Friday, October 27, 2017

Some More Organizing (in the playroom)

It's part of my personality to organize and clean. It probably stems from my childhood. My sister and I had to do daily chores around the house and this is something that stuck with me as I grew. 
True story: At church one morning, I was cleaning up the room where my husband and I volunteer and a lady was coming in to take the next shift. She was quietly watching me pick up toys and clean the tables and politely said, "That's enough, Stephanie. You don't have to do all that. Really, just stop." She was being kind about it, but definitely had this look of 'your being a little obsessive.' I looked at her and had to laugh. All I said back was, "You don't understand. This is just part of my personality. I actually enjoy doing this." I'm sure she thought I was being a little nutty, but it's true. I do enjoy it!

Bathing suit attire is a common sight around our house- even in the winter months

The same is true in my own home. One area that I feel I am constantly thinking of ways to clean and organize is my kid's playroom (the fact that we even have a "playroom" does seem a bit excessive and it's one of the many, many reasons why we want to adopt. We have the space and feel we need to share that with others- besides neighbors and friends).

Our playroom does change quite a bit- and what I've found is that my kids actually enjoy the changes. It's almost like Christmas to them all over again because they begin playing with things they may have forgotten about or taken a break from. 

Bins and storage containers have been essential in keeping this place organized. The plastic container in the photo below and above holds Lego's and plastic building supplies. The shoe bins hold all of our plastic and felt food items for the kids to play "kitchen." And most of the items in our playroom we've either had  
1. for many years, 
2. have been gifted to us, or 
3. have been handed down to us by wonderful friends.

Another clever way to display things is by uisng rain gutters. I know I've posted about these many a times before, but they are great for book storage! 
And hooks that otherwise would just sit in our garage without any purpose now are used to hang various hats for dress up.

My mother-in-law bought these alphabet cards years ago for the kids and now they hang on one of the play room walls. The kids still occasionally look at them and point out letters, sounds, and words.
The bookshelf was handed down to me from a friend in college years and years ago. I just held onto it and have used it for a variety of things over the years- even to hold shoes at one point! Now we use it to store the girl's dress up clothes using an IKEA metal rack. 

So you can see that there are many ways to keep a place organized for the kids to have easy access to their toys. I've found that thrift store dressers and nightstands, shoe bins, plastic bins, bookshelves and even a $5 wall hutch are great for storage. You really don't have to buy new or spend a fortune on storage furniture. Shop your house first and then look at thrift stores for these items that are cheap and can be re-purposed. 

Our wall hutch we found at a local thrift store for $5 and I just painted it white. We made the 4 cubed stand for it and painted it to match the hutch so it looks like one large piece that was meant to be together. The nightstand next to the hutch is also a thrift store find. I think it was about $15.
The circular table was $8 and the chairs were $5 a piece. Why would I want to pay any more than that on something that will be painted, colored, stained, etc. on? Plus, when this happens (as it often does in a kids space) I don't mind at all because it was very inexpensive to begin with and we made it work!

I'd love to hear any other thrifty ways you use storage in your home! I'm sure there are tons.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Books I've Read and A Couple On My List to Read

I never categorized myself as a "reader" or someone who was knowledgeable about a variety of information. Mainly, because I dislike reading books. But what I've found out about myself (and wish I knew this sooner) is that I actually enjoy reading books that are based on true life events/stories and memoirs. 

It all began about 5 months ago when I first picked up this book from our local library. A blogger I've been following for a few years now strongly recommended it to her readers and the way she wrote about this particular book really captured my attention. It was hard to put Ruth Wariner's book down at night once I began reading it. Usually, when I read something, I can't wait to be done with it, but this book was different. And the way Ruth told her story was powerful. She is definitely a strong woman who has overcome a lot. 

After reading her book, I decided to check out a few others on this blogger's list. Here are some that I've read since then. (I also have 2 others I haven't currently read yet and hope to by the end of this year, but I'll get to those at the end of this post).

#2. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
The Invention of Wings

This novel tells the story of 2 women in the early nineteenth century. One is an urban slave, Hetty, who desires to know what life is like outside of the Grimke household where she works tirelessly. Sarah Grimke wants to do more with her life than what is expected of her as she develops a close friendship with Hetty, her handmaid. The story is loosely based upon the historical figure of Sarah Grimke and that is probably why it was a little hard for me to really get into this book, but I did like it. I believe it received great reviews overall and one I would recommend if you enjoy fiction and history.

#3. Missoula by John Krakauer
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This novel is based on true events that took place in a college town called Missoula at the University of Montana. The University of Florida is my Alma mater and, like most big universities, is known for it's college parties among other things. So this particular novel captured my attention because the events happened at such a well-known and big university (and sadly take place anywhere). The main stories in this book are about multiple accounts of sexual assault that took place and were reported to the Missoula police department. Whether or not you attended a large university, I recommend this book as it not only talks about a serious crime and gives alarming statistics about sexual assault, but it also prepares me as a mom for how to talk to my kids about such things in the future. 
#4. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
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Chip and Joanna Gaines are pretty well-known "celebrities" at this point who are known for their great design ideas, hard work, and beautiful family. What this book shares is the hard work that got them to where they are now and they boldly declare that they couldn't have done it without God (who never left their side through it all). I enjoyed reading this one- it was light, funny, and uplifting and I loved how Joanna talks about meeting Kara Tippetts and how that changed her perspective on things. I especially enjoyed reading about the Gaines' faith and trust in God and seeing how He has fulfilled their dreams even more so than what they could have ever imagined.  

#5. Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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This novel was a bit interesting to me- I definitely liked it overall, but there were some parts that were hard to believe- mainly about some of the details that were written between the two characters. Again, this was probably due to the fact that this novel is fiction. Nevertheless, this is a good dual-narrative novel about a Nigerian asylum-seeker and a British magazine editor who meet in an unlikely place. I'd recommend this one if you enjoy an uncomplicated plot with a twist at the end.

**The following two books are on my list to read next, but I'll share what I've heard about them. They were graciously gifted to me by my husband for my birthday. :)

#6. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis (now Katie Majors)

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I've been following Katie's story since the beginning of this year and am a little familiar with her outreach in Uganda through Amazima Ministries. Her story is pretty amazing as she unapologetically shares her passion to follow Jesus. I'm looking forward to reading more about her personal story and the story of the lives that have been drastically changed by her outreach through Christ's love.
P.S.- I recently watched her on an interview with the Today Show and she radiated such joy! She was genuine and not ashamed to talk about her relationship with Christ. 

#7. The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts 
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Oh this story, how I'm a little nervous to read it through it's entirety, but I also can't wait too. This story is about the lovely Kara Tippetts who passed into the arm's of Jesus not too long ago after a long and hard struggle of stage 4 breast cancer. She left behind her beautiful 4 young children and her husband- who have chosen joy through all this hard. I began following Kara's blog before she wrote and published this book a few years ago and even though I did not know her personally, her story just really spoke to me and had me on my knees praying for her and her family. Her blog is still up and running strong with the help of her close and dear friends.
I know this will be a tough, tough read, but I also know Kara lived life knowing God was and is who He says He is and she always said that in "the midst of hard, He met her." I don't know how one lives life not knowing what will happen afterwards, but I'm thankful she knew Him and is no longer suffering. 

If you've read any of these on this list, I'd love to hear about it!