Friday, May 24, 2013

The End of the School Year and a Special Tour :)

Whew, what a week!  There are always so many activities crammed into the last month of the school year, especially when you have more than one kiddo enrolled.  I'm not sure what I'll do next year at this time when I have all three girls in school and a Kindergarten graduation thrown in to boot. :}

In addition to all of the regular end of the year parties and such, we had a few unexpected surprises this week.  First, Middle Gal participated in a county-wide writing contest and won first place for her age group. :)  There was a ceremony at 6:30 last night at one of the local schools.  Her story was entitled: "A Girl Can Become a Princess" and was hilariously adorable (not that I'm biased or anything). ;)  She won a $50 gift card to Barnes and Noble, so we'll be going on a shopping spree sometime next week. :)

The other unexpected blessing of the week was a visit from one of my dear friends from Southern California (the same friend I stayed with last summer).  She and her two children came to visit us today.  We had a wonderful time catching up while the kiddos played.  

Of course, having company usually requires a clean house, and ours was...well...not.  Most of you who have followed me for a while have probably realized by now that I'm not the most organized person in the world.  And that could be considered the understatement of the year. ;)  Between my natural aversion to housework (and my skillful ability to avoid it), the back and forth schedule of the school year, and just the fact that I have 3 children and a busy husband, our house is not normally a clean place.  I do like having a calm, clean environment, but pulling it off is easier said than done.  This week, though, I actually managed to welcome my friend into a mostly clean and organized home, aside from a few piles and a rather large desk in the middle of our living room (more on that later).  I couldn't have done it without my daughters.  They all did a great job pitching in and helping above and beyond what I expected. :)  

And this evening, as I thought about getting a blog post up, I realized that I should seize this opportunity to take you on a tour of my home.  That, and to capture the lovely cleanliness while it was still here. ;)

So, without further ado, welcome to my home. :)

I know you've already seen my "photo studio", but I'll share it with you again anyway.  I also use it for cooking, dishes, and laundry when I must. ;)

My sink, cabinet, and kitchen appliances.  I tried hanging my horse Christmas lights on the curtains, but it didn't work out the way I'd hoped. :}

The other side of the kitchen.

Next we have the dining room, which leads out to the carport and the backyard.   

My paperwork/purse holder/place that keeps me as organized as I get. ;)  The drawers are used for craft supplies and movies.

Our table.  I found the world map at Target when all of the "back to school" stuff was on sale and thought it would be fun to hang in the dining room. :)

The corner has Hubby's Lego desk.  He still had a lot of his Legos from his childhood, and I really wanted him to have a place to use them.  We found the desk at Goodwill for a decent price and set up his "Lego station". :)  The girls have really enjoyed playing with Daddy's toys with him.

Here's our living room.  All framed portraits have been pixelated to protect the innocent. ;)  The desk you see in the middle of the floor was originally in Middle Gal and Little Gal's room for their dolls but was not working out for them.  It will eventually become my new computer desk after a lot of rearranging. ;)

Our couch, CD tower, and front door.  I love the fact that our living room wall has a cutout connecting to the kitchen.  It's great for those times when I have to cook but still want to be a part of the conversation going on in the living room. :)

Another view of the middle of the room.  Since I don't have a laundry room, the loveseat usually holds the sock baskets. :)  You might also notice the pile in the corner.  Those are our records that we need to go through...whenever Hubby and I both have a few days free at the same time and feel like doing that instead of something fun. ;)

A view from the front window.  Some of you might recognize Belle's "Wedding Tree".  Our hedge also serves as the backdrop for many of my doll photos. :)

Our piano, trampoline (great for energetic girls on days that are too hot or too cold), crates of school work that need to be sorted and organized (sigh), and our Furreal Butterscotch Pony.  Butterscotch was a Goodwill find from several months ago.  She was just $15, an incredible deal considering that she was originally $200 or so.  I bought her thinking of reselling her locally, but no one wanted her.  Then the girls got attached.  And to be honest, I think she's pretty cute too. ;)  Her right ear falls off every few minutes, and her neck doesn't have its full range of motion anymore, but the girls still love her.  I consider her a cheap pet that doesn't require food or manure clean-up.  Works for me. ;)

And here's where all the magic happens, folks: my computer desk. ;)  This is the very spot where I dream up blog posts for your entertainment. :)

I have some fan mail taped to one side of the desk so I can enjoy it, some office supplies within reach, and a few pictures of my family (sorry you can't see them).  

On the other side of my computer desk is our flat screen TV (purchased on an excellent Black Friday sale two years ago) and the cedar chest my dad made for me...with more piles to go through...mostly paperwork. :}

And here is our hallway.  Exciting, I know. ;)

To the left, we have Oldest Gal's room.  

Her book and doll shelf is in the corner.

She has a loft bed with another bed underneath it.  

The top of the loft bed is her doll room.  All three girls love climbing up and playing together. :)

This dresser is one we painted when I was pregnant with Oldest Gal.  It's always reminded me of Buttered Popcorn Jelly Bellies. :)

Oldest Gal's desk.

