The Great Furniture Switch

The Great Furniture Switch


Normally our Saturdays are all about bathroom cleaning and naps.  But this past Saturday took on a life of its own after James informed me that he really wished I would switch the living room and dining room.  He asks for so few things around here.  I tend to run the show when it comes to room arranging and décor, so I felt like I should do it.

Great dining room/school room!

The new dining room/ school room

Also, I didn’t mind that it would be motivation to get everything really clean, as in buh-bye dust bunnies and cobwebs.  Under my furniture gets pretty bad.  Plus, my area rug was on its last leg and I had been wanting to roll it up and throw it away.  So on Saturday morning I informed the boys that it was going to be a mom/boy work day.  After they leapt for joy and thanked me for the opportunity, we got to work.  Plus I bribed them with money.

Dining room is a homeschool room.

The schoolroom side of the dining room.

We have gone back and forth with these 2 rooms over the years with pros and cons for both arrangements.  On one hand, the way it’s been for the past couple of years had the dining room right off the kitchen which is handy and makes life easier.  On the other hand, when the living room is in that spot we hang out in there a lot and spend more time relaxing as a family.  BUT that means when you walk in our house you’re immediately in the dining room, which isn’t my favorite.  See?  Pros.  Cons.

dining room school room for a homeschool family

The view of the front door from the school area.

Doing this kind of job is complicated, like one of those little 3×3 slider puzzles with an empty slot that you slide the pieces around until you have them in order from 1-8.  You can’t do it without that empty slot.  In the same way we needed to create an empty place to begin the great furniture switch.

A fun school room/ dining room

This vintage fridge holds blankets and is a playful addition to the dining room.

We took a sofa out to the front porch and then started sliding furniture back and forth, cleaning as we moved each piece.  It was like a dance: step left then slide right, push, shuffle, sweep, repeat.  We even had music playing to keep us moving.  We listened to everything from Rascal Flats to Star Wars soundtracks.

great homeschool room!

The school table and bookshelf with our favorite books on it!

Slowly, slowly we chipped away at it until the furniture had been moved and the rooms were clean.  Then we started the process of finding the best arrangements.  Once we got the basics in place, it was time to take care of the finer details like walls and shelves.  It’s a matter of trying something, stepping back, adjusting, wandering around the house looking for just the right object, trying again, over and over.  I still have a few things to do and I’ll be tweaking for the rest of the week, but we got it mostly done.

Use the kids' initials for wall art!

I’m still searching for a few of the kids’ initials.

We even went through all of the school books and supplies (which was a monster job!) and we cleaned out the games and movies.  I am telling you, we left no stone unturned.  By around 5:00 we were all so exhausted that we collapsed in our new living room and just stared at each other.  No one moved for about half an hour until the debate began over who was going to get up and make us all something for dinner.  That could only mean one thing….pizza.

Fall dining room

Sweet little pumpkins as a centerpiece

On Sunday morning we were still worn out from the day before (and the past few stressful weeks), so we decided to take a day off from everything.  No church, no cleaning, no social media, no school work, no nothin’.  We piled in the car and headed to the city to just hang out together, have a nice meal and relax.  We did a little shopping for a few things the kids needed, saw a movie, had some Mexican food and walked around in the gorgeous weather just enjoying being together.  It was the nicest day I have had in months.

Great living room on a budget, chalkboard wall, hard to arrange!

The living room with chalkboard wall.

This week I have a few things to wrap up in the newly arranged rooms and a lot of school to get done with the boys, but it should be nice and simple.  My older kids each have projects they’re working on, so we’re all buzzing around doing our thing, helping each other and spending time supporting each other.

happy living room on a budget!

The other side of the living room

And now that there are no more dust bunnies in that part of the house I am feeling a weight off that I didn’t realize I had.  I always crave clean, but seldom seem to get there.  This is nice.

Family living room on a budget

My sweet floating shelves and chalkboard wall

And making my husband happy on top of all of it makes it kind of a perfect weekend.

Have a great week!

