Living Room, 2010

4 Moms 35 Kids is doing a fun blog hop – it’s an open house and this time around it’s our living rooms.

And since we’re having a birthday party tomorrow and my living room is actually clean knew I better get pictures.  I took these late at night after the tornadoes progeny were in bed, so the lighting is a little wonky.

Here’s the view from the front door.  We got that white leather couch from my FIL.  It’s definitely seen better days, and husband dear has replaced the legs and rebuilt the bottom of it.  You can’t see, but behind it is a Rubbermaid tub full of Little People, their school, their playground, their plane, their bus, and all their stuff.  Those Little People live better than I do.

If I take one step to the left, here’s the view.  Straight into the school room!  Look!  Husband’s playing Starcraft!  And there’s clutter!  Behind the white shelves is a little hallway that leads to a half bath and the french doors open into the den we turned into a playroom.  See the hamper?  Totally necessary, even if it’s not “designer” attractive.

Here’s the view from the other side, standing by the hamper.  The brown end table is an old computer desk our neighbors gave us when they moved.  Usually there’s a wire basket in there for the library books, but we left it in the car from returning books earlier this week.  The kids love to hide in here.  The “tablecloth” is a super fancy cut up sheet I made into curtain panels at one point.

Remember when we were shopping for a new couch?  This isn’t the one we bought.  The one we bought fell apart, so we returned it and got this one instead.  It’s actually bigger and came with an ottoman, score!  I love that the base is covered in bonded leather.  The rest of the couch is microfiber that’s been dipped in Teflon or something.  It is awesome because for the first time we have places for everyone in the family to sit.  It’s modular so theoretically we can expand, and the pieces are not attached, which is a blessing and a curse.  They’re easy to move for vacuuming, but, well, they’re easy to move.  You can imagine how often I have to shove a piece back in line.

And I totally staged that throw on the ottoman.  Usually it’s in a heap on the floor or being fought over by children who insist they are “cold” even though it’s 110 degrees outside with the heat index and I have the inside thermostat set at 78.

Here’s the view from the couch.  When we finally got a decent TV I couldn’t find a media stand that I thought was cheap enough.  They were all ugly and outrageously expensive for what was basically laminate covered particle board.  So I bought two bookcases.  We had to put them together, but they are real wood and two of them together were cheaper than even the cheapest media stand.  The basket is for remotes and our Netflix DVDs.  The Playstation is used to play games and also stream Netflix On Demand, Hulu, and YouTube.  Also I use it to hide the ugly powerstrip that all our paraphenalia is plugged into.  We bought the TV the day after Superbowl Sunday, and got a great deal!

On the bottom left you can see our DVD binder, and above the TV are husband’s movies.  He’d die before he let me get rid of the coverboxes.  Inside the silver boxes are all the wires, cords, and miscellaneous paraphenalia such as the Rock Band 2 microphone.  The other one holds PlayStation games.

The round mirror is strategically placed so that we can see the children sneaking down the stairs while we’re watching TV.  I wanted a round one because the couch is so squared off, and I’m contrary like that.  Also, it was cheaper than the square ones of similar size.  It was another IKEA find.  The picnic basket on the floor holds magazines to be read, book order forms, notebooks, and other “to do” type things.

This is the top shelf above our TV. I know the pics are up high, but *I* can see them when I sit on the couch and stare at nothing.  Also, putting them 6 feet above the ground was the only way to keep Miss C from rearranging them 400 times a day.  I really love having the old pictures out but don’t want them to get messed up.  Some of the pictures are 70 years old – one of my FIL when he was a baby, with his parents; another of my FIL catching a fish when he was 9 or 10.  LOVE!  Also, all the pictures hide the antenna we use to get our 3 channels.

I hate looking at cords and the bookcases did not have backs.  So I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some of those tri-fold poster boards, in black, and shoved them back there.  They are just a smidge too big but I’d rather have that then stare at cord spaghetti.  Look!  Cardboard decorating.  I’m so classy.  The fat bird I saw at Garden Ridge, another clearance find, less than $2.  He just utterly charmed me.  So, we have a fat bird next to the TV because looking at him makes me happy.

