Saturday, March 26, 2016

I Wrote a Book!

Yes, from the girl who hardly ever reads... I decided to write a book.

After becoming active on Instagram, and posting daily about motherhood, I started receiving questions all the time--everything from "When do you take a shower?" to "Could you please describe your morning routine?" Eventually I didn't have the time to answer them all individually, so I concluded the best course of action would be to answer all those questions in book form! 

In the early mornings, and during the kids' nap time, I typed out my answers and created a small book entitled Clean House with Kids. It's very short and readable--perfect for busy moms with little kids! And it's full of practical tips for living life and keeping house with small children.

There's a chapter on time management, and one on how to establish a good routine. I also talk about staying in control of the dishes and laundry, and share tips for creating a stress-free home environment!

After working on it for almost 2 months, Clean House with Kids is ready to order! I hope it's an inspiration and encouragement to you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Our $68 Dining Room Makeover

I'm about to share with you how we brightened our dining room and made it look like a completely different room for only $68 (including a new piece of furniture!). But first, here's what our dining room looked like last year, before we made any of our recent changes.

We bought the dining room table set from Walmart, and it's served us well! The curtains are from Target, and the gray wall color is Vessel Gray by Valspar. Those are the elements here that have stayed... though not exactly stayed the same!

I've read that whenever there is black furniture in a room, it makes the room appear smaller, and I completely agree--though I'd extend that to all dark furniture! I'd walk into the dining room and just think how dark and small it looked, all the time! Finally I decided that our dining room needed a change. Even though our budget was teeny tiny, I was determined to do a mini-makeover!

A couple weeks ago, I heard the weather was going to be nice for a few days, so I purchased a bunch of white spray paint (around $40), pulled all the chairs onto the porch, and started working. Originally I was thinking of writing an entire post on the paint I used, and some tips I had, but honestly... even after spray-painting eight chairs, I don't feel like an expert. I thought that spray-painting would be easy and fast, and though it was easier and faster than brush-painting these chairs (which would've been awful), it definitely still took hours and hours of work and patience.

While the chairs were outside drying, I used Valspar bonding primer and then Ultra White Satin (both of which we had on hand) to paint the table legs, and I rolled the top with Polished Silver. I love the contrast between the light gray and the white!

I mentioned that we had a new piece of furniture for the dining room as well! My sister-in-law bought this sturdy desk for me from Goodwill for $20! I had been looking for a piece just like this! I used Polar Star by Valspar (a very light gray), and rolled as much of it as I could to give it a smooth appearance. Then I spray-painted the handles with Rustoleum oil-rubbed bronze! This whole piece turned out great!

Once I finished painting all the furniture, I just needed a little decor! I didn't want to spend much money, so I headed to A.C. Moore, and found a few flowers, a vase, and a candle for $7!

As for the frame, we already had it, but I wanted to add a chalkboard inside of it! I just traced the inside of the frame with a pencil, and then took the frame down, and quickly rolled on the chalkboard paint. Even with two coats, the whole process still took me less than 15 minutes.

The boxwood wreath was a gift from my sister. She actually DIY-d it, using a grapevine wreath she already had, plus part of a boxwood garland and some hot glue. The whole project only cost her $4!

Our dining room is so much brighter now. Besides the spray-paint, all the paint we used we already had, so it was free! Our table and chairs got a complete makeover, plus we added decor and a new piece of furniture, and spent less than $70! This is definitely something any of you could do! We were so pleased with the final result--both aesthetically and financially!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I've Been Gone for a While... but now I'm back!

So... it's been a while. I was thinking about jumping right into our dining room mini-makeover, but then I realized that I wanted to just do a quick post about our life, and what's been happening. We can talk about spray-painting 8 chairs white at a different time!

In the last six months, I've been spending a great deal of time running my Instagram (cleanhousewithkids) and painting or decorating our house. I've also gotten into making videos, which I either do through live streaming (an app called Periscope), or uploading them to my Clean House with Kids facebook page.

As I interacted with my fellow Instagrammers, I started hearing the same questions over and over. How do you control the laundry? How do you manage your time? At first, I was answering all of them individually, but I just didn't have enough time (speaking of time). At the beginning of February, I decided to write a short book answering many of those questions! The writing went well, and I had several people help me with the edits, and it's almost ready to release! 

I'm self-publishing through Lulu (I've worked with them before), and right now I'm just waiting for my proof copy to arrive in the mail! I'm so excited to share it with you--hopefully very soon!

Also in January, I was six weeks pregnant, and I lost our baby. It was a difficult day with many tears, but thankfully I had an amazing support system to help us through it! We were thrilled to find out I was pregnant again, only a month later! Currently, I'm 7.5 weeks along, and feeling great! Normally my pregnancies are very difficult, but I've been taking some health measures that will hopefully make this my easiest and best pregnancy yet. I'll keep you updated on that!

With the book coming out, and a new baby on the way, I'd love to keep up with the blog more consistently. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and the Periscope app! Thanks for being here!