Monday, May 4, 2015

Living Room- tiny house for a large family series

Last week I posted about our Entry.  The natural flow would be to move on to the living room, so we will.  This space was one I really had to think about.  We don't have a lot of wiggle room here, but it does work nicely for us.  As you enter the living room the bookshelves are on your left.  Our family loves to read, so these are very important.  I was strategic in the placement of the books though.  The "prettier" ones are out here.  These shelves also display some special pictures and items.  Each one has a special reason for being there.  There had been a keyboard in the middle there, but it was not getting much (if any) use so it is being stored in a closet.  My rocker/recliner gets a lot of use, we call it "the cuddle chair."

Can you see the bin on the lower left side?  It contains Baby playmobil toys.  This allows babies/toddlers easily access some toys in this room.

In the corner, we have a set of Waltzing Hammers (by my Dad, who passed away suddenly nearly 3 years ago).  The hammers give my kids a connection to their grandpa, and I just love having a piece of him here with us. The fireplace up here does not get used much for it's intended purpose.  We tend to store library books here, and there are cushions for extra seating.

This corner over here looks a bit cramped, but it has a purpose.  The little book shelf holds little kid books and toys.  The ottoman holds a queen size sheet that holds all of our legos on one side; the other side holds some sensory toys. The end table holds our projector in the lower compartment; the open compartment holds our current family reading books.  The ottoman is at this angled position partly because it just fits that way, but it also creates a play area for baby.  This corner is actually a playpen!  Until, of course, she learned to climb out. ;)

The sectional seems to be self explanatory, but I will say that we got it because we needed the extra seating.  We spend so much time in this room.  Together.  Usually reading.  This is an important piece of furniture for our family.  The coffee table is a chest that holds photo albums.  The back cubby holds some special books and pieces of art.  Out of sight in that corner is all of our extra pillows and cuddle blankets.  On the end we have the piano bench.  It gets used as an end table, or extra seating at the dining room table, OR even as a piano bench should we ever pull our keyboard out.

*Above the window we have a screen mounted.  It really takes up very little space but works out wonderfully for family movie nights.



Monday, April 27, 2015

Entry- tiny home for a large family series

I've done a couple of things with our entry to make it work for us.  It is tiny.  Imagine 10 people trying to get in and out in this small space....

Or trying to get coats, hats and mittens on right here.

Yea, that's just not gonna happen.  ;)

Here's what I've done....
We try to keep the area by the door clear.  There are a few things to note here though.  There is a small mirror, and under it we hang the keys.  On the other side of/behind the door is the "take me" bag.  This is where we are supposed to toss anything that needs to leave our home (within reasonable size), this would include returns to stores, items left here by friends, things we are loaning or returning to a friend...you get the idea.  We also hung some hooks that we use for "grown up" coats etc.  In the corner of the picture (going down the stairs) you can see our large wall map.... It is supposed to be used to mark the countries we're praying for from the Voice of the Martyrs calendar (we're having a hard time getting back into that habit).

Up the stairs from the entry (we have a split level) is the main coat closet.  This one is for the girls as well as Mommy and Daddy.  I'll start at the bottom and work my way up in explaining the set up.  First we have a "bench" with three cubes labeled with their content.  We left enough space on the sides for a couple of bags we knew would need to go there.  Behind the bench is where we place our Large Utility Totes and Deluxe Utility Totes when not in use.  On the bench you will usually find our church bags; these are kept packed and ready to go which can be helpful in the cases of a busy week or even an emergency.  Moving up...We have hooks for little kid hoodies/coats.  They can't reach the hangers, this makes it easier for them to find what they need.  The higher hooks on the side hold miscellaneous items.  The rod is for hanging coats; generally there are none here; this space is just for guests.  On the shelf we have some "on-the-go" supplies (to go tissues, wipes, bibs, lotion, hand sanitizer....) and the other bin for miscellaneous/out of season storage, the thermal is used for our water bottles when out and about.  You'll notice that we removed the folding/sliding doors that had been here.  We replaced them with a pretty shower curtain and rod.  It slides easily and hides the mess nicely.

Down the stairs from the entry is where you will find the boy's coat closet. It's not as pretty. The hooks are for coats/hoodies.  The shelf holds hats and gloves.  As you can see; I'm not using this space to its full potential, I need to do some more cleaning out and organizing.  I also need to use this space better.   Since this is our "under stair" storage space, it goes way back.  I store most of our holiday decor back here as well as some seasonal school stuff.

What makes this set up work for us?  Only half of us are getting ready to go in each area so we're not as crowded as if I had everyone keep their coats etc in one spot.  Everything we generally need for "on the go" is kept in these areas making it easy to find what we need quickly as we're headed out.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tiny home for a large family!

We moved last summer.  Back into the house we bought 8 years ago when we had 4 kids. I knew going into this home that it was a bit smaller than our last home, but it is working well for us.  Then I started doing some research.  Have you heard of Tiny Homes?  While our home is not what you would think of as a "tiny home" when you look at our square footage per person....it fits into that category. :)

I'm preparing a series of posts about how I've organized our home.  I thought I'd share some information I found when looking up the average square footage of a home these days.

