Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My New "Mud Room"

For years I have hated and complained about our entry area from our garage. We use this entry 100 percent of the time.  When I bought the house I was happy the entry way had a decent size closet.  Add two kids and the entry way became a source of frustration.  With the addition of the twins, it was quickly driving me to the brink of insanity.

Bruce and I finally decided last fall that we would do something about the back entry way.  We considered adding on a small area which would have provided a very nice locker room as well as increased the size of my laundry room enough to have a large folding counter.  I have always used our kitchen island as my folding station.  Once the twins were home, the island wasn't big enough so my dining table became my folding station.  After an informal estimate of the cost to add on an 8 x 10 foot addition, we quickly dropped that idea.

Since are entry way consisted of a short narrow hallway and a 4.5 foot standard closet, I didn't have a lot of options.  My main goal was to have a place for everyone to hang coats and backpacks, store shoes, boots, hats, gloves, snow pants, etc.  The closet was filled with adult coats and shoes and miscellaneous household items. The kids had a small set of hooks for coats, but it was too low for the girls and it was jammed packed.  I then began looking at various closet systems to make are current entry way closet more efficient.

First, I thought about cubical type shelves with cube bins.  But, I could not come up with a configuration that would give us the storage we needed.  Eventually, I decided on a laminate shelving system.  I ended up buying a Martha Stewart brand at Home Depot.  You can design your system online and pick out different add-on pieces to include in your system.  Bruce did not have enough time to install my new system, so I hired our favorite handyman to do the job.  He had it completed in about 3 hours.

It consists of adjustable shelves and pull-out baskets for hats, gloves, etc.  I absolutely love it! I decided to leave off the closet doors to allow for a little wider area.  No longer am I stumbling over boots and backpacks!  No longer am I stuck by the door waiting for everyone to get the stuff off and get out of the hallway!  The area is just wide enough for me to walk around the cluster of kids!

Best of all, the entire system, including installation was under $500.  Granted it is not a classy locker room and I am still using the dining room table to fold laundry.  But, for the price, it is perfect for us. After all, I was going for utility, not aesthetics!

I didn't take any before pictures, but you can see in the pics below how narrow the entry is and it was worse with the closet doors on.  I even ended up with additional shelves for supplies.  All and all, a great investment.

view from my door

view from kitchen

full view of the new closet system

boot storage

pull out baskets - I love these - they are perfect for hats,
scarves and gloves - they slide in and out easily

shoe shelves for each family member

extra shelving for supplies and such

existing hooks located next to the closet - these are 
now coat hooks for mom and dad

existing hooks located across from the closet - these
are now coat and backpack hooks for the twins

new hooks added in the 1/2 bath which is just off the entry
way - these are now hooks for the girls

existing hooks in my laundry room - these hooks are for
snow gear in the winter and beach towels and 
wet swimsuits in the summer

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Random Happenings

January and February have gone by in a blur for me.  We celebrated the twins 8th birthday.  The twins were baptized.  We went to a local hotel for an evening with my sister and her family.  It was a Christmas gift from my brother.  The kids were swimming in the pool for over 3 straight hours! There was giant slide and they had a blast.  I visited with some relatives that I have not seen in almost 25 years.  The girls both participated in their middle school musical last weekend.  They have been rehearsing since October.  The production was wonderful.  It was Honk, Jr., a story about the Ugly Ducking.  Very well done.  I helped out back stage for the Friday performance, wrapped flowers before the Saturday performance, and enjoyed watching the Saturday performance with my family.  Basketball has been moving along.  We have had a few canceled practices due to weather and two games have been rescheduled. Because of the rescheduled games, we have 3 games this weekend - Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday morning.  My players will need a lot of energy for 3 games in a row!  They have been doing well considering we our a 7th grade team playing against 7th/8th grade combined teams.  Saturday is our last day of regular season.  Then a two week tournament and basketball season will be over. 

Blake had his last consultation with his surgeon prior to his surgery on March 20th.  We have scheduled a hospital tour and need to set up an appointment with his hematologist prior to surgery.  He will only be in the hospital 2 nights.  I am meeting with his teachers the second week of March to plan out his school work while he is recovering from surgery.  March will most likely go by fast as well.  It is tax season for Bruce, so I have a lot of juggling to do.  I am lucky I have the girls to help me out as needed with the twins.  My mom also helps out with Emery when I take Blake to his appointments.  It is nice to have her living right around the corner! 

Here are a couple random pictures.  Notice Emery's hair.  It is finally long enough for pony tails!

She is so cute with her pony tails.

Notice the cheerios everywhere.  This is what happens when
I am running errands and Dad is in charge.

My beautiful Poodle and Swan at their Honk, Jr. Performance.
They both did a wonderful job singing and dancing!

Winter Fun

We have now had a lot of snow in West Michigan.  The kids have had a few snow days.  They have been playing in the snow, sledding, and making snowmen.  Lots of Fun with Lots of Snow!

Our deck after a recent snow storm.

Emery sledding down the big hill at Richmond Park.

Blake at Richmond Park.

Richmond Park

Ashley at Richmond Park

Blake and Avery playing on the snow hill by our driveway.

Emery loved the snow hill too!

Getting ready to hit the sled hills!

The snow was too fluffy to make a snowman.  So Blake
and Avery made a snowman face!

Another snowman face.

Valentine's Day

Here are a few pictures from Valentine's Day.  The 3 school kids had classroom parties.  We celebrated at home with small gifts and lots of candy from Mom and Dad.

Ashley's received a Taylor Swift CD.

Blake received swim goggles.  He has been wearing them around
the house and took them to school for show and share.

Emery's favorite part of her gift was the candy!

Nicole at her 8th grade party.

Ashley at her 7th grade party.

Blake at his 1st grade party.  He is such a silly guy!

Emery at Blake's school party.

Nicole received a subscription to 17 magazine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Blake and Emery were baptized in our Church on February 2nd.  Blake was so excited.  He talked about it for 2 straight weeks!  He loved dressing up for the occasion.  Blake is quite a comical kid.  He loves joking around.  Fortunately, our Priest is comical as well.  Blake had a great time being baptized by Father Mark. Emery, of course, loved having water dumped over her head.  She could not have been any happier, short of wearing her swimsuit and going in the baptismal fountain for a dip!  We celebrated afterward at our house with a casual dinner and delicious cake made by Nicole.  The twins received many special gifts. We are blessed to have such a wonderful family to celebrate this occasion with us.