Netflix Recommendations and Links

Netflix is killing it. I can't believe how much great stuff there is to watch right now. As I was scrolling through today, these caught my eye.

Woman In Gold

True story - Jewish woman tries to recover a famous piece of artwork from the Austrian government that was taken from her family during WWII. Fabulous!

The People v. O.J. Simpson

Tragic and fascinating dramatization of the O.J. Simpson trial. I was too young to really know what was going on when this actually happened. So so interesting.

This is a series. 

For the kiddos...

Finding Dory


Remember Babe? Great movie.

Honorable mention...The Parent Trap....the old one. My kids watched it a few weeks ago and loved it.


What are you watching these days?


Ok, how bout some links?!

I'm trying a new budget thing for clothes for me (needs it's own post), and this J.Crew red bathing suit was the first thing I bought. I love it!

For When Systems Can't Save You
I'm such a systems lady. For better or worse.

The Little House books were released on Audible this week, read by a wonderful narrator - Cherry Jones.

If you are planning to make sugar cookies for Valentine's Day, here's the recipe you should use.

Laurie and I love watching The Very French Girl do her makeup.

On my menu this week...black bean and goat cheese quesadillas. Yum!

Speaking of dinner...I'm working on committing to a more consistent dinner time complete with candlelight.

One week of life with a cat and we are still standing....

Ok, signing off. Have a great weekend!


Toy Storage

The Spooner kids don't have a basement or a playroom full of toys.

We have one toy closet, 2 baskets of dress up clothes, 2 small baskets in the main living area, a toy kitchen, a dozen or so stuffed animals/dolls, several outdoor riding toys, plenty of books and games, and some crafting supplies. We also have 4 extra large stuffed animals, gifted to us by my parents with the birth of each child.

We have a huge yard and mild weather year round. I realize what an advantage this is!

That pretty much sums it up.

Kids don't need tons of toys. In fact, the quality of their play is much better the less they have.

There are countless articles and research out there supporting this, but I'm speaking from my personal experience.

Without a bajillion toys...my kids are more creative, they play outside more, they read, they craft.

Fewer toys is for their well being, but even more so....it is for my well being.

Over the years, as we have pared down our toys, I have become a better parent!

I have become a better parent because our home is more manageable. 

I have less to pick up. Also, my children can actually play a valuable role in clean up because it's not overwhelming.

But let's keep it real...it can still get really crazy. And my kids are not always contentedly doing a puzzle with classical music playing in the background. They whine, complain, fuss, get bored. They are human.

A low point over the weekend.

Here are my three nuggets of advice. This is what my 33 year old self would tell my 26 year old self....

-Don't have more toys than you can comfortably store.

-Don't have more toys than your child (or children) can reasonably clean up.

-Declutter the toys until you are not constantly irritated. You'll know when it's the right amount.

Take these tips with a grain of salt. Kids go through phases and stages. You do what works. You do your best!

Here's how we store what we have...

The building toys - Legos, Magna Tiles, blocks, and trains are stored in clear plastic containers.

These containers are stored in our toy closet in Laurie's room.

I'm pretty conservative on my purchases of storage bins and containers. I repurpose shoe boxes, plastic ice cream tubs (the gallon size for smaller Legos), and other sturdy boxes to round up all the odds and ends that children collect.

We have one basket of girls' dress up and one boys' basket. I regularly go through and throw out torn or stained dress up clothes though I try to keep enough for a group of 4-5 friends to play and all have a costume.

This toy kitchen is mostly abused, but I'm keeping it long enough to see if Caroline will play with it.

These baskets hold the toys we keep in the teen room. I use them as a catch all if I'm doing a quick clean up and don't feel like sorting everything.

We do birthdays, Christmas, and gifts from grandparents. There are surges when we have more toys, so I will store things away or do a purge or find plenty of forgotten or broken toys that can be trashed.

There is an ebb and flow.

Please share, do you struggle with the amount of toys your kids have?

How do you store your toys?

Advice? Questions?


House Tour Part 2

Welcome back to my house tour, part 2! 

I did not spend a lot of time organizing these pictures, so I'm sorry if it feels a bit like I'm jumping all over the place. I think y'all can handle it ;)

boys' room

For the longest, this room really frustrated me. The corner windows make for challenging furniture arrangements.

Luckily, I have no problem rearranging and rearranging until a room feels right. Ask my poor parents and husband! I can't stop.

One rare day when most of my kids were out of the house, I got after it and finally found an arrangement I liked.

Because this room feels busy I hung the art with the top of each frame lining up to create more  uniformity. I was super pleased with how it turned out, and have not had the urge to change it.

Stephen, age 7, loves to read, and we keep his collection of books by his bedside in a crate. $10 at JoAnn's. This idea came straight out of Design Mom, one of my favorite design books.

Stephen is an old soul, so it made all the sense in the world when my parents picked out this desk and chair for him a 2 Christmases ago. He is a total pack rat, and I have to sneak around and clear out the drawers every now and then.

The bead board on the ceiling is our solution to cover up water damage from a leak. We intended to paint it but actually ending up liking the natural wood. Plus, one less thing we have to do.

My mom bought this handsome lamp. I thought it was perfect for the boys' room because it is tin and difficult to break...though I'm sure they could figure out a way! #wecanthaveanythingnice

When cooler weather arrived I ordered some coat hooks to go in the kids' bedrooms. These have been a sanity saver with all the different jackets and bags 4 kiddos need.

