House For Six

kids spaces

Turkeys and Room Updates

Deme Crinion4 Comments

Hey, there!  Oh what's that...a post the day before Thanksgiving?  Is it a gift guide?  A roundup of delectable holiday dishes?  Steals & Deals for Black Friday?  A picture montage of my perfect tablescape?

No, friends.  That would make sense.  

It's my daughters unfinished room.  Of course. #sleepdeprivedmomblogger #stillthawingtheturkey

I was really pushing to share a full room reveal with you last Friday - because that's what DIY bloggers do, right?  But things don't happen quite that fast around here these days, especially during flu season and right before a big holiday!

So, because it will drive me (and my mom) crazy if I don't post an update, I'm giving up on a full room reveal post before Thanksgiving.  Instead, I'm serving up a peak at the room as it looks right this very second.  I didn't even bother to make the bed or style anything for photos.

But first, a refresher...

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

We had

quite the disaster zone

on our hands and you guys, it is SO MUCH BETTER. Mostly because our sweet girl was finally able to really purge her stuff.  If she hadn't donated almost half of her accumulated


beloved treasures, we could not have created this fresh and functional space.

After going through every last item

, we brought in the game changer...

Mia had a beautiful Jenny Lind bed and vanity that my parents found at a garage sale and had painted white for her.  She also had my childhood dresser and a large dollhouse.  None of those pieces really pulled a lot of weight when it came to storage.

We tried to squeeze in a couple of bookcases on either side of her bed to mimic a built-in setup I had envisioned in my head.  It was nice in theory, but I don't even want to talk about how many times I had to crawl under that bed to fish out things of great importance (like chapstick and library books) that had fallen to their doom.  More importantly we squeezed two more large pieces of furniture into an already overcrowded, very small room.

I had a come to Jesus moment and accepted that a built-in ($$$) wasn't really in the cards anytime soon.  And this room needed HELP stat.  So, we identified a few items of furniture from other areas of the house we could sell to help fund a room makeover of the IKEA variety.


HEMNES daybed

 (on sale this month if you're an IKEA Family member!) framed by two slim

HEMNES bookcases

was the perfect solution.  This guy allowed us to combine two big pieces of furniture (bed and dresser) into one.

The drawers are super deep and provided more than enough storage for her clothes (in addition to her closet space).

We swapped out the standard issue IKEA knobs from something a little more substantial and blingy.

Maybe my favorite part of the new room are these two

MINUT wall sconces

we attached to each of the bookcases.

 We already had one mounted to her wall before we started this overhaul.  Mia uses it all the time and asked to keep it, so we added another for symmetry and so she can read on either end of the bed at night.

 They come in a silver finish, but we gave them a coat of gold a la spray can and now they fit right in.

We found these sweet polka dot numbers at


to hold books Mia's currently reading.

And these mint colored baskets from the dollar spot were perfect for corralling all the little things.  Like Shopkins.  #Lordhelpme

 I'll do a full breakdown of how we organized the room to maximize form and function once we finish up this space.  We still have some blank walls to spruce up, but those piles under the vanity are stacked art just waiting for a spot to shine.

The vanity could also use a few paint touch-ups from being dinged in the move and I have some fun new hardware that I'm way too excited about....

And this.  The bane of my existence.  

I will also do a tutorial on this balloon valance (which will consist mostly of "what not to do"), IF I can actually get it finished.  Right now the sides are all 

droopy droopy

, and I want them more 

even swoopy

.  Like on the right here.  Or something like that.

As for the furniture we replaced?  We moved my old dresser down to the guest room to hold linens and offer extra storage when guests are staying with us.  And I'm just so excited that Livy will get to use the same special bed as her big sis once she's ready to transition out of a crib.  Which won't be for a long. long time.....RIGHT?

Speaking of Livy, I'm having a bit of a moment.......tomorrow is this babe's first Thanksgiving, soon to be followed by her first Christmas, and then her first birthday.  Just,


?!?!?!  I can't even imagine our lives without her. It has

not been an easy year

, but it has been so, so good.  We have so much to be thankful for, including the friends that we'll be sharing our Thanksgiving dinner with tomorrow.   I love Ohio, but the hardest part (about all our moves) is being so far from my family.  But God has been incredibly faithful to provide us with friends who have become our second family wherever we have gone.  Their support has carried us more than ever this year.