Oldies but Goodies

Oldies but Goodies

This week I am locked away working on my next book.  It turns out that I write better when I don’t have to do 8 loads of laundry a day or have to grade a dozen math papers.  So I have gone into hiding for a few days to get the first draft finished.  I’ll be back next week, but while I am away I thought I’d remind you of a few older projects in case you’re in the mood for something fun to do.

  1. We just finished moving kids’ bedroom around and the boy’s Lego shelves are being overhauled.  I thought I’d show you these giant Legos I made a few years ago that we put on the shelves to add a bit of a break from the bright colors and plastic.

    How to make a fun extra for the kids room.  Lego decorating.

  2. Also last week I was adding some pumpkins to the front porch and I was enjoying the fun of my painted houndstooth rug and I thought I’d share it with you in case you want to paint one for yourself! 

    How to paint a houndstooth rug! -- The Pennington Point

  3. The last big thing we worked on last weekend was cleaning out the kids’ school lockers.  Several years ago I found these old lockers at a flea market and because they were bright yellow the price was low.  No one wanted yellow lockers!  But a few cans of white spray paint later and they were perfect in my living room.  My school kids actually keep their school books in there and the extra lockers hold Wii games and extra school books.

I am always up to a something around the house and I am hoping to do some new arranging over the next few weeks in the living areas.  But don’t tell James.  I like to surprise him.

Be sure to stop by your favorite bookseller and pick up my book “Mama Needs a Do-Over” if you haven’t already!
Have a great week!  Happy fall!
Sharing a Moment

Sharing a Moment

Well friends, this past Tuesday I had one of those once in a lifetime moments.  The kind that you will always remember because it is the culmination of a lifelong dream.

I went to lunch with my daughter (we had a sweet time!) and when we arrived back home there were 4 big boxes waiting for me.  I knew immediately what was inside of them….MY BOOK.  For the first time I was going to get to hold the real deal in my little hands.

I almost cried the ugly cry.

The only thing that held me back from excessive tears was that my entire family (aka: whoever happened to be home at the time ‘cuz I wasn’t going to wait) was standing around me as I pulled the tape off of the first box labeled David C Cook.  My publisher.  Everyone gave me room to just experience the moment as I lifted one out of the box.


What looked like a simple moment on the outside was really years and years of dreams and work and watching God do miraculous things in my life and the life of my family.

Since I was a little girl I wanted to write a book, or two or ten.  It was something I was supposed to do, but how on earth does a plain old girl from Texas get a book deal?  I knew God put the dream in me, but I had NO idea HOW He would pull it off.

So I kept honing my craft and continued stepping down each section of path that God lit up for me along the way.  But I could never see the end of that path, or even two steps ahead, it was one step at a time.   It was a lot of waiting and wondering and “this may never happen” moments.

But it did happen.  God moved in amazing ways and one by one the pieces fell into place.  I’d meet someone, who led me to the next step, which gave me another idea and so on.  Each piece of the story is such a God-thing.  How I met my incredible agent is a great story I need to tell you someday.  The other author friends He gave me….unbelievable.  How He provided a beautiful place for me to really dig in and write….I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t lived it.

All leading to this…..


The proof of how excited I was shows in the fact that I didn’t even stop to brush my hair or put on lipstick.  Please just look at the book and don’t focus on how sweaty I was.  It was 107° and I had been outside all morning.  Let’s just be glad that my eyebrows are still there.

And this is an even better picture….


Ham alert on the left

These people have my heart.  They have stuck with me through more failures and mix ups and messes than I care to think about.  This is my cheering section.  And I am theirs.

In fact, several of the kids took a book to their room and started reading it.  That actually never occurred to me….that they would read a book written for moms.  Even Levi got in on the action.  I walked into the living room and found this…


I held back a laugh as I asked him, “Well, how do you like it so far?”  He gave me a serious look and replied, “Well, I’m only on chapter 2, but I’ve learned a lot about being who God made you to be and a little about why you’re so tired.”

I’m calling it.  Best book review I’ll ever get.

The book will be released on September 1, but you can pre-order it now.  In fact, it would be awesomeness if you would go ahead and pre-order because that gives Amazon (or wherever you like to buy) the illusion that I am someone worth paying attention to and they will give it a higher rank-something-or-other that I don’t really understand.

