My very favorite before and after!!

I learned something this past week. I sometimes have brilliant, genius ideas….in the middle of the night;) It’s often my favorite time to think or write because I am more relaxed, I guess, or something. One night last week I was up because Samuel was up in the night feeling very sick (he got a little overheated from spending too much time outside in the hot sun) and while I was up off and on checking on him and wondering if this warranted a middle of the night urgent care visit, I had an idea. An awfully, brilliant idea!
And then I forgot about it. Until I remembered to tell Ben about it a day later and was surprised when even he agreed it was great! Ready to see it??

So this was our entertainment center. We bought it off of some friends probably about 8 years ago when they were moving away from Chicago. It was absolutely perfect for our 17×20 ft living room! And for all these years, it has served us well as a tv stand, book holder, dvd and cd collector and toy storage.
Until we moved into our current place which has a very small, narrow living room. Suddenly our perfect entertainment center became not so perfect anymore. In fact, it totally dwarfed the room! It took a week or so to get Ben to agree to try to sell it and I had 2 very interested buyers but for some reason both of them (despite at least 5 exchanges with each) couldn’t commit to actually coming to get it!
So it went in the garage sale. And the price got marked down until we were practically desperate! And people touched it, looked in the doors, admired it….and no one bought it. So it was one of the items left behind after our 2nd attempted garage sale day. We even put a free sign on it! But at the last minute, I had my brilliantly brilliant idea…..
What if….we used the top of it and turned it into a sewing table for me? I was told we could buy legs and attach them easily. But after taking it all apart, I couldn’t part with the two side pieces and one good idea led to another until….
Ta Da!! My stepdad and Ben were my willing partners in this adventure! This table took just under 4 hours from start to finish and was entirely FREE!!

We cut down the 2 side panels to make the sides of the table. They already had legs attached so they were perfect! Plus they are beautiful wood:)

We made shelves!! My stepdad was a genius in helping us put this together (he works with wood and had all the tools needed!) so everything is very sturdy and built to last.

Gleaming in the sunshine!!

Now in its new home! We built it Saturday afternoon but couldn’t pick it up until yesterday because we had the wrong car with us. And let’s just say, for the record, that Ben and I absolutely should never move furniture together. Every marriage has its limits and that’s ours! Somehow, by the grace of God, we got it up the stairs and while dinner was cooking in the oven, I happily arranged my sewing supplies!

I have a small bookshelf also to the left with all of my fabric and patterns, since it doesn’t all fit in the shelves. But oh, I am thrilled to pieces over this! Can I just tell you that this is the first time I will be able to sew with my legs under the table?? I was using a piece of furniture that is not meant for sewing so I would sit sideways to sew! Reeeeaaaally comfortable;)

It’s hard to describe how I feel about my new space but suffice it to say, I am really really happy! And feeling the creative juices flowing. Yea to furniture repurposing!!!

Garage Sale!!

 Wonder where I’ve been? Okay, well even if you haven’t noticed the almost 2 weeks blogging break, I’ll tell you! I have been working my tushy (pardon my French) off these past few weeks getting ready for a garage sale!

I mostly finished my May Minimalist Challenge (made it almost through Day 28!!!) and was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I collected to sell/trash/donate! It literally took over our basement until there was only a narrow path to the washing machine. I couldn’t wait any longer so I called my mom and said, “Quick, let’s plan a garage sale asap!!”

So we did. And I worked my tail off carting things over to my mom’s (she has a better location for a garage sale) over a period of several days. Then we spend 2 days sorting, setting up tables, pricing, etc. And not only that but my kiddos talked me into their first ever Lemonade Stand and I stayed up late the night before the sale squeezing 20 lemons for fresh lemonade and baking chocolate chip cookies!! Ah, the things a mama will do…

Mr Z making a sale:)

  Some of the toy overload!! We did pretty well on the toy sales!

Wow, look at it all!!! We had a lot of furniture that we weeded through. The entertainment center in the middle was ours and it was taking up SO much room in our tiny living room.

Ah! How did this all fit in our house??!! My stepdad asked me, “Is it about the money for you or getting rid of things?” I didn’t hesitate….”Getting rid of things!” (although more on that in a min….)

E taking a nap at my mom’s on one of our getting ready days. My mom’s cat Boo decided to take a nap with her:)

The kids all made really cute signs for their lemonade stand, telling prices and what they were offering (bottled water, freshly squeezed lemonade, chocolate chip cookies and brownies!) I so wish I had taken more pics and planned to but it was much busier than I realized so I didn’t get around to it. Bummer! The kiddos made $35!! I told them they just had to pay me back for supplies and they could keep all the profit:) Gotta learn business!

We had so much stuff that we decided to try for day 2 on Memorial Day but just for the morning. It definitely didn’t go that well because most people were busy. We only made $20 that day:) It was worth a try! We did really well on Saturday though so oh well!

Garage Sale helpers!

And…this is what a long day in the sun selling things will do to you!

