Daily Life, DIY, House & Home, Pictures, Tutorials

How I Remodeled A Guest Room For Under $15

Guest Room

My husband and I were elated to purchase our first home in 2009 but as new, first time, homeowners it took us a while before we furnished all three bedrooms. In 2010 we used part of the federal stimulus package we received (for first time buyers) to purchase a King size bed set for our master bedroom. We moved the Queen bed, which we had been sleeping in for three years, into our guest room. I feel that I should mention that our guest room is the smallest room in our house (second to the closets, of course) and having such a large bed rendered the space useless for much of the time. Overnight guests stay so infrequently that the wasted space has become more and more noticeable over the last year or so and I started to realize how our misuse of the space might impact potential resale value in the future (who wants to have to worry about a bedroom re-do when you’re trying to prepare for a move?!) so I finally decided to do something about it.

My good friend Mindy (hi!) is coming in over the weekend to stay with us and I knew I eventually wanted to get that guest space remodeled but I wasn’t sure I’d have the time before her trip. So I asked her, “Theoretically speaking, would you be more comfortable in a room that had a larger bed but no room to move around or a smaller futon bed but room for suitcases and space?” Her answer gave me the green light (and inspiration) to go ahead and move forward. Here’s what the space looked like earlier today:

It's Always Good To Be Back In A Queen

In case you’re wondering…yes, that is the entire room. Even though Tobias Funke would say, “It’s always good to be back in a Queen”, when the bed is the only item you can fit into a room, it’s probably not worth keeping. So we listed it on a local classifieds group. All together (bed, mattress, box spring, and the complete bedding set) we were asking $200 and were fortunate to find a buyer who was interested in picking it up this week.

When we listed the bed, I started perusing Craigslist for either a daybed with a trundle or a futon bed. I went back and forth on which one would be a better bang for my buck but ultimately found a great futon that could either be used as a little couch or a twin size bed. The previous owners took great care of it and were asking $75. I offered $60 and we picked it up Memorial Day weekend. While my husband was waiting for our buyer to pick up our old bed this evening, I ran to Target to grab everything I needed for our guest room fix. I gave myself a budget. Ultimately I knew I wanted to come as close to breaking even as I could and I’m pretty happy with how close I came. Take a look (details below):

Guest Room Makeover

I am a sucker for Target clearance, can you tell!?




My Target Purchase Included:

  • Twin Sham $9.99
  • Twin Comforter $19.99
  • Sheets $10.48
  • Towels (2 Bath) $9.98
  • Towels (2 Wash) $5.98
  • Orange Vase $7.48
  • Accent Rug $24.99
  • Wall Mirror Set $17.48
  • Table Lamp $17.79
  • Yellow Picture Frame $3.48
  • Bookcase $21.99
  • Candle $5.99

Total $155.62 (plus $60 for the futon) I used a coupon yesterday for $10 back when you spent a certain amount in the baby department so I applied that towards today’s purchase bringing the total down to $145.62 plus tax. Making my grand total (before tax) $205.62. Less than $15 over budget!

Small Guest Room

I brought in some old goodies for the white bookcase and knew I wanted to make it into something a little bit more unique than just a twenty dollar shelf. So I took an old Arabic alphabet poster my husband was asking me to get rid of and nailed that to the back of the bookshelf. Then I added some great books, pictures, and various other accessories to the shelf to give it some character. We moved a small television into the room so that the space will double as a den when we don’t have guests.

Bookshelf with character

Bookshelf for Guest Room


Functional Guest Space

What I love most about this space is the function it now serves for our family. You don’t need a lot of room to have a great space and by incorporating those personalized details, you can transform an otherwise boring piece of furniture into something more interesting and beautiful. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the room turned out. If you’ve been considering a room re-vamp but didn’t think it was in the budget, I hope this helps inspire you to complete that project you’ve had on your mind.


Guest Room

Daily Life, DIY, House & Home, Parenting, Pictures

The Toddler Room (An Update)

It’s Friday! It’s Friday! It’s Friday and it’s a holiday weekend! Horray!

