Thursday, August 28, 2014

Details on the Living Room/Foyer

Our living room has had several, ahem, "looks" since we moved into this house in April. Now finally... FINALLY... besides some white trim work, I think we're nearing the "completely done" mark in this area of our house!!

For those of you who are interested in where we purchased each element of the living room...

Lamps: Walmart
Curtains: Target
Curtain rod and drawbacks: Lowe's
Couch: local furniture store
Pillows: T. J. Maxx
Large basket (for pillow storage!): Target
Blue coffee table: bought it second-hand, and sanded/painted it
Rug: Target
Chairs: Pier 1

We bought the end-tables from a neighbor of ours who was moving. We removed the handle (since there wasn't a drawer there anyway), and painted the tables cream.

Flower arrangement: T. J. Maxx
Coasters: Bed, Bath, and Beyond
Hydrangea: Michael's
Vase: originally a pickle jar, that we spray-painted

When we bought the house, our living room looked like this.

And Now...

Here's another before photo, looking towards the foyer...

View of the foyer now...

All the supplies for the railing came from Lowe's, as did that gorgeous new light fixture--an anniversary present from my parents. :)

I think I've covered everything! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Here Are a Few of My Favorite Apps... (and Sites)

Oh, hey everyone! Hope you're having a happy Saturday!

I was having waaaay too much fun with some phone apps, and I couldn't resist sharing them with you.

1. Free My Apps

This app FEELS too good to be true, until you're actually using your $5 or $10 gift cards... and then it's like, WHOA. This cash is for real, and it is awesome.

Basically, you're earning points, and the points turn into gift cards (once you have enough of them). You download apps, try them out for 15-30 seconds, and then... wa-la. You've just earned yourself some points. The points add up very quickly, and soon--you're earning gift cards.

After earning myself my first $10 (I traded my Amazon gift card to my sister, for cash :)), I went to Goodwill and bought myself two dresses and a belt for $6. It was my lucky day.

2. Shopkick

Another REALLY fun way to earn gift cards, except it takes a little longer to earn them with this app. :) You download the app, and then walk into stores that give you shopkicks (Target, Old Navy, Walmart, Best Buy...), and start building up to gift cards for those stores. I used my first $5 Target gift card the other day, when I bought a basket for our living room! (But more on THAT, later!)

3. Instagram

This isn't a money-earning app (sadly), but it's a fun app all the same! You can follow me if you like: littlehouseinthehills. Any of you on Instagram? Leave me your username in a comment, and I'll hop over for a visit!

4. Like Twice

I found this second-hand women's clothing site from Money Saving Mom. They remind me of Thred Up, except I was able to find more items on here that I liked (who knows why). Anyway, they offer coupons all the time, including free shipping on certain days, which is how I was able to buy this shirt for $0!!

They have hundreds of items for $7.95, which isn't a bad price, considering how expensive gas is these days to actually Go. Clothes. Shopping.

Like Twice has a sweet "share" policy, too. If you click on my link and buy something, I receive $10... So if you make a purchase, and consequently get your OWN referral link, then go ahead and share it with YOUR friends... am I seeing something awesome emerge here?! Maybe.

5. Ebates

I've recently become quite pleased with Ebates again because...

A. I received a check for $14 in the mail a week ago. Which reminded me how cool it is to buy stuff online, and receive cash back, SO...

B. Instead of driving to Wal-Mart with the kids the other day (or asking my sister or mom to pick up my long list of items), I decided to order my Walmart items online again, through Ebates. I did so when Ebates was offering 5% cash back, and I stocked up on toilet paper, paper products, diapers, wipes, shampoo, make-up... All from the comfort of my air-conditioned home, with my leg propped up on a chair. Woo-hoo!

So there ya go. Have fun experimenting with these apps (if you have a phone that works with them, of course)... and see you on Instagram (if you're there)... and earn a little cash on Ebates (ok, ok, I'm done).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day in the Life [of this Pregnant Mama]

Yesterday I woke up and documented--through pictures--my day at home. Every day looks different for us, depending on Matt's schedule, if we need groceries, etc., but this is generally how a "normal" day looks for us.

7:15 AM

I rolled out of bed. For those of you who have known me as an early riser, those days are no more--at least temporarily. ;) Not sleeping well seems to be a symptom of this pregnancy, and in order to feel rested, I've started sleeping in later.

I jumped in the shower, and by this time, the girls were waking up.

They looked at books and played in Rachel's room while I finished getting ready for the day.

While I dressed and put on make-up, I listened to my audio Bible. I'm working through Psalms.

