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The Toddler and My Craft Room

24 Oct

I had a question in the comments of my craft room re-do post about how I keep my toddler from getting into my stuff in my craft room.  Short answer: I don’t.  At least, not completely.  We do have a baby gate over the doorway into the kitchen, and you have to go through the kitchen to get to the craft room. That means Alex doesn’t always have free rein in the house.  However, the craft room is next to the laundry room, and we have to go through the laundry room to get to the garage.  That means that any time we go somewhere, we go through my room.  Alex almost always stops to open a drawer and grab some stuff.  I find my craft things all over the house sometimes.  Or in the car.

I found pipe cleaners in the kitchen.

I found pipe cleaners in the kitchen.

Craft felt strewn about.  You'd be surprised how many times my child insists he has to bring an armful of felt with him when we go somewhere.

Craft felt strewn about. You’d be surprised how many times my child insists he has to bring an armful of felt with him when we go somewhere.

More pipe cleaners, some stuffed animals, and other mess thrown about my work area by the toddler

More pipe cleaners, some stuffed animals, and other mess thrown about my work area by the toddler

I used to get pretty frustrated that he wouldn’t leave my stuff alone.  So, I changed my storage up a bit.  I moved anything dangerous or disastrously messy out of his reach.  Then I put stuff that I don’t mind him messing with in some of the drawers.  He figured out pretty quickly which drawers are his to play in, and he leaves my other drawers alone.  This made things so much more peaceful for both of us, as I don’t constantly have to pry things out of that death grip he has, and he doesn’t end up in frustrated, angry tears because I took stuff away.  He’s a curious toddler, so I figure it’s better to give him things he can dig around in, rather than fight with him every time we’re in that room.  The drawer pictured above with the craft felt?  That’s his.

He likes sponges, so even though I use this stuff, he's allowed to play with it.  And tongue depressors are just super cool--as long as his doctor isn't using one to check his throat for strep.

He likes sponges, so even though I use this stuff, he’s allowed to play with it. And tongue depressors are just super cool–as long as his doctor isn’t using one to check his throat for strep.

And finally, I added a little more hidden storage where I can place things up high and out of his reach.  The door leading into the laundry room is always kept open, as the cats’ litterbox is in there, and they need to have access to it at all times.  It was a great place to keep things hidden–until the toddler started messing with the door one day and discovered this new treasure trove!  I’ve had to move a few more things (hello glue sticks all over my house!), but for the most part, he leaves all that stuff alone.

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This is what’s working for us right now.  I may need to change a few things up in the future, but for now, this is good.


Organized Meals

28 Mar

I’ve recently made my life a bajillion times easier.  I’ve been loosely meal-planning for a while now, but I’ve reached that point in life where things really can’t be kept inside my head if I want to actually remember them.  Writing things down is key.  No longer can I rely on my memory to know that I wanted to cook a certain meal on a certain night.  My toddler is sucking my energy and my brain cells, apparently.

I went to Staples and purchased a Martha Stewart weekly planner that I can keep on the fridge.  It’s one of those sticky, yet not sticky things that easily peels off while leaving no residue.  I think it was a mere $5-6, and let me just say that it was money well spent!  I now spend a little time on Sundays planning out what meals I’m going to make, then I write them down on the fridge.

This has the added benefit of keeping me unstressed right now when it comes to cooking, as Alex is currently on a dairy-free elimination diet.  Everything on my planner is made without any milk products.  It’s a bit daunting to realize I can’t use butter or milk or cheese in any of my recipes, but it’s making a huge difference for me to have the whole week’s meals planned out in advance, as I can’t just run to any old, easy stand-bys, as cheese or butter often factor in.

I’m kind of in love with this thing.


And just because I love me some organization, here’s my spice cabinet.  Yes, all the glass jars are alphabetized.  It’s kind of sick that this makes me so happy.


