Playroom Reveal!

I meant to post this earlier in the week, but I’m working in a high school right now and it’s the last week of school so that didn’t happen.  Sleepy Bitsy went  to bed super early tonight though, so I have some time.  Here is the final (for now) reveal of her playroom paradise!  Warning: tons of pics ahead!


Solid grey walls, ready for me to start muraling!


I did the trees in dark grey with all different colored leaves. I used pints of latex wall paint (the sample size) in various colors.


Finished trees on one wall


On the far wall, I did a sign post pointing towards various story locales and another tree. (Sorry for the blurry picture, I need a better camera!)



Pointing towards the Emerald City, Narnia, Hogwarts, 100 Acre Wood, Plum Creek and Wonderland. (Bonus points if you know what book Plum Creek is from!)


I love this bookshelf I designed and my dad built. It’s plain old pickets from the garden center at Lowe’s with 2x1s built into “L” shapes for the horizontals to hold books. I primed and painted it and then we screwed it to the wall. She can reach her books and pull up on it safely.



The finished far wall. Also, some of her toys. She has more toys than she will ever need!


The other finished wall and bookshelf. Loaded with picture books for Bitsy!


That’s what we have so far.  She loves her playroom!  Eventually I am going to add more detail/creatures to the mural.  I’m also hoping to build a storage window seat under the windows in the corner.  Those are winter projects though, so it will have to wait.  Since these pictures were taken, I’ve added more storage/organization and her aunties gave her an awesome Step2 Dream Kitchen.     

Hope you like it!


Playroom Transformation part 1


When we bought our house, I knew that the downstairs bedroom would become Bitsy’s playroom.  I wanted her to have a space for her toys and books that was NOT in my living room.  The previous owner’s son had used the 
room as his bedroom.  He was a teenager and it showed in the condition of the room.  The walls were dark orange and covered in holes.



Dark orange walls…not good! This is after spackling, you can see some of the places where I had to repair holes.



Throughout the winter, the room was a catch-all.  It was a disaster.  I told Chris that I wanted it to be at least painted before Bitsy’s first birthday.  It didn’t need to be completely finished, but the orange had to be gone.  We spent a lot of time organizing things to clear out the room.  Then we had to really scrub before it could be painted.  Apparently, the young man who used to occupy the room was a smoker.  There was a fine (and gross!) film on the walls and ceilings that we had to wipe down.  One Sunday, Chris devoted the day to painting over the gross orange.


tada! we had an extra gallon of the grey that we used throughout the first floor.  what a relief to have grey instead of orange!

tada! we had an extra gallon of the grey that we used throughout the first floor. what a relief to have grey instead of orange!


Even just that simple color change made a huge difference.  There are great windows in the room but it still felt really dark with the dark color.  The neutral grey brightened things way up.

I was so happy that the orange was gone, but I still had big plans for the walls.  I had all sorts of ideas for a custom mural and bookshelf.  A few days later, I began to tackle the mural during naptime.

More on that later though!

Cleaning Hacks TU/TD

My alma mater’s newspaper, The Heights, has a regular column called Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down.  The column serves as a commentary on campus and Boston life.  It has been far too long since I spent time in Boston, and I had to miss my 5 year reunion last weekend.  BUT, I have been quite domestic lately.  So, here’s my TU/TD on cleaning hacks that I’ve tried recently.

Thumbs Up:

  • Shower Cleaner: I got this idea from a Mommy facebook group I’m in and I LOVE it. .  I fill a dish washing wand with 1/2 blue dawn dishsoap and 1/2 white vinegar.  It stays in the shower and every couple of days during my shower I swish it over all of the walls of the shower and the rinse it off.  It is super easy and very effective.  Plus, as an added bonus, it’s an excuse to take a little bit longer in the shower!
  • Carpet/Upholstery Cleaner: 1 part Borax + 1 part Baking Soda + a few drops Lavender essential oil + a few drops Peppermint essential oil…mix and store in a tupperware.  Sprinkle on carpet/rug/cushions, let sit for a few minutes and then vacuum it up.  Smells great, removes any yucky odors, and the combination of scents wards off pests. Win!
  • Homemade “Febreeze”: Empty Febreeze bottle + a few spoonfuls of above carpet cleaner + a few tsps of liquid fabric softener + water to fill the bottle. Shake it up and BAM, homemade and super cheap febreeze! 
  • Dollar store: the dollar store has become my go to for cheap cleaning supplies. Not everything is cheaper than the “big box” stores, but some essentials are.  In general I have found things like glass cleaner and dishsoap are a better buy.  Sponges and handsoap are generally not cheaper.  Most dollar stores carry some name brands and take coupons too!  
  • Cleaning schedule: It sounds ridiculous and a little OCD. Making a cleaning schedule has saved our sanity though.  WIth both of us working and with a 1 year old, keeping the house clean is tough.  Scheduling certain things for certain days has helped us immensely.  So important to take into account your family’s schedule, needs and strengths…but so helpful! 

Thumbs Down:

  • Homemade dryer sheets: I found (and tried) a few variations of this, but I wasn’t happy with any of them.  The basic premise is 1 part vinegar + 1 part hair conditioner + 2 parts water in a plastic container.  Add 3 sponges that are cut in half (so 6 pieces) to the liquid mixture. Squeeze some of the excess liquid out of the sponge and toss it into the dryer like you would a dryer sheet.  The sponges can be put back in the liquid afterwards and reused over and over.  Sounds great, but it wasn’t.  No matter what combination of scents and measurements I used I was not happy with the results.  The clothes came out super static-y and smelling like vinegar.  So disappointing! 
  • Dishwasher detergent: Again, tried a bunch of variations but wasn’t happy with any! Basic premise is Borax + Washing Soda + something acidic (ie lemishine or even lemonade kool-aid).  No matter the combination the dishes came out so cloudy. Always coated with a nasty film.  Again, major bummer.  
  • Laundry detergent: The detergent worked great, but it was a little too much work to be worth it for me.  There are recipes all over Pinterest. That are effective, just a little too labor intensive for this working Mama.  

With the dryer sheets, dishwasher detergent, and laundry detergent I think it is probably is better to scout out sale and coupon combinations to stock up when prices are super cheap.  

So there are some cleaning hacks I’ve tried recently.  What have you tried and liked?