It seems like every time we have a long weekend, we try to fit in all of the items on our “to do” list (in addition to carving out some social activities and family time). This Memorial Day weekend is no exception. As you know, we’ve been working on a nursery to toddler room transformation and  I wanted to share some of our progress so far. In the next few days I’ll share all of the details on her fabulous new room and some of what I’m learning about transitioning from a crib to a toddler bed. In the meantime, enjoy!

Toddler Room Toddler Room Toddler Room Toddler Room Toddler Room

I can’t wait to share the finished product with all of you! Enjoy your Friday night!

Daily Life, House & Home, Parenting

I Think It’s Time…

I will never forget the first time that my child climbed out of her crib. We had one of our friend’s children over for the afternoon and the window of opportunity for nap-time was closing in so I put C down and walked away (thinking that she would settle down and eventually fall asleep). Much to my surprise, a few minutes later she came prancing into the kitchen, smiled, and said, “Hi, Mommy!”.

We probably should have switched her to a toddler bed right then and there but I wanted to wait to see if it happened again. It didn’t…at least not for a while. Within the last couple of weeks she’s become a lot more confident in her climbing abilities which is both amazing and a little nerve wrecking at the same time. On the bright side, I no longer have to worry about her being too afraid to go down a slide at the park but, on the other hand, I now have to face the challenge of moving her to a toddler bed.

I’m not sure why I’m putting it off. Maybe it’s because I’d have to admit to myself that she’s not a baby anymore. As with anything in life, though, it’s going to have to happen eventually and I think it’s time. I’ve been trying to think about how we can best transition her into a toddler bed (meaning she’ll stay in bed during bed and nap times) and I’ve come up with an idea that I hope will work. We’re going to give C a big girl room! I plan to explain to her that she’s going to get a pretty big girl room and her new room comes with big responsibilities like staying in bed when we’re supposed to be sleeping and telling mommy and daddy when we need to use the potty (more on that later).

I’m not naive enough to believe that this will work like magic but I’m hoping I can use the big girl room as leverage for tricking getting her to follow the rules that will come with her new bed. Plus, maybe the added incentive of getting to decorate her room will make it easier on me to get her out of that crib. Today, while we were out shopping at JoAnn Fabrics, I found the perfect inspiration for C’s new room. Take a look:

Big Girl Room Inspiration

These two boxes are perfect! Not only are they ridiculously adorable but they were also on clearance! CLEARANCE! Whoo hooo! That is music to my ears (I just love decorating on a budget) The small box (on top) was marked down from $5.99 to $1.97 and the bottom box was $3.97 marked down from $8.99. They have a larger box at the store but I want to wait until I can drag my husband in to take a look at it before I convince him that we need to buy it.

In the coming weeks, I plan to share the before and after pictures of her bedroom transformation as well as our journey from the crib to the toddler bed. Wish me luck!

Culture, Daily Life, Health & Wellness, Parenting, Society

The Importance of “Me Dates”

Me Dates


To say that my daughter was challenging would be an absolute understatement. It doesn’t help that our household has been plagued with some sort of freak virus this week and we haven’t been able to go out for playdates or stick to the routine that we’ve established over the last few months. I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked by C’s behavior, a mix of cabin fever, not feeling well, and perhaps the “terrible twos” created the perfect storm.

At one point, she threw herself on the ground and was kicking and screaming and crying so much that I wasn’t even sure what was going on anymore. Was this really over blueberries, or wanting a different cup at the table, or getting upset because I had to use the bathroom, or because she didn’t want to take a nap, or because the dog came too close to her, or any of the other things that set her off yesterday? I get that, because toddlers don’t have the vocabulary to verbalize their wants and needs to adults, they’re going to vocalize their frustration through temper tantrums but even with that knowledge, it doesn’t make dealing with that behavior any easier.

For that reason, it’s so important for parents (those who stay at home full-time in particular) to take some time for themselves. I’m not talking about that five minutes once a month that we get to use the restroom by ourselves…I mean some actual “me time” or, what I like to call, a Me Date. You have date nights with your spouse so that you can keep that fire alive so why should taking time for you be any different? Last night I decided to do something I’ve never done before…

After the husband came home from work, I got ready and decided to head out for my “Me Date”. Part of me felt guilty (welcome to the world of being a mom, right?!) for leaving the house because I felt like I was escaping the day but I knew it was something I had to do. I drove over to Target to pick up a few things that we needed around the house and then took myself out to dinner. I have never, in my life, eaten at a restaurant by myself. It was a strange feeling and I’ll admit that it was uncomfortable at first but armed with my Sudoku book and a pen, I took on the challenge and discovered that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was actually really nice.