No one said it would be easy!! I read that after you weed through your possessions and simplify, it would be a good idea to do a garage sale not only because who doesn’t like a little extra cash! But also because it is so incredibly humbling to see all your stuff spread out on your driveway and it will make you never want to collect all of that again!
Let me just say….it is true! Ben and I both just could not believe the amount of stuff we had there at the sale. My mom and a few other family members put some stuff in but 90% of it was ours. Talk about humbling.
I felt so good about getting rid of it all and passing it on to new homes but I wasn’t prepared for the amount of stuff we had leftover from the garage sale. It was like I had to “let go” all over again and it was actually tough for me! We made 4 trips to the local thrift store just with leftovers and I made a trip to Half Price Books with our leftover books (5 big boxes!!) I had to struggle a little bit and just felt like God was saying, “It is just stuff. Just things. Let go.” So I kept telling myself. It is just things; I can’t take any of it with me to heaven so I just need to let go!! We even had to donate some of the furniture since it didn’t sell on Craigslist or in the sale. Let it Go. (anyone hearing Frozen in their head right about now??!)

So, my house fell apart during all of that work and once it was done (and I finished all my trips back and forth clearing out my mom’s garage!), I moved on to redoing some of our furniture now that we got rid of the excess. First up is an old child’s desk of my mom’s. We painted it a pale blue a long long time ago and it was chipped, dirty and worn. Time for an update!

The inside drawer liner. Yuck!

I sanded it and painted it a light gray color and put new knobs on!!

Some new liner inside. (I wanted a soft gray or blue but they didn’t have any. Oh well!
A little fresh makeover does wonders!!

And once we got rid of our giant entertainment center (which worked well when we had a huge living room once upon a time!!), we needed something new for our tv. We had this Ikea table we bought a couple years ago stored in the basement. We forgot all about it until we were moving stuff out for the sale!

I painted it the same light gray color!

New and fresh! You wouldn’t believe how much better our living room looks. When it gets clean (ha!) I will take a picture;) It opened up our space so much!
I just love furniture re-dos!!! Just wait (oh just wait!!!) until you see my next one!!! Coming very very soon to a blog near you!!

Apple Picking (part one!)

 If you know me well, you know that apple picking is my absolute favorite fall activity! Well, that and making and consuming all things apple:) Sadly, we have to transfer to a new orchard this year since we are no longer close to our favorite Indiana Orchard (sniff!). The one thing we will miss terribly are the doughnuts.  You can find apples anywhere but pumpkin and apple spice doughnuts? Not so much….

This past Saturday, the kiddos and I went with my mom to her lifelong orchard (actually where I went growing up!) since Ben had to work. I was able to snap a few great pictures of my trio!

Sweet Zakkai! Such a pleaser and sweet-hearted boy!



Our little golden girl:)

Mr Toothless! Who, by the way, lost his other front tooth due to apple eating;) Picture coming soon!

My beautiful Mama!

Everyone has to taste an apple just to make sure they are good for making pies! (and applesauce, apple butter, apple muffins, apple dumplings, etc.)


And I had to get my proof that I was there! I only wish Ben was in the picture:( We will get another chance soon, as our other favorite kind of apple is ready in 2 weeks. How many people get to go apple picking twice?!

And when we got home, our couch was there! Ben and my stepdad went to pick it up and we got to help pull of the wrapping when we got home:) We really didn’t like our other couch and are not quite sure what we were thinking when we bought it all those years ago, aside from the fact that it had a sleeper which came in handy for guests. Little did we know that sleepers are not only ginormous, they weight about a million pounds…
We didn’t get the best quality couch and it showed by the time we sold it. We found this one at a discount outlet from a nice furnishing store. It was a good deal and should last a long time! Especially if we keep enforcing our no drink/no food rule:) This is the first nice piece of furniture we have ever bought!
It’s been nice to have a real living room the past few days, without 3 or more of us hanging off of our big stuffed chair:)  Hopefully we can get some pictures hung soon and it will all come together. We are really liking it in our little home so far! 

Eliana’s "New" Room and A Good Day for Samuel!

 Today as a shakin’ and movin’ kind of day and it felt good to get so much accomplished! Of course, I guess that’s how I feel every Thursday since it’s the one day I have a car to get anything accomplished at all:)

This week I finished Eliana’s room! We are excited to have non-white walls in our new place (for the first time ever!) but also wanted to have real color in our rooms. To finish Eliana’s furniture re-do, I painted her dresser purple to match the bookshelf! Here is the before. This is a really old dresser that has been around in my family for years. It needed a makeover!

Ta-da! I love how it looks but most importantly, so does she! Once I got it painted, dried and in place, I decided to just get everything fixed up in her room and hung a few things on the walls. She was SO happy when she came in to see!

When you walk in her room, she has her two towels hanging up:)

Straight ahead is her window, baby doll area and dressers. No curtains yet though. I have to add some material to her old curtain to lengthen it. That will be the finishing touch!

