Improving the Living Room

Ways to Make Living Room Appear and Feel Bigger

Our house is pretty small, and although I think it's perfect because we are not living beyond our means, it does get a bit overwhelming when it feels like the walls are closing in on me. And part of the reason I get that sensation is that our house is filled with so much STUFF. I feel like I'm constantly downsizing our stuff, but it just keeps growing.


#1 – Reduce Furniture

One quick and easy way to make a living room appear and feel bigger is to reduce the amount of furniture. It may seem like an odd thing to do, but for us, it meant moving our old couch out of the living room. Hubbie was kind of against it initially because he though (correctly) that it really reduced the seating for when we have guests over. The reality is that we rarely have people over (ok, actually we probably have a few people over every weekend). So the reality is that when people come over, we typically congregate at the table to eat, drink, talk and play games.

My thinking is that if people want to relax in my living room, they can sit on our little ottoman or pull in a kitchen chair. We currently only have 2 adult recliners and M's little purple recliner. I think it should be fine. If it turns out to be terribly awkwards, I may rethink the whole thing and consider buying a loveseat or newer couch.

#2 – Remove the Exercise Equipment

So that would be a great way to clear space in your living room and make it feel bigger. For us, though, we moved our Elliptical IN from the garage to where the couch used to be. The Elliptical does take up less space, so it was still a spcially economical swap. 

…to be continued…


On another note of GSD:

I've been wanting to swap our old couch with our Elliptical for a while, and we finally did it today! It was an amazing feeling! As much as I love the old couch, it has unfortunately transformed into a landing station for clean clothes, toys and blankets. It's rarely cleared off and feels like just "one more job" to keep it in a cleared state. 

My Happy Lists - De-Cluttering

The couch is now in our garage and is a project for another day. But now we have the Elliptical in the living room so that we can do 30 minutes of cardio every day. No excuses!

My Happy Lists - De-Cluttering

Love it! Now we just need to get into a habit of hopping on regularly.

I am officially Gettin' S*&% DONE!

My Everything/Forever List

That's it. I'm doing it. I'm making a list for "everything else" that's never going to be finished because I keep adding to it. Where does this list currently exist? In my head.

Yeah, like many women, I have the running list of everything I need to do, want to do, hope to do, just going on and on and on in my brain. Well, I'm tired of it. It's time to just put it on the list when I think of it (or when I get a second to write). Then I can stop thinking about it and start planning and doing, which sounds pretty appealing. 

Rules of the List

  • Number the list because it's fun
  • When an item is complete, "cross it off" the list 
    • Write a blog post about it and include at least ONE picture
  • Add the date the item went on the list
  • Add the date the item was completed


So here goes…My Everything/Forever List

  1. Make a list for a week of work lunches/snacks
  2. Start making hummus (10/23/13)
  3. Start using homemade wipes again (10/23/13)
  4. Re-read the Five Languages of Love (10/23/13)
  5. Design Elliott's birth announcement (he's only 3 months old already!) (10/23/13)
  6. Send pictures to Minnesota family monthly (10/23/13)
  7. Start a "Baby Mamas" group at work (10/23/13)
  8. Go the Seafood Buffet at the CDA Casino with friends (10/23/13)
  9. DONE on 10/23/2013! Go to luncheon and donate to Transition (10/23/13)
  10. Make a bigger breastmilk storage box for freezer (10/23/13)
  11. Redesign MyHappyLists blog (11/21/13)
  12. Write at least once per week (11/21/13)
  13. Start a tradition of weekly date nights with daughter (11/21/13)
  14. Experiment with different eczema treatments for Baby E and myself (11/21/13)
  15. Create a visual tracking at home for goals (exercise & chores) (11/21/13)


Simplify for Success

This list is for the things that will help me be more successful by simplifying tasks.

  1. Leave a bag of frozen berries at work (instead of bringing a cup every day and then not bringing them) (10/24/2013)

10 ways to get the most out of counseling

If you are going to see a counselor for the first time, it can be pretty intimidating. No matter what issue you are going to work on, the following tips will help you get the most out of counseling.

Emotional Brick Wall 1. Drop your guard. We all have walls that we put up to protect ourselves. That wall is going to be one of the biggest obstacles to your growth. By dropping your guard, you commit to being honest and completely open. If you want to get your money’s worth, this is the #1 way to do it. It will be difficult, especially when you start approaching topics that cause some pain, shame, or negative emotions. Remind yourself that you’re in a safe place and that’s what you are here for. So drop your guard and be real.

2. Find the right match. Counselors are human, and they have personalities and therapeutic styles. To get the most out of your time, you must find the right match. That means you might have to hop around counselors for a little while, but it will be worth it. It’s better to shop around than meet the discouragement of delayed and negative progress due to a poor match. So take the time (and money) to find the right match.


25 topics to discuss before having children


You’ll never be fully prepared to be a parent, but get some of these discussions out of the way beforehand to make the transition a little easier.

1. Complications.  If you aren’t able to get pregnant, what options are you willing to seek out?  Adoption? Fertility treatment? How long will you try? Agreeing on this before you start trying to get pregnant will prevent painful arguments if you encounter complications.

2. Guardians.  Who will you select as your childrens’ guardians if something should happen to you?  Be sure to include this in your will, and if you don’t have a will, be sure to get one before having children.

3. How many. This is such a common question that I doubt anyone will need to be reminded to discuss it.  Agreeing on how many children you both wish to try for is important, especially if you don’t agree.


Go Gray! 11 reasons women should let their hair go gray

imageMy mom started going gray in her twenties, and after 30 years of dying her hair, she finally stopped and let it go gray (well, it’s actually closer to white). And the truth is, it is BEAUTIFUL! She gets compliments all the time and people can’t seem to keep their hands off her hair.

Inspired by my beautiful mother, here are 11 reasons women should let their hair go gray.

 1. Save Money.  If you’ve been dying your hair for years, you know how expensive it can.  Even if your buying the do-it-yourself hair dye at Walmart, it still adds up.  And if you are going to the salon for imageyour monthly cover-up, you are spending a ton of money on hiding something beautiful.

2. Gray is beautiful.  It’s true.  Stop listening to media (which is funded by advertisers like Clairol) and recognize how gorgeous gray hair is.

3. Look wise.  You automatically look wise.  Even if you’re not, you look all smart and stuff.

4. You’re a Grandma.  If you are a grandma, you have the perfect excuse to go gray.  You know you love being a granny, so fully embrace it – get the whole look down.

image5. It doesn’t make you look old.  See #3.  Now, if you are perming that gray mop into a short curly do on the top of your head…well, this one doesn’t apply.

6. Set the example.  When my mom stopped dying her hair, she hated how everyone touched it and commented on it (she was only 45).  But then people started telling her that she gave them the confidence that they could go gray.  So be the model for other women out there who are living in fear of allowing their natural beauty out.image

7. You’re appreciative.  If you believe (and that’s fine if you don’t) that God created you.  Appreciate it, and quit trying to hide what He gave you.

8. No stress about roots.  Imagine no longer stressing about scheduling that appointment in time so your roots won’t show.  Stop scheduling your life around hair dye!

9. Avoid allergies.  Many women are allergic to the chemical in hair dye and break out in nasty red rashes.  Gray is much prettier than red in this instance!

10. Grey hair is sexy.  That’s what this writer claims, and I have to agree!

11. You have attitude.  A sexy and confident attitude is essentially for pulling off the gray look.  Here’s a few good hints about going gray and staying sexy.