For an hour and a half last night I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself and even though it was something so simple as running an errand and grabbing a bite to eat, I felt that it was exactly what I needed and so I wanted to encourage you to do the same. I know it isn’t easy to set aside time for just you (because there’s always someone else you could be spending time with) but it really is important and, at the end of the day, it sets a great example for your children. I’m not sure when my next “me date” will be or what I’ll do (maybe I’ll try watching a movie) but I know that it’s something that will happen again and I’ll try not to wait until we have a bad day at home to do it.

How do you set time aside for yourself?


Daily Life, House & Home, Pictures, Reviews, Uncategorized

Our New Living Room (with pictures)

If you’ve been following my blog for the last couple of months you already know that we’re working on finishing our basement. It’s a (slow) work in progress that we’ll hopefully finish at some point soon. In the meantime, I’ve been working on some projects upstairs and finding new furniture for the living room was part of that. We purchased our first couch together in 2006 when we were living back East. Since then, it’s gone through three moves, countless parties, animals, and a toddler. Needless to say, it’s gotten a lot of use (and it shows) so when we decided that we were going to go ahead with the basement project, we knew we wanted to move the old couch down into the new space once it was finished.

Here’s what our living room looked like before (I don’t have a picture of the entire living room for some reason so these two will have to do):


This monstrosity is called a shrunk and this particular one has been in my family since the 1980s when my parents bought it while we were living in Germany. It’s hand crafted and made of solid wood and so I’m very lucky to be able to keep it in the family. Whether C likes it or not, she will have this one day and I hope she’ll enjoy it as much as I do. One of the downsides to having such a massive piece of furniture is having to figure out where to put furniture in the room. Our living room looks significantly larger now that the Shrunk is downstairs. I think it will look great against the long wall in the basement when it’s done.


You’ll have to forgive me for this photo. The only picture I could find of our other sofa (the ottoman is in the corner) was from C’s first birthday party in February. The couch looks better in the photo than it does in real life but you get the idea of how the room was set up. Since we had selected such large furniture we were pretty limited when it came to placing it so it was pretty obvious when we had our carpets cleaned (more on that in a couple days) where furniture had been and where the high traffic was in our space.

Let me be the first to tell you (in case you don’t already know): Don’t order new furniture until you’re CERTAIN that you’ll have a place for your old pieces. When we placed an order for our new set (purchased from Nebraska Furniture Mart) we had already given ourselves a deadline to complete the basement. That deadline came and went and we had to move our existing furniture into the garage until it’s finished. I’m less than thrilled about it but, at the end of the day, it is what it is and there’s nothing I can do but suck it up and learn from the mistake.

All that said, this was the first time I’ve ever owned an actual living room set and we were so lucky to get such a great deal at NFM. Not only do they provide interest free financing (for two years) for their customers but they also have great discounts year round. We were able to purchase the couch, love seat, coffee table, two end tables, and two lamps for under a thousand dollars including delivery fees. Take a look:

Living Room

This is the Ashley Buttonless Tufted Loveseat in “Lagoon”:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here is the sofa:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here’s the Ashley White Coffee Table with Storage Drawer:

*”Storage drawer” is not really an accurate description since it has doors that open on each side (which is fine, I love it).

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here’s the Ashley Square End Table in White:

It's An Ordinary Blog

And the lamps:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here’s a closer look at the pillows. This fabric is my absolute favorite:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Once the holidays are over, we’re planning to move the tree and get a small bookshelf and toy storage bench that will go where the tree is. Then we’ll probably buy this blanket in either cream or this orange-red color I saw in the store (which is STUNNING in person) once it goes on sale at Target. I’m also planning to work on an inexpensive large print inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. That will complete the living room project (look out for a tutorial post once I get it done).

I’m so thrilled with our new living room. It’s a comfortable space we can be proud of and I love it.

