Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner…Except Baby.

It all started with a somewhat innocent late night text to my husband.

“I did a thing.”

Not a huge thing.  Not even an unusual thing.

In fact, when my husband received my text around 11 pm, I daresay he wasn’t even shocked or alarmed.  In all actuality, he was probably thinking  “I was wondering when I’d get this text.”  And  ” It was only a matter of time.”  Instead he texted back with “K”.

His usual.

I could write an essay, ending with the toilet clogging, a child dying, and world destruction just minutes away- with him the only hope of saving the world. And that would still be his reply.

No worries though.  I know.  I know he’s not the only guy who has a monopoly on that letter on his little keyboard. Right???

He’s a good sport.  This husband of mine. Putting up with all of my shenanigans.

I’m starting to think it’s just karma.  I mean, he’s moved me quite a few times.  California, Kansas, New Mexico….a few houses, apartments, and such.  So it’s only fair that I move his furniture.  Often.  While he’s either sleeping or working.  Karma.

“At least I won’t run into any furniture.”

Ah!!! So he does know the entire alphabet after all!

This text was very accurate since he’d see it in the daylight.  Not like that time he woke up before even the sun had the sense to wake up, and made his way down to the kitchen….and slammed into a sofa.  Oops? That’ll teach him to use a light switch.

So the thing.  The thing.  What is this thing I did?

Remember how I took over the dining room?  Turned it into an office?  Well, I got tired of having an entire room to myself.  It’s just weird.  And I got lonely. And…well just kidding.  These people freaking adore me.  To the point of stalking.  So to get them all out of my office I put myself in a corner.  Let’s consider it a big Time Out- yeah, that’ll teach me.

And they laughed, and they laughed, and they laughed some more.

Okay, that and I was kinda, sorta missing our dining room- even if it will just get cluttered up and ignored.  It’s the principle of it. (Pics of the dining room will be at the end of this post)

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Sadly, this is AFTER I folded and put away a mountain of laundry.

It all started very innocently.  I took a few hooks off the wall so I could maybe hang a sign from the top one. Only I didn’t like the way it looked.  So I moved the ottoman that had been taking up residence in that corner. To see if the sign looked better then.  Nope, no dice.

I was going to put the other three hooks back on, when a little thought popped into my head.  “What if I move the little cabinet from the dining room to this corner right here- I mean, it’s empty, might as well try it.”   It’s a thought I’d been entertaining for a week prior, but would brush off.  But since the corner was currently empty….

I liked it, so I kept it.  But then there was a new problem.  The space was too tight for my chair.  But I wasn’t ready to accept defeat.

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Rearranging is a slippery slope.

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I angled the couch…which then dictated I angle the rug…and the coffee table…and the chairs just a teeny bit and….It was like a furniture version of “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly’.

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Why yes, I do have two cats who aren’t declawed, how did you ever guess……

And this is the end result.  Take a good look, because knowing me- it’ll change in about a week, though if you ask my husband he’d probably say a few hours… It’s sad because it’s true.   Here take a view courtesy of my lame camera skills and the panorama option.

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If you look to the left you’ll see my dirty little secret.  Thumbtacks.  I’m a hole-y terror with them. If I like this spot for the three hangers, I’ll sweet talk the man into hanging nails.

This is the heart of our home, the family room.  And it’s a pain to arrange furniture in.  And yet, somehow I manage to.  Often.

And so there you have it, more proof that I love to rearrange and try new things.  No shame in my game.  In fact, it’s wonderful.  When I move stuff around it breathes life back into a room and it actually keeps me from shopping when I get the itch.

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My view this morning as I drank my coffee and enjoyed the results of my shenanigans.

Do you have a room that could use a fresh perspective?  Contact me if you’d like to get an outside opinion.  Together we can think outside of the box and do a thing.  But I warn you- it’s like eating a bag of chips…..

Speaking of eating, here’s a before and after of the dining room.  And just in time for the holidays. Far left is obviously the glorious before and the two on the right are the now. Betsy has found a new home…again.  That poor cow is constantly on the move.

 Did you know two thumbtacks can hold up a cow?

The Ghost of Christmas Crafts Past

I can’t imagine a life not spent sharing God with others.  Especially children.  Bringing His word to where they are; making it relevant for them- there’s nothing better.  (Getting to eat sugar, dance, and play games with them is a huge perk too……). Throughout the year we create props and decorations to compliment and accentuate the various themes.  We just recently wrapped up a Finding Nemo theme (perhaps I’ll share that with you at a later date.) Just in time for the holidays.

