Repurpose your Furniture, Repurpose your Life

“I’m trapped!!” the classic comment from family, friends, and guests when they dine at our home…talk about embarrassing! But it was the truth. Our dining room was a hot mess! A hot mess that always had us playing a form of dining room twister in order to pass food, water, etc. around the table. And God forbid a child or elderly should need assistance on the other side of the table…the most efficient way to get to them would be to literally climb over the table. And etiquette tells me this is highly frowned upon table manners…but what’s a host to do?

It all started 9 years ago when we moved into our home. We were moving from a town house. The town house had a very large master bedroom that comfortably allowed for a king size sleigh bed, chest, nightstand, and long gorgeous dresser with framed mirror. It was beautiful! Problem was we were now moving into a home that was built in the 1940s and apparently people back then were clearly not the consumers that we are today!  The closet space was minimal, the bed barely fit, and we managed to squeeze the chest and nightstand, but there was no way my gorgeous dresser would ever fit. So guess where it went? The dining room!

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The dresser surprisingly looked nice in the space, like a beautiful buffet and it gave the dining room a more formal touch. So I decided to add to the formality of the space and transform a book shelf into a hutch…well almost entirely, I never added doors to the bottom. But I did add a place to hang wine glasses and added all our formal dining dishes to the shelves. It worked, in fact the two pieces of furniture coordinated nicely. The problem only began once we actually used the space. See, in addition to the dresser and book shelf there was also the dining room table, chairs, and bench…now that’s a lot for a 1940s sized  dining room. 

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The first few times we entertained in the space I just thought of it as cozy. Mind you we only had a child and perhaps an additional couple or two dining with us. Fast forward to today and we have three children and our gatherings often include a minimal of 8 additional people. Thus that cozy quaint space went straight to crowded and guest claiming “I’m trapped!” It got to the point that when we would host Thanksgiving and Easter for our extended families my husband and I would literally move all the living room furniture into the dining room and dining room into the living room so that our guest could comfortable breath move.

To be entirely honest there were a few months…going on years… where the dining room was simply that room where we would walk through on our way to the kitchen and store an occasional item on the table (note the ironing board and bags in the image above…and yes, ceramic Easter items still on the shelf long after Easter, ha-ha). Then I had an epiphany! What if…now what I am about to say might blow your mind so you might want to sit down if you aren’t already…we get rid of some furniture. Crazy right!? I finally came to terms with the fact that while having (semi) formal dining room furniture was appealing it simply wasn’t practical for our space or our life. I had to let go of the dream of having all the furniture in order to reclaim the space.

So I removed the hutch from the dining room and managed to find a new home for the dishes…funny thing is, we have yet to even use half of those fancy dishes…(for some reason shrimp cocktail, fancy cheese, and whatever else you are supposed to serve in the crystal aren’t a regular when we entertain families with young kiddos, lol!)  I found a new location for the hutch in the kitchen.  We had a space that wasn’t being utilized to its full potential.  The furniture piece that was there was too deep for the space, and was basically the catch-all for random items so it was bursting with stuff. And  the wall space above wasn’t even being utilized. Oh, and do you see all the shoes? This area was screaming reorganize me! And I did!

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Being a Mom on the go with three kiddos I have always wanted a mud room. A place when the children could hang coats, umbrellas, book bags, place boots, shoes, and sports equipment. But given the size of our home and the constraints of our budget I figured it was an impractical request.  But what I found was, if I reconfigure the furniture I can actually make a mud room (or at least the start of a mud room)…

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What was once a mere display unit where guest could see all our pretty dishes that never got used is now a practical piece of furniture that stores my cookbooks, children’s homeschooling workbooks, play dough fun, shoes, keys, glasses, sports equipment, and more!

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And guess what? We can now comfortably sit around the dining room table. Fancy that! I repurposed one piece of furniture and what we received in return was a way to repurpose our life that involves more structure and we can entertain in the dining room again!

So what do you think? Do you have a space in your home that is cramped? Have you ever had to move furniture around in order to accommodate your guests?  Do you display dishes in a hutch? Do you ever use those dishes? Or are you like me and you never touch them except when you have to dust, lol?

Like the featured image with the clawfoot tub as a couch? Then click here for some more fun creative ways to repurpose furniture.

Sincerely, Overwhelmed Mom

In between unloading the car from our first Costco trip (yes, there were two that day), texting/calling peeps, and finally getting lunch on the table for the kiddos (at 2pm…yep, I am totally mom of the year!), I went to the mailbox and was greeted by this little gem….

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Instantly that song, Under Pressure by Queen (but everyone confuses with Vanilla Ice’s,  Ice ice Baby) began playing in my head.  While all the ‘to do’s whirled around in my mind…son’s b-day party, dentist appointments, pack for vacation, purchase food for vacation, new book bags, school supplies, school clothes, school shoes, officially register son for kindergarten after dentist appointment, haircuts, get daughter’s Little Flower Girls’ club started, make doctor’s appointment for toddler, etc. No! There is no way school is starting soon.  We still have so much to do, places to go, friends and family to visit and entertain, etc.  DENIAL, check!