Updated Living Room

Daily Life, DIY, House & Home, Pictures, Tutorials

The Kitchen: Final Pictures

It’s been a little while since I posted about our kitchen makeover  (you can find the other posts here and here) and I promised pictures of the final product. Well…here you go! You may notice the cream-colored curtains that replaced the purple curtains from previous pictures…they’re now in their new home in the living room (more on that tomorrow). I actually really love the cream color, I think they brighten up the room.

Decorated Kitchen

Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover


Kitchen Decor

No Sew Curtains

Before I sign off, I want to talk about these “curtains”. They were SO, so easy to make. When I found the fabric (which is an oblong tablecloth from Target that I got on clearance for under $6) I was elated because I just love the color. I purchased two of them (one to use on the table and one to use for the window). To do this, you’ll want to buy a small tension rod. The one I bought (in the bathroom section) works perfectly for our window and it was $5 at Walmart. The rings have a clip on the end of each that help to hold the fabric in place. I folded the table-cloth in half and hung it on the curtain rings. It’s cute, functional, and inexpensive. The whole window treatment cost less than $20. I think the privacy is priceless.

Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Society

A Season Of Giving: Give Thanks, Give Back

Even though I’m not participating in the “30 Days of Giving Thanks” like many of my blogger friends are, I do have a lot to be thankful for so I wanted to take a moment to talk about the season of giving. While we’re focused on giving thanks for our own lives, we should also take a moment to give back to our communities.

Harvesters: The Community Food Network is an organization very dear to my heart. I first heard about Harvesters while working for a company that partnered with them for some volunteer work but it wasn’t until I joined a philanthropic organization here in Kansas City that I really got to spend time figuring out what Harvesters is all about. As Americans, we often think about developing countries and their needs while overlooking the need within our own backyard. Food desserts and hunger are a very real issue that many families face right here in the United States. I stand with Harvesters in the belief that no child should ever go hungry and so this year I’ve asked my friends and family who will be coming over for the holidays to help support this organization through the donation of non perishable food items.

I contacted Harvesters who agreed to let me have a large box, which holds 150 pounds of food and a poster to hang on the wall next to C’s art. I’m encouraging friends and family to help me fill that box. Together, we can help to make a difference in the community around us. I would also like to encourage you, my readers, who join the fight against hunger in America. Your contribution will help families in desperate need this holiday season. If you’d like to give to Harvesters, simply follow this link to their site to make an online donation. I also encourage you to find organizations in your own area whose mission is to better the community and give to them. Give your time, your talents, your resources. Give what you can for those who have less.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for and I wanted to take a moment to touch on that. I am beyond grateful for my incredible family. I am so blessed to live within driving distance of several of my family members and I know I can always count on them if I need them. I have an amazing husband who works so hard to provide for us. He is loving. He is smart. He is kind. I have a wonderful daughter who I love more than anything in this world. She has brought me so much joy. She has taught me about life. She has taught me about love. I am thankful for our laughs together, our Eskimo kisses, our snuggles before bedtime. I am thankful for my chosen family, who are my friends. I firmly believe that I have the best friends on Earth and I love them all. I am thankful for everything I have in this life and so, so much more. I am thankful for my health and for the health of those that I care about. I am thankful for this planet and all its inhabitants. I am thankful for this life.

DIY, House & Home, Pictures

The Kitchen: Part II

As you know from yesterday’s post, we’ve been working on some small kitchen projects here at home. The husband and I have been very fortunate in that have very generous people in our lives without whom we wouldn’t have many of the things we have. My dad gave us a four person dining room table that we picked out from Nebraska Furniture Mart a couple of years ago. We love it and it’s been an incredible piece of furniture for us for the last few years. When we made the decision to finish our basement (which is still a work in progress) we knew we wanted to move that table downstairs and have a six person table that was a little lower to the ground in our kitchen. Since C is now old enough to be in a booster seat instead of a high chair, it was especially important for us to start the search as soon as possible. I searched for a couple of months on Craigslist and finally found what I was looking for at a very reasonable price.

This is a pretty commons style of table that includes four chairs and a long bench and it fits perfectly in our kitchen. I’ve never been a major fan of medium shades of wood so I knew immediately that was one of the changes I was going to make. I think it’s important, for anyone looking for different furniture, to find a piece that you like for its structure. Things like color and stain can be changed at fairly minimal cost to the owner so if you find something you like within (or under in our case) your price range go with it.

