with an entire reusable grocery tote full of assorted tools, nails, screws, etc. And yes, those are snowboard boots and no, I have never snowboarded. In addition are 2 bags full of Finlay's baby clothes that I can't bring myself to part with. Why? Because I am planning to make a quilt out of them! No, I do not know how to make a quilt. But I did buy a sewing machine on Black Friday! It too lives in my closet, and has yet to make it out of the box.

So after emptying the closet, it looked like this:

This is about the point in which I called Jay and said I wanted to re-do our closet. I told him about my big plans to paint, the wood closet systems I had found, my wall of shoes. Imagine how much time we'll save in the morning! To which, he responded, "I just called the patio guy. I'd rather spend the time and money working on the backyard". Hmmmm...well, he did have a point. It's not like the whole family is going to spend a nice day in my closet.

The only problem was that the idea of putting all that stuff back into that closet made me want to cry. So after it sat there for almost a week, I decided to make a few minor adjustments to the closet that didn't cost a lot of money but that would tide me over until we can do a major over-haul.

I bought a hamper, a couple fabric bins and 2 inexpensive shoe shelves. I ripped the lower wire rack off the back wall. This way the clothes on either side could run all the way to the wall. I decided to hang the two shoe racks on the back wall. I hung a hook above the hamper to hang the dry cleaning bag. I also hung a shelf in the closet to keep Febreeze, stain remover spray, and a lint roller.

While it's not the closet I envisioned, I think it looks a lot better and more importantly, is much more organized. And I only spent a little over a hundred bucks!

So, I think it was a good compromise. I got a more organized closet and a wall of shoes. Jay got to spend the weekend working on the backyard, instead of inside hanging a closet system. And the kids will get a pretty landscaped backyard with a patio to play on, with the money I could have spent on a closet. I'm so proud of myself, I might just have to buy myself a new pair of shoes to fill that spot on the top rack!


While the Jay is away....

...I am sure to redecorate or rearrange something. It's a sure thing! In fact, he is no longer surprised in the least to come home from a trip/round of golf/random Tuesday at the office to find that a room is entirely different than when he left the house. Some might say I am a complete lunatic, I think of it as insurance that he will never get bored!

So, in addition to the freakishly clean house and the living room makeover, I also changed some things in our master bedroom. Here's a look at the before picture:

I took down the curtains, stripped the bed, removed the painting, and the lamps. Those end tables aren't there anymore either, because they were moved a couple weeks ago down to the family room. The ones from the living room were moved up in their place. I purchased a set of the organic ikat-stripe sheets, a white frayed-edge quilt, and a pair of feather gray organic matelassé shams from West Elm. I added a DwellStudio for Target pillow that used to be in the living room. I purchased two matching glass lamps and shades from (where else?) Target. Here's a look:

I also moved a desk (the beat-up one from Ava and Emerson's room) and the IKEA expedit bookcase over into my sitting room. To cover up the marker-stained, sticker-covered top, I might sand it down and paint the top with some chalkboard paint (that I have leftover from the kitchen wall). We'll see!

My thought process was that if I had a desk and a large storage area in my dressing room, I could use it for all my craft stuff. I put everything into containers (with labels) and now it's super organized. Everything has a home, so now when I'm done being crafty, it can go back to its home.

The floral slipper chair and black dresser had to then move into the bedroom.

I still have nothing on the walls and no curtains, but I'm getting there. I did buy this mirror from Target for $19.99 that I plan to spray paint white.

I'll post pictures as it comes together!

third time's a charm?

One of my projects while Jay was out of town a couple weeks ago, was my living room (i.e. the room no one uses). When we first moved in, I decorated it to look like this:

Then I decided to paint it (post about it here) and get new lamps and it looked a little something like this:

Then one day, I decided I was over black frames. All of a sudden I thought the black frames looked too harsh against the bright turquoise wall. Yes, black frames were out! I decided that the room would so much fresher and lighter with white ones. So I spent part of my mother's day spray painting all my black frames white. Since I realize it is slightly out of character for me to not run out on impulse and buy twenty new white frames, I figured you guys would need to see proof. Here you go:

In addition to spray painting all the black frames, I also painted a few really inexpensive wood frames and finally got around to spray painting Finlay's owl friend for her wall.