So, let's hope we can figure out how to get five dishes (including a giant turkey) cooked with one oven by the time they arrive.  We're ready to feast, and play games, and watch football, and pour some wine.  We hope you all have a wonderful weekend doing the same.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!

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Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Deme Crinion2 Comments

Last week my mom came in from CA for a fall visit.  Whenever we get together you can bet that some sort of project is going down, and this time I needed her help with our worst hoarding offender: the 8 year old.

Mia's room has always been a challenging space.  We've made worthy attempts to tackle the form and function of this little collecter's room more times than I can count.  We did a big overhaul in NM with a massive purging and organizing effort.

It cleaned up well...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

But inevitably, it always returned to its train wreck status.

I had to laugh (after I cried) when I went looking for pics of her room back in Albuquerque...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

It's basically the same room 2 years later, the mess just relocated to Ohio...
Girl's Room Overhaul & How To Deal With A Mini Hoarder

I know that having a pristine space (with or without kids) is not real life.  But this situation was out of control.  She really could not pick up her room, because it was so overwhelming, At one point there was literally a path from the door to her bed, and the rest of the floor was covered in STUFF.

I desperately hoped (and genuinely believed) that we could create a fun and functional space for our daughter.  One that she could actually maintain, regardless of her personality and hoarding inclinations.  And I think we have finally #praiseJesus got there.

I'll share more about how we tackled some of the problem areas in the room's set up when I share her new space next week, but it truly would not have happened if she hadn't surprised us all and donated half of her stuff.

Really.  I can't even believe I just typed that sentence and it's actually true.

It took us a long time to get here and I don't have a magical solution for the reluctant giver, but if you're a fellow parent to a mini hoarder, I would offer this from our experience:

-Start young.  It obviously took a few years until Mia was ready to do this on her own.  Sure she donated a few things here and there before now, but to part ways with the hard things....the things she really liked but didn't need...that took time.

Some kids are much more inclined to giving than others and some attach more value to their things.   Either way, I think it helped that we encouraged Mia to go through her room and donate things she no longer played with or needed early on (around age 2 or 3).  Even if she only gave away one or two things, it was a start.  One more brick towards a good foundation.

-Forcing it can backfire.  Some will disagree, but if I force Mia to give her things away (which I have) and she's not ready #cuewaterworks, then she hasn't really given anything away.  I took something away from her and gave it to someone else.   And resentment can easily follow.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you're trying to accomplish.  If I want to nurture a giving heart in my children for the long haul, then they eventually need to give willingly from a place of gratitude (for what they have) and compassion (for those who don't).  Yet they may never give anything away if we don't hold them to a certain standard.   It's a tough balance to strike.

We never removed the expectation of giving to those in need and not allowing our lives to be consumed by stuff, but we gave Mia time to come to a place where she was ready to let go of some favorites of her own accord....hopefully paving the way for easier giving in the future.

-Don't dismiss their feelings.  I'm embarrassed to admit the number of "friendsies" we allowed Mia to have.  It was something that happened very slowly over the past few years, but she had accumulated quite the stuffed legion.

We had many talks about how blessed we are and our responsibility to give to others in good it feels to give, to bless another child with less, or who has nothing at all.  But Mia had developed an emotional attachment to these friends.

A lot of changes happened throughout her younger years, including growing our family and 6 different homes before she had even turned 4 years old.  So, we understood that her things (especially her stuffed animals) were constants for her.

While it was tempting to just rip off the bandaid so to speak, we knew that in her tender heart, this was difficult and she needed our help working through it.  For these particular toys, it was about breaking the attachment.

We sat down with every single one of her "friendsies" (not hard because they were already all over the floor) and went through them one by one.  We put the ones she wanted to keep directly on her bed, and ones for donation went into a black bag.  If there was something she wasn't sure about I gave her a minute to think about it, and if she still wasn't sure we put it in a separate pile that we revisited at the end.

How could I tell she was ready this time?  No tears and good judgement.  She was able to distinguish between toys that either had special meaning or she loved playing with, and those that did not hold as much meaning for her.  When we've tried this in the past she was just overcome with emotion, not able to make any decisions.