The average new home is about 2,600 square feet.  The average household consists of 2.54 people.  The average square footage per person is 980.7

Our home is 1,800 square feet.  We have 10 people in our family. We have about 180 square feet per person.  Hmm...

While it does take some thought and planning, and we do have to be careful about how much we bring into our home; it works for us.  We are happy in this home.  It keeps us together as a family, and makes us think about how we want to use our space.  We spend less time cleaning, because there is less to clean.  In the coming weeks I hope to show you, room by room, how I make this house work for us.  Hopefully it will be an encouragement to you and help spark some ideas of your own for your home.

*While we ARE happy in this house and are making it work; we do intend to purchase a larger house some time in the next few years; God willing.  We are saving, living out our last years as an active duty military family, finding joy and contentment in the home we've been blessed with, and waiting on God's direction before that happens.

Monday, April 13, 2015

I'm back! Spring cleaning and gardening!

Spring cleaning and gardening is what we are up to these days, and we're loving it.  It's been quite a while since I've blogged here.  Moving a large family takes a lot out of a mama and some things have to go.  Taking a break from this blog was one of those things.  Hopefully I'm back for a while.  If you want to see what the family has been up to you can check out my family blog Gabe's Babes.

Now that we're well settled and have been in the house for about a year the house is needing a good cleaning and some re-organizing.  As we go I'm planning to take some pictures and give you a tour of our little house.  My goal in that is to encourage you to use the space you have to it's full potential and to get your creative (and maybe cleaning out?) juices flowing.  Large families do not need HUGE houses; just some creativity and contentment.

We're all enjoying working in the yard/garden.  While we'd love to have more land some day we're very thankful that God has blessed us with a good sized yard in town.  We're learning and trying to make best use of the space we've been given.  Maybe we'll even get to eat some fruits of our labors?
The first signs on new spring growth in my containers!  Spring (or the last danger of frost) happens late in Colorado.

Friday, June 20, 2014

nut granola (nutola)- cooking for a crowd

As it begins to heat up again I'm thinking about our favorite summer breakfasts.  My kids enjoy a breakfast of granola (a mostly nut mix, very low on the traditional grains), yogurt, and fruit.  I make my own granola because most commercially available granolas are generally full of sugar and junk making them no better than a box of cereal (in my opinion).  I generally use what I have on hand and don't have a set recipe, I'll give the basics though as a starting point, this would be very easy to make gluten or grain free.  I do like to include the oats as they are a healthy inexpensive filler to help this stretch.

Nut Granola (all measurements are approximate unless otherwise noted)

1 c. sesame seeds
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c chia seeds (ground)
1 c flax seeds (ground)
(wheat germ could also be included if you don't mind having more grain in your granola)
1 c sunflower kernels
2 c almonds (chopped or pulsed in blender/food processor)
2 c macadamia nuts (chopped or pulsed in blender/food processor)
2 c hazelnuts (chopped or pulsed in blender/food processor)
(pecans, and walnuts are great choices too.  I sometimes include slivered almonds as well)
4 c rolled oats
(get creative, just about any seed or nut could work in this)

Mix all of the above ingredients in a very large bowl

(the below ingredients are more exact amounts)
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey
1 Tbs vanilla
2-3 tsp cinnamon (nutmeg could also be good)
1 tsp salt
(feel free to add any other flavors/spices you would like in you granola)

Melt the first three ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Just enough to combine, especially if you are using raw honey to avoid killing off the good stuff.  Then add the spices, vanilla and salt and mix well.

Combine all ingredients in a large pan (I use my turkey roasting pan) or two.  Place in oven heated to 350, remove and stir every 10 minutes or so until lightly golden brown.  I found that 30-40 minutes was about right for my pan/batch.  Allow to cool and then place in a large container (I like to use a glass gallon jar).


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Modest Swim Suits

It can be hard to find modest swim suits.  A sweet friend has a business sewing them.  We've been very pleased with them, my daughters LOVE theirs.

This is a link to her site if you are interested.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Zipzicles review and giveaway!

We recently gave zipzicles a try and loved them!  Now I get to do a review and giveaway for them.

What are they?

 -They are a long(ish) narrow plastic bag with a zipper top.   They are about what you would expect of a freezer weight zipper bag.

Why would you use them?

-Most kids enjoy frozen treats, especially during the summer.  Mine are no different.  I like to make my own treats for them whenever I can, so I know what is in them.  Additionally, because of various food intolerances most store bought frozen treats just do not work for my family.

How do you use them?

-Just mix up any (liquid/semi liquid) filling you want, pour in, freeze!  It's that easy!  My 13 year old mixed up blueberry smoothie, chocolate pudding and a layered fruit mix.  They make a great snack anytime!  They are great for on the go as well, since they are disposable.

Advice...

Don't over fill, when you close it filling will come out the top if you do.

The site says that these can be reusable.  I believe it, but have not tried it.  I bought these because they were fairly inexpensive and disposable.  I've heard they can last for 2-3 more uses.

You can order these directly from www.zipzicles.com Amazon sells them and the zipzicles web site also list retailers that sell them.

Now for the giveaway!  You can enter by following this blog through google friend connect (to the left on the sidebar) and leaving a comment.  You can also enter by leaving suggestions/recipes for great filling ideas.  Please do a separate comment for each entry.  I'll draw a winner on June 20th!