Look Ma No Hands!

It is possible that this only happens to me:

Scene: park/ballgame/day camp/pool/beach/hiking trail/race/friends house/front yard/kitchen….you know only a few times has this happened…..one of my children….all of whom I love and I am sure have asked this equally, has a very nice cold sweaty water bottle, and they very nicely ask “momma can you hole this?”…me (=sucker): sure.  Guess who ends up holding 4 water bottles like Alice the camel…she now has 4 humps.


Scene: 2 minutes before we HAVE to leave for a ballgame/birthday party/day camp/play date/appointment….one of my children….all of whom I love….is digging in the drawer that could be named plastic pit of despair for a water bottle AND matching top and looks up and says “Momma can you help me make a water bottle?”  Me: Sure.  Of course it is important to stay hydrated, that is why we have 26 water bottles and 24 tops….its like the hydration jigsaw puzzle…takes patience and time.

We have as many water bottles that we have gotten from fundraisers and races and camps as we have reusable shopping bags.  Both we have been politely refusing for awhile now, we just do not need anymore and I can’t be alone in wondering how helpful these are to the earth in the reducing part of the 3 R’s when they are being mass produced for so many events.

Back to my point.

I have a water bottle, it is a Klean Kanteen, I LOVE it, and it has a sling, I can wear it….no hands!

So this year for each child and the hubby I ordered a Klean Kanteen water bottle and sling, it is now the ONLY water bottle they have….big responsibility, however as I write this, no one has lots any parts at all, and the pit of plastic despair is packed up to be donated.

These were their end of school/welcome to summer gifts and they were all really excited to have a bottle like mine…Yeah!

I had to tie Avalons’ straps up a little, but her and hubby both modeled them:

Water BottleWater Bottle

I bought all of the kids the 27 ounce size, and Jon and I have the 40 oz. size.

Long ago, I bought a handful of peel and stick patches from Old Navy for 97 cents a piece, I just LOVE when I find things at this price point, does any one else find these great deals? I have found less of these deals lately.

Anyway, they fit perfectly onto the canteen “sling”!!  I wasn’t sure about the pink skull/poison looking patch, but maybe no one will want to take it?!?

Ebay 2014 25931 copy

Patches from Old Navy

Viola! reusable, wearable, carryable, hands free and cute, I still need a patch for Solomon, I think he will find one on our road trip this summer.!!  And  for Jon and I, should have a patch too tight ?!? Maybe I should put a camel on mine..no wait I am no longer the water bottle camel!

Custom patched water bottle slings.

This post was not sponsored.

Storing Little Ornaments

Have you seen the Shining, with Jack Nicholas, when the family gets snowed into the hotel in Colorado and all go stir crazy??? Well we are not quite to crazy yet, but let me tell you we are shut in and staying, if you have not heard on the news, Facebook, or from friends and family Minnesota is in an “arctic vortex” or “arctic hurricane”. Today without the wind-chill we are sitting at a steamy 1 above zero, yesterday it was -45 with the wind-chill. The kids are home from school and we are staying put!
We are cooking and crafting and putting away all the last straggling items from Christmas and New Years Eve.
We have quite an eclectic collection of ornaments from over the years, honestly I am not sure where they all have come from, some were thrifted for projects that became leftovers, some were gifts and some just given to us, regardless we have boxes to put away each year.
I had pinned an idea about plastic cups glued to cardboard for safe and neat ornament storage which is perhaps some of the inspiration for this idea.
Super simple and maybe it has been done before, but I decided to reuse our egg containers, with 6 of us we go through a lot of eggs each week with breakfasts and snacks, so I had a few cartons laying around waiting to be recycled.
Here is what I did:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

They fit perfectly, although we are avid recyclers, reusing is almost always better:

Egg carton ornament storage @patchworkreality

How happy does that little snowman look?  See you next year little dude!

A Nook that does not hold books and some that do.

