Author Archives: Marilyn

Organizing Music Books

Nothing spells beauty quite like ORDER and CLEANLINESS! This space originally had no middle shelf and had a pull out slider on the bottom of the cabinet where an old box TV could go. I took that out since we keep our TV in the playroom downstairs and it is honestly too small of a space for the TVs people use now.

Next, I made a middle shelf from an extra shelf in the lower cabinet that was not being used and secured it in place.  And lastly, I bought these IKEA magazine organizers to be nice aesthetic dividers. I have only done the piano books on the bottom shelf but I plan to organize the rest of the music books on the top shelf. Yay! Every bit of progress is progress!!!
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“EQTM”

Every once in a while your kids ask you to do things that you don’t really want to do, but you do it anyway because you love them and you know it means a lot to them. Here is one of those moments. We made Lip Balm! My oldest daughter got this as a birthday present and has been dying to try it out. All the girls got to participate at least by sitting and watching close by.

Yay! I get brownie points for an EQTM, an “Extra Quality Time Moment.” How is your day going? Are you making time for that “Quality Time Moment” that matter so much? Or even an Extra Quality Time Moment? You can do it! It only takes a couple minutes and a good book or really looking them in the eyes and asking about them. It’s hard sometimes, trust me I know, but it is the simple things honestly that are the most meaningful.

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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!
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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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