Bookcases... or not.

Okay, pretend that I had something very intelligent to say today about bookcases... I don't. I could tell you how great it is to have everything match on your bookshelves right down to the cover of the books... that would be impractical and shallow because I don't. I don't.... but I COULD because I know the owner of Book Decor and she sells fantastic books to fancy people so all their bookcases look perfect. They've even been used in movie sets... you can visit her for intelligent inspiration at www.BookDecor.com.

No, today I, Pretty Organizer, am pondering. You see, I have a daughter who wants to home school next year. Yes, she wants to. She's an A student and she wants to home school. WHY? Her logical and heart tugging reasoning is: Mom I don't get to spend enough time with you. Ah... who could say no to that?!??! She figured out that she was at school for 7 hours a day and only at home with me awake for 6 hours a day... to her it made sense... she's 9.

So, please dear blogland have mercy on my lamish posts(s) because I'm trying to figure out how a mother juggles kids in different schools, 2 toddlers, and homeschools a daughter, cleans the house, writes for a blog and an online magazine and still stays sane by bedtime!

Now of all you homeschooling Mommy's can grace me with your wisdom. I need help... and time to pray about it more. I know there are many homeschooling moms out there. I've had a romantic courtship with homeschooling for years now.... of course, it's that same romantic idea courtship that lands you with 6 kids and oft times leads you to the pantry for the bag of chocolate chips muttering, "What was I thinking!" With the romantic comes the realistic.

So, today I could tell you that it's alright to mix dishes with ducks and if you're feeling a little on the wild side, go ahead and toss in an antler or two.
That may just be the analogy for my life right now... Yes, I am building a Beautiful Life and even linked todays' post up at The Inspired Room (desperately seeking inspiration).

Hey, just a side note: It's time to list more ads on Pretty Organized Palace... Check out my ad button on the side bar if you're interested in promoting your business or your blog! The prices are really reasonable if you compare them around blogland! If you have any questions leave me a comment below and I'll email you!


Pantries that leave you Panting


A summer at home with 6 kids on the loose.... doing chores, playing, swimming... STARVING (kids will eat anything after they swim- cold cereal AND the cardboard box it came in!) and raiding the pantry leaves a mother, me specifically, pondering over what a beautiful pantry might look like.... Hmmmm..... It would have matching dishes and jars, NO discount cereal boxes.

Plenty of space... and it might even be painted.

This picture from Blueprint shows off pretty dishes and a chalkboard door... by using paint.

Country Living
Yes, a pantry might even be it's own room. Enough for you to relax and read a good book while you snacked on the sack of chocolate chips during a moment of motherly rejuvenation.

It would be open with plenty of shelves for all of your gizmos, gadgets and bulk items (all of which match of course).

Did I mention I'd paint it?
Notice how these pantries were missing what's real in my world:
  • Syrup spilled on the shelf causing the container to adhere to the shelf
  • Cracker crumbs ... evidence of preschool plundering
  • Empty cereal boxes
  • 3 loaves of bread... heels only.
  • Brown banana's waiting for their next life as banana bread or pancakes.
  • A Barbie
  • A collection of twist ties and Cool Whip containers.

Okay, now that I've spilled my guts... What's in your pantry?


Reading Nooks- Just in time for Summer

Summer is here and with it time to dive into a good book. There's nothing like curling up with a good book in the perfect reading nook.

If you're like me, you don't have enough money to buy furniture every time your whimsy spirit wants to decorate or see something new. I resolve my redecorating restlessness by moving the furniture.
Now if I had a reading nook in a laundry room that looked like this you can bet I'd find excuses to do laundry. "What honey?.... Oh, I know it's taking so long. I washed all the towels and jeans today and they're taking forever to dry. You know how dedicated I am to getting that laundry done sweetie. I'm NOT leaving this room until they're FINISHED!" There. The perfect alibi!

This summer I'm inspiring my readers with new places to curl up and enjoy a book. I like to choose sunny spots and provide plenty of room to store books, glasses, and much needed munchies.

A soft spot between bookshelves is a great place to plan a nook. You can also use the space below windows to create a window seat reading nook.
This lady had a handy husband who could build her one of those castle turret windows and an alcove to escape to... ah... light, pillows, books... a perfect reading nook.

