Author Archives: Marilyn

Dance Recital Wraps

Last weekend my older two girls performed in a dance recital. On the rehearsal night they noticed that many of the girls had a robe they would wear over their dance costume during the down time and begged that I get one for them as well.  Since this was only two days from the actual recital and it might be a lot of extra work driving to different stores looking for something that would work, I thought what they heck, I can just make that!

I used two of my shirts that I had in a bag “to donate” because they weren’t working for me anymore. Perfect. Then, I had the girls try them on and accessed what I would need to change and thought about how I wanted them to look. With that in mind, I got to work cutting and sewing. No need for an extra trip to the store with four energetic kiddos and as an added bonus it was 100% free!!! Problem solved and budget not touched. Woohoo!

Marilyn

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May 2017 Spotlight Mom!

Meet Angelita!
dsc_7321           Angelita enjoys all things relating to math, numbers, zumba, dance and working out at the gym. Although her parents moved around a lot while growing up because her father was in the military, she claims St. Louis as her home. Her and husband Tom have been married 20 years and have six girls. Her eldest daughter graduated from high school this week, and her youngest child is five years old.

         She met her spouse during her freshman year at Missouri State University. Over a period of ten years, she completed a degree in Business with an emphasis in Accounting from Columbia College through online classes.  Being a mom gave her a different perspective about learning, and she found herself enjoying her coursework more as time went on. Once she got her degree, she took on a small part-time job as an accountant/bookkeeper for a local company where she could work from home. Despite all her accomplishments, she feels her greatest work and joy is her family and being a Mom.

          I was pretty impressed with meeting Angelita and hearing that she has six girls! I have four and know it is not easy sometimes so I was very interested in getting some advice from this wonder woman in my neighborhood and church group I kept hearing about that had six. Haha! I know the number of children you have in no way raises or lowers one on a scale of motherhood but for the sheer sake of curiosity, I knew I had to ask for her advice!
I really enjoyed having this interview and getting to know her better these last couple of months. Here are some of the pointers that stood out from our discussion. Hope this helps you, too! I have already started applying some of these suggestions more in our family. What excellent advice!

1. Don’t feel guilty about teaching your kids to work and really relying on them to help you. Angelita has three older daughters each about 2 years apart in age and then five years later had three more. With the five year gap the older ones have been old enough to babysit and do a large portion of the work around the house. She felt guilty about this for a while because she was having them do so much all the time, babysitting, changing diapers, doing dishes, cleaning, you name it. None of their friends seem to have to do any work or at least very little. However, her mother helped her to reconcile these feelings and to realize that by teaching them to really work she is giving them one of the greatest gifts she could ever give them for when they are on their own someday. They don’t get paid very often and everyone helps- not just the older kids. (Wow, I love this.)
2. Sometimes you can’t fix things for your kids – they have to do it on their own. We all know life is not all perfect skies and smooth sails, and if we fix everything that goes wrong in our kids’ lives then we are missing opportunities for them to learn. For instance, if they are having problems with friends at school or didn’t make a team, etc. She definitely recommends being sympathetic and giving advice but not fixing the problem. This is hard sometimes because we want to help them, and often it is easier to fix it for them. However if we do this, they won’t know what to do on their own someday. We have to teach them now on the easier problems to build their self-confidence and sense of responsibility for future problems that will come.
3. Be okay with the way you enjoy motherhood. She hasn’t done so many crafts, visits to the park, and playgroups as she did with her older girls, and for a while she felt guilty about it. She now realizes that she is at a different stage of life. She spends more time with her little ones supporting the older kids at their dance competitions, school, or church functions, and that is perfectly fine. The younger ones are still learning a lot and taking in the world as they watch and learn from their older siblings. With a little laugh, she said it helps her to think that they don’t know any different.
4. Angelita’s final point is you just can’t get through motherhood without prayer. She stopped and really looked me in the eye when she said this and then repeated, “Really you can’t.” This touched me, and I know she meant this from her heart. She said this means praying for kids that are having a hard time or often for their protection. Really pouring her heart out in prayer makes a huge difference and gives her strength to do all the things that are asked of her.
Thank you Angelita! What wise words! We love you and appreciate your concern for us and your wise and heartfelt advice. You are an excellent Mom and an example to us all!

dunakeyfamily

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Remember this project???