I know that not everyone is on Pinterest and maybe you are and don’t “get” the big deal, but for me when it comes to projects and inspiration I am like a crack Oreo addict to that site.

We have a number of closets in our home, I am sure most of you do….but it seems like wherever the builder of this house had extra space he added a door and some shelving.  Great right…well some of these spaces are awkward and honestly putting a door in some places just seems to take up more space than you are saving.

My point?  I have 2 closet spaces that I am thinking would be great turned into more of a nook space:

1. One of the closets in our sons room.

2. The entryway closet.

What does this have to do with pinterest?

I have been pinning “nook” like spaces for at least a year…here are some of my tops for our sons room:

Traditional Home Design Ideas, Pictures, Remodel and Decor


His “nook” will definitely hold books and also serve as a desk space.

closet nook: compact, organized, completely cute, and the perfect use of space!


Love the hanging organization in this desk nook.

closet made into kid's reading room


This is amazing and would have been perfect for my not-so-little-anymore bookworm, but now that he is in middle school he needs a desk space.



Last but not least, I love the clean lines of this  and the shelving for books.

For the entryway I need a place that has bins and  shelves but also still has hanger potential,  without detracting from what might work for others if we sold the house. This has to be a nook without books.  I have some ideas how this will work in our space, and here are some photos that I am drawing ideas from:

Hall Closet turned mini mud closet


Love this with the bench and hooks, plus those baskets for mittens or hats or shoes, but there are 6 of us and that might not cut it in MN winters.

Front closet turned mudroom. The shoe rack is brilliant!


hello storage!!!

Hallway closet nook

Last one, again love the bench hooks and storage underneath.

Anyone else turned a closet into a nook space and LOVE it?

I am hoping to share some exciting changes around here soon!

Exercise Room

Still working on organizing the house, from my New Years resolution.

This pace used to be our office, we had 2 desks on each end, after the kids went to be Jon worked on his homework and I worked on Ebay/blogging.

Jon recently bought a laptop and can work wherever he likes  and I have moved my office into the unfinished, large, laundry/craft room.  I just have so much inventory it was not enough space and kept spilling into the living room.

Here is a picture from our living room:

raiven 022

Notice the exercise area behind the futon?  Well it is gone!  During my Fab Five February I sold the futon and the recumbent bike!!

This living room downstairs, serves as the TV room, a playroom, you can see the dress up on the middle left side of the picture, and until recently a workout room.

This space needed less responsibility!

So we moved all exercise related items into the old office and viola! No more exercising in the living room. (living room pic still to come)

Some before and after shots of the new workout room:

Notice there are glass french doors so I can close them if I need/want to.

Before.                                                                After

Ebay 552 (2)Ebay 565 (2)

Before                                                                  After

Ebay 554 (2)Ebay 567 (2)

Before.                                                             After

Ebay 555 (2)Ebay 569 (2)

Before.                                                            After…my 7 mile run at night…hence the lighting.

Ebay 558 (2)Ebay 572 (2)

I still have  a few things that I would like to do in this room:

  • Add some audio/visual maybe take down one shelf dn add a small TV, definitely something for music.
  • Take out the wireless modem..move it into the office.
  • Add some inspirational sayings? Wall art?
  • Relable the Ikea bins, since those no longer house shopping bags and mittens/hats 😉

It feels so good to have a clean space to exercise inside, so I can run while the littles nap, and since spring has yet to get here, I may need this space for a while.

We do have a gym membership to a fantastic club in town, but it is nice to have this option. In about 3 years will all 4 of our kids are in school full day I will probably sell the treadmill and run at the club or outside.  AS an avid runner this is still a vital piece of “home decor” for me.



“Room” for Improvement.

Previously I shared Avalon’s room, you can see it here.

It seems no small task to get their rooms tidy enough to take photos to share, but I am sharing Santanna’s room because it needs to be redone read, paint, and decor.