I poured the girls some cereal, and then I changed Matthias's diaper and got him dressed.

Matthias and I ate breakfast, too. (Of course.) Paper bowls and spoons make breakfast clean-up easy...

8:26 AM

Matthias brings me his flop-flops every morning. I don't think he feels properly dressed without them!

I brushed the kids' teeth, and wiped off the bathroom sink. Then I lit a candle, and shut the bathroom door (so there's no danger of Matthias going in there).

We headed downstairs, where I set up a Netflix movie (101 Dalmatians, the real people version) for the kids, and I walked on the treadmill.

No surprise--Matthias lost interest in the movie fairly quickly, and contented himself with paging through books.

After 10 or 15 minutes of walking (that's all I can do, for now), I sat down with the kids with a stack of books. We read several Bible stories, a chapter from The Boxcar Children, and other miscellaneous stories.

9:05 AM

Time to start my one load of laundry for the day. The girls pulled the dirty clothes' baskets to the top of the stairs.

With the laundry going, it was time to clean up the kids' bedrooms.

The kids put away their clothes, toys, books, and anything else that has accumulated in their rooms, and they help make their beds.

I put some chicken in the oven for lunch and chop a few vegetables. Meanwhile, Matthias had fun in the utensils drawer. :)

And the girls played nearby.

10:10 AM

Half of Matthias's closet is filled with these gray bins. They store my maternity clothes, plus boys' and girls' clothes (the sizes the kids aren't currently wearing).

Every time there's a consignment sale, I go through all those bins, looking for clothes that I don't LOVE. Because if I'm not CERTAIN my kids are going to wear a certain shirt (or whatever) over and over again, then there's no point storing it. We have enough to store already!

I dumped, and sorted, and tried clothes on the kids to see what fits.

It was raining outside, but the girls played on the back covered porch. I have no idea what they're discussing here!

Oh yeah, and I drank a small cup of coffee. Soooo relaxing...

This is what I look like now, at 30.5 weeks pregnant. That's a VERY typical Tricia outfit these days. I wear that jean skirt several times a week, because it's so ridiculously comfortable and can go with pretty much any top.

My sister keeps dropping off garden vegetables at our house, and we've found ourselves with quite a few tomatoes. I chopped a few tomatoes, mixed in a tablespoon of pesto, and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top. The girls loved their snack!

Matt was home, and he and Matthias were watching videos on the porch. ;)

11:54 AM

Rachel washing herself up after her snack...

Daddy read some books to the kids while I worked in the kitchen.

My foot was hurting, so I sat down to rest, and the girls set up a "yard sale" next to me.

I caught up on a few of my favorite blogs.

Lunch time! We all ate chicken legs and cucumbers with Ranch, but I also ate almost an entire green pepper and onion, sautéed in butter. YUM.

Matt bathed Matthias, and I dressed him in clean clothes and put him to bed--along with the other kids.

Yeah, this is what our kitchen counter looked like after cooking + lunch, but I was in pain, and it was our "mandatory rest time," so I ignored the dirty counters and sat back down on the couch.

With a cup of delicious hot mixture. :)

1:04 PM

I made a phone call, sent a few texts, and generally relaxed. (This means: I don't remember what else I did. :O) All I remember is that at the end of those two hours, I happened to start watching a "Clean House" episode...

And it got me so motivated, I jumped off the couch and cleaned up the kitchen.

Then I wrote on this blog about when your "good" kids are [really] bad.

4:07 PM

The kids were all awake now. We folded that one load of laundry. The girls helped deliver their clothes, and Matthias played with the empty laundry basket. Good times.

Then the kids watched Curious George while I worked on tagging my items for the consignment sale.

By then, it was after 5 PM, and time to start getting dinner ready. And this is where my picture documentation ended. :)

So that, generally speaking, was my day. Keeping up with the kids, washing one load of laundry, doing a little bit of cleaning, preparing some simple meals, and washing dishes is pretty much all I can do these days. But instead of focusing on what I CAN'T get done, and what I CAN'T do, I've been reminding myself that I need to be thankful for what I AM able to still do every day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When Your "Good" Kids are [Really] Bad

[I'm currently working on a "Day in the Life" post, plus a house update (since that's what seemed to be the most voted for!), but first... a motherhood post. Sorry, I really just had to write this one. ;)]

Before I was a mom, I used to think to myself, "If I do X, Y, and Z, my kids will turn out obedient, and happy, and perfect... all the time."

And then I HAD kids, and I realized that no matter how much of X, Y, and Z I did, my kids still did things that were completely unexpected. Shocking, really.