Remember this project from a week or so ago? Now that it is done, I am moving on to the next step to fix up this space. I got a side chair to go with the couch because I felt it wasn’t working to just to have the couch standing alone. My goal for this space is to create a place that is relaxing and enjoyable, and a place where I gravitate to.  I know if I don’t like to be there my kids won’t and since this is in the playroom it is important for them to be enticing. They tend to want to be where I am so that means if I am here they are playing with toys here, and not messing up rest of the house. haha

On the other side of the picture below is our bookshelf stocked of a wonderful variety of books. Hopefully this will encourage future reading, and be a nice place to hang out and converse! Yay!
couchfixup

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Closet Beauty

I show you all these before and after pictures to show you we are far from perfect my friends. Haha, that’s a joke, you don’t need to be told that. With a little love and thought, a hopeless catch-all space can become CLEAN, BRIGHT, and a source of CHEER with only a little creative thinking!!! Nor does it have to cost anything.:)

Ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. Ideally what do I want this space for?

2. What honestly ends up happening with this space?

3. What can I do without that isn’t working here?

4. What are some practical solutions that almost take zero effort to follow-through with?

5. Set some rules in your head about this space and even label areas where things are to go.

It works and labels work. I am amazed at how little spaces have changed since I’ve organized them and especially when I’ve labeled them! It takes a little upfront thought effort to think through these questions but after you’ve done it and it isn’t working your one step closer to finding something that will work. The next time you will know better how to go about it.
We can check up on this space in a couple of months to see if it is really working.

What I did:

I know it may not look that special of a change but I am happy with it! And this is an important traffic space.
1. I removed all the winter coats because hopefully it will not get cold again and we are officially headed into warm weather. I added some low hanging (for the kids) over the door hooks so it will be easier if someone has a jacket in the future to just hang them up instead of reaching in for a hanger- which doesn’t always happen.
2. Next, each family member has a row of the shoe holder for their shoes. Once a week excess shoes that don’t fit into the cubby will be taken to closets.
3. Third, extra things stuff which we keep in this closet was hung up on hangers like dance bags, umbrellas, and what not so that nothing is on the floor. Their backpacks will go in here on the floor which I am fine with but other than that, this is a clean and easily maintainable space.

Woohoo! On to the next space! I will let you know how it holds up in a couple of months and if I have to tweek it.

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Dinner Time Prep

 I’ve decided that I am going to try to bond more with my kids after school and use mealtime as teaching time by prepping meals together! We will start out small with at least 2-3x a week. I want to get the kids more involved in prepping the meal and getting dinner on the table. It was getting to be too much to do by myself. Although it is easier in some ways to have no fighting or extra mess without their help, I think it will be more worth it through time as they get better and can be more and more helpful. Also, I want them to be self sufficient by the time they leave for college by cooking at least a few meals on their own.

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Couch Reinvented

So this is what our couch typically looks like in the playroom. It is covered by a slipcover that never stays on. It was a pretty nice slip cover I bought a while ago so I was less than thrilled with how it held up. I don’t want to spend my time reapplying the cover so I thought there had to be another way to fix this…dsc_7058

The actual couch looks like this underneath. Some would say it is time for a new couch, but I beg to differ. Time for some Fix-Up-Magic!!dsc_7197

Woohoo! Check it out!
I cut up the slipcover and then reattached it so it was taut against the frame of the couch with a staple gun. Then I used the remaining fabric to sew a cover for the two cushions. If you take off the cushions you will see a different dark gray material on the bottom side because there was only enough of the slipcover material to cover the top and front sides with a little over the edges. You can’t tell unless you take off the cushions-if that makes sense.  A lot of couches are made like this with the nice material on the top, so honestly its not a big deal.

Price for the “new couch”? FREE because I used supplies I already had. Whoopee! I love this type of fix-ups! No amount of jumping or pillow fighting is going to wreck this baby.  (Well, I better not tell my kids that… Ha,ha.  Basically, it is sturdy and looks great!)

Materials needed:

Slipcover
Scissors
Staple Gun
Sewing Machine
A Creative Spirit

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