Cuteness Trumps Craziness

Despite the fact that these crazy little ones drive me bananas more often than not. When I see pics like these, their cuteness makes the craziness go away for just a brief moment.

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My planking kids make me smile.

 

So You Need to Stage Your Home?

FrontBeing in property management for sometime now and since I have been told that I am pretty good amazing at organizing, I thought I’d share a few tips when it comes to home staging. I don’t think that a professional is always required when it comes to home staging because it’s pretty easy to do if you follow a few important steps. It also helps to enlist a few decorating savvy friends, because it’s really about presentation, details and making things look as inviting as possible to potential renters/buyers. While I am not a home staging professional, I have seen extremely bad and very pleasing to the eye when it comes to staging.

Whether you are looking to rent, sell or shoot some marketing photos, I recommend keeping the following in mind.

1) DE-CLUTTER WHEREVER POSSIBLE – When accessing your home, take note of areas that could use de-cluttering. Now I’m not saying you should simply shove things into closets, but maybe now is the time to give those random items that are lining your wall their permanent homes (closets, garages or storage areas work best). Clear those kitchen counters of all those gadgets and things that you are simply storing. A few choice gadgets, such as a coffee machine, are okay but put everything else away. The only exception to this would be in the kids room. You don’t have to put ALL the toys away because well, it’s a kid’s room. Parents will understand that those stuffed animals on the bed actually belong there and it will look lived in. Lived in is a good thing as the feelings you want to evoke are warmth and comfort.

Bathroom

2) OPEN UP SPACES – Keep the flow of your furniture in mind when you are staging. Most of the time, simple and neutral is better. Think about the positioning of couches and tables and try to make them flow with your rooms. Try not to box areas in or prevent easy access to living spaces. If you have to squeeze past the couch and the wall, then it may not be the ideal configuration to appeal to interested parties.

LR-before

3) KEEP THE BEDROOM & OFFICE SEPARATE (Provided you have the space) – If you have the room to have a separate office, then make that extra room an office. Do not clutter your bedroom with that desk if you don’t have to. Bedroom spaces are supposed to be your escape and area of relaxation, not an extension of your work area. Put away documents and keep the bare minimum on the desk. A tidy desk is ideal and no one wants to see your stack of paperwork that you need to sort through.

Before-MasterAfter-Master4) NATURAL LIGHT WORKS BEST – When taking photos, using natural light is the best way to go. Don’t forget to open up blinds/curtains to be able to brighten up the rooms. For smaller areas (like bathrooms) turn on all the lights prior to taking the photos. Make sure that all the bulbs are working as well. When shooting an exterior photo, dusk is a great time because it allows you to turn on the interior lights and minimizes the chances of shadows based on the location of the sun.

5) IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS – Sometimes you are so used to your home that it is often difficult to discern what changes you should make in general. It helps to employ help from friends, family or your real estate agent, in order to suggest helpful changes. If necessary, you can always hire a home staging professional, but before you do that consider your resources first.  Also consider what items that you may already have at home that would assist in home staging. Sometimes moving around key pieces of furniture can do wonders in changing the appearance of a living space.

The process of home staging can be daunting, but it can also give you that long awaited opportunity to sort and organize your home at the same time. Don’t be afraid of stepping outside your comfort zone for the greater good. Simple changes can yield huge results.

Thank you to my sister for allowing me to “stage” her home and her custom flyer looked awesome as well.

Sugar Cube Designs

I took this photo on the plane when I arrived in London several years ago. The first thing that comes to mind when I look at this photo is that I should have modeled my sugar cube castle design in seventh grade after this one. If you can relate, bravo. If you think I’m slightly off, I’ll have you know that I’ve been certified not crazy.

True story.

Squats and Inappropriate Photos

squats

I just had my teen snap photos of my bum (for before and after comparison, of course).