I honestly can't tell you what finally flipped the switch, but we prepped the kids that we would be cleaning out our rooms that weekend and when the time came she was ready.  I think she also realized that at some point she would have to do it.  We had talked many times about needing to address her room and about working on it when my mom came to visit. She was excited for that - good motivation perhaps.

-Deal directly with regret.  The first night after clearing out Mia's room (a total of two big donation bags and two bags of trash), she came down and said she couldn't sleep because she felt lonely and that her room felt different.

Well, it was different.  She hadn't seen the floor in weeks.  We moved out a few big pieces of furniture, so the room felt much more open - in her mind "big and empty".  Even though it was clearly a change for the better, it felt very unfamiliar and lots of her familiar things were gone.

We tucked her back in and focused on the things she did keep....the ones that are the most special.  We laughed about how her room did look different and talked about how much fun we would have making it feel more like her own space with all the projects we still had planned.  She was able to sleep and the next day she had a ball spreading out with her toys on the open floor. Toys she was easily able to clean up when she was done.

I think a few tears are OK in learning to purge.  Change can be hard and kids have a tough time seeing the big picture.  They may regret giving something away, but it's important to resist the urge to replace it and focus instead on helping them move forward.

-Clear it out when they're gone I think it's wonderful and necessary to include our kids in the purging process, but when they're young I fully support swooping in with a bag to clear stuff out when they're away from the house.  It's easy to identify the toys our kids regularly play with and enjoy the most...and the stuff that just sits at the bottom of a basket.  Now there may be other toys our kids would enjoy but just can't access or even see because they're lost in the abyss.  Fine.

But we all know the crap.  The cheap stuff  that breaks or doesn't really do much of anything (hey there, Happy Meal toys)....the things that don't spark creativity....the paper "treasures" that breed in the back of desk drawers.  Toss it all in a bag (one you can't see through!) and get rid of it quick. If you want to be on the safe side, keep it in the garage for a week or two, and if the kids haven't asked for the items, then go ahead and donate.  Chances are they won't even notice it's gone.

-Lead the way.  Purge and donate often.  Let them see you do it.  Talk out loud about why you are giving something away.  "You know, I have two black shirts that look a lot alike.  I really only need one and I know someone else could use this"  "These pants don't really fit me anymore"  "This vase is really pretty, but I never use it".  Believe me, they are watching. Your example is one of the strongest influences on their young hearts.  Our attitude towards our possessions will affect how our children view their own things. So, keep it up!

-Make it a regular thing.  It's important that our children learn that going through our stuff is not just a one time occassion.  Gifts and new items are always coming into the home, so we have to make purging an ongoing habit.  A seasonal purge seems to work best for us, particularly when we're swapping out clothes for the warm/cool season.  We also do a mini-purge before birthdays and holidays, knowing that new things will be coming in.  If you find a regular time that works best with your family's rhythm, your children will come to expect it.

-Give lots of praise.  Looking back I cringe at the times I put guilt on our kids for not being willing to give to someone else in need...that they couldn't just ditch the dumb dinosaur they bought at the garage sale next door.  I shamed them - if not in my words, certainly in my visible frustration that they could not let go.  And that's never yielded great results.

However, they feel proud and accomplished when we praise their efforts and generosity...when we talk about how God will bless even their smallest act of giving.  Since this purge, Mia has picked up her room and made her bed every day.  We're probably riding a bit of that "new room high" but it's also a hundred times easier for her to clean up now.  There's a place for everything and everything has a place.  And "everything" is drastically less than it was before.

We've made a point to praise her for keeping her space nice, even if it's not perfectly tidy.  This really is new territory for her and we want her to be motivated to keep at it.

-Help them connect.  We've found it also helps to find a way for them to connect the act of giving to a real need. We've talked about the poor and those struggling, but it can feel far removed from our kids' lives.  So, recently we've started using the baby (who they all adore) to put things into context.

"Think about Livy - what if we didn't have enough clothes or blankets to keep her warm?  We would be so thankful for anyone who was willing to help us.  There are a lot of babies (and their brothers and sisters)  that don't have enough clothes or blankets to stay warm...and the weather is getting cold.  We can help!  They don't have toys to play with either and we have a lot we can share."