Pulled Apart

8 Jan

I mentioned the other day that I finally got our coat closet unpacked and organized.  The bifold doors had a track that needed to be replaced for the doors to close properly.  Steven took them down to get at it and realized that like much of this house, the closet had been done in a very sloppy manner by the previous owner.  The framework had a line of unpainted wood where the doors sat.  They painted the woodwork without bothering to remove the doors!  Who does that?!  Then Steven noticed that the baseboards inside the closet had never been painted…

He pulled out everything that I’d just gotten organized and put into place!  That’s okay, though, because he did it to fix everything that was wrong.  Sometimes his perfectionism drives me nuts, but other times, it’s pretty awesome.  Our coat closet is now covered in a fresh coat of paint.


Closet Overhaul

4 Jan

We left a really nice-sized walk-in closet in our bedroom in Texas and moved into a home with his-and-hers closets.

This was taken prior to move-in, before we painted, and before the nasty carpet was replaced

This was taken prior to move-in, before we painted, and before the nasty carpet was replaced

I forgot to take a before photo of my closet, but Steven’s closet will do to let you know how very inadequate these closets were.

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A single bar and shelf on each side.  Steven could cram his clothes in there, but he had a ton of stuff thrown on top of those shelves, somewhat disorganized.  (You miss the messy shelves because I remembered to take a photo as he was in the process of removing everything from his closet.)  As for me, my clothes didn’t have a prayer of fitting on a mere 2 bars, and those shelves were too inconveniently high to be of any real use to my short self.  All my overflow clothing was in the coat closet, which couldn’t be unpacked and organized until my clothing was removed.  This project was long overdue.

Steven removed a bar and the shelf on one side of my closet.  He raised that bar up towards the ceiling, then added a second bar underneath.  I would have been happy with just that, but my husband wanted to give me extra storage in there.  He put together a shoe-storage cube for me, then built shelves to go on the wall above that.


The build-out my husband did in the center of the closet (and yes, I have way more shoes than are pictured here)


The side where he raised the bar and added another


This side was basically left alone for my longer items, although he did paint the shelf so everything matches

I have more storage space now than I actually need!  I was able to move our bed linens from the linen closet upstairs into my closet.  Very inconvenient to go upstairs to get linens for the downstairs!  And that hanging shelf thing that you can see in the far right of the last picture is gone now, as I don’t need it.  It’s now in the coat closet.

Steven built shelves for the center wall of his closet that go from floor to ceiling.  He raised the bars on both sides of his closet, added a second bar on one side, then put in shelves on the lower half of the other side.


He also now has more closet space than he actually needs.  It’s amazing how just utilizing the given space efficiently can make such a difference!


Still Battling

3 Jan

Alex is still quite sick, but I think we’re finally on the upswing.  After 4 straight days of refusing all milk, I got him to drink his morning sippy today.  And despite the steroids he has to take for RSV, which have turned him into a wild child, he’s back to his normal napping schedule.  This has been a rough week, as we’ve had to stay vigilant and deal with the frequent meltdowns that occur because he doesn’t feel well and he’s taking steroids.  (Just one more day, just one more day, just one more day…)

Alex goes back to the doctor on Friday to get checked out again.  Based on the fact that he still has most of his symptoms, I suspect he’ll continue to test positive for RSV, but I’m hoping the strep test will be negative this time.  He acts like he feels better, so I hope this is reality and not a temporary illusion.  If you would, please, say a prayer for our boy.  He’s as tired of being sick as we are of dealing with illness.  Cabin fever has hit full force.

In the meantime, we’ve been attempting to get this house in better order.  After living here nearly 8 months, we finally tackled the closets over Christmas break.  I’ll share more in a later post about what Steven did to our bedroom closets, but I’ll leave you with a picture of the coat closet, which finally got unpacked this week.  (It was never unpacked before now because our closets couldn’t hold all our stuff, so the overflow was in the coat closet.  That’s all remedied now.)