By far it is the hardest to get her to keep her room organized, it seems like every time we “deep clean” it and I give her bins and tips, and take more out, it just ends up haphazard all over again.  Cool with me if she can find things…but thats not the case.

Anway…here is her room AS IS:

Walking in we have a coat hook, I think this might have to go, it feels like a catchall and clutters the entrance?

Ebay 555

Looking in from the hallway, can you see that we have started to patch holes in preparation for fresh paint, probably evident in every picture;)…oh and there’s Farley..he loves Santanna!

Curtains need to go/change, I painted her name in one color than was going to change it to match the Circo Love and Nature bedding, which will probably stay, but never finished…add that to the l ist.

Ebay 562 copy

Bed side table….less stuff, or maybe one on each side, for books and alarm clock, lamp?

Ebay 556 copy

These shelves used to be over a bookshelf, and now just look out-of-place, I think they need to move to a more thoughtful/purposeful place.

Ebay 557 copy

Here is what houses almost all her books and toys, it was 2 bookshelves ( that we built) and repurposed into a cubby system. Notice those green woven bins from Target again that I used in the pantry …man I might have bought them all from our store.

Ebay 558

I would love to see a cushion on part of this??  She likes to set up her toys and play n it, so maybe just 1/2 for a cozy reading spot.

Ebay 559 copy

View of her bed sitting on the cubby system with my back to the window, you can see the heavy blanket peeking out from under her bedding, it gets COLD here, layers are cozy!! She needs a headboard or bed frame of some sort.

Ebay 561 copy

Recap of to do list for this room

  • Paint
  • Move coat hook
  • Paint her letters or remove
  • Bedside table…add another/declutter
  • purposeful shelving and wall decor
  • Headboard/footboard, bed frame
  • Cushion on cubby system

Littlest Girls Room

At one point we had all 3 girls sharing this room, it was a fun idea, the sisterly love was there, but this room just does not provide enough space for 3.
It was a sage green color that we loved, but like all the walls in our house it needed a fresh coat over the builder flat paint that we insisted they not use…flat paint is just not a good idea.

2011 June 1637 copy

We painted it a very light gray, I put together a  duvet cover for her bed, she’s really into polka dots, and made the ladder style bedside table.

2013 March 008

Pinterest inspired embroidery hoop fabric pieced wall decor:

Embroidery wall Hanging

We hung 3 mirrors on her wall to make the space feel, bigger, they hang on the wall across from her window which lets in fantastic day light. The pink Bilbo toy serves as a step stool for our little shorty to reach her light and fan switch.

2013 March 011

100+ year old metal bed from our family farm, it was bronze but has been painted a number of items, we painted it white over a previous blue, so it has an amazing patina.

2013 March 013

Antique toolbox at the end of her bed holds all the books that will not fit on the bedside table, if we have too many of anything at our house it is books, but I think that’s a great thing;)

2013 March 009

2013 March 016

One wall that houses her closet, we have a plan for some of the closet pace in our house, we might take 1/2 of this closet and give it to the adjoining room.  Than take the closet from that room and add it into our MB closet space…stay tuned.

2013 March 019

Finale to Fab Five February and a few tips to listing on Facebook for sale groups.

All right last day and I will have you know we came in strong at the end, this is my style, mostly, even in races, I always save a little zoom for the last tenth of a mile and spring it out.
Yesterday I posted these beauties:

raiven 025 raiven 020

AND as of today we no longer own a lovely geometric print mission style futon, and I have people lined up to look at the bike. Now I know these are only 2 things, bringing the total to what 28….so Fab “five” February is more like Fab “just one a day” February, but as of right now we have sold 4 things and made put $154 back into our funds. If when the bike sells we will be over $600!!!!

Remember my goal was to clean out and sell 5 things per day for this month, then turn around and sell them on a local for sale by face book page.