Check out my book page for more details and a link to my 7-day reading plan.

I want to thank you all for your incredible support also!  It’s been a long road and you’ve been a source of strength for me.  I just adore ya!


Be sure to follow me on Facebook where lots of great conversations happen!


Boys Can Be very Helpful

Boys Can Be very Helpful

It has been a full few days with furniture rearranging and friends and dental appointments.  I may need a whole day’s nap to recover.

Last Saturday my girls decided to go out for some thrift store shopping, so I was left alone with the 4 younger boys.  It was either going to turn into a Lego-fest or I could use their future man muscles for the greater good, so I decided to have them help me rearrange some furniture.  I promised them the whole afternoon to themselves if they would help me.

I needed to use some of the junk I bought recently so we brought it in the house to figure out where to put it.  While we were at it we cleaned under the couches and dusted everything.  The amount of dust in this house could fill a king sized mattress.

I had an old fridge (don’t ask me why I bought this….it just spoke to me) and a worn section of fence to put somewhere.  So I would point, “Let’s try it over here” and we kept moving things until we got it how I liked it.  This is not only an opportunity to help Mom, but a lesson in future husbandness.


We put the old fridge in the corner and hung our metal letters over it.  We are keeping blankets in the fridge.  The irony is not lost.


I moved one of the couches back to make the room seem bigger.  I used old footstools behind it to keep it from pushing back against the window.


Over the other couch I hung a fence section.  I like putting something extra big over that couch.  It makes the low ceiling feel taller.

Using junk to fix up a room!

When James saw the fence he immediately said, “You paid money for that?!  We probably have everything you need to make one in our trash wood pile!”  Yes, but for $10 this one is done.


To make room for the fridge I had to remove some things and put the TV on a dresser that was a little short.  Plus I needed a place for the DVD player and Wii.  So I had one of the boys throw a little shelf together with junk wood.  It’s perfect and James is happy we used the wood pile.


The piano stayed where it was….it just got a little accessory update.

Having the boys help rearrange the furniture!

The rest of the house got picked up and straightened too and we settled into Saturday afternoon all relaxed and ready for the week.

On Sunday after church we drove to Austin for my parent’s 51st anniversary.  We hung out at my sister’s house for a few hours then headed home to get ready for a day full of company the next day.  It was fun to all be together.  With the kids all growing up we don’t go out as a whole family much anymore.  Our 15 passenger van was wondering why we hadn’t taken it out for a joy ride for so long.

Monday was a simple time of friends and burgers on the grill and kids running around making too much noise.  Everyone left by 9PM because I had to get up early the next day for a dentist appointment.

I’ve been dealing with some tooth issues for a couple of weeks, so I had been anxiously waiting this day.  He thinks he figured out the problem and I am, hopefully, on my way to a pain free mouth again.  Dental problems stink.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Let’s talk about junk and furniture again.  It’s a much happier subject!

This next weekend our family will be going to the Forge Conference.  It’s great teaching, wholesome families and great fellowship.  I’m looking forward to it!  If you decide to attend please find me and say hello!!!

Have a great day!


Come Join Me for a Pinterest Party!

Come Join Me for a Pinterest Party!

I’ve been in a crafty mood lately.  It must be the cold weather mixed with my lack of time for getting whole rooms remodeled.  But I felt a need to get my craft on.

So I made a few things, just simple stuff really.  And the fun part is I am going to be at a local Michael’s this Sunday from 1-3 to show how I made them.  And to hang out with those of you who stop by!  I am joining Hometalk and Michael’s for a party all over the country.  If you can’t come to mine, I’ll bet there’s one near you!


Juts look at the cuteness hanging over my couch!  It was so easy to make I am almost embarrassed to be doing it at the party.


I may have to redecorate my whole living room around these lovelies!


It just makes me happy.


And because I can’t stop with just one thing, I also made this little bunting.


I love the combination of decorating and inspiring.