When we lived in Albuquerque there was a homeless man who we passed on our daily drive to school.  The kids saw me give him some money one day and asked about him.  We talked about what his sign said and why he was there.  They wanted to make him some food and that afternoon they baked him scones.  The next day, we parked the car and I walked over to deliver them to him.  We spent a few minutes talking as Steve told me more of his story.  After that day he was no longer that guy with the sign.

The kids often asked to bake things for Mr. Steve and they wanted to give him our home since he didn't have his own.  They prayed for him to find shelter when the weather was bad and they wanted to help him in whatever way they could.  It was easy for them to give when they knew about the person who had the need.

Use caution and good judgement, but helping your kids connect in a real way with the people we're called to serve and why we're giving, will sow that seed of compassion deeper into their hearts.  Find something that clicks and help them make the personal connection.  Even knowing their hand-me-down clothes were going to their cousins helped.

-Don't give up and pray.  Keep talking about it, keep encouraging, keep trying.  The more they do it, the easier it will be.  If regular purging is part of your routine, then eventually it will be less of a struggle and more of a familiar practice.

And thankfully we're not in this alone.   Growth in giving comes from a combination of consistent efforts in the parental realm.....those same values being reinforced by our community (in places like school, church, and friends' homes)....and the Holy Spirit working in their young hearts.  We've got backup, and that's comforting.

Having my mom here was pivotal in getting through this major purging task with Mia.  She was able to work with her in chunks throughout the day so that it didn't become overwhelming.  My mom even joked, "I'm glad I've watched those hoarding shows so I knew how to deal with her!".  One small decision at a time.  Mia needed a loving and patient adult to help walk her through that process and I'm SO proud of her!   I'll be chatting about the second part of addressing this room bomb next week - how we put it back together in a way our daughter could maintain.  Until then, let's hear from you!

Does anyone else have a mini hoarder on their hands?  What ways have you found to help your kids give and not become so attached to their things?  I think it's time to bring back the one-in-one-out rule over here!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Baby Dresser Organization

Deme CrinionComment

One of my favorite pieces in Liv's nursery (to both use and ogle) is her dresser.  It was a free hand-me-down from a sweet neighbor and one of my favorite "power of paint" transformations to date.  You can catch the details on that project here.

The tallish dresser has three deep drawers and we did our best to maximize that space.  Wanna take a peak inside?  Sure you do.  Cause baby stuff is cute.
baby dresser organization for the nursery

Before we loaded the drawers with any of that cute gear, we gave the inside a good wipe down. Then, I grabbed a roll of wrapping paper I found on clearance at Target.  I'm pretty sure this was left over from the Hanukkah stuff, but I couldn't resist the sweet subtle pattern it provided for the bottom of the drawers.
baby dresser organization for the nursery

We measured the base of the drawer, cut a sheet of paper to size, and used a little modge podge on the back side to hold it down.  I intended to put an additional coat over the top to protect the paper, but I think I'll use this clear contact paper method instead. Also, wrapping paper with measured graph lines on the back = best thing ever.

Once the drawers were lined, it was time to think about how to organize things.  I originally had everything folded in piles inside the drawers....we quickly realized that was a recipe for a clothes mosh pit.  Case in point (about a week in):
baby dresser organization for the nursery

baby dresser organization for the nursery
I don't even know how a rogue diaper ended up in there.

Given the state of things, the next time we did a size up rotation of clothes we added a few of these IKEA Skubb drawer organizers.  I employed my child laborers (paid in fruit snacks) to assemble.
baby dresser organization for the nursery

These come in a 6-pack with three different sizes - two large squares, two small squares, and two long rectangular ones.  They were the perfect mix for the hodge-podge of baby items and various types of baby clothes.

Since this dresser pulls double-duty as a changing station and lacks any surface area for storage, the top drawer was dedicated to all things diaper change.  And cute socks.
baby dresser organization for the nursery
The long skinny bin was perfect for a stash of diapers and we left some open space next to it for wipes and creams.  Extra wipes and diapers are stored in the closet.