I feel like I have been playing catch-up all summer and I really don’t even know why. So much so that our son’s b-day was over a month ago and we finally had his b-day party last night…better late than never, right!?

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It gets better. Our toddler’s b-day is in 2 weeks. Yep, looks like we will be pushing that party back too. You know life is becoming too overwhelming when you find yourself changing the dates of your children’s birthday. I thought things were supposed to get easier as they got older and were sleeping through the night, potty trained, and using utensils…wrong!

I guess all those older and wiser mommas were right, it never gets easier only different. And different is good…albeit overwhelming at times…but good no less.  I suppose it is all about overcoming our shortcomings and enjoying the journey. I know I enjoyed quality time with my son today playing with all his b-day gifts together. Maybe motherhood is all about finding balance and being able to place that overwhelming sense of pressure to get everything done on the back-burner in order to enjoy what really matters…legos, lol!

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Anyone else out there feeling a tad overwhelmed this time of year with back to school requirements looming in the immediate future?

Anyone have a good strategy they wouldn’t mind sharing when it comes to back to school shopping? I am all ears!

Anyone else ever lost track of time and fed their child/children lunch at 2pm?

Please share…this is a judgment free zone.

Sincerely,

Overwhelmed Mom

Dum Dums Factory Tour!!

Oh my word!! I just had the best afternoon! Ever have one of those rare experiences where you are suddenly a kid again? When all your worries about bills, laundry, work, etc. suddenly disappear? When your biggest decision is strawberry or root beer? Well that is precisely how I spent my afternoon at the Spangler Factory and Museum! Oh, and by the way, strawberry.

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As you enter the store you are greeted by the sweet aroma of candy and charming Spangler employee who offers samples of Dum Dums and candy canes…yes, please!! Then it’s time for a stroll through history in the museum where they have displays of past products, molds, literature, etc.  Did you know that Spangler was founded in 1906 and that they make 10 million Dum Dums each day!? Now that is a lot of suckers (contemplated a political joke here but opted against it).

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After perusing the museum we hopped aboard the trolley for our factory tour! But first everyone had to put on a hairnet…is that Laverne and Shirley? Now those are two hot mamas, lol!

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 I think we have found a resolution to all the birth control controversy, one word, hairnet!

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While on the factory tour we learned about the seasonal Dum Dum flavors they will have in stores for Autumn/Christmas time. The eight limited edition flavors are, sugar plum, hot chocolate, sugar cookie, gingerbread (for the sophisticated palate, lol! My favorite!), merry cherry, sugar plum, apple cider, green apple crunch, and polar punch!

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As the trolley took us from one room to the next I couldn’t help but feel like I was on How it’s Made. It was fascinating watching all the conveyor belts filled with Dum Dums and other various products…and to see the orange boxes piled high for Halloween and the numerous candy canes piled ceiling high for Christmas!

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When the tour ended we headed for the store to purchase a bag of those limited edition flavors of Fall in addition to a bag of Circus Peanuts (FYI, the flavor is banana) for my dad (I am not the biggest fan), and our toddler requested we try a bag of strawmellows.  We all couldn’t wait to give the limited edition flavors a try!

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As I went for the door to leave I hesitated, I didn’t want this visit back to childhood to end. Thankfully I was able to take a little home with me in the form of Dum Dums and whenever I unwrap one I will recall today and all the fun had at the Spangler Candy Factory.

 

After quiet time the kiddos had candy for snack (Yep, I am totally Mom of the Year! Jamie Oliver would probably have me placed in food prison) and got to have some more fun on the Dum Dums page!

Click here for fun word searches, mazes, coloring sheets, online games, and more!

So what is your favorite Dum Dums flavor?

Memories are priceless but space is limited!

Letting go can be the hardest thing to do as a mom…letting go of the baby clothes, baby toys, adorable Christmas outfits, first day of school outfits, etc….oh the memories!  The difficult part is separating the memories from the physical objects. We place such a high value on these items because of our personal memories…we fear letting go because that may mean that we will also let go of the memory.

Solution….

In order to overcome these fears make a digital scrapbook of your child’s special moments, special toys, clothing, etc. that can be placed on a bookshelf and reviewed when you please.  Clean up those items and give them a second life by having a garage sale, dropping them off at a resale shop, or donating them to a shelter. The fact that those items will now go towards making another child and mother’s memories should be enough to lift your spirits.

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So, in conclusion, the choice is yours, you can have a shrine to your past or start enjoying the present and make room for the future?

I have decided to do the latter and have my first ever garage sale, because space is definitely limited in our house, wish me luck!

And any advice and/or suggestions are totally welcomed and appreciated.

Do You Hoard Your Child’s Artwork?

7 signs that you are a hoarder of your child’s artwork….

1.)    You can no longer see your refrigerator. What started off as a couple of drawing being displayed on the refrigerator has escalated and the refrigerator is entirely camouflaged by artwork?

