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My Kids Live Here

3 Jul

A few days ago I was perusing Pinterest, not really looking for anything in particular.  I started looking at the home decor pins and then, out of sheer curiosity, searched “kids rooms”.  I scrolled through the various pictures of themed bedrooms, incredible one-of-a-kind beds and rooms with things like swings, slides and rock walls (my kids would never sleep!)  I began to think about my kids bedrooms and my friends kids bedrooms.  How eclectic they were, even when they had a theme.  These catalog rooms as I like to call them, are unrealistic!  I cannot imagine giving my kids one theme, for instance.  “Oh you like cars?  Ok, we will have a car shaped bed that you will only use for a short time, car bedding and fancy curtains with car tiebacks.  Maybe we will paint a road on your floor too.  Oh and you can’t hang anything on your walls because I have meticulously placed car artwork and that is all that can be hung.  And don’t take out any toys.”

I know the majority of these rooms are staged by designers . .  . but they set unattainable goals for parents wishing to give there little cherubs their dream room.  A room that the kids will be so enamored with they will just sit on their perfectly made castle-shaped bed and stare at the walls, smiling for hours.   As parents, we want our kids to have everything.  We want them to be cozy and happy.  Maybe we, even if secretly, want to one-up that snooty mom from the PTA who brags about her kids and how they have beds shaped like tree houses or pizza or whatever.   Maybe we want to be that Pinterest mom or dad.  The one who blogs about there immaculate home and pins pictures of perfect rooms and fabulous DIYs that never go awry.

Maybe not.  I don’t have that dream of having the”perfect” home.  My home is perfect for my family.  It’s not fancy or designed to belong in a Better Homes and Gardens spread.  I know I’ve shared pictures in the past of the boys rooms when I’ve done projects in them, but I wanted to share my lived in real rooms.  I didn’t stage them for you, I didn’t take out all their toys before I snapped the pictures.  These aren’t fake rooms, these are real rooms that belong to real boys.  They did clean their rooms last night, so at least you don’t have to see Big A’s dirty laundry all over the floor or the entire contents of Little C’s books shelf scattered across the room because he was looking for a specific book.

First, here are the “catalog rooms” for comparison:

Where are the stuffed animals?  Blankets?  Anything?!

Where are the stuffed animals? Blankets? Anything?!

Notice the only objects in the room and on the walls fit the nautical theme

Notice the only objects in the room and on the walls fit the nautical theme

See what I mean?  kids don’t live in these rooms!  Not unless they are extremely OCD and never leave a single out of place ever.

Here are the boys lived in rooms:

It's a bedroom a kids can actually go in!

It’s a bedroom a kids can actually go in!

Notice the lack of a theme?  Well a few years ago it was loosely Star Wars.  About a year and a 1/2 ago I painted the Lego Ninajas for the wall.  For his birthday I painted the creeper from Minecraft. . .  so it’s a mishmash.

He’s got his own style, you know . . . that of a 9yr old boy!  He hangs stuff on the walls with tape, usually leaves his soccer uniform on the floor, stinky socks and all.  On the little wall shelves hang various medals from sports and school.  A few trophies on the ledge.   There are birthday balloons left over from his party a few weeks ago.  This is not a catalog room.   It’s my son’s room.


Look, stuff hanging on the walls!

Look, stuff hanging on the walls!

A cluttered mix of toys and things.  So, so many things in this room

A cluttered mix of toys and things. So, so many things in this room

Little C’s room went from baby to big boy.  He sleeps with just shy of a thousand stuffed animals, his “guys”, and way too many blankets!  His bookshelf is a cluttered mess!   His cubby is supposed to  have more of those nice colored buckets in it to hall all his toys, but the kids like to load them up with stuff and take it upstairs or into another room.

There is no theme in his room.  When we switched to big boy, I took Little C to the store and said “pick out what you like”.  He chose the reversible blue comforter, the green curtains, and he has bright orange sheets you can’t see.  The art on the walls I painted of all his favorite characters.  No theme.  Not catalog.  Just real.
















Now, you want to see the BEST comparison?  Hehehe!  Playrooms.

Catalog playrooms are laughable.  There is no play in them!

Kids, sit on that sofa and don't move a muscle!

Kids, sit on that sofa and don’t move a muscle!

Stark, bare, no toys . . . I’m sure they are all hiding where nobody can see them.  But playrooms should have clutter!  They need kid-made art on the walls!

I'm sorry Timmy, you aren't allowed to play with those toys.