One child dumped my contacts (including one or two unopened packages), and made a stack on their bed. And then squeezed out my tube of foundation and smeared it all over their bedspread. And then painted their finger and toe nails with black liquid eyeliner.

Two of my kids found a couple bottles of nail polish, and dumped--and smeared--them on our bedroom carpet. Good thing our carpet already needed replaced, because I wasn't able to BUDGE those stains.

One of my kids--consistently, for days in a row, would dig their hands into their diaper, pull out their poop, and then smear (yes, my kids are into smearing) it on themselves and their crib.

One child pulled out their hair--forming a nasty bald spot on the side of their head.

Uh-huh, and possibly the most shocking of all... while I was on the phone, one of my kids found a knife and sliced open their sheets and pillow cases.

Was I expecting ANY of that? From my kids?! Um, I should think not.

Some of these incidents were scary, and most of them were downright frustrating. I felt like a failure as a mom, as if everything I tried, every last bit of time I'd spent teaching them, had been a waste.

Hopefully, slowly, I'm learning some lessons through it all, though.

Such as...

Picking out what are the MAIN things I want to focus on with my kids' behavior, and letting other not-so-bad things slide--at least temporarily. (For me, that'd be letting my child suck their fingers in church--a behavior I really dislike, if the main thing I'm working on is having them sit quietly.)

Finding the humor in situations, instead of just. getting. frustrated.

What I said to Matt earlier today: "All three kids fell asleep! Jemima ripped out a page of her book and tore it into tiny pieces and threw it on the carpet beside her bed, BEFORE she fell asleep... but it's all good!"

I'm learning that losing my temper, and saying things like, "I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU JUST DID THAT!" don't help the situation. At. All. End of story.

Little kids need tons and tons of snuggles, and encouragement, and praise, and bed-time stories and songs, and love, and eating popcorn together during movies, and the list could go on and on. Every time I mention a certain behavior of my child's to my mom, she typically asks if I'm spending enough TIME with that child. Showing them that I really love them.

The other afternoon, the kids were screaming and generally being crazy, and I took them outside and we ran around our driveway, and pretended that our driveway was a map, and every crack was a road... We played that game for a while, and suddenly... there was peace again.

So I guess this isn't rocket science. But just a reminder to SMILE at your kids, reassure them, and snuggle them during thunder storms.

Of course there will be lots of time for teaching and correcting, too, but sometimes... I just need to be reminded of all that other good stuff.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Questions, questions...

I'm writing this from my phone. This shall be brief. ;)

What sort of post would you like next?

1. Day in the life
2. Pregnancy/motherhood/sappy post ;)
3. Update on our house projects
4. Random photos

Let me know!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Photo Fun

Once you recover from the shock of TWO blog posts from me in one week, sit back and enjoy some photos from our week... ;)

[The Kids, Being Adorable]

So the other day, when it was technically July and summer, it felt more like October and FALL. I had fun dressing the girls for the chilly weather.

I think Matthias looks a little like Curious George. Maybe that's just me.

[My Version of Stitch Fix]

Y'all know what Stitch Fix is, right? I feel like every time I turn around, another friend of mine just received a Stitch Fix box. I LOVE their Stitch Fix posts, and if I weren't pregnant, AND I had extra fun money every month, etc., I'd definitely give it a try. In the mean time... I feel like my packages from Children's Place are my own version of Stitch Fix.

Flip-flops for Matthias (his current size + one size bigger, for next year), flippies for Rach (for next year), and a shirt for Matthias. The flops were $2.40 each, and the shirt was $3.80-something. Love. These. Prices.

And here's my little model.

[Reading with Daddy]

[Netflix Favs]

For months, we've been watching Netflix on our phones, which was cool--except when the whole family wanted to watch something. :-p We finally took the plunge and bought a real-life TV that plays Netflix movies. As for what we've been watching?

Movie Recommendations: Jack Reacher, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Scape Goat
TV Shows for the Kids: Cake Boss, 19 Kids and Counting, Super Why, Curious George
I'm Currently Watching: Survivors (made by BBC) and Married at First Sight (on FYI, not Netflix)

[Third Trimester Finally]

Twenty-nine weeks and counting! Wahoo!

[We Bought End Tables]

Yup, we were gonna make them... but when I saw two matching end tables (of the ROUND variety) on Craigslist, I couldn't resist (especially since the seller lived a minute from our house!)

This is the before, of course. We're going to paint them (of course, again).

[Shoes, shoes, shoes]

I can hardly publish a new post without mentioning yard sales, right? I went to a few yard sales last weekend, and I came away with shoes for all FOUR kids!

Enjoy your weekend!