I have officially jumped on that squat bandwagon. I am doing the 30 day squat challenge that everybody has seen on instagram, facebook and everywhere online. So, hopefully the photos of my rear will be motivation to get things in gear and continue the daily challenge. I’m actually looking forward to pushing myself and I suppose I’ll put some other challenges in the queue should this one prove to be successful.

Hopefully I will get signed off tomorrow from my eye doctor and be able to start running again since he removed the possessed muppet that I had in my eye (post regarding that may or may not follow sometime). In other news, cucumber water has been delightful to quench my summer thirst and makes drinking eight glasses a breeze.

The Calm Down Box

Calm Down Box

A Calm Down box for my little ones.

After a conference for my two year old (who is now three), I picked up an awesome idea that I had never heard of before. His school explained to me how they have a “Calm Down Box” they use when the little ones need to focus their energy elsewhere. They are given a box full of miscellaneous sensory items that assist in calming their emotions. Whether frustration, anger or sadness, this box allows them to re-focus their energy on one of the random items contained in this box.

At that very moment, it clicked in my mind how great of an idea this was and how beneficial it could be in my household. Children and their behavioral needs seem to vary depending on the child, so while my eldest was always calm and rarely had mood swings the others are not quite the same. My youngest children have the tendency to be more emotional and once they pass a certain threshold, there is no turning back. No amount of hugs or gentle words will reel them back and personal space seems to be the only option for them. Being able to provide them with a box of safe and calming items to assist them in self-soothing seemed perfect.

A few weeks passed and I decided to create my own calm down box. Very soon after, the opportunity to use it presented itself. My four year old was Ms. Cranky in the morning and after getting her dressed her clothes magically were removed minutes later. I was then greeted with screams of tiredness and unwillingness to get ready. Morning routines are  best disrupted by tired and cranky kids with the added pressure to make it out of the house before everyone ends up late. Knowing this, I calmly walked downstairs and grabbed the box. She looked confused when I opened it put bubble wrap in her hand. She then began to quietly pop the bubble wrap and I went about my morning routine. I checked in with her a couple minutes later. At this time she was shaking the water bottle that had food coloring and glitter (that was safely secured with super glue) and I asked her if she was done and she quietly shook her head no. Another two minutes later, she was back to popping the bubble wrap and the next time I checked on her she was ready to get dressed without any objections.

Success.

I decided to add more items to the box in order to provide a variety of sensory objects to. The items that other parents include will obviously vary based on the child. I am a strong believer in calming colors, so I steered clear of a box that had any red on it. I opted against the rainbow box simply because of the red stripe. The items inside were selected based on the variety of stimulation they provided from squishy play-doh, to furry characters to musical items such as maracas and a recorder. I chose items that I knew my children would enjoy, but made sure not to select things that could possibly injure them if they were upset. Scissors, pencils, or sharp objects should NOT be included and my calm down box is meant for three years of age and up.

This small but meaningful project reminded me that there are more ways than one to accomplish something. Open-mindedness (for me) is key to growing as a parent (and a person).

One Graduation Down

With my 14 year old’s graduation ceremony behind me, I can honestly say that I am able to walk away with a wealth of newfound knowledge information.

1. Candy leis at a mostly caucasian ceremony makes you look like the most asian person there, even though you already were to begin with.

2. Today’s eighth grade ceremony may have honestly been longer than a college graduate’s ceremony. Actually it definitely was.

3. Scheduling a photo appointment matters not when they do not go based on appointments but rather whoever wants to go next. Their organization was somewhat to be desired but having a one person show for several appointments may not have been the best game plan.

4. $140 dress, $45 in alterations, $40 shoes, $40 undergarments, $24 shawl, $130 hair = a very happy mother because the money spending has temporarily ceased.

I don’t mean to come off as such a critic regarding certain things, but to me organization in life is key. The fact that we made it to the church on time was a feat in itself and deserves the you-are-awesome acknowledgment.

All in all it was a happy day for the daughter as well as a foreshadowing of what to expect in the years to come, both emotionally and monetarily.

Congratulations to the OMS 8th grade graduates!

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