Easy Kitchen Chair Update

We have gone through a number of table and chair combos in our kitchen during our six years of marriage.

We started with an old $25 garage sale table that I had from living on my own.  We moved from there to a pretty round pedestal farmhouse style table.  After that, we had a darling free-from-someone’s-driveway corner bench and table set-up.

Finally, we have a simple rectangular farmhouse style table.  The chairs were exactly what I wanted shape wise (they are square with legs that are straight up and down rather than angled outward (allows you to push them in further, thus saving space). However, the seats were a rattan style.  This is horrific with toddlers!  Food and play-doh smashed on . . . almost impossible to clean!

So, an upgrade was in order.  I literally have one photo for you because I am fancy and professional like that.  But, you guys, this is so easy!

 

MATERIALS:

Oilcloth

Wood (cut to correct size of seat)

Foam

Staple Gun

DIRECTIONS:

  1. The hardest part is cutting the seats.  We used scrap wood we had on hand and my husband has a saw, so he was able to measure and cut four seat bottoms for the chairs (the rattan ones simply lifted out).
  2. Measure the foam and cut to the same size as each seat bottom. (I bought one rectangular piece of foam from Beverly’s for about $10.
  3. Measure the oilcloth wider than the seat, so you will have enough to wrap around to the back.  Oilcloth is about $10 a yard and I think I only used about 2 yards and had extra leftover for recovering my kids’ metal folding chairs.
  4. Staple the oil cloth to the seat.  Fit into the chair opening and wa-la!  New easy-to-clean seats!

I love this upgrade because it really freshened up the seats, made them easier to clean, and added some fun design to the kitchen.

We can’t always afford fancy upgrades and we have no space for a big beautiful table, but we try our best to be stewards of what we have and this was one way to take our $50 craigslist table and beautify it as well as make it more practical for our family!

HOPE #5

(source)

Wildflowers.  They spring up unexpectedly and sometimes in the most unlikely places: our weedy front yard, freeway onramps, dry creek beds.

Seemingly, out of nothing they spring. But, that isn’t really true.  They are rooted, watered, and given life by our creator.

We recently took our girls to see a bit of the California Super Bloom that everyone is talking about.  Carpets of wildflowers brightening up dry fields and pastures.  A sea of purples, whites and yellows. All grown by God.

What hope there is in the wildflower.  That something so beautiful can grow from nothing, but the will of the Lord.  So, too, are our lives.  Whether you are in a desert place or in a fertile garden, you can grow and God can do beautiful things in your life.

Don’t limit yourself to your circumstances.  God is bigger than them.

 

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. psalm 115:3

 

 

Spring Decorating on a Dime

spring

(source)

Hello friends!

It is Spring!

I don’t know about you, but I love welcoming each new season.  I love the idea of decorating my home to feel like the season.

However, this is not always an option due to finances and resources.  I gaze longingly at the tulips at Trader Joe’s, but resist (most of the time) because I know that a mere$4 per week will still add up to a lot.

I have found some easy ways to decorate my home for the changing seasons without spending much money or time! For example, we have a chalkboard in our family room and I used the above photo as a guide to create a spring scene!

Head over to Raising Homemakers to read more about how I decorated for Spring on a Dime.

Small Space Thriving #2

Small spaces.

Some people love them and there is even a major tiny home movement that is becoming all the rage!  In fact, we love watching episodes of Tiny Luxury and other Tiny Home shows.

However, there are also many home shows that feature couples viewing 2,000 square foot homes and referring to them as “small”.

It really depends on the person, I suppose, and probably a lot on what they are accustomed to.

So, what do I LOVE about living in a small space?  Yes, I said “love”.  Not tolerate.  Not appreciate. LOVE.

Of course there are challenges and things that I really don’t enjoy, but I am going to focus on the benefits!

  1. Easy access:  It is usually fairly quick and simple to find anything I need.  I don’t have to go far or reach far for much!
  2. Child safety: There are no stairs, and minimal rooms my children can be in.  They are never far from me and thus we have avoided many of those issues where a child has sneakily destroyed some part of the home! Ha!
  3. Cleaning: I already feel that housework is difficult to keep up with, so I can only imagine how this would be magnified in a larger home.  My cleaning responsibilities are much smaller, which frees me up to do other tasks.
  4. Freedom: Similar to the child safety benefits, I can give my children freedom when they play.  I can hear them from any room in the house.  Now that my older two are almost 5 and 3, I can send them in the yard and hear them from the kitchen/see them from the family room.  Thus, they can play freely, while I tidy up inside or sit on the couch to to my Bible study.
  5. Organization: You would maybe think this would be a difficulty rather than something I love, but being in a small space has forced us to analyze everything we have and how we store everything we have. The extreme organization has freed up a lot of time and removed a lot of stress from our lives.
  6. More outdoor time: Because the space is small, we take full advantage of our yard, which is a wonderful size.  We eat outside when the weather is nice. We have outdoor pets instead of indoor ones.  We keep a small garden.  We have many outdoor activities for the kids: bikes, mud kitchen, sand box, rock wall (to be installed), playhouse, etc.
  7. Tight Knit family:  We are always together.  We can not escape one another, ha ha!  This is one of the reasons why, if we are able to move someday, I do not want an overly large home.  I love that we can be in the same space and be close to each other, even when we are doing different activities!