We also keep extra changing pads, plain white onesies, and jammies in here.  As part of Liv's nighttime routine, James gets her changed and into pj's.  So it was helpful to have those supplies all together in the most easily accessible drawer.

baby dresser organization for the nursery

The middle drawer has the clothes she wears most frequently.  Babies grow so dang fast and we're doing laundry so frequently that we really don't need walk-in closet sized options for the babe's wardrobe.  We try to keep clothes in her current size limited to this drawer.  As she grows and her clothes get larger (or during colder months with bulkier clothes) we can expand to the bottom drawer. But for now, this works perfectly.

baby dresser organization for the nursery

Outfits are in the large bin to the left, dresses in the middle, one skinny bin of onesies/tops and one skinny bin of pants/bottoms to the right.
baby dresser organization for the nursery

The lowest drawer has extra sleep sacks and clothes in the next size up that she could move into fairly soon.  With the other kids I would constantly open up the box holding the next size up only to find clothes that were already too small.   Hopefully, this drawer will help me catch more of those borderline items before we miss their window.
baby dresser organization for the nursery

Clothes in much larger sizes or for the next season are stored in her closet, along with blankets, crib linens, and miscellaneous items.  I would show it to you, but it's a disaster.  It still has a bunch of my office/craft stuff and the kids art projects.  It's the last area of her room I need to tackle, so you'll see it in all it's ridiculocity here soon.

As the bambina gets older, we'll be able to better utilize the full size closet and even under the crib storage if needed.  Babies come with a ton of stuff.  It's unavoidable since they seem to need different things at different stages, but we're doing our best to keep it to mostly necessities.

What have you found to be the best storage solution for all that baby gear?  How do you organize all those little clothes?   The kids are so sad to see their favorite Livy outfits cycled through so quickly and want to "keepsake" every one.  Admittedly, I'm totally with them.

*Affiliate links used.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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DIY Canvas Heart Art: In Which I Pretend I Can Paint

Deme Crinion2 Comments
First off - thank you for all your sweet comments on Liv's nursery!  It was truly a labor of love (and intense nesting).  Since it had to come together on a budget, it meant a lot of things in her room came second hand or were snagged from other areas of the house.  With all those hand-me-downs, I was itching to add something unique and special to her space.  So, I convinced myself that I had some suppressed artist somewhere in me and tried my hand at painting.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

There was actually a completely different water color attempt before this that we'll deem a semi-fail.  I'm still trying to salvage it but decided I would try a different approach for my do-over.  It turned out to be a really easy project that anyone can do - even the artistically uninclined.   Here's what you'll need....
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art
The kids have been begging for canvases to paint, so we grabbed two 11x14 2-packs from Hobby Lobby for $7.99/per pack, but on sale for 50% off.  The three big kids each got a canvas and Mama got to play with the fourth.

I wanted to create a colorful shape with some script, but I didn't want to have any hard lines or borders.  So, I grabbed a piece of construction paper and sketched out a heart.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

Since I can't draw even sides to save my life, I picked the half I liked best, folded the paper down the middle and cut along that half of the heart.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

Even Steven.  My heart was a little off-center on the construction paper, so I was sure to line it up with the center of the canvas.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

Once I was sure of the size/placement, I decided where I wanted my script.  I cut a straight line across the heart at that point and separated the two pieces leaving a gap wide enough for my font.  This left the shape of the heart a little off,   So, I trimmed it up a bit until the border appeared to form a continuous line.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

I then cut a strip of paper the same width as the gap and taped it all down to the canvas.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

Next I grabbed some water color paint and filled in the empty space inside the heart with dots.  Any pattern could work and it would also look great to fill in the entire space with watercolor.
"Isn't She Lovely" DIY canvas heart art

Once it dried, I removed the paper.  Parts of the heart's border looked a little wonky where I didn't take the dots all the way to the paper's edge, so I quickly added a few more dots until I achieved the right shape.

One more round of drying, then I used a pencil to very lightly sketch out my script.  When I was happy with the lettering, I took a gold Sharpie and went over the pencil.
After everything was dry we hung that lovely on the wall #seewhatIdidthere

Can you spot it in her room?

It was a such a special addition to this little corner of her nursery.

I'm still not sure if I want the text to be less of that subtle champagne color and more of a reflective gold.
If I change it up, I'll be sure to let you know #winkwink

Either way, I loved bringing in another item created just for this space and our sweet bambina.

Has anyone else tried their hand at water color?  Or any painting for that matter?  I figure if it looks like a 5-year old's work we can always chalk it up as "abstract" right?

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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