2.)    You can no longer use your kitchen for fear of a fire…all that artwork around appliances is a hazard.

3.)    You dare not throw any away, what if you are raising a little Picasso; just think of how much each and every piece of artwork might be worth.

4.)    When a family member tries to touch or dispose of your child’s art work you will rummage through the trash to retrieve it.

5.)    You would rather cut off your left arm than dare dispose of your child’s artwork.

6.)    You fear breaking your child’s heart.

7.)    There is a weird stretch coming from your home…Fruit Loop and noodle artwork clearly has a shelf life!

What to do with all those art projects?

If your dream is to one day be profiled on hoarders them by all means carry on…you are well on your way! However, if you are looking for a way to reclaim your kitchen, keep your left arm, and not breaking little Picasso’s heart then here is the answer…. 

Have a draw set aside for his art projects and star/sticker quality work that is sent home.  Allow your child to show you their work then ask which ones they would like to keep in their drawer and which ones can be recycled.  Be practical moms, I realize every project your child works on is precious but you need a home, not a shrine to your child’s works.  At the end of the year go through the drawer and select the top 12 projects (or more if you have the wall space but no more than 20 per child per year).  Purchase an inexpensive frame to display your child’s art work as well as scissors and double-sided tape.

Arrange the art work and any additional sentimental memorabilia on the insert (the cheap paper or picture shown with the frame) that is included with the frame.  You may need to cut various projects in order for all to fit accordingly.  Once they are arranged in a visually pleasing display stick double-sided tape on the back of each so that it is affixed to the insert. Place the insert back in the frame and decide where you will display your little artist and scholars work.

This is something that could be done every year. You can purchase a new frame each year and display every year, that is, if you have the wall space.  Or, you could remove the insert each year and replace it with new projects.  My ideal plan is to one day have a finished basement and be able to display each year on the walls with track lighting highlighting each.  A girl can dream!

Space Warriors Blu-Ray combo pack Giveaway

Movie nights are a family favorite in our household.  It is nice to come together after a long week and relax, to turn off all phones and cozy up on the couch together, to watch the children’s eyes widen in awe and curiosity.  I have found that movie night often equates to a learning opportunity. Whether it is an emotional, moral, educational, etc. the plot, the protagonist vs. antagonist or even side story can allude to a learning experience. And I am so thankful that my husband and I are there to answer the children’s questions. With that being said, I think it is important to note that we scrutinize each proposed movie in order to not expose the children to situations, context/circumstances that are beyond their fundamentals, not in correlation with our values, and not deemed appropriate by my husband and myself.

Thankfully Walden Family Theater and the Hallmark channel are making the screening process much easier for my husband and me. I know what you’re thinking, Walden Theater?

Walden Media specializes in entertainment for the whole family, creating movies, books and television series that spark the imagination and delight all generations. Past award-winning films include: “The Chronicles of Narnia” series, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Nim’s Island,” “Charlotte’s Web” and the Sundance Audience Prize Winning documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman.’” Walden Media’s most recent theatrical release is the family comedy “Parental Guidance,” starring Billy Crystal and Bette Midler, which was the biggest comedy hit of the 2012 holiday season.  Source

Walden Family Theater features great family entertainment, and is airing Friday nights exclusively on Hallmark Channel. Walden Family Theater is creating films the whole family will enjoy, so make sure to mark your calendars and gather around the television to watch all the great upcoming films! Don’t want to wait?

Then you can head to Wal-Mart and purchase Space Warriors, second of the Walden Family Theater original lineup features. (Or enter the Blu-Ray combo pack giveaway below)

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About Space Warriors:
Six highly skilled teenagers are handpicked to be part of a summer space camp competition at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. As the competition heats up, the kids have no idea that their ultimate challenge will be to solve a life or death crisis aboard the International Space Station as the world anxiously watches.

Starring: Thomas Horn, Danny Glover, Josh Lucas, Dermot Mulroney,  Mira Sorvino and Booboo Stewart.

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And to get you in a Space Warriors mood checkout this fun interactive Space Warrior Blog App! It is so much fun! Are you a Space Warrior? Take the QUIZ to find out….click on image above!

Why not make it a Space-tacular evening by inviting a few friends over, serve astronaut ice cream, and share in some activities to REALLY get your kiddos in the Space Warrior Mood. Click here for Viewing Guide and Activities

GIVEAWAY!!

Enter to win a Space Warriors Blu-ray combo pack!!

To enter simply….

Like Space Warriors Facebook page.

Like Mom on the go in Holy Toledo Facebook page.

Follow @mamaof3onthego on twitter.

Follow @waldenmedia on twitter.

Tweet…this post with #SpaceWarriors 

Post a comment with your answer to this question: In our Solar System what is the hottest planet?     1. Mars 2. Venus 3. Planet Hollywood 4. Jupiter

Giveaway ends ….7/27 @ 11:59pm and winner will be notified 7/28