Take Your Chores Outdoors

Happy first day of Spring!

We are expecting rain this week, but I don’t care: It’s Spring!

My girls and I have been enjoying hours upon hours of outdoor time and, surprisingly, I still feel as though I am keeping up on housework and getting many projects completed!

I compiled some of my tips for getting work done while outdoors and posted them over at Raising Homemakers.

I love having my kids spend as much time outside as possible, but there are still responsibilities and tasks to be completed. I have found a few ways to have the best of both worlds.

I hope this tips are helpful.  Do you have any to add?

 

Raising Homemakers

HOPE #4

Hope and comparison.

These two things are often at odds with one another.

We see what another has or does and we grow despondent.  Perhaps we covet, perhaps we cry out “not fair” to God, perhaps we despair that we will never be in their shoes.

However, we can use comparison to spur our hope on and to encourage us rather than discourage us.

When we see the blessings another has received, we can hope that the Lord is working in our lives too. Perhaps not through the same method or to the same end, but working he is.

For example, someone I follow on instagram just purchased a new home on acreage.  There are trees and space and the home is large enough for all of them.  It would be so easy to feel jealous.  So easy to say, we will never have that.

But, that would be so short-sighted and so limiting of what God can do and also so unfair.  After all, this person lived in multiple homes before this one.  This person lived in a very small house with multiple children for many years.  This person is further along life’s path than I.

Sometimes, I think we see the spiritual maturity of others or the financial prosperity of others or the “perfect” homeschooling of others and we compare in a negative light instead of considering what paths those people may have taken to reach those ends.

Even scripture tells us that, Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Psalm 13:12).  Waiting can be hard.

I remember reading in a Bible study book about a woman whose life seemed so “easy” now.  Then she went on to describe years of barely surviving financially and of eating simple dinners and never going out and I thought, “hey, that is my life right now!” and she went on to say that those lean years had really shaped her family in so many wonderful and positive ways.  I realized that perhaps that might be part of my story.  Perhaps I am struggling now, but maybe we won’t struggle forever? I can hope that this will be a season for us as well.  I can do my best with God has given us now and I can hope.  Maybe that hope is that we will not always struggle.  Maybe that hope is simply that he will strengthen us through the struggle.

Sometimes, to look forward, we must first look backward.  How has he helped me in the past?  Where were we a year ago?  Two years ago? Sometimes we need to compare our current circumstances or the current circumstances of others to our or their past circumstances to accurately see the true picture.

Then, hope can grow.

hope4

Small Space Thriving #1

                             (source)

I’m sure you have heard me mention the size of our home.

A mere 816 square feet.

We love watching shows about people who live in Tiny Homes and we are drawn to many minimalist lifestyles as well.

We joke that we basically live in a Tiny Home if you factor in how many people live here.  We also pretend that we are minimalists since if we moved all our stuff into a 1600 square foot home, then it would appear to be a minimal amount of stuff.

All joking aside, we love our little home, but it is not without its challenges.

I posted some tips on purging and digital decluttering the last few months and we have been following those tips diligently. My husband estimates that we have purged, donated, thrown away or sold at least 800 lbs of stuff since January.  This is both exciting and embarrassing (how did we own that much CRAP?!).

Mostly, it is liberating.

Here are some examples of the types of things we have been purging:

  1. Pictures: I went through all my old albums and photos and tossed duplicates, blurry photos, photos I don’t care to save.
  2. Extras: Do we need three plastic ladles?  No!
  3. Papers: We had a bonfire with all our old forms and documents and only saved three years’ worth in small boxes.
  4. Toys: How many stacking toys does one baby need?!
  5. Outdoor Equipment: broken squirt guns, old chairs, superfluous sand pails.
  6. Random Stuff: What does this cord even go to?! Are these batteries new or old?
  7. Art/Decor: Can you say mason jar hoarder?
  8. Clothing: Haven’t worn it recently, can’t wear while pregnant or nursing, looking shabby.
  9. Gift wrap/Party supplies: If the bag says “baby girl” it goes.  Generic gift bags only!
  10. Linens: I always wash and dry our bedding the same day, so extras aren’t necessary.  Threadbare rags are gone. Newborns don’t get bathed very often, so only a few hoodie towels are needed.
  11. All the expired things!

You get the picture.  Pretty much every closet, drawer, and cabinet in our house is being re-evaluated, rearranged, and ransacked!  The garage, shed, and outdoor toy box have begun to be re-evaluated as well.

This is one of the easiest ways to live comfortably in small spaces.  It frees up your space and your time.  Each time I open a drawer or cabinet, everything is easily accessible.  So, if I save 30 seconds each of those times, then gradually I am saving more and more time and stress.  It also allows my children to have more responsibility and to be more helpful as they can easily find and access items that I ask them to fetch for me.

I have created a bit of a monster and I am still obsessing over purging and organizing and rearranging more things!  I’m sure a little bit of nesting is to blame as well!

 

So, let me have it!  What kind of space do you live in?  How do you go about purging and reorganizing?  Any tips or inspiration for me?