And if you follow Michael’s on Hometalk  you could win one of five $100 gift cards!  Go, Go!  I will wait while you go do it.

Follow to win!!!

Thanks for coming by and letting me show you my crafts.  And if you want you can follow me on Hometalk too.  (but I won’t give you a gift card for it)


See you there!

Old Clothes and Japanese Restaurants

Old Clothes and Japanese Restaurants

Being a true American, I overate on Thanksgiving.  I made some eating decisions before the big day arrived so I wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that I am on a diet and regret my choices.  I would allow myself a little bit of dressing and one sliver of pie (in addition to the turkey and salad of course!).

I did stick to my goal except I had a second sliver of lemon pie that night.  Although I felt too full, that wasn’t the problem.  The problem came on Friday night when we went out to eat with my aunt and uncle.  That’s where I lost all sense of right and wrong.

We went to one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook your food at the table.  It was a sight and even though I just ordered chicken, shrimp and veggies, there was something about that food that caused me to lose control.  My plate was piled high with deliciousness and it was shamefully enough to feed a small country.  And I ate every.single.bite.

Afterward I pushed myself away from the table and may have been slightly green.  It left me feeling sick and I am not kidding…..I continued to feel stuffed the rest of the weekend.  If you are reading this in 2014 I am probably still full from that meal.

On Saturday morning I decided enough was enough with my closet full of clothes that don’t fit me and I started cleaning.  I had Elijah, my 10 year old, helping me by throwing away trash and carrying large mounds of clothing from the closet to my bedroom.  I’m not kidding…..there is a mountain in there!  I almost lost him at one point and thought I might have to dive in after him.

I made myself let go of everything that’s too big, which was almost everything.  Now this is embarrassing to admit, but I felt so sad getting rid of those things!  I know it’s just clothes and it’s a victory and all that.  But cute, modest, plus-sized clothes are hard to find and as I watched them get tossed onto the pile I felt pangs of sadness.  I really will miss some of them.

I’m not sure what to do with them now.  I am considering selling them on eBay or Craig’s List.  But that would involve a lot of work and I don’t know if photographing clothes, listing them then packaging them to ship is how I want to spend my Christmas holiday.  What do you do with your old clothes that are perfectly good? 

We spent the rest of the weekend doing the second most popular Thanksgiving tradition….the decorating of the house for Christmas.  It’s a slow progression and this full, tired, nearly clothesless mom took her sweet time getting it all set up.  Each of the kids had an assignment involving some form of Christmas decorating right down to the repair of last year’s nutcracker decoration.

I am so glad I painstakingly stored it in my closet and have been stepping carefully over it for a whole year only to pick it up and and have it fall apart in my hands and need to be completely reassembled.

Note to self: just go ahead and store the nutcracker decoration with all of the other Christmas ornaments this year.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and I really hope you were wiser than I when it came to your food choices.  May your December be merry and bright and all your nutcrackers be intact.


Make Your Own Christmas Coffee Table!

Make Your Own Christmas Coffee Table!

I felt like a change this year….not the same old holiday decor that I have been using for years.  And since none of my old stuff has any real sentimental value, I decided to try some new things….just for fun!

I started with my coffee table.  It’s the centerpiece of my living room, so why shouldn’t it be Christmas-adorable?

I started with a furniture dolly that I bought at the flea market last summer.  I plan to make it into a permanent coffee table, but it’s been sitting in the corner of my living room waiting for me to have time to do something with it.  So I used it as a base for my holiday-licious table.

Then I cut up some heavy duty boxes.  You know, the ones my husband makes me keep from appliances that we have had for over a year.  My daughter, Hope, and I cut the boxes into sizes we needed to fit the space, then taped them together using duct tape.

Make a Christmas coffee table!

Then I wrapped them in cute wrapping paper (that I bought at Target).

I used the glass top from our old coffee table and voila!  A whole new holiday look!

Make your own Christmas coffee table!

Don’t you love it?!  And all it cost was a few rolls of wrapping paper, which I have enough left to wrap quite a few presents.

Make your own Christmas coffee table!

Last year we made a candy cane fence for the front porch from a pallet….I love free Christmas decorations!