We’re taking a break from decorations for this month- which gives us time to get ready for Christmas.  I stumbled upon a few pictures I had posted on Facebook about three years ago, while searching for Christmas pictures to use for my most recent post KISSing Christmas, and thought I’d share.

This faux fireplace was the result of three cups of coffee, boredom, and a $6 trip to Dollar Tree.

It all started with a left over project board and a lonely roll of brown shipping paper I had in my garage.  Throw in a piece of white chalk and a broken red crayon and boom, an idea is born.

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The fireplace complete, I parked it in our front room to get a good look at it.  It was looking pretty good but was definitely missing something. A mantle.

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The mantle is actually a couple of those white gift boxes for shirts that we had leftover from the year before. We cut them in half and after angling the side panels of the project board, arranged the boxes on top.  For a backdrop I used a roll of leftover wrapping paper, and added a few Dollar Tree wreaths I already owned.

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A lovely couple from our church lent us the rocking chair and accent rug. I then turned to Dollar Tree for a few last minute garnishes. Those cost us about $6 plus tax.  And there you have it.  A faux fireplace perfect for photos.

For this year, I’m going to use this old throwback as inspiration for a newer, sturdier version.  It’ll cost me a tiny bit more, but not much.  I plan on budgeting $20.  Of course, I’ll post that one right around the beginning of December. Until then, think outside of the box, and always keep a broken red crayon on hand.

Halloween Decor Finds A Home

 

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Fall

In Arkansas, the air became crisper.  Leaves transformed from the prevalent  green to glorious hues of red and gold.  Woodsmoke wafted from chimneys as Autumn progressed.

Friday nights were spent on stadium bleachers, bundled up in blankets cheering on the local high school team ~ cups of hot chocolate in our hands helping to ward off the cold.

Weekends were full of old fashioned fun. Bonfires. Hayrides. Trips to the pumpkin patch.

That is Fall to me.

We moved here (southern New Mexico) ten years ago just days before Labor Day weekend.  I didn’t come naive- we’d spent a few years in the Mojave desert in California, nestled between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.  I’ve experienced desert Fall before.  I’d hoped it’d be the last.  Or at least just for a few years.

We don’t always get what we want, but our God knows what we need.

If I can’t have my favorite season outside, then I’ll have it inside (and on my porch.)  What better way to greet Fall than to decorate for one of my most favorite holidays?

Halloween!

If I had an unlimited supply of money I’d decorate my home and yard from top to bottom.  Sadly, that’s not an option.  So it’s all about maximizing the minimum.  Stores like Hobby Lobby, Dollar Tree, Target and Walmart help me achieve this.  And it’s not just the Halloween section that I find my holiday treasures. IMG_E0042

The black and white scrolled candlesticks standing proudly before the mirror were a Hobby Lobby find in the candle section. Paired with a glass pumpkin jar and cobwebs (both Walmart), two black spiders from Dollar Tree, and the leftover remnants of a burlap banner and we had a boo-tiful entryway worthy of trick or treaters.
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My dollars stretch almost as much as the prominent spider webs.  Nothing says spooky like the one dollar bags of cobwebs.  That or it says I really need to hire a maid.
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The wind moved everything and provided us with instant comedy.  I feel as if the ghost on the left is saying “Come at me Bro.”  While the other one either attacks the spider on the pumpkin, or screams in horror.  The jury is still out on that one, but what we can all agree to is that these two specters from Dollar Tree are one of the greatest additions to our ghostly decor.

 

 

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Simple touches such as mercury glass, candles and skulls can give a space a little taste of ghastly without making your wallet scream.  And foam bat and spider cut outs. IMG_0552

 

 

With that money I save, I’m able to take the kids to the local Corn Maze/Pumpkin Patch each year with our amazing local homeschool group.  Each family member gets to pick a pumpkin and bring it home.  This ledge is the perfect place to show them off until it’s time to carve them.  14463312_10154228592443813_1552703979981460104_n

You can never go wrong with bats, spiders, pumpkins, and skulls.  Have fun with it and remember, a little can go a long way.

What are some of your favorite ways to decorate for Halloween?  What’s Fall like where you live? Apple cider or Hot Chocolate?  These are the real questions, and you can answer them below in the comments. Even better, visit my Facebook page, and share your Halloween and Fall decor pictures!!!! I’d love to see them.