I’m sorry Timmy, you aren’t allowed to play with those toys.

Why do they show a playroom where the kids cannot reach the majority of the toys?


Ok, you ready for this?  THIS is our playroom:

The only thing up high are their piggy banks and my movies

The only thing up high are their piggy banks and my movies

There are Legos EVERYWHERE!  You know what is really funny?  They just cleaned this room 2 days ago!  I’m not crazy obsessive about this room.  The way I see it, this is the one room where the boys run the show completely.  Their bedrooms need to be cleanish because otherwise they can’t have sleepovers, I can’t vacuum and the dog can’t sleep with them.  The playroom, while I do make them clean it, is always cluttered and rarely spotless.  It’s not for show, it’s for play.

My kids art work graces all the walls in their playroom

My kids art work graces all the walls in their playroom

We do use cubbies, but we don't feel the need to hide our toys either.

We do use cubbies, but we don’t feel the need to hide our toys either.

What’s my point here?  My point is this: Don’t beat yourself up when you flip through magazines or Pinterest or even most blogs.  It’s all for show.  The rooms are staged, there is no living in them and there are definitely no kids!  When you want to redo a room or organize a room, just think what will work best for YOUR family?  Can my kids reach the highest shelf?  Is it so themed that they will lose interest in that character/show/movie etc in a few months?

Thanks for visiting my lived in home!


A Little Advertising

28 Apr

Remember back in February when I shared a painting I did for my friend, the author of the Winters Saga series?  Well she just launched a new website   promoting her books.  She is also publishing them as paperbacks now, previously they were only available on for Kindle and Cloud readers.

With the promotions of her newest title, Legacy due out in October, and the publishing of paperback versions of her books, this has been a very busy and exiting time for Karen!  AND check out what pops up on her website!  My painting!










It’s fun to see my work pop up in other places around the web.  But it’s more fun to know that people really appreciate my work!

I Haven’t Lost My Marbles

27 Feb

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am sick of Winter!  I am getting cabin fever like you wouldn’t believe, and so are my boys!  Fortunately for me, while Big A is at school Little C and I have plenty of time to get messy!  Hey, kids are washable!

Today we decided to play with paint.  I pulled out an old cookie sheet and some marbles to do some fun marble painting.  Little C thought this was just about the coolest way to paint EVER!

I stuck a piece of paper on the cookie sheet and randomly dripped paint onto the paper.  Then Little C gently tipped the tray back and forth and side to side.  The marbles rolled through the paint and created some very colorful lines!  As the marbles rolled, they even made new colors, so this project was actually educational to a certain extent . . . although Little C is red green color blind, so he didn’t see the changes all the time.

After a few marbles paintings we decided to see what other patterns we could make.  Enter the monster trucks!  Little C rolled the trucks through paint and then rolled them on the paper, which made very interesting textural patterns.  The monster trucks will come clean with a little hot water, so we didn’t ruin and toys.  (pardon the mess behind him, I swear my kitchen island does not always look like that!


We also took out a rolling pin and wrapped rubber bands around it and experimented with the patterns that would made.  The possibilities for painting go so far beyond just plain old paint and a brush!  Now we have some beautifully colorful new artwork to hang on our “Gallery Wall” as well as in the playroom.











I’m Showing Off

3 Feb

150596_528774437154384_761760633_nHi folks, Happy Sunday!

I wanted to share my latest painting with you all.  This piece, titled Meg’s Escape, was a very special painting I did for a good friend.  It probably looks a little confusing to you all . . . It was inspired by a series of books titled “Winter’s Saga”.  I did this piece for my friend, the author of the books, to celebrate the upcoming release of her 5th book in the series.

Are you interested in purchasing some one of a kind custom artwork for yourself?  Head on over to my Etsy store or shoot me a message.  If you don’t see what you want in my store, don’t hesitate to ask!

Since I have your attention, I really think you should go to Amazon and check out Winter’s Saga.  Absolutely amazing books!  A little bit of sci-fi, suspense, thriller, and a smidge of a love story.  Trust me, you will LOVE this series!

Kid’s DIY Valentine Goodies

2 Feb

The big V-Day is fast approaching.  The groundhog saw his shadow and there will be 6 more weeks of Winter.  Unless you live in the Arctic like me, then there will be handprint_heartWinter until about May.  Combine these two things-Valentine’s Day and frigid cold- and you have the recipe for a lot of crafts to keep a certain 3 yr old busy!