Make your own Christmas coffee table!

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Bringing Home the Good Old Days

Bringing Home the Good Old Days

I’ve been wanting to show you a few of the things I brought home with me a couple of weeks ago when I was helping my parents pack to move.  Since they were downsizing I got to keep some things that I love.  One piece I took was a chest that had been my grandmother’s.

This, boys and girls, was what we used to have to play music on when I was a little girl.  We didn’t have ipods with 7 ka-jillion songs on it.  Nope, we had record players and radios.  If we wanted to listen to music we had to do it in the living room where everyone could hear it.

I remember thumbing through her albums and playing music while we danced around the room.  She was all of 4′ 10″ tall and so funny when she danced. She was a character.

I am not sure what I will do with this chest eventually.  But for now it’s going to sit in my living room and remind me of those bygone days of 60s music and eating Mrs. Baird’s Honey Buns while we laughed before Grandpa got home from work.  Then we had to be quiet.

The front opens up to reveal a record player on the left and a radio on the right.

I was thinking about painting it, but my family freaked out when I mentioned it.  Of course, they freaked out when I said I was going to paint the piano and that didn’t stop me.  Nothing is safe here.  I am simply not a fan of brown.

But I have other projects to get to first, so I will leave it there and let my mind fill with ideas.  Then one day I will pick one and before anyone knows what happened I will have done it.

That’s only one of the treasures I stole……I mean my mom let me have.  When I have time there are several things I got that I want to reframe or paint or cover to update them then they will feel right at home next to my flea market goodies.

And kids, the next time you’re bored at Grandma’s so you stick those earbuds in your ears to listen to your favorite songs, think of your Aunt Lisa and how she had to play all of her music through this big cabinet when she went to visit her grandmother.

Those were the good old days.

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My Summer Home Tour!

My Summer Home Tour!

I am so, so, so glad you stopped by for my tour da casa.  Life here in the Texas Hill Country is sweet and simple.  Nothing fancy, but we love every bit of it!

Right inside the front door is the living room. 

We built this room ourselves on a wing and a prayer since we had no idea what we were doing.  Even though the room is small, I worked and worked until I found an arrangement that would give all 11 of us a place to sit comfortably.

I used to wish for an entryway, but then I decided that the porch could be my entryway.  Making the most of what I have is my favorite pastime. Below you can see a chair I painted and recovered, a clock I made from an abandoned bird cage stand and some lockers I painted to use for the kids’ school books.

All of our furniture is from flea markets and hand-me-downs.  I take what I find and remake it into what fits our home.  I’ll paint anything….like our piano!

Many of the small details in my home are from my etsy shop, Shop 24.

Just through the living room is the dining room/school room.

The black table is for eating and the white table is where we homeschool with the added benefit of having plenty of extra table space when we have guests for dinner…which is pretty often.

The long buffet behind the black table serves two purposes.  The kids can use it as a desk during the day and we can serve food from it at mealtime.  I try to get as many uses out of one thing as I can.

My big chalkboard wall is constantly changing.  I can draw anything on it depending on what mood I’m in….and I can be moody.  So it changes often.

Even though we don’t do sports (you wouldn’t want to see me do sports, I run like a chicken) I used a sports theme for the summer.  It makes us want to get outside and play!

The other side of the room is the school space.

I use the giant white board for school and to write a new Bible verse every day that we try to memorize.  I also sometimes write lists or chores on the board.  You can read more about how I keep my homeschool area organized!

Around the corner from the school area is our little study room.

I enclosed part of the porch to create this teeny room.  But don’t measure its usefulness by its size….we couldn’t do without it!  The kids can go in there to read or work on their computer or do some quiet school work.  They can close the door and concentrate.  Perfect!

And the letters on the wall are not supposed to be a word.  I’m just slowly gathering all of the kids’ first initials as I see them at flea markets.  It takes time to find nine vintage letters.

On the other side of the dining room is our kitchen.  We built the kitchen all by ourselves on a shoestring budget.  Two ranges, two microwaves, two fridges….it’s perfect for a large family!