Until next time, may your Halloween be haunted, and your candy sweet!

 

The Evolution of “The Room”

 

 

Notice how I didn’t give it a specific room name?

As I sit here half-caffeinated, I can’t help but smile as I look around my office.

And crinkle my brow.

My Office.  It’s strange calling it that.  It’s been over a month since I staged a successful coup to take over our mostly overlooked dining room, and yet the title of office is still a bit new to me.

Purchased four years ago, our house is a modest 2100 square feet with a two car garage, four bedrooms and two living areas. It is by no means a small home, though I suppose some would think so.  For me, the girl who at one point had three children under the age of 5 sharing a room in a narrow two bedroom duplex….this is big.

Having two levels also helps the house feel big to me.  Bedrooms upstairs, life downstairs.  (Translation – lovely put together home downstairs, hot mess upstairs.) The choppy floorplan  downstairs, however, make the first floor feel smaller than it is.  The front living room and the family room aren’t big enough to carve out space for a living room/dining room combo.  And the small kitchen that’s nestled between the dining room and the family room only offers a breakfast bar that is shared by the family room. It also only sits two. Three if I had another barstool (one day….one day).

When we bought our home four years ago the empty room between the front room and kitchen was most obviously the dining room.  After all, there was no other place in the house to take on the distinction. Not to mention the low hanging chandelier, of course.

I was excited at this prospect originally.  An honest to goodness dining room!!  Finally!!  Not an eat in kitchen.  Not a tiny spot at the end of the living room.  A room for all things dining.  A table.  Chairs.  Storage.  Yes. Yes. Yes!

And then reality sauntered in, took off her practical no-nonsense shoe and lodged it at my head.

 Here at Casa Dulinsky, the most used table for dining is the illustrious coffee table. Our dining table has been voted The Table Most Likely To Be Crushed By The Sheer Weight of Junk.  Four years in the running.  In my head.

You’re more likely to find remnants of last weeks snack of pretzels and grapes, hidden underneath a stack of coloring pages, than a freshly made, straight out of the oven dinner.  So it comes as no surprise that the dining room is no more.  Well….for the most part.

Here we have real-time photographic evidence of two homeschoolers eating a snack -lunch and working on their weekly worksheets.

In the beginning there was light.  And white.  Lots and lots of white,  White walls, white wall trim, and great google moogily, even white curtains.

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Over the next four years it changed.  First it was the walls, and the floors, and then the function. It went from dining room to classroom.

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Oh look.  Clutter.  Everywhere.

Here (above picture) we have a misguided attempt of turning the dining room into a more practical landing pad/classroom for our homeschooling.  It lasted perhaps two months.

There were two issues with this particular set up. Way too crowded.  Obviously.   And issue number two-  although we had finally eradicated the traditional dining room, we still needed one (on occasion).

After a bit of rearranging and intermittent tweaking, I think we finally got it.  For now. Though it wasn’t overnight. But throughout this past month, there was one united factor. The Mustard Seed office can convert into a dining room within 5-10 minutes.  Just move the computer to one of the two cabinets.  And the tray on my “desk” (the dining table is now multipurpose) corrals all my stuff and can be moved quickly as well.  Then just turn the table a bit and ta-da.  Dining room.

 

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Mustard Seed Office version 1.0. Although I liked being able to look out to the front room, I found that this particular set up was a waste of space.  Not to mention the chandelier of doom.

Mustard Seed office version 2.0 didn’t even last a day, so there’s no pictures.  Basically, it was in the exact position we’d put it as a dining table (underneath the light fixture).  It was convenient, but also a disaster in the making.  The computer cord stretched mid-air from the table to the wall.  Anyone with pets, children, or a husband can go ahead and cringe with me.  Bye bye computer…..

So we tried something we never thought of.  Necessity really is the mother of invention.  I have never, ever tried angling my dining room table, until now.  And I love it.  The corner of the table is now closer to the wall and nobody is tempted to step over the cord.

Also, it takes up more space without taking up more space. I found it visually pleasing, but it still needed a few more tweaks.

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Mustard Seed office version 3.0 was  basically the prototype to the next and latest version.

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Here we have Dulinsky versions 3.0 and 4.0 “working” hard.