I chose a cream/yellow color for the table itself and wanted to do the chairs and bench in different colors. Here’s what they looked like before:

Here are the chairs, after:

And the bench:

I was lucky to find some great table clothes on clearance at my local Target (just one of them is displayed below) to help dress up the table, making this portion of the kitchen home improvement project complete.

Tomorrow, in the third and final part of my kitchen renovation series, I’ll talk about wall how I did the wall decor and what a major difference it made in the look and feel of the kitchen (and, of course, there will be plenty of pictures). Until then…

DIY, House & Home, Pictures

The Kitchen: Part 1

I’ve been working on a lot of small DIY projects  around the house and wanted to share some of the work I’ve done on the kitchen. I’m planning to make this into a three-part post so today I want to focus on the beginning of the project. We purchased our home when it was in the beginning stages of construction in 2009 and so we had a lot of say in terms of appliances, light fixtures, carpet and other flooring, and the exterior color. I’ve always really loved our house but we’re finally getting around to turning it into a “home”. Here are a couple of “before” pictures of the kitchen (The only ones I could find were from C’s 1st birthday party so you’ll have to excuse the decorations):

We were lucky that we didn’t have to do anything with our kitchen but we really wanted to bring some color and some sort of backsplash into the room. What I wanted, and would still really like to have whenever it happens to fall within our budget, is this:

Due to budget restraints we had to go in a different, more cost efficient, route and so I thought it might be fun to do a chalkboard backsplash. We’re a young family and we have a toddler in the house…why not?! We went with a beautiful shade of dark purple on two of the walls and are really happy with the results:

The chalkboard paint is something that can be purchased for less than $15 dollars at any hardware store (I purchased mine from Home Depot). Including paint and materials, I spent under $50 for this portion of the kitchen makeover. Tomorrow, in Part II, we’ll talk about our kitchen table (because it did not look that adorable when we bought it). Until then…

What’s the one room in your house you most want to give a facelift?

Daily Life, Mad About It Mondays, Rants, Reviews

Mad About It Mondays: Bulldog Hardware Mounting Strips

As you know I’ve been working on some small and inexpensive home improvement projects around the house. I’ve been doing a lot of work on our kitchen (which I will be blogging about later this week) and I don’t want to leave damage on my walls. In order to avoid potential wall damage I’ve been purchasing wall mounting strips. You may remember that I used the Command product when I did my mini bathroom makeover and they’ve worked like a champ. As it turns out, the Walmart in my area doesn’t carry Command products and so I bought the Bulldog Hardware Mounting Strips instead. They were signficantly cheaper than either the Command or the Scott brands and so I thought that might be a nice way to save money while doing projects around the house. If you haven’t already figured it out, let me be the first to tell you that sometimes you get what you pay for.

When will I be purchasing the Bulldog Mounting strips? Never again. Ever. I had a few different things to hang but I’ll start with the “heaviest” (not that heavy) which was two small strips of painted wood with four magnets attached to each. The idea was to hang C’s artwork for display on these pieces. At most, each piece weighs about two pounds which shouldn’t be an issue for quality mounting tape. Just to be on the safe side, I went ahead and used much more than I ever thought I’d even need and hung it up. The next items that I hung weighed in at maybe a half pound each, so very light. Even then, I went ahead and used the product on all four sides and in the middle and hung the three pieces of that particular item up. The kitchen looked great and I was really proud…until all the pieces I used that crappy product on started falling to the ground.

I imagine that this is what the makers over at Bulldog Hardware do all day as they try to come up with products that do nothing but fall to the ground:

I thought maybe it was user error and so I tried again and let the wall mounting tape attach for a few hours before using the pieces. Same thing happened. At that point I realized it was most definitely not an error on my part, unless you consider it an error that I purchased that brand in the first place. There are some things in life that the name brand is worth the extra price for: Oreos, Peanut Butter, Pop Tarts, Mac n’ Cheese, and wall mounting strips. If you’re considering an improvement project in your home, take my advice and do not purchase the Bulldog Hardware Mounting Strips. You will regret it.