The first Valentine craft Little C and I attempted was making cute little heart shapes with his hand prints to give to the grandparents.  The problem was that no matter how many time I showed him how to place his hands, he just couldn’t get them to look like a heart.

In the end, we had a bunch of adorable little hand prints and Momma thought on her toes and came up with a few ways to incorporate them into some really sweet Valentines.  I hope they turn out just as cute for you and your little ones!  And stay close by, more Valentine’s goodies to come!




Phineas’s Adventures Part 7

21 Dec

Christmas is in 3 more days, can you believe it?  Our elf, Phineas,  is getting REALLY excited for Christmas!   Big A and Little C spent last night at their Nana’s house and who showed up there?  Phineas!  425438_527467753944173_882963091_nHe didn’t want to miss out on the sleep over fun!  He also wasn’t sure how long the boys would be away, due to the massive snowstorm dumping wet snow on us, closing school and businesses.  Phineas was concerned the boys might get stuck there a 2nd night!

He was found having a friendly game night with some buddies earlier in the week.   Apparently Zhu Zhu hamster and IMG_6619Bullseye don’t like to gamble, so they played a friendly game of R2D2s in Trouble.

Tonight, Phineas was feeling a bit mischievous!  Looks like he may have Rudolphed Big A and Little C!  I guess that’s what we get for leaving my paints sitting out where silly little elves can get them!  I cannot wait to see the boys’ faces tomorrow when they realize they’ve been made into magic reindeer!

IMG_6633It really is too bad that Phineas will be flying back to the North Pole with Santa in just 3 more days.  We are going to miss the little guy!

Scrabble Tile Photo Ornaments etc etc etc

19 Dec

Only 5 days til Christmas folks!  Got last minute peeps you need gifts for?  Hate shopping this late in the season because all the good stuff is gone, little old ladies are hitting you with their handbags, there’s a major snow storm coming and a partridge in a pear tree drank the last of your eggnog?  Well, have no fear, because the Crafty Dummy is here!  (I’m a total infomercial right now, aren’t I?)

First handmade gift for you all is this adorable Scrabble Tile photo ornament.  Super easy to make, takes mere minutes and is great for teachers, grandparents and aunts and uncles!  You need hot glue, scrabble tiles, ribbon and cardboard.  IMG_6610Lay out your tiles and spell out whatever words you want.  Mine just happen to be Winter themed, but I chose words that describe Big A’s favorite season.  I glued them to the cardboard I had already cut to the size I wanted.  I tied a bow (I suck at bows) and glued that to the top, leaving a loop for an ornament hook.  I trimmed down Big A’s school picture and glued it to the backing inside the frame.  Cute, eh?  I thought so!

No Scrabble tiles handy?  You can’t go wrong with giving the gift of tasty treats!  The chocolate covered marshmallow treats were very easy toIMG_6618 mIMG_6617ake, and bonus . . . Gluten Free!  You need a bag of marshmallows, the larger ones work nicely.  A bag of lollipop sticks, which you can get at the craft store, or tooth picks if you don’t want to go to the store!  A bag of whatever flavor chocolate chips you like (dark, semi sweet, milk chocolate, white . . .) Sprinkles!   Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and start with 1 minute on a low setting, or defrost.  Stir and do for 30 seconds, stir . . . keep doing this until they are melted but be VERY careful not to burn them!  Stick your lollipop sticks or toothpicks, one into each marshmallow and dip in the chocolate.  I also used a plastic knife to smooth out the chocolate so it coated evenly.  While the chocolate is still warm, shake sprinkles over your marshmallows.  Once they are all done, pop them into the freezer for about 5 minutes to cool the chocolate.  I keep mine in the fridge because I love cold chocolate . . . but you don’t have to keep them cool.

How about the kids?  They like to get involved in the gift making too, right?  My kids LOVED making and painting salt dough ornaments for the tree, and one batch made enough that they were able to give away a few too!  You need 1cup salt, 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water.  Mix well, roll out on floured surface, cut out or sculpt shapes (we used Christmas cookie cutters) Poke a hole in the tops of the ornaments with a straw  and bake on a greased cookie sheet for about 2 hours at 200 degrees.  If you want, you can just let them sit our for 2 days to air dry . . . but I’d rather bake them so the kids can paint them sooner!  We used regular acrylic paints to decorate them.  You could do glitter, modpodge photos onto them . . .whatever you want!  Notice the green ninja ornament?  Gee, think my kids like Lego Ninjago or something?


Need more ideas?  Check out my archives for great DIY gifts that will cost under $10 and won’t take more than an hour!  Merry Christmas !