That spot at the table with the bench became so popular that I began to fear for the poor Target bench.  It’s not really meant for so much use.  And though these two are little, there’s also two teenagers, and a grown man…..

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This is what happens when your lights aren’t turned on.  The bench got a new home under the window.

I had to choose- center the bench with the wall, or center it with the window and chandelier.  I chose the latter, and dumped out a basket of shoes onto the front room floor (note to self- clean up shoe pile later) and stuck a roll of wrapping paper in it, just because, you know.  OCD.  There had to be something there.

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There we go.  The Mustard Seed office version 4.0  Finally! If you’re wondering why the teepee is there…animals. Our two cats love to climb in there and chill.  Also, it’s hiding the computer cord….practical staging ya. Practical staging.

I have future plans, but they involve having money.  Money trees aren’t a thing.  Robbing a bank is just way too much trouble. So, I’ll to do it like I always do.  Keep my eyes peeled for good deals, check the couch cushions for change, and add to it little by little.  (I’ll share more on that later.)

Speaking of little by little, I’ll leave you with our most recent project- the lighting.  As the room has evolved right before your eyes- I wonder if you noticed this one tiny change.  (Pauses to do that creepy stare Dora the Explorer does when asking the kids a question.)

How about a picture clue?

That’s right.  The wall sconces.  Same hardware, just different “shades”.  Somebody please comment and tell me what these are actually called, because I’m a moron.

I’ve been wanting new light fixtures for-ev-ah!  But a lack of money, ambition, and knowledge of installing lights has kept this fantasy from becoming a reality.

And then we went to Lowe’s.

I feel like that could be the title of my life story.  Lowe’s is, along with Savers one of our date night staples. And lately, we’ve been slowing our roll as we walk past the lighting area.

 The above pictures are inspiring me to change the boob lights in my family room.  Yeah I said it.  Boob lights.  You know the ones.

Ahem, back to the topic. We started looking at the sconce shades and asked ourselves “what if we just switch the old outdated dirty looking ones for these?”, after chewing on this for a bit, we finally tried it.  After all, if it didn’t work, we could always just return them.

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We were able to snag these Edison bulbs ($5 each) to go along with these two (under $10 each) bringing our sconce redo to a whopping total of $30!  We’d been eyeing sconces and most run about $50. Each.

We saved at least $80 (not including the bulbs), and the trouble of me driving my husband to the ER after electrocuting himself.  Trust me, it would’ve happened.  I’m a menace.  Banned from power tools and hammers, remember?

I’m also lazy, and that my friends was the real inspiration.

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A little taste of things to come.  Norbert the T-Rex is ecstatic.

Next step- order nine identical shades (is it shades?) and do the chandelier.  Sure, it’ll be more than two sconces, but no ER trips….

 

 

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things….

I don’t know about you, but I love to shop.  Here you’ll find five of my favorite stores.

And the first one is………

 

Target

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My husband is often left standing in the parking lot, empty-handed after an hour of strolling through Target, scratching his head. The following conversation is carried out 7 out of 10 times.

Him: “What did we come here for?”

Me: takes a quick drink of my frappuccino “Nothing”

Him: “Nothing?”

Me: nods head while taking a longer sip of that frothy goodness

Him:  “Did we need anything?”

Me: “No.”

Him: contemplates stealing my drink “If we didn’t need anything, why did we drive all the way across town?”

Me: stares at him with a ‘DUH’ look on my face, while handing him my drink because I owe him that much at least “Uh, it’s Target!”

Him: huge sigh before walking away, my drink still in his sneaky hands

But seriously, does one really need to have a reason to go?  I happily go just to stroll through and gaze lovingly at all the pretty things.  Sometimes I go back and buy those things. Such was the case very recently.

I walked in there armed with $20 and a purpose —  to buy something for my new venture (this blogging  and design consulting stuff).

After thirty minutes of dragging my husband down aisles, hemming and hawing over a desktop filer holder (so pretty) versus a memo board (not so pretty, but practical) I had settled on the file holder.  Happy with my soon to be purchase, we headed towards the front of the store.

And passed by the cookie jars.

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How I managed to not give in to his come hither gaze for an entire year is beyond me, especially when you consider the fact that he’s only $19.99!!

 

 

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Look how happy Norbert is! Of course that might be because he’s holding chocolates.  That adorable candy bowl beside him ($3 in that front area at Target) should hold the candy- but then the kids eat it all. Norbert is guarding my treasure.