Ok, so here are some tips I learned in this process from my 28 day experience:

1. Deciding to rid of items that have many parts, like kids toys, requires quite a bit of pre-organization (read time)

2. Make sure you have read and understand the rules of the group/board you are posting on.

3. Take a good clear picture of your item…I know this seems like a given, but some of the picture I saw were indistinguishable, people will be more interested in your item if you show some thought in presentation…right?!

4. Setting a goal is great, but be flexible, I came very short on my goal of 5 per day, our life just did not afford me enough time to get through everything.

5. List your item, and have measurements especially if it is a household item, and then be considerate, written messages can be misconstrued, add pleases and thank yous, and show general manners, these can go a long way in a transaction way before face to face interaction.

6. Set up a safe and flexible place to meet up, the mall, or a parking lot of a busy store like a Trader Joes, somewhere that you feel you could get out of easily if needed or there would be a good number of people around.

7. Clean your item up and if it needs batteries put them in, people are excited to get your item don’t disappoint them.

8.  BE ON TIME for your meeting. Let the buyer look it over, if you have represented your item accurately then you should be good to go, but know that they still have a choice to take it or leave it, this can be frustrating especially when everyone’s time is valuable.

9. When buying am item, bring the proper amount of cash, do not expect the seller to make change, or to take a check.

10. Thank your buyer/seller.

What are some tips or lessons you have learned in selling via facebook?

Overall, my experience has been positive with this experiment, I think I will still list some items as they come up on the facebook page.  I also bought a few items *shoes* for me!  I mean heck if I keep up one a day that’s 365 for the year …..wish me luck. 🙂


2013 Resolutions? New life Habits?

Happy 2013 everyone!!
Each New Years Day I feel a sense of excitement, like I have been given a clean slate to a whole chapter in life. This New Year that I can start how I like, navigate how I want and look back upon with a sense on of contentment.
I am not a big resolution maker and completer , however in 2010 I made a resolution to run a race very month for the year and I ran my first marathon, I have not given up on that resolution and still attempt to run at least one race a month and have run a total of 4 full marathons since. So was it really a resolution or a new life habit?
In 2011 I made the resolution to buy thrifted clothes for our kids, I buy so many clothes from consignment shops, donation hubs, and other places to sell on eBay that I thought this would be a snap, and found that for the most part I was successful but that certain sizes, and styles that my kids like were harder to find and that often buying new items at certain sales was cheaper than some of the thrift stores that I strayed from this resolution. I still embrace thrifting just found that exclusively shopping in this matter was not a best fit for our family.
I did not resolve anything specific in 2012, I just wanted to embrace more social activities for Jon and I and for the kids, it seems like an obvious addition to life that should not take much effort, but I am constantly surprised at how quickly a day in our life go by and how quickly those days become weeks, and we have just been going through the routine. We actually added more play dates, and sleepovers for the kids, not much but I feel like we made a great improvement from the last year and that this will also carry over into forth coming years, so another resolution turned life habit.
This year, this 2013, with its clean white page turned new, I really hope to accomplish more domestic tasks.
• I really want to tear out the carpet in our upstairs living room and replace it with hardwood to match the rest of the floors on that level. It was very inexpensive carpet to begin with and with 6 people and one 150 pound dog pounding on it every day it is in sad shape.
• I want to become electronically organized; I have 2 main emails and 2 that I have set up that I use very rarely. Some teachers contact me through my work email some through personal. Many emails I get are junk and I just need to take the time to unsubscribe. I think to this I also want to add a fresh new set of passwords, just for security.
• I need to organize so many things to help our life run more smoothly, I think all of us can feel this at some level. I am thinking paperwork, charging cords, etc.
• I have had 3 computers crash entirely on my in the last 4 years, we have 3 external hard drives 2 of which contain thousands of family photographs, I really want to organize and archive these in a better manner.
• I want to leave a few blank spaces for additions to this list.
Ultimately I want to end 2013 feeling more in control of the “clutters” in our life and more prepared for each day. Again this seems more of a new life habit.
Any of you have plans for new life habits or resolutions??