House Mix

Category Archives: Decor

Making a bedroom a playroom

Clara’s favorite place at our local children’s museum is the play house. It has a kitchen, table, high chair, ironing board, food. She could play there for an hour, but her brothers never let her. So I thought I would try to recreate that space in her room with things we already had. And she loves it! (Actually so do the boys!)

I didn’t buy anything new, I mostly just rearranged her room. No, actually that’s not true. I bought that cute little high chair because I knew she’d love it! And the flowers, placemats, towel and pot holder from the Dollar Tree.

Anyway, I moved the play kitchen into her room, took the Ikea bookshelf we had standing in the corner and put it on it’s side to act as a divider, and added in two old (mostly dilapidated) LACK tables for a counter. You can see how her room was before here.

I was so excited to turn her nursery into something more functional for her. She has played in it every day since I put it together a few weeks ago — and the boys like to play restaurant too. They serve up some interesting combinations.

When the chef hat doesn’t fit, you improvise. Funny little girl.

Do you have any playroom tricks up your sleeve? What do your kids play with the most?

Best of the blog 2016

Every year, by God’s grace, I am learning to be a better writer, designer, photographer. Looking back on my posts this year, I also see how much room I have to grow and explore. I’m excited for the challenge in the coming year! These are the most-read House Mix posts of 2016:

1. Feeding a family on a tight budget

I’ve been experimenting, studying and learning how to lower our grocery budget and it’s working! My monthly budget is at least $200 less than I was spending two years ago, and even with one more kid, our pantry is fuller and we eat healthier.


2. DIY ruler growth chart

Get instructions for how I made this kids’ growth chart with my home printer and minimal supplies in under two hours.

3. How to make a succulent centerpiece

Here is how to build a succulent centerpiece that will last for months. Ours is now a year old! These naturally water-retaining plants do not like too much water, so drainage is very important. Get the step-by-step instructions.


4. Clean house schedule and playlist

The key for my cleaning motivation (besides a cup of joe) is a good playlist. My latest one’s got the whole family shaking their derrieres. Now the boys say they need some tunes to help them pick up the play room! I promise you’ll like it. This post also has a cleaning schedule ideas and printables. Let’s do it!


5. On going from two kids to three

And all of this changing is only intensifying as the baby of the family gets older. She’s napping less, eating more and demanding more of my time. The craziness of three little ones is just now sinking in, 10 months later. Here are the main practical ways I have adjusted going from two to three kids.


6. The week I changed the way I parent

The boys are three and five years old. I have shown them love with my whole heart during their short time on this earth, but I’ve also let them rule my emotions. I have let them get the better of my temper, lost control, yelled and acted like a child myself more times than I can count. But something has changed.


7. Kids chore chart to earn money

My five year old is starting to learn the value of a dollar. Ok, he doesn’t realize the value, but he has figured out that it can buy him things! I’ve known this time was coming and my wheels have been turning on how to allow him to earn money, but stay clear that some chores we do just because we are a member of the family. Printable chart included.


8. Our Christmas budget

Not every Christmas is the same. Some years cost less, some cost more. This year ours costs less and we plan on giving more. We’ve decided to budget Christmas expenses at $325 for this family of five. This includes decor, kids’ crafts, presents, cards, wrapping supplies, everything except the kids’ Christmas pajamas (which I bought on sale last month). Here’s how we did it.


9. Stenciled nursery with pom pom canopy

Clara’s room got a makeover! I added a playful stencil on the back wall and a dreamy white pom pom canopy, along with some other details. It changed the look completely.


10. Navy blue bedroom and home office

I finally figured out what to put in these gold frames in the guest bedroom/office and I’m calling it done! I put this room together on the very cheap with some hand-me-down furniture, spray paint and art from my own printer.

* * *

When I looked up the Top Ten, I was surprised some of these made the list. I’m also surprised when posts I wrote a year or more ago suddenly pick up popularity. Most of my traffic is driven by Pinterest, so sometimes I’ll see an influx readers for a random post I thought was dead in the water.

These are older House Mix posts just now making some popularity on Pinterest:

  1. Third trimester checklist (31.4K pins)
  2. Pom-pom curtains and curtain tricks you might not know (5.6K pins)
  3. Healthy pregnancy snacks (2.2K pins)
  4. How to make baby food in 45 minutes a week and save 50 percent (2.1K pins)
  5. Potty training 101 (1K pins)

My highest pinned article ever is how I simplified and organized my house with 175K pins. It’s still one of my most read articles today. I’m not sure I’ll ever top that one, but I’ll sure try!

Sometimes blogging can feel like writing to the wind. I LOVE to hear from you! Whether you have an idea, suggestion, or story you’d like to share, please leave a comment! The interaction makes it all worth it. Please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook too!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017! xoxo

Easy Christmas branch centerpiece


I have found that my decision to not buy more Christmas decorations this year can’t stop me from continuing to deck the halls. I wanted some height in this corner of our bar and a branch seemed just the right idea. And it’s free! 




(Clara is quite pleased with her Crayola masterpiece over there, as you can see.)




The only issue with this project is finding that perfect branch. I saw this one on the side of the road, but it was attached to a larger part of the tree that had been cut down. I parked the car and proceeded to try to rip and twist and jerk it off with no tools. There is a lot of construction in the area, so I was doing all this manic behavior in front of a long line of cars. Either they were entertained or disturbed, I’m not sure, but I wanted that branch! I didn’t get it though. It was too thick.

I told Marcello about my ridiculous behavior and we had a good laugh. He didn’t forget about it, and couple days later he had me show it to him when we were out and about with the family. He happily snapped it right off and put it in the back of the van. I am still touched that he remembered and made the effort to get it for me. It made me realize that I focus so much on the children during Christmas, I forget out the magic between husband and wife!

Enough mush, here’s how to whitewash a branch. And you better believe I’ll be using this for Easter too!

Cheap and easy Christmas decorations - whitewash branch and hang ornaments

The ornaments on the tree came in two sets and cost $2 total from the Dollar Tree. The balls in the vase I bought at Pier One for $.50 each during some random Christmas in July sale a couple years ago.

Also, this is the scene beside my little branch project that I carefully kept out of my shots — you know, instead of cleaning it up. The photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s going to take awhile.