Directly across the hall we have our little bathroom.  Not the most exciting room in the world, but definitely necessary. ;)  Please excuse the stuff on the floor and the clothing on the plastic drawer unit...we were in the middle of bath time prep. :)

Our bathroom sink.  I'm really looking forward to having a medicine cabinet so our counter can be a little less cluttered. :}

I think I mentioned Oldest Gal's Open House project in an earlier post.  Her class put on a living wax museum.  They all had to dress up like historical figures and paint a backdrop to set up behind them.  Oldest Gal was Sacajawea, and this is the backdrop she painted all by herself.  It seemed like a shame to toss it after all the work she put into it, so we hung it in the hallway.  All three girls have enjoyed making up scripts and performing them in front of the backdrop. ;)  

And here's Hubby and my room, the one you're probably the most familiar with.  It's the last room on the right.

In the corner is our closet.  None of our closets came with doors, so we hung curtains up instead.  This beautiful one is a shower curtain I purchased shortly after we moved to our house. :)

My Beauty and the Beast curio.  Sigh.  Just looking at it makes me happy. :)

And here's the rest of that side of the room.

As you can see, I've once again tried a new arrangement with my shelves.  I really wanted to make a backdrop for Belle and company to use for my Belle's Bulletins posts.  I'm not sure if it's going to work out, but I thought I'd try it just for fun.  I basically just decorated a piece of white foam core board and taped it to the shelf unit. :)  I may add a bit more to it if I like the way it works.

My nightstand/shelf. :)  You'll notice that I started hanging my boxed mini Lalaloopsies on the wall, leaving room for the other Target exclusives, of course. ;)

Our bed.

The other side of the room.

You've already seen my doll rooms, but I thought I'd share them again. :)  Sorry the picture's a bit blurry.  (P.S.  There's a bit of a spoiler in this picture.) ;)

I love my new shelf! (It's the one on top of the dresser.)  My parents had this stored away and let me use it.  It's wonderful having a special spot for all of my 80s and 90s toys and my Boyd's Bears. :)

Across the hallway is Middle Gal and Little Gal's room, just recently rearranged.

They have a shoe holder over the door to store their Barbie and Disney fashion dolls.  The Snow White framed poster is one that was given to me when I was six and we stayed with a friend of my parents' who worked at Disneyland.  This poster was only available to Disneyland employees. :)

The shelf is one I just found at Goodwill for $11.99.  I'd been looking for something to hold the girls' dolls and doll accessories since we were moving the desk out of the room, and this worked just perfectly. :)

I had to laugh at this picture.  The things dolls go through when they're owned by a 5 year old and a 7 year old!  Wouldn't this make a great "caption that photo" entry? ;)

One corner of the room.

Shelves and tubs.  I'm not thrilled with all of the stacked tubs, and I'm hoping we can condense a bit.  The plastic tubs and drawer unit fit perfectly under the desk that was in here before, but they're not exactly convenient stacked on top of one another.

The girls' dresser.  And I apologize to all sensitive moms out there about the extension cord lying on the floor.  I'm trying to work on a better solution for Little Gal's nightlight. :{  We've talked about the importance of using cords wisely, and she's been pretty good about it.  It is temporary, though.

The girls' "bunk bed".  It's actually another loft bed with a mattress underneath (thanks for giving it to us, Aunt C!). :)  As you can see, Middle Gal really enjoys decorating her wall. ;)  That's what I love about having an older house, though.  I can let the girls hang things without stressing about them ruining the paint job or anything. :)

That concludes our tour for the time being.  I hope you all enjoyed it. :)  I wish I could personally invite all of you over to chat about doll stuff and enjoy a snack.  Since that's not possible, I thought I'd try for a "virtual visit".  Come back anytime and stay a while!  And just think, when you visit me here, my house will always be clean.  I couldn't guarantee the same thing for a live visit. ;)

My weekend will be pretty busy, so I may not have posts up for a bit.  I'll have something for you by next week for sure. :)

Hmm, it sounds pretty quiet down the hall...I think I have three sleeping munchkins! :)  Time to curl up with a good book or watch a movie and wait for hubby to get home. :D   


Jasmine said...

I have a question. How old is oldest gal? I am guessing she is around my age,11 or 12

Nina said...

Your house seems so loved and cozy! Reminds me of my house! My favorite room is Middle and Little Gal's. It reminds me of mine, except mine is messier!

misspiggy=awesome said...

Hee-hee, I know what the spoiler is- Ella came back! Congratulations about the writing contest. Who knows, maybe she'll be an author when she grows up!

Jordy said...

You have a cool house! It looks like it's a lot of fun there! I loved the picture of the dolls hanging from the storage thing :D

beastsbelle said...

Thanks everyone! :)

Jasmine, Oldest Gal is a little younger than you. She just turned 9 in April. :)

Thanks, Nina. It's worked really well for us. It's an older house, so there are some things we'd love to update eventually (windows and such), but we're very happy there. :)

You guessed it, misspiggy=awesome! :) I found another Ella for a great price on eBay a couple of months ago. I've just been waiting for the right time to introduce her back into the story. I had actually planned on keeping her a secret until the big reveal, but once I realized she was in the picture, I was too lazy to go take another without her. ;)

Thanks, Jordy. :) We do have a lot of fun. And that picture cracks me up every time. ;)

Casey said...