Her “new” dresser and baby corner:)

Her other dresser. This is a really cute dresser that my mom found at a garage sale. We paid $10 for it. It has really little drawers, hence the two dressers. Okay, and she has a lot of clothes;)

Her bed. She and Samuel were making monsters with a funny little kit we have.

Her closet! All of our closets have built in shelving and rods, which we adore! It made organizing so much easier.

Her bookshelf and rocking chair, a.k.a. reading corner!

And her dollhouse and hooks to hang purses and whatnot on. I just love how her room looks and she says she loves it, too. Her old room was teeny tiny and was wall to wall furniture with zero space to play so I just love that she has so much space! She’s lucky though because she’s the only one who actually has anything hung on her walls. I’ll have to hang something on the boys’ walls and show you their room next:)

We have been couch hunting this week! Yesterday I snapped this really cute picture of E checking out a huge over-sized chair with my mom. Love her smile! We actually found a couch tonight (hooray!!) which we just love so much better than our old one. We pick it up Saturday and then we can actually have a living room and invite people over. Yea!

Samuel had an awesome day today! He got 100% on his social studies test and felt SO good about it. It was over government which he has never had before and he was really struggling with it. We studied really hard together and this was the result. Way to go, buddy!

And then a few minutes later….he lost his first front tooth!! How cute is he?? He was really excited to lose it but after a few hours of it being out, he’s not tho thure about talking anymore and how he thounds:)

We told him he just needs to lose the other one so we can sing to him this Christmas: “All I want for Chrithmas ith my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth!”

It was a good day all the way around today!

School and Furniture Re-do’s!

 Week one of crazy change is done! I feel like I am barely hanging on. It has been SO incredibly overwhelming this past week with new schools/preschool, unpacking, trying to get back into a semblance of routines and schedules, hunting for a used car, etc. Yesterday I had to give myself a little grace and remind myself that it’s only been a week and we are adjusting to so much in a short time. I am working hard on getting us into routine so our afternoons and evenings will run a little smoother.

As for school, the kiddos are adjusting really well this week! Last week was pretty tough. There were tears and tummy aches and lots of “I want to move back to Chicago’s” floating around but it started to ease at the end of the week. It has been easier for the boys to go to school this week and they are starting to make a few friends and feel a little more comfortable. We are still trying to figure out the school and what they expect in terms of homework, etc. It will just take time! (breathe, Heidi!)

Here are the kiddos on their first day of school! We were all so tired!

This is Eliana’s cubby at her preschool. She goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and seems to be enjoying it so far. She loves her new Princess Sofia backpack:)

This is E on her first day of school! She almost refused to smile for me but at the last minute she relented:)

Here is the school bus! The boys still aren’t huge fans of riding it but I admit that it makes things much easier to have them go straight to school and come straight home. It’s pretty cute to see their cute faces smiling and waving to us from the window:)

And now for some furniture re-do’s! I got a few small cans of paint and decided to brighten up some of our furniture! Most of our furniture is old, hand-me downs or eclectic. The first to get a makeover was our bed! It was given to us and I’m just not a huge fan of dark brown. My mom’s been trying to convince me to paint it white for a long time but I just wasn’t sure how that would look. I finally gave in…

It took a lot of primer to cover the dark wood!

Here it is white! I actually really like it! It makes the bed fade into the background instead of being a huge focal point.

The spindals were so hard to paint but it was worth it!

Next was a cute little bookshelf that my cousin and I bought at a garage sale back when we lived together. We got it for only $1! It has been repainted a few times and put into different rooms. In Chicago, this was my “pantry” in the basement but now it’s in Eliana’s room!

And now it’s purple! She picked the color (“Magical”) and her dresser will also be painted when I get the chance.

It’s a very pretty pinky-purple color, kind of like her glasses!

I also wanted to add a splash of color into our kitchen/dining room area. We have a kitchen island that was white….

And now it’s blue! It’s actually a blue/slightly aqua color that I just love!

It holds our “Junk drawer” (doesn’t everyone have one?!) and our Tupperware.

We also have a bookshelf in our kitchen for my cookbooks and kid’s dishes. It was white and looking pretty rundown.

But now it’s all spruced up! I haven’t finished putting everything back onto the shelves but I will soon! I just love seeing pretty color in the house after so many years of white, white, white!

This pretty much sums up how tiring this past week has been…;)

Waiting for brothers at the bus stop! I think she looks so much older here. Sniff!

Eliana got a beautiful purple dress from my aunt and she wore it on Sunday to church. She got lots of compliments!

Today my mom and niece picked E and I up and we went to story time at the local library! It was really well done and I am excited to go back. Eliana was hesitant to participate but started doing handmotions to the songs towards the end. It was a nice way to pass part of our morning! (It gets very boring being stuck here with no car!)

That’s it for today. I am still trying to organize enough to take pictures of our place but it’s coming! Now I’m off to make dinner before Awana tonight. Always something!