Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Quest For an Organized Mud Room--Please Help! :)

As many of you know, we moved into a new house back at the end of September. We got settled in fairly quickly, then went through the rounds of 2 holidays and 4 birthdays. Now that things have settled down and we're beginning a new year and all, it's time for HOUSE PROJECTS!

I'm making a room-by-room list of everything I want to fix up. Our house was move-in ready, so there aren't any really major repairs to be done--I'm mostly talking about changing some paint colors here and there, and then furnishing/decorating to make it really fit our lifestyle and needs. And of course I'll be trying to do all of this on a budget! I'm thinking about tackling one room or area each month.

The first area to tackle is the hallway we're using as a mud room. It's between the garage and the kitchen, and is basically what would be the continuation of our wrap-around porch. As such, it has a whopping 5 doors to work around--1 into the garage, 1 (open doorway) into the kitchen, 2 that go to either end of the porch, and 1 into the 1/2 bathroom. Here are some pictures...

Looking from the kitchen to the garage door...
(For size perspective that's all 13-inch tile.)

The exterior door here goes to the back side of the porch, and the door on the left goes into the half-bath...

Opposite view--this door goes to the front part of the porch, and is our main entrance. We have a "formal" front door that goes into the foyer/entryway, but we rarely use it.

From the front porch looking in...we have one 5-peg coat rack (only for children's coats--adults are in the foyer closet) a small shelf for shoes, and a large milk crate on the floor for hats, gloves, scarves, etc.

Just inside the garage door...

Looking from the garage door to the kitchen...

The main problem is that we have way too much stuff that needs to be in here, and no workable way to organize it. Right now, the boys are outside in all their snow gear, so this room looks pretty clean. Normally, the floor is COVERED with wet/drippy snow boots, snow bibs, and an explosion of stuff that has to be carefully stepped over to get in or out! It's a MESS!

So, I need IDEAS!!! And they need to fit in this space, lol! Oh, and I've pretty much already decided that the door to the back porch can be sacrificed--I'm totally willing to put something in front of that door for storage, and make everyone walk around to the front porch side to enter the house. Anyway, this is what I need:
1. Hanging space for 6 children worth of coats.
2. Hanging space for 6 children worth of snow suits.
3. Space for shoes and snow boots, preferably in such a way that they can drip-dry over something other than just making puddles on the tile.
4. Space for more logical storage of hats/gloves/scarves/etc. Right now they're in a bin on the floor, which really means they're usually strewn all over the floor.
5. Storage for other outdoor stuff (like umbrellas) would be nice as well.

Here are the dimensions of the room--
1. The length from back porch door to front porch door is 13'4".
2. The width of the hall between the bathroom door and the current coat rack is 3'7".
3. The width of the wall with the front porch door is 6'11".
4. The width of the wall with the garage door is 5'3".

So come on everyone, hit me with your best ideas!! I know it's going to be a tight fit, but I'm sure it can be done! I promise to post after pictures when it's all fixed up! :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Last night, I texted a picture of my little Joanna to my sister, along with the caption "Hi, Aunt Stefanie!" My sister texted back that she didn't even recognize her, and wasn't that sad? Well yes, Stefanie, that IS sad! And it's totally my fault for not posting any pictures of the little princess for MONTHS. So, in the interest of keeping all of our out-of-state relatives (and friends) up-to-date, here are some recent pictures of our sweet little girl.

Posing with Joshua and one of our kitties. She loves the kitties, and wants to hug/pet/strangle them anytime someone lets one in the house.

She also loves the piano. She can just barely reach the keys standing at the bench, but she stretches up and bangs away anyway.

Helping Daddy decorate the Christmas tree...

Enjoying Joseph's birthday cake...


Little diva in the making...

A tiny tree un-decorator...

Her favorite Christmas present...a little purse that sings and contains cute little purse things such as keys, a crinkly fabric dollar, a pink bracelet, a mirror, and her favorite--a plastic pink lipstick! Notice how I managed to frame this one in front of a trash bag of wrapping paper and somebody's discarded dirty sock. Oh, well!!

With Daddy at Chuck E. Cheese's...

She totally takes after her Aunt Stefanie, who also had her own drawer in the kitchen as a baby. Joanna plays here daily.

She is nearing 14 months old already--where does the time go? And she's cruising the furniture, almost ready to walk!! It is so fun to watch her grow--and I'll try really hard not to wait another 4-5 months before posting more pictures!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Update On the Girls

...The feathered girls, that is!