What are you reading this summer? I need a few recommended books!
photo credits: BHG.com


Routines: A Summer Fitness Challenge

Welcome Inspired Room Beautiful Life Readers!   I'm so excited to have my little punk-a-noodles home for summer. With that excitement also comes the added chaos of having 6 chill'ns at home and keeping life on schedule.

My fitness schedule usually suffers but, not this year! Want to join me? This is what I'm going to do to keep myself on track:
First, I'm going to eat everything in the fridge... just kidding. See all of that green? My skinny husband tells me that's what makes you thin... hmm... I thought it was all those antioxidants in the dark chocolate I was eating... don't want any of those "free radicals" running amok in my bod.

A friend sent me a link to the blog MoveItandGrooveIt.... its a contest YOU can enter. No, I'm not brave enough to enter... but you might be!

I'll be participating via blogland. Here's the rules:
You get 1 point for each of the following:
  • 30 minute workout
  • No Soda (even diet)
  • No Sweets (I'm gonna die... does unsweetened chocolate count?)
  • Drinking 48 oz of water per day
  • No eating within 2 hours of bed
  • 7 hours of sleep
  • 5 servings of fruits and veggies

    There are 2 freebie points a week that are for your oops moments and if you get a perfect score for the week you get 2 more bonus points! At the end of your set time, you get to add a bonus point for every pound you lost.

Now, grab a friend to work with and make your own reward for the winner! Who's in?


A Bathroom with a HERStory

This is my family history bathroom. Now mind you, if this was HIS-story he'd be telling you in perfect grammatically structured sentences and would never think of interrupting a train of thought to tangent on something like the dust on those picture frames.... but this is HER-Story, ahem... MY story and so, you get it all.

Writing a post about my family history bathroom seemed like a great idea. Last night I thought I'd snap a few pictures and write all about how to showcase your family. Clearly, these Wall of Famer's framed in black just stared at my goofy self as I tried to smash myself against every wall in the bathroom just to get a decent shot. I think I need a lens that's a good 8 inches wide.

Just look at Grandma staring me down... So beautiful on her wedding day in her satin dress that her mother made with a zillion satin covered buttons down her back (all hand sewn). She monitors all the activity in this bathroom and she's seen her fare share of crazy things but I may have taken the cake last night.

Grandpa's standing at attention as well. He's wondering how my elbow got into his frame.
These shots just stand as testament that I can't hold my freshly squeezed mango juice mixed with pink lemonade very well... apparently the high fructose content and red dye no. 5 go to my head and cause bodily tremors and bad judgment in picture taking.

Do you remember Disney's Goofy cartoon about taking pictures... yep, that's me.

Obviously I can't hold still to save my blog... hate me... if you squint these pictures are "ridiculously good looking."

Yes, right now you see a fabulously red wall with a shine spot that will induce blindness... but you're missing grandpa!

(My rear is plastered to the back wall... oh how I wish I had skills... like camera skills....
There's Grandpa... He's standing next to his wind powered washing machine that he invented while stationed in the South Pacific for WWII. Hence began the long line of engineers in the family... oh, and hence began the collection of useful things like extra screws, wires, electronic cords and scraps of metal and wood that have afflicted the men in our family for generations!

Yes, a family history bathroom is a great idea. There is so much to consider while you're tied up with important business. Not pictured well, is my husband's mother in her wedding dress, my Great Grandmother and her sisters as little children before their family was split (she escaped) and sent to Auschwitz where her parents and one sister were put to death, and several wedding photos of Great Great Grandparents.

This is the legacy of my family and I parade it for all to see. Someday I hope to include a mirror and a step stool for my children to see themselves in this great historical bathroom. Truthfully, someday I hope I can take pictures that will do it justice.

This post is hanging out at Emma Calls Me Mama's Family Heirloom Party. Go check out the other great bloggys strutting their Heirlooms!


Telling your story:: Decorating with Photos

Remember my post about your home's story? Does your home tell a story? Does it reflect you and what you love?-- How about you and WHO you love?

When I was growing up I loved to visit my Aunt's house. She had 4 boys and and a proud family tree that she discretely tucked into the decor of every room. My favorite photos were not the typical "Olan Mills" style staged shots but the ones that told a story.

She grouped photos together and collected "series" photo's over the years. The bathroom told the story of each boy's growth. There were collections of the boys lined up from oldest to youngest holding signs of what grade they were in for the first day of school. It was neat to see a collection over a span of years and watch the boys grow at one glance.