This is an old sewing table I inherited from my MIL.  It sits to the left of the TV at the end of the couch.  I love it, and I painted it red but did a poor job and now it looks very sad.  So I threw another curtain panel over it.  Underneath the “tablecloth” are our RockBand guitars and drum set.  I got this phone charger organizer for $2.14 from Target, on clearance, and I think it’s awesome.  We keep the camera over here, too, and the boys can plug their walkie-talkies in to charge.  The table isn’t usually decorated by Prince of Persia toys, but I think it adds texture, no?

I love using the computer desk and sewing table as end tables because the arms of our couch are very tall, and regular end tables wouldn’t work.  Also, they were free.

My sister made this picture for Baby A when she was baptized.  I have the CAH-UTEST fabric for throw pillows that coordinates – coral with a tiny bit of embroidered aqua but it’s still just fabric, even though I bought it last spring.  Someday I’ll make throw covers.  And my couch will never go naked again.

This is basically my office.  I absolutely love this laptop table I got from Ikea.  Perfect!  (How many times have I said love in this post?  I like loving things better than making do with things.  We’re getting there.) Here’s where I blog and write.  See that?  It’s a new Flinx and Pip book from Alan Dean Foster that I get to review.  Usually the spot next to me is piled high with miscellaneous paperwork but I put it all in the picnic basket for now.

These bookcases are from IKEA too.  Originally they were in the play room and were used as Montessori shelves.  I moved them in here a couple of months ago and they are working out well.  The shelves are practical, too.  A couple are empty because the girls play and fill them up throughout the day, making shops or zoos or whatnot.  It’s just easier to leave the shelf empty for them than it is to have them moving all my stuff.  Although, they still move all my stuff.  The black basket with the floral ribbon

And, did you see?  TWO plants I haven’t killed.  Yet.  Go me!  The lantern thing used to have a candle but Baby A ate it.  Well, she took a bite and liked it so much, apparently, that she continually tried to scale the bookshelf to get back at it.  So I hid it.

Look!  Here’s a plant I did kill.  I didn’t notice for two weeks because it just dried up and didn’t really turn brown.  The fact I went two weeks without glancing at it pretty much tells you how it died.  And, yep.  I left a dead plant on the shelf.  Then I took a picture.  THEN I blogged about.  I’m a natural at this blogging thing, I’m tellin’ ya!

The little blue vase used to be part of a trio, but life happened to the other two and they were smashed to bits on separate occasions.  It is the perfect size for child picked bouquets of weeds flowers.  I let the girls arrange it all themselves, which is how the other two vases got broken.  Fortunately, they were really cheap – at IKEA, of course.

IKEA and FREE are my decorating themes in this room.

These are seashells we’ve gathered from Galveston.  We add a bit to the collection every time we go.  The basket is an old one I got at the Dollar Store to hold fruit, except we eat way more fruit than this dinky thing can hold.  So I spraypainted it with oil rubbed bronze spraypaint.

This basket in the middle used to have a handle and we got as a gift basket at one point.  After the kids broke the handle off I spray painted it with the same ORB paint and now it holds my flotsam and jetsom paperwork – check stubs, bill stubs, receipts, and whatnot.  I do all our bill paying and budgeting from my office on the couch and I’m lazy so here it is, right at hand.

I got the metal boxes at IKEA.  They hold Phonics Zoo, Citiblocks, and a plastic farm set complete with green bandana “meadow”.

This is one of the busiest spots in the house.  It’s an old 50′s dresser that we took the legs off so it’s bench height.  Baby A’s clothes are kept in the left three drawers.  Another drawer holds batteries and flashlights, xcept the one on the floor over there I didn’t bother to pick up before I took the picture.  Keepin’ it real, guys, just keepin’ it real.  Candles and holders are in another drawer, a couple are empty to accomodate the constand rotation of stuff and collections (Miss V is the worst about pack ratting stuff away), one holds vacuum attachements (they never stay on the vacuum).  Our vacuum pretty much stays plugged in all the time.  There are 9-14 people here all the time, what with homeschooling and friends and all.  It’s in constant use and this plug is convenient because I can reach the school room, living room, playroom, and hall all without having to change outlets.

