Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Decluttering Challenge: Part 3 (Family Closet)

Five years ago, Tal and I turned our master bedroom closet into a family closet. In other words, we keep most of Savannah's and Hadley's clothes in our closet:

Having a family closet is an unconventional idea, but it works great for our family. Our master bedroom is downstairs, while the girls' bedrooms are upstairs. Tal and I bathe and dress the girls in our bathroom, so it makes sense for us to keep their clothes nearby in our closet. Obviously, we won't have a family closet forever because Savannah will want privacy in the next year or so.

As part of my 2016 Decluttering Challenge, I pared down the girls' clothes to 10 outfits and used a label maker to label Savannah's and Hadley's plastic drawers:

Since I labeled the drawers a couple weeks ago, Savannah has become more independent, responsible, and helpful. She can put together her outfits easily, as well as put away her clothes and Hadley's clothes in the labeled drawers.

I also cleaned out and reorganized my side of our closet:




Afterwards, I donated 6 bags of clothes and shoes to Goodwill.
What a great feeling! 

Doors, Trim, and Hardware: Part 1

One of our 2016 House Goals is to get new carpet installed in our bonus room and three bedrooms upstairs. But first, Tal and I need to paint our doors and trim, as well as install new door hardware. (We haven't painted our doors or trim since we moved into our house five years ago.) Then, Tal and I will be ready to rip out our 16-year old carpet and order our new carpet!

We have 12 doors upstairs. This weekend Tal took down 9 doors, removed the brass hardware, and spray painted the doors:

We painted the doors in our guest bedroom, and 
protected the walls, floors, and furnishings with plastic and old bed sheets. 

To save time and get a factory finish, 
we used this sprayer (HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer) to paint the doors:

Tal sprayed two coats on each side and waited 15 minutes in between each coat.While the doors were drying, I painted the door edges and started painting the door casings:

Tal and I used Behr's Ultra Pure White (untinted) in semi-gloss 
to paint all of the doors and trim in our house:

Tal and I are going to (hopefully) finish painting the upstairs door casings this week... next weekend Tal can hang the doors with our new hardware 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2016 Decluttering Challenge: Part 2 (Memory Boxes)

As part of my 2016 Decluttering Challenge, I created memory boxes for Savannah and Hadley (and my niece Harper). For each girl, I made a small, organized box where I can collect their keepsakes and mementos (report cards, school pictures, award certificates, drawings, etc.) for the next 18 years. When Savannah and Hadley are adults, I plan to give them their memory boxes to remind them of their childhood.

To get started, I bought these pink file boxes from Office Depot. Then, I put 17 hanging file folders in each folder for each year. To save time, I printed these labels from IHeartOrganizing for grades Pre-K through 12th grade. I also wanted a place to organize infant and toddler mementos, so I created labels for 0-12 months, 1 year old, 2 years old, and 3 years. 

Inside each folder, I put a cover sheet from IHeartOrganizing that included a school picture, as well as the teacher's name and school's name:

Due to limited space, I am very selective about the items I put in the box (usually only 3-5 items for each year). I store the memory boxes (with a lid) in each girl's closet. (I also started another file box for each girl...where I store larger mementos, such as their first pair of shoes, a favorite blanket, etc.)

These memory boxes aren't fancy, but they will be easy for me to maintain for the next 18 years. I am excited to (finally) have an organized place for my girls' school papers and personal keepsakes!

2016 Decluttering Challenge: Part 1

Today I launched my 2016 Decluttering Challenge. This year I am challenging myself to declutter 1-2 areas of our home each month.

Tal and I are not hoarders. However, since Hadley was born 16 months ago, we have fallen behind in decluttering and organizing our house.

Last year I was in survival mode. Hadley was a baby, and my life was consumed with endless feedings, making bottles, and pumping four times a day. Unfortunately, I rarely had time/made time for decluttering. As a result, over the last year, our closets, cabinets, and drawers have become stuffed with paper, clothes, books, and toys.

This year I am ready to regain control of our home...I am ready to simplify and organize these areas:
  • master closet (my side)
  • books
  • toys
  • medicine cabinets
  • kitchen cabinets
  • kitchen cubbies
  • junk drawer
  • mud room cabinets
  • board games/craft cabinets in the kitchen
  • Savannah and Hadley's clothes
  • Savannah's bedroom and closet
  • bonus room
  • guest room closet
  • Savannah's and Hadley's keepsakes and mementos
  • linen closet
  • master bathroom closet and vanities
  • storage basket on kitchen counter
  • coat closet
  • loft cabinets
To keep myself accountable, I will be blogging about my decluttering progress. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Living Room Makeover: Part 2 (Tufted Ottoman)

One of our 2016 House Goals is to start updating our living room. A few weeks ago, I replaced my 17-year old living room foot stool with this blue tufted ottoman from Target:

I like the pretty details, including the tufted buttons and rounded legs. Plus, since the ottoman is a solid color, it coordinates nicely (but doesn't compete) with the large pattern on our Adele Lake Rug from Company C:

I use the ottoman all the time with our La-Z-Boy living room recliner, which my mom bought for me when Hadley was born. Hadley and I have slept many nights in this recliner when Hadley was sick or teething. I always sit in the recliner and prop up my feet on the ottoman when I watch TV or rock Hadley to sleep every night.