In the picture below you can see my kids’ lunch area, my stained glass that came from an old church and my beige chalkboard wall (next to the electric range) where we keep a running grocery list.  Gotta stay organized!

If you go out the kitchen door you step onto a deck that leads to our pool.

It’s a simple, above ground pool.  My son and I built the deck and we built our own outdoor furniture so I can sit right there and work on the blog while the kids swim.

I love sitting out there.  What we lack in expensive luxury, we make up for in peace and tranquility.

Before we go back inside let’s walk around to the front of the house where we have an outdoor eating area, the “Pavilion.”  I found the old sign at a church bazaar and hung it there and the name stuck.  I put the eating area in the front because that’s where the evening shade is, and I am a shade kind of girl.  We eat out there as much as possible.

We had our 25th anniversary party out there a couple of years ago and it was a beautiful evening!

The rest of the house is bedrooms and bathrooms.  With 9 kids in a small house I have to get creative about bedroom spaces.  My 19 year old daughter sleeps in an enclosed porch area.  We made it to also serve as a guest room.

This girl is a bit of a minimalist.  All she wants is a cozy place to sit and some beach things around her and she’s happy.

Two of my boys share a little western themed room complete with horse in the barn that I painted myself

And two of my teen girls live in a finished out attic.

Even though they can only stand up in the middle, they are so happy to have their own space that they don’t care one bit.  And every single thing in this room was free except the wood we bought to build the shelves.  We found the headboards in someone’s trash and just painted them!

Below the girls’ attic bedroom is the master bedroom.  It’s my oasis on a hard day of homeschooling, laundry and painting furniture (which I am usually doing all at the same time).

I do most of my work in this room.  I sit in my recliner and work online after all of the kids are in bed.

My bathroom is another place I like to hide occasionally.

For some reason the kids don’t think to look for me there, so when I need a few minutes to myself I sneak in the bathroom with a book and a Diet Dr Pepper.

That’s it for my summer home tour.  It’s been great having you visit and I hope you’ll come back again soon!

Here are a few other amazing homes you might want to visit!!!

The Nester @ Nesting Place
Chris @ Just a Girl
Emily @ Decor Chick
Roeshel @ DIY Show Off
Marianne @ Songbird
Lindsay @ Makely Home
Sandra @ Sawdust Girl

And don’t forget to follow me on Facebook!

Living Room Color Reveal!

Living Room Color Reveal!

We’ve been sprucing up the place for the past couple of weeks.  Painting, dusting and furniture rearranging has everything feeling spiffy.

There’s nothing new but it still feels fresh.  I like that we did it with just a few cans of paint and a little bit of wood.  It took me a few tries, but I found a gray that I really, really like.  It’s Silver Song from Benjamin Moore.  What I love is it’s not blue or orange, but just gray.  I think the combination of gray walls and white trim is so elegant and lovely.  Not to mention clean walls….nothing says elegance like a lack of scratch marks and crayon rubbings.

Here’s what you see walking in the front door….welcome to our home.

The furniture used to create more of a long rectangle.  I thought a square would feel more open, so after we painted I only moved the bigger pieces back in and played with the arrangement.  This is much roomier!

I also like the TV tucked behind the rock wall.  It can be seen from every seat, but it’s not the centerpiece of the room.

If you look up you can see the rail we painted with a soft, blue-green.  Up there is the new “Lego room”.

I’m crazy about this little footstool I made last year with an old metal crate.

I left the hand-painted Bible verse on the wall behind the white couch, but I decided to add planks around it to add a detail that would give the room character.  They’re just 1x4s we nailed to the wall.  You can see it here in the corner.

Of course, my beautiful piano is still there.  I just moved it to the other side of the room.

Also, I raised the curtains from the top of the window to the ceiling.  It made a huge difference and I wonder why I didn’t do it a long time ago.

I know, the wall color looks like the same color it was before.  But it’s not.  It was green, but it was always hard to photograph.  So you’ll just have to believe me.

Next week I’ll show you the new and improved dining room.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Linking to: Imparting Grace, Tater Tots and Jello, Transformation Thursday