Love your house! I'm definitely with you on appreciating older houses because there is less worry about keeping it "perfect".

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Casey. :) I'm glad you finally got to see it since it never worked out to have you guys over. ;)

And yes, having an older house is great when you have kiddos. :) I lived in an older house growing up, and my mom was really great about letting us hang things up on the walls and decorate however we wanted. I'm glad I'm able to do the same for my girls, especially since they all tend to be "artsy" like me. ;)

Jen said...

Hee, I loved getting a peek inside your house! I would have to do SO MUCH cleaning before I even considered doing a virtual tour. My husband and I practice the "stack it somewhere out of the way and we'll sort through it sometime" method of organization!

Also, much as I share the appreciation for older houses (mine was built in 1928), there are days I really, really miss central air. :D

The dolls! said...

Love your house, reminds me of ours, When you have a younger brother like mine no house will ever be clean LOL, I love old houses, funny I love old houses but our house is only around 14 years old. Granted when my parents bought the house it had only sub floors, horrible hospital white paint, and I'm not even going to start, on the yard. :p Let's just say, yours takes the cake.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, Jen! :) Glad you enjoyed it. And trust me, this is not the typical state of my house. ;) We tend to use the same "stack it method" over here. ;)

And I totally hear you on the central air thing. We've had a pretty mild May this year, so our house has been just the right temperature. But when it gets up to over 100 degrees in the summer, our little swamp cooler just doesn't cut it. :}

Hi, The dolls! Thanks for commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. :) I think old houses have a lot of character. ;) It's been fun playing around with ours and making it our own.

Sparkie said...

I hope that Ella is introduced on Tess and Maggie's blog soon! And by soon, I mean really soon!

Michele said...

Enjoyed seeing your lovely home, especially all the bedrooms with the dolls everywhere - what a happy place. Thank you for sharing :)

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, gals. :)

Sparkie, look for her introduction within the next couple of weeks. ;)

Michele, glad you enjoyed it. :) Seeing the pictures all together helped me, too. It's so easy to wish we had what others had without taking the time to count our blessings. ;)

BlackKitty said...

What a lovely cozy house! If you don't mind, I'll come crash on your couch or hover around your table while you work. I wish I could be more relaxed in my house. I obsess too much about order (think Monica from Friends) and I cringe at the thought of some kid ruining my wallpaper. Teach me to have fun, please?

Meanwhile, I'm thinking how to convince my husband to put a hole in the kitchen wall...

beastsbelle said...

Thanks, BlackKitty. You can come crash at my place any time. ;)

I've never seen Friends (shocking, I know), ;) but I can imagine what you mean. To be honest, it took me a while to realize that it was okay if my house wasn't perfect. My two closest friends have these AMAZING homes that look like something you'd see on HGTV (they're both super neat and excellent decorators). For so many years, I kept trying to be them. Then, when it got too overwhelming, I just gave up and my house was a disaster area. Now I'm slowly learning to create my own style, allowing for pictures taped on the wall and a Lego table for Hubby in the corner. And my dolls and 80s toys, of course! ;)

I don't know how easily I can teach you to have's something that comes through experience. :) First, take a deep breath. ;) Maybe you could start small, like allowing your kiddos to draw a special picture and put it up on the wall in their bedroom. I also have ground rules. My kids can hang things up in the hallway and on their bedroom walls, but all other walls are off limits unless they ask for permission first. Maybe you could figure out what boundaries you'd like to set, starting small (baby steps, you know). ;)

My goal for my house (and one that I'm still working on, believe me!) is to have it clean enough that if someone drops by unexpectedly I'm not embarrassed, but "lived in" enough that I'm not freaking out every time someone leaves something on the floor. It's a balance, and I tend to be one extreme or the other, so I can imagine where you're coming from.

Hope this helps at least a little. Oh, and good luck convincing your hubby to put a hole in the wall. ;)

BlackKitty said...

I hope my obsession with cleanliness will pass, because we have only had the flat for a year and it's still in the "brand new, please don't touch anything" phase. I don't have or want children, so there isn't anyone who can draw on my walls consequence-free :) It's something I have to learn to bear on my own. I do want pretty things on my walls though. I love how you have pictures everywhere! For us, choosing a place for a whiteboard is a life-altering decision - hubby needs it in the room, and I know it will ruin the "mood" I created with soft colours. So anyway, I enjoyed the tour of your house and I'll know where to imagine myself when hubby brings that whiteboard home *sigh*.

beastsbelle said...

Well, not having kids will definitely help with the cleanliness issues. Of course, in my experience, husbands can have a hard time remembering not to leave their dirty socks on the floor... ;)

Lol, I completely understand where you're coming from with the whiteboard issue. When we were first married (before kids) and I was slightly more obsessive about my house, there were similar issues that my husband and I ran into. Now that I've settled for comfort and functionality more than perfection, it helps a bit, but I'm sure things like this will come up again for us at some point. Have fun! :D