Behind the door is our hall closet.  It has closety stuff in it.  Also a broken hand vacuum, a tub of empty backpacks and bags, two diaper bags (one “light” and one “heavy duty”, depending on how many kids I have with me), my purse, the beach toys, emergency candles, candleholders I need to glue together, another broken sound system because my husband collects them, and a curtain rod that I need to put up.

There are always people in this room, so it’s rarely this tidy. OK, like never.  The brown bench in particular is usually cluttered up with toys, projects, puzzles in progress, plus it’s the landing spot for people coming in the door. Purses, bags, groceries, library books.  The girls like to stand on it and use it as a stage, and Mr X likes to launch his cars over the edge and scream like he’s reenacting Thelma and Louise.

If you have pics up of your living room, join the blog hop or won’t you at least leave me a link?

UPDATED:

Here’s what the room usually looks like.  View from my “office” on the white loveseat.  The kids took the cover off the end table because they were building blocks and it interfered.  Miss C has the bandana we used for a pinata blindfold on her head.  We haven’t vacuumed yet and you can see why I leave it plugged in – there is alway nitty-gritty crud on the floor.

Linking up!

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I love comments. Tell me what you think!

  • Natalie August 21, 2010, 8:52 pm

    Oooh, you do the same comment thing as the other blog. Anyway, I also love the seashells. I need to find all of the ones that I have and find one place for them.

    I’d call those curtains Country Blue, and I do love that color.

    Reply
  • Natalie August 21, 2010, 8:52 pm

    And I’m first, I’m first!!!!!

    Reply
  • amulbunny August 21, 2010, 8:55 pm

    Your home looks like it’s filled with love. And not one close up of a door. I love it! THanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Milehimama August 21, 2010, 9:06 pm

    Thanks, amulbunny.

    Most of our decoration are meaningful to me, not just purchased accessories. The crucifix was given to us by our good friends and my daughter’s godparents when we had our marriage blessed in the church. The tin key holder that has rosaries on it my father brought back to me from Dubai. Mary and Jesus bookends I found in a thrift shop when I was teaching fifth grade catechism and they lived in my classroom that whole year. The seashells we gathered ourselves, the painting is of my late FIL, the cross picture was made by my sister. The candle-less lantern I did just buy for an accessory, though. I wanted something I could burn a candle in without the little ones blowing it out every 5 seconds.

    Reply
  • Guinevere August 21, 2010, 10:32 pm

    Cute! Thanks for the tour… your living room looks very pretty, homey and livable. I don’t think living rooms should be SO perfect you can’t live in them, sort of self defeating.

    We also have two of those Ikea laptop desks in our living room. They are so practical. I want a real office in our house eventually, but for now, the laptop desk turns a spot on the couch into my office quite nicely!

    Reply
  • Denise August 22, 2010, 7:11 am

    Thanks for the tour. I really love it. I like how nice it looks and how it shows that a family really lives there.

    Reply
  • Grandma Margie August 22, 2010, 1:44 pm

    I am constantly amazed by your ingenuity and clever use of whatever useful comes your way! Your home looks wonderful, full of love and all available to your” littlies” to enjoy. Your “office” is amazing, too. To think that you turn out your blog and Facebook and Twitter and do research and e-mail and all from your perch on the love seat and your laptop. We are so proud of you and your family.

    Reply
  • ~M August 22, 2010, 8:11 pm

    Very nice. And I agree homey, comfy, and livable. I may just have to post a house tour when we get the new home together. Right now we are waiting for the contractors to finish the main bath before we move in. I love your couch!! I have seen something similar in a chair and sofa but never a sectional. If I did I would snap it up in a heart beat!

    Reply
  • Centsational Girl September 2, 2010, 3:12 pm

    You’re home is so incredibly cozy, I am loving the tour ! Livable is absolutely key, your home is very inviting and family friendly. Thanks SO much for linking up to the party, everyone is really enjoying looking at everyone’s spaces !
    Kate

    Reply

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Desperately thrifty mom of 10, sharing my frugal tips, easy shortcuts, recipes, and thoughts on natural living and real food.

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