And this perfectly sums up why I love Target, and why my husband refuses to get in the car with me anymore.  (I’m just kidding. Kinda)  But really, there’s just so much  eye candy there. Some of it is beyond my reach financially, but if I can’t take it home with me, I’ll just continue to gaze at it.

Who knows, maybe one day as I stroll through with my frothy cup of goodness in one hand, and the hand of my bemused husband in the other, I’ll catch one of those out of reach items on clearance.  Like this darling cabinet.  I came across the teal one a few years back and bought the floor model for about $60.  SCORE!

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And speaking of beauties.  Meet Betsy the cow.  After my not so subtle hints to the man  on our innumerous visits through this next store, my husband finally gave in, and on Christmas morning I found myself face to face with this bovine cutie.  Courtesy of my sweet man and favorite store number two…..

Hobby Lobby

My house is like a miniature Hobby Lobby showcase.  I’m not ashamed.  With a constant rotation of 50% , 40%, and 30% off deals how can I possibly resist?

Just like the cookie jar and the teal cabinet (and good ol’ Betsy), a lot of the items I eventually take home, I made googly eyes at for a good year or so.  Like this awesome shelf with baskets. It’s been two years now, and I’m still in love.

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And it’s not just for coffee mugs, though it does well housing my ever growing collection.  I’ve also used it to hold hats and mittens (in the baskets) and coats and bags (from the hooks). Super sturdy.  Totally worth the whole price, but my oh my I’m so glad I only paid half of that.

Of course, I have made a few impulse buys like these four white vases.

 

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At 40% off each, I took home all four for less than $10. And speaking of impulse buys, I couldn’t resist the white fox a year or so later found him in the clearance aisle for about $4!!! Holla!

Actually everything in this picture is from Hobby Lobby except for the gorgeous white owl vase.  She’s from my next favorite store…..

 

Ross

How Do I Love Thee?

Let me count the ways.

  1. From shoes to throw pillows to little metal frogs who hold welcome signs.  You offer a little bit of everything.
  2. And you offer it for just a little (most of the time).  I can actually afford to shop here.  My most recent purchase? This adorable white metal shelf unit that was less than $50.    IMG_0430Even more affordable than that?  Your clothes which brings me to reason number three……
  3.  I love clothes, only it would seem most stores don’t love me.  But Ross, oh dear Ross, you do, and I speak on behalf of all the big, beautiful fashionistas when I say THANK YOU.  Seriously, thank you thank you thank you.   Your affordable prices mean I have enough left in my pocket to jump next door to favorite store number four……..

Marshall’s

Ross and Marshall’s for me go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Like coffee and pie.  Like leggings and sports bras.  Like…well you get the idea.  I can’t go to one without going to the other.

Marshall’s has some of the cutest home decor items, especially for this girl.  Admittedly, their price point is a little higher than Ross, but it’s definitely well worth it.  Cruising through their clearance aisle always ends with me standing before the cashier singing Brittany Spear’s ‘Oops I Did It Again’ in my head.  Every. Single. Time.

Like when I came upon these pineapple chairs (only one is shown in the picture.)

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I spy with my little eye, a cute little froggy guy.  Mr. Frog from Ross agrees that the quirky chairs from the store next door were the perfect addition to our front porch.

No regrets baby. No regrets.

And the last on my list?

Savers

In the poetic words of Macklemore…Imma pop some tags.

That’s right yo.  Thrift shopping is my jam. (And apparently, the eight year old wearing the tiger hat who is dancing to the clean version as I type this all out agrees….)

Photographic proof ya’ll

Look, we’re a family of six on one income, so this is a no brainer. I mean, $28 dollar hard back books for just $3.50? Clothes for everyone, even the dog for next to nothing? Yeah baby. Sign me up.

Cruising through my local Saver’s is a never-ending source of entertainment, and is often a part of our date night itinerary.  Our most hilarious experience was just a few months ago when we walked past the photo albums.  My husband picked up a light blue baby album, and opened it up.

Ladies and gentlemen, it was not empty.

And it wasn’t just cute head shots.  Well, I mean you could see the head too……. I’ll let that sink in for you.  Did it just click?  Did your eyes widen in horror?  If so, then yes, you got my drift. So did the cashier when we brought it to his attention.

In my defense, I did warn him not to open it.

I look forward to hearing from you! So give a shout out below and tell me your favorite stores to shop at and why.