The good news is that our new ottoman only cost $37 because I used some Target gift cards that my students gave me for Christmas! When it comes to decorating, I believe in buying inexpensive furniture and accessories that are stylish and sturdy. That way, I won't feel guilty if I have to replace an item in a few years because my decorating tastes change or because my girls stain it or break it. I don't want to feel obligated to keep something for 10 years because I paid a ton of money for it! :)

Savannah likes our new ottoman, too!

100th Day of School and Valentine's Day Party

Savannah's birthday was on Friday, February 12. It was also the 100th day of school! Savannah loved dressing up like a 100 year-old lady...with her glasses, dress, cardigan, tights, high heels, and hair in a bun:

To celebrate Savannah's birthday, I ate lunch with her in her classroom. Savannah requested to eat her first school lunch on her birthday. She loved the hot dog, strawberries, and chocolate milk from the school cafeteria!

After lunch, I stayed with Savannah, while she passed out her store-bought birthday cookies to her classmates...

...and exchanged Valentines with her friends:

Can you tell that Savannah was excited to celebrate her birthday, 
the 100th day of school, and Valentine's Day...all on the same day (February 12)?!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Daddy-Daughter Sweetheart Dance

Tal and Savannah had a fun evening at the Daddy-Daughter Sweetheart Dance tonight at Savannah's school!

A few weeks ago, Savannah asked Tal, "Daddy, will you be my date for the Sweetheart Dance?" Savannah has been looking forward to the event ever since!

The two-hour dance included a photo booth...


...and a dessert bar:

 Hadley and I stopped by the dance for a little bit, 
so I could take some pictures/video for our school's morning news show: 

Random iPhone Photos

These photos are dark, blurry, and untouched, 
but they capture everyday moments that I want to remember forever.

December 2015
Disney vacation...cousin reunion!
This picture was taken after Benny, EJ, Harper, and Barbara 
picked us up at the Orlando airport. 
All 3 girls rode in Uncle Benny's truck:

January 2016
Eating at Red, Hot, and Blue while Grandma Judy was in NC

February 2016
Snuggling with my girls (Savannah, 6 and Hadley, 16 months)

February 2016
Savannah and Mommy

February 2016
Napping on the ride home from school

February 2016
Napping on the ride home from school
(Does Savannah look comfortable?!)

February 2016
After school treat at Dairy Queen

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Sleeping Sisters

Sleeping sisters...a sweet and peaceful moment that I want to remember forever:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Mounting TV's

Last weekend Tal and I crossed off three items on our 2016 House Goals list. While Tal's brother Benny was here for Savannah's birthday party, he was kind enough to use his strength and expertise to help Tal mount three TV's in our house:

1. Last week Tal and I bought this 60-inch TV for our living room.  Tal and Benny took down the painting that was above the fireplace and mounted the TV in its place. While I loved having the painting above the fireplace, having the TV there give us more flexibility with the room arrangement and better traffic flow when Tal and I eventually buy new living room furniture. Surprisingly, our living room feels larger with the TV above the fireplace!

2. Below is the 40-inch TV that we used to have our living room. Tal and Benny hung it in the master bedroom. Eventually, Tal and I are going to put a long dresser under the TV. I am excited to have a larger TV to watch while I fold laundry in our bedroom!

3. Tal and Benny moved the 22-inch TV from the master bedroom and mounted it above the elliptical in our home gym. I'm looking forward to watching my shows on DVR while I exercise!

The good news is that all three TVs are installed and operational. However, we still need to hide the cords and make the TV areas look prettier. Over the next few months, Tal and I will be installing some cord covers and painting them the same color as the walls to make them less noticeable.

Below is our list of other house goals that Tal and I hope to accomplish this year:
  • paint interior doors
  • paint trim upstairs
  • paint and begin decorating guest bedroom
  • replace door hardware (levers, strike plates, and hinges) throughout house
  • rip out carpet and staples in the 3 bedrooms and bonus room upstairs
  • get new carpet installed in the 3 bedrooms and bonus room upstairs
  • buy and install TV above fireplace in our living room
  • move living room TV and install it in our master bedroom
  • move master bedroom TV and install it in our home gym
  • hire electrician to replace outdated chandeliers in entry and formal dining room
  • hire electrician to fix broken lights in garage, master closet, and Hadley's closet
  • paint upstairs loft cabinets and add new hardware
  • paint kitchen cabinets and add new hardware
  • update downstairs gallery wall to include pictures of Hadley and recent family photos
  • restyle living room bookcases
  • paint dresser and nightstand in master bedroom and move them to the guest bedroom
  • buy king-size bed and begin decorating master bedroom (bedding, headboard, dresser, nightstands, area rug, lamps, and wall decor)
  • buy living room furniture (couch, end tables, console table, and lamps)
  • buy bonus room furniture (couch, end tables, and lamps)
  • buy porch furniture
  • buy freezer for garage