One day I was helping George get dressed and he stood admiring the new hooks..."I sure like those." Me too, George. Me too! Kids are so funny.

Stephen has an undying fascination with the Titanic. So of course there is a little (a lot of) Titanic love throughout this room. That's a completed 3D Titanic puzzle hanging from the ceiling.

moving down to the hallway...

I spent the summer before Caroline was born organizing and printing 5 years worth of photos. This gallery wall was one of the results of that project. We are coming on 2 years with these photos, so I think this summer I might update and change up a few.

kid's bathroom

This is the only room in the house we did nothing to when we moved in. What is there to say about it? It serves its purpose.

Another nod to Design Mom is our rainbow towels.

Stephen and Laurie painted the self portraits when they were preschoolers. I treasure them. I spotted Laurie's out of dozens and knew it was hers. She has a very distinct style.

Laurie's room...which will be Caroline's room too when we move her out of her teeny closet nursery this summer.

Laurie is still in her toddler bed, and we really need to upgrade. Again, this summer....we will have a small re-do, moving Caroline in here and upgrading Laurie to a twin.

The rabbit print was in my room when I was a little girl.

I bought the vintage Fisher Price kitchen on eBay.

This room is carpet, and I would love to rip it up and put down hardwood floors. One day!

You can see I have yet to peel this sticker off the toddler bed.

My favorite way to display children's art is to slap it on the wall with tape or even better, putty. I used to think I had to have it framed or some sort of system until one day I went to a friend's house and saw how simply she hung her kids art with a little poster putty.

The rainbow bunting is one of the last things I made before Caroline was born.

Notice another use of a crate used as book storage.

Kids rooms are so fun! I've tried not to buy much for their rooms because we are constantly changing them up depending on different ages and stages and sleeping arrangements. I've grown to enjoy the challenge of making things work without going out and shopping.

the guest room

We are fortunate to have a guest room and as the saying goes..."If you build it, they will come."

We have had a number of overnight guest, mostly family, a few friends. We love having a legit place for them to sleep. Also, it's nice to have one room in the house to put projects or stuff I just need to keep out of the kids' way.

My mom needle pointed this pillow decades ago. It is her and my dad, and it looks exactly like them. She nailed it. Since they stay in this room the most I thought this was the best place for it.

The quilt was on clearance at Target almost 8 years ago, and I had to have it. Even with my all my decluttering, this quilt remains a keeper.


At the end of the bed is this little bookshelf my grandfather (George) made. That's a picture of him with me in the yellow frame.

He was a general surgeon, and he had lots of hobbies - hunting, golf, woodworking, and photography.

He died when I was just 6. I'm the oldest grandchild, and so I'm the only one of my siblings and cousins who really remembers him. I've always loved this picture of us, and recently I decided to display it in a frame. I love using and displaying my favorites. I know this sounds so obvious, but I think a lot of us have a tendency to allow our most treasured photos or artwork to stay boxed up instead out where we can see them. I'm totally guilty of that.

In the corner we keep a desk. Stephen bought this lamp for me 8 years ago after I mentioned liking it in a flea market. He is not a gift giver, especially a spontaneous gift giver, so this was super thoughtful! I still love it because of the story behind it, even though my style has evolved and I probably wouldn't buy it again if I saw it today. It's sentimental.

My brother gave that little Lauren Barksdale Cardinal painting to us one Christmas. I love the colors!
The lamp is from World Market.
The side table is a hand-me-down from somebody in my family.

master bedroom...

It's weird, nothing like we would design, but it came with the house. I won't go into the boring details of why this room had no closet and no bathroom door when we bought it, but I will say....this room is all kinds of wrong.

But we've made it work because....we're not millionaires. Long term we would love to re-do it all.

The lamps are an Amazon find.

Because there is so little natural light in our room (I opened door wide during the sunniest time of day to get the photos), it has been difficult to find something to hang over the bed.

Because the lighting is normally so unflattering, nothing has suited me.

I'm trying out the mirror because it brightens the room up a little bit, but I don't know...I'm still not settled.

Pillows are from Etsy. I'm crazy about this fabric.

Last and least...the master bathroom

Weird, like the bedroom. We've done a few things...painted over the pool blue walls, bought a decent light fixture, and installed a pocket door because....there was no door previously. 

This vanity is....terrible, and we have ambitions to replace it.

The tile is cracking.

There's currently a rat that runs around in here every night and we just can't catch him!

It keeps us humble.

The highlight of this bathroom is that our washer and dryer are in here. I highly recommend putting your "laundry room" in the master bedroom if you have the choice.

I did not include Caroline's nursery in this tour. It is essentially the same as when I posted about it before Caroline was born.

Okay, that's it!

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope it's encouraging to see a "normal" person's house. I'm not a decorator or designer by any stretch. I'm a good example of someone who has learned and improved through lots of trial and error. And I have a ways to go.

House Tour Part 1


PSA: the CUTEST kids clothes on Amazon

Is it the Trump effect?

Is it the end times?

Is it a computer glitch?

I don't know, but apparently a clothing brand named Fiream that is a supplier for mini Boden is now selling their clothing on Amazon for dirt cheap prices.

I've lost sleep over this because I'm not in the market to buy children's clothing right now. But I did purchase a few items for my girls because....you are only a little girl once! I had to.

The boys' stuff is darling, too.

I love that all the clothing is 100% cotton, and the playful patterns are so forgiving in the stain department.

Here's a few of my favorites...I'm sorry and you're welcome.

Links are Amazon affiliate links.
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