We hail from a horse loving cowboy grandfather. My aunt had pictures of her father on his horse, her husband on a horse, and her boys on horses all neatly grouped together in the hallway on an old antique.

Candid photos do much to tell a story and they reflect what you love. Used carefully and grouped by color, theme, kid or style these photos make a house a home.

I decided to gather up old photos from all sides of my family. Some photo's date back to the 1800's. I took them to the copy center and made color copies of the black and white photographs. I know... why color?- Because it was the closest match to the original picture's color. I placed all of them in black frames and hung them in my bathroom. This is now our Family History bathroom. Each photo tells a story. My kids love to see these faces and hear their stories. My bathroom receives many comments from guests. Tomorrow I'm unveiling that bathroom (because tonight I'm scrubbing it)....

A note to my sweet readers: This week is the last week of school so my irregular posts can be contributed to all of these multiplied by 4 kiddos: Water Day, Last concerts, Pizza Party, Ice-cream socials, game day, last day of school breakfast, and frequent Excedrin breaks.

How do you tell your story with pictures?


The Before's... Projects to come:

Before the before's a little excuse why I was late posting.  This here good look'n punkin is my #4 child.  You know, the child that's "stuck in the middle"... the one who is teased non stop... the last one I gave birth to before adopting two more.... I LOVE this boy.  He took the challenge grow the biggest cabbage in elementary school... and today was the big judging day, Fingers crossed.  

Projects ahead.... see what I do with these 2 cafe doors and leftover paint...
And this is my $15 craigslist find.  Isn't she cute?  She's need'n a lot of love and a nice makeover.   Work begins this weekend.... please, will someone hold me to a deadline?  I've got to get these things finito!
Happy Friday!  What are you doing this weekend?


My Kitchen Knobs... an Exhibition

You've seen this kitchen transformed into THIS kitchen.......
It was long, and hard, and exhausting and I'm still picking paint out of my hair.
Look at those naked cabinets!  So plain.  They needed a kick... BAM!
BAM! BAM!  How about new knobs... half off from Hobby Lobby no less!  Mamma saved herself a whole lotta dough.
Not quite enough dough to pay for that housekeeper I dream about having, but I outfitted 18 cabinets and 10 drawers on $60.  
I used my dinner bell as inspiration for the upper cabinets... you can see it mounted to my end cabinet a few pictures up.
I Heart these pulls.
Really, I think China manufactured them for me.  And this knob...  she's all about flaunting her floral self and being useful.  No more grabbing under the drawer.  Why do we wait to add these details girls?
These are my knocker nobs.  Word to the wise... these are loud.  They are exceptionally cute and that's why they're still here but I finally had to put felt stickers on the under side to keep me from answering my front door every time the cupboard shut.
A showy shot of all my kitchen jewelry together.
Melissa at The Inspired Room is hosting her Procrastinator's Party today and of course I joined up.  I'll join up for the next one when I'm 85 and everthing in this kitchen is complete.  Go check out the many long awaited projects that blogland has checked off their to-do lists!

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for my preview to my weekend project... all for $15!  

I'm sure everyone is completely sick of seeing this kitchen but I still have one more transformation to complete: shelving on both sides of the sink.  Hubby has priced out the materials and because I'm doing this as the cash comes in... I wait.  I'm so excited to show her off someday.... I hope we all live to that day.  I hope I can reach those shelves when I'm 85 and they're finally built.


Someone Exhumed my Exercise Gene

Yes, this is an exercising post. Don't worry, ya'll will feel like a bunch of Jane Fonda's after reading this post cuz I'm gonna give it to you straight... I think someone exhumed my exercise loving gene at birth.   I don't enjoy exercising... and it's starting to show.

I've always been active. I'm a healthy eater except for an occasional french fry fix and well... it's no mystery that I like chocolate... I might even say I need it.... okay, I can't live without it... alright, I MAY have a problem with eating right. But I'm not a big fast food person, unless I have no time to run home and fix food and my kids are bonkers in the car... okay, I like hamburgers and well what's a hamburger without something fizzy to go with it.... did I mention my kids go bonkers in the car more times out of the week than I can count?..... I'm done for.