They are 11 weeks old today. With all the snow we've had lately, I thought it might be fun to see what they thought of it, and take some pictures to share at the same time. They were very interested in the open door, since they're pretty much cooped up inside with all this cold, but they had very little interest in stepping out into the snow! I was about 6 feet away from the door snapping pics, when suddenly there was a flapping of wings overhead. Turns out one of the girls was curious enough to fly out to what looked like a safe spot--the top of my head!

We nailed this strip of plywood just inside the door, because every time we opened the door their shavings were spilling out and making a mess, not to mention making it very difficult to close the door. Here one of the Barred Rocks has decided to check out the strange white stuff. I love how the others are hanging over the edge, as if to ask her how it is and if it's safe for them to come out, too!

I think she's telling the others that it's fairly harmless, although cold and not very interesting. I still haven't learned chicken-speak, though, so I may be wrong.

This little Buff Orpington was brave enough to fly out and actually land in the snow. But then she had no idea what to do from there. I let her sit there for a few minutes, then rescued her.

The Barred Rocks are still the littlest of the flock. I think they'll be prettier when their red combs and wattles grow in, but for now I think they look kind of funny! I love their stripes, though.

This is one of the Easter Eggers, and the biggest bird in the bunch. This is also one of the two that we suspect might actually be a rooster. Time will tell, I suppose! Joshua and Jonathan have named him Angus. The funny thing is that they don't know that Angus is a breed of cattle--they've named him that after McDonalds' angus third-pounder hamburger. Their theory is that that is Micky D's biggest burger, and this guy is our biggest chicken. Somehow in their minds that relates well.

No one can walk into the coop without being mobbed for treats...

Joey trying to catch one...

Angus out in the snow showing off his impressive wing span

This is Joey with his favorite chicken, a little EE he named Pecker. The scratch on his nose is a battle scar from a recent fight he lost with a certain 7-year-old brother...

Here's the other one we suspect might be a rooster, if only because it is bigger than the other BOs and already has a red comb and wattles. I'm not fully convinced yet. Jon tells me he's heard this one trying to crow, though, so we'll see. They've named this one Doodle, as in cock-a-doodle-doo, of course!

Jordan holding Doodle. I don't think Doodle is particularly fond of cuddling with little boys.

Joey with a currently unnamed EE...

Jon (and Josh's arm)

I love this one's face!

Jordan loves to hold them and carry them around! :)

They're a lot more entertaining than I was expecting them to be. Okay, well I guess I wasn't really expecting entertainment from them--just eggs. But they're fun little critters. And they are already proving themselves useful, even though we are still a ways out from getting any eggs out of them. Turns out they are great little disposals for all those food scraps that I would otherwise throw away after meals everyday (and feel guilty about, lol!) I keep a bowl on the counter that all the scraps go into after each meal, that gets taken out to the chicks every evening after dinner. They go nuts over their "treats!"

Monday, January 10, 2011

How To Sled Without a Hill...

Sunday afternoon we decided to take advantage of the sunny day to see what our woods are like full of snow. Everyone bundled up and off we went!

The boys still haven't been able to get up into the "tree house tree" so Jordan contented himself with climbing this little one.

Josiah in the snow. Poor baby can hardly get around at all between his big, fluffy snow suit and the at least 6-inch-deep snow. Daddy ended up carting him around on the ATV.

Walking across a fallen log. There are tons of fallen trees and branches back there...sounds like a good chore for some boys come spring will be cleaning up a bit!

This is part of the little creek that runs through the woods. The boys were thrilled to find it was frozen under all that snow, and they could walk across it easily.

Following Daddy and Josiah on the ATV (Joshua is hitching a ride as well) as they follow the tracks left earlier by some snow mobiles. We'll forgive their trespassing since they made us such a nice path to follow! :) I did mention to Jeremy that we should get some signs up, though. The whole liability thing makes me nervous.

Daddy and Josiah. I'm not sure which of the two of them was having more fun!!

As we were heading back to the house, Joshua came up with a brilliant idea. Since we don't really have any hills to speak of, why not hook the sled up to the back of the ATV? Well, we decided to give it a whirl, and not only did it work, but the boys (AND Daddy and Mommy) thought it was very fun!

Daddy pulling Joey to make the path...

Jon's turn...all he wanted to do was go faster, faster!!!!

Jordan gives it a go...

...and takes a spill rounding the corner!

Mommy's turn to drive! :)

We basically made a big loop around the chicken coop in the backyard (poor chickens, lol...don't know what they thought of all THAT noise!) and continued pulling the boys in circles until we ran out of gas--literally! They are all already asking when we can do it again. We are certainly enjoying all of our snow!
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