Once, I hung the frames back up (with updated pictures), I added some new curtains from West Elm. The cotton canvas printed tortoise window panels were only $39 a piece for 108" panels! I hung one on each window. Then, I added my silver metallic pouf I scored from Calypso's line for Target. I got two gray & white pillows from etsy and an aqua throw from Target (to cover up the giant rip in the couch from the dogs a couple years ago). I got a little espresso wood side table for $49 and the lamp shade on clearance for $4.99 (both from Target). I used one of the leftover ladder bookshelves from the family room and put some books, frames, candles, etc. On the opposite wall, the dinghy white IKEA chair got a coral and white Calypso for Target pillow. The dark bookcase moved next to the chair and houses more books, candles, decorative objects, etc. I hung a silver mirror that used to be in the family room and bought a new lamp and shade from Target. I ended up adding a couple more white frames to the wall (that I bought). You really can't tell the difference between the ones I bought and the ones I painted! I also put a little square basket next to the chair to hold a couple of Finlay's toys. It's nice to have a couple toys for her in each room, so I can just plop her down on the floor with one if I need to run in another room to break up a fight/clean up a spill/console a certain someone who has launched himself off of the table for the zillionth time!

Anyway....here is the final product. I LOVE it! I think it is still bold with the wall color, but looks so much crisper and lighter. The only thing I need to do at some point is get a new rug. I have a simple jute one in mind.

It has a very tranquil feel to it now. I've been spending more time in there lately, reading, playing on my laptop, etc. I think it's my new favorite room. It's close enough to the family room to keep tabs on the kids but far enough away that I can actually concentrate on a book without getting distracted by whatever the Fresh Beat Band is singing about!


Oh happy day!

Last week while I was playing "single mom", I decided my house was in need of professional help. With four kids, three dogs and two former slobs-turned-parents, our house is always a wreck. Even on a good day (i.e. we're about to have visitors) there are piles of laundry shoved in closets and don't even get me started on the bathrooms!

So, after two days of cleaning and straightening, our house was clean enough to be cleaned by a team of professionals. The woman at the cleaning service said that based on the size of my house, it would take about two hours, maybe less for a team of four people.

I don't know if I've ever been so excited! Like first kiss/new shoes/finding a hundred dollar bill-giddy! It took them a whopping four and a half hours and cost over $400, but it was totally worth every penny! Best part, we have maintained it for the last 8 days! It's so much less over-whelming to try to maintain a clean house than try to deep clean a dirty one!

Also, changed some things around in the house while Jay was gone. Some new bedding here, some new curtains there. I figure, he can't get mad if he comes home and loves the final product, right?

I'll post pictures soon of my updates!


Derby Day

I've never been to the Kentucky Derby and I've never had a mint julep. But I may have to make Derby Day a tradition in the Sprinkel household. First, we decided everyone had to find a hat to wear (even Finlay).

Next we made drinks. Orange crushes for Jay and I, Sprite and OJ for the kids.

Next we all picked our horses. Jay picked Mucho Macho Man (of course). I picked Nehro (I liked saying it and it's jockey wore a cute outfit). Ava picked Pants on Fire (I think in part for the fact she could walk around screaming "liar, liar, pants on fire!"). Emerson picked Animal Kingdom at the last minute. She was previously going with Derby Kitten (or "dirty kitchen") but they weren't talking about it enough during the pre-race coverage on TV, so she changed her mind. We picked Stay Thirsty for Declan and Midnight Interlude for Finlay. We put $5 each in a pot. Winner takes all. We decided if none of our horses won, we'd purchase a family gift with the winnings.

Here are the girls anticipating post time!

The race was off and we jumped up and down screaming for our horses. But in the end, Emerson was victorious! Here's a look at the big winner:

She was so excited (and surprised)! Everyone took it really well....