The truth is I find physical fitness to be my personal challenge.  Anyone else out there nodding their heads? I know how important it is.  I want to be around until I'm 110 cuz that's how long it's gunna take me to learn good grammar, punctuation and sentence structuring not to mention the fact that "gunna" isn't a word.  I struggle to fit fitness into my routine and now that I'm 34 with 6 children and over 65% of my hair is gray, I LOOK like the prime candidate for a diet ad.  So, if you think you're going to get a fabulous how-to on getting fit, well, please direct your attention to Weight Watchers and The Biggest Loser websites. 

In all my experienced years I 'll tell you what I've learned:  There are skinny people and there are those "other" people.  Skinny people can look at a bowl of M&M's in the kitchen and walk by that bowl for 3 days and never take a bite.  They know the ice cream is in the fridge and they could cave any minute but, they're "not in the mood," or "not hungry."  Skinny people can eat a dessert at a restaurant and get half way finished and say, "I've had enough" then leave the plate for the waitress to take.  Skinny people have some fantastic magical power of self control that I believe could only be bestowed on me by way of a magic wand.... cuz I'm a fat person.  I prefer to say phat person... I wake up and think, "when I go downstairs I'm not going to eat an M&M before breakfast"  I head into the kitchen an start fixing my kids food.  The minute I get distracted my hand is in the M&M bowl and I've eaten a hand full of candy.  I could never leave my well prepared dessert that I enjoy at the restaurant for the waitress to take....
 you see... I think food, socialize food, happy myself with food... I enjoy it.  Did I mention that last summer I did a chocolate tour of NYC?  Wish I could squeeze you all in my 12 passenger van for a repeat tour!... Maybe we'll schedule one when I'm rich and famous... or just rich.  These creations are from Max Brenner... I'll do a chocolate post someday... too much to write.

Skinny and fat or phat has much to do with state of mind and self- control.  As I am grotesquely revealing, I have little.  I did however marry well and married a skinny person to keep me in check!  Dear sweet hubby is a health nut AND abounding with self-control (though he fights that control when he sees a useful piece of wood on the side of the road or a useful power cord at the thrift store).  We are the old nursery rhyme: Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, and so betwixt them both you see, they licked the platter clean.

So what's my point?  Well, since it's impossible for me to plug into my husbands humming bird metabolism at night and let him burn calories for me, I have to do something I hate.  Exercise.  We all have to do things we don't like.  Goodness, we're pea pushing broccoli loving mothers who make our kids eat because "it's good for you."  Sometimes you gotta (see, I may even need 111 years to get gotta outta my brain) do something you don't like because it's good for you.  I'm starting my summer exercise routine for the 1098 time and I'm trying to find a way to LOVE it.  

I'm worth every grueling mile jogged.  My kids are worth every cardio-crazed aerobic session.  I have a lifetime left of keeping up with children and grandchildren and a skinny husband and I want to live it!

Okay! Enough of exercise talk.  Guess what!?!?!  I have knobs on all of my cabinets AND before pictures of my thrift store find for tomorrow!  First I need to get those 24 silicone muffin liners off my counter tops and tidy up!  

How do you make exercising fun? 'Cuz I'm gonna need the help!

A Spin on Shelves

In a house of 8 there is one motto I live by in organizing space: Go Vertical! Even though utilizing vertical space clears up the floor messes, it presents some challenges of it's own... shelf clutter. Check out how the above bookcase hides the shelf clutter: roller shade! Easy! Just use a window roller shade mounted with ceiling mounts to the underneath of a shelf and pull the shade closed to hide the unsightly. Roller shades can be painted or decorated with stencils or fabric to make that eye sore hiding miracle look like a design feature!
This is a shelf idea that even I can mount myself. Suspend your shelf boards from grosgrain ribbon. Take a length of ribbon, match the uneven ends and fold down twice. Screw the folded down ends into the wall. Place board in loop and repeat for the other side making sure you level the board (may need another girlfriend to help out). Tack the ribbon to the bottom side of the shelf with staples or upholstery tacks and walla.... a fancy display shelf. Of course, this isn't meant to house your complete Shakespeare collection.
My favorite! These are soap dishes screwed into a wall. I need about 8 of these mounted in a collection on the wall of my laundry room: Lego dish, money dish, rubber band dish, rock collection dish, bottle cap dish, Polly Pocket clothes and missing heads dish... you get the idea.

Now, go vertical and organize your space!
Photo credits: MarthaStewart.com
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