Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February 2016 Goals

I'm pumped it's February...my birthday month.  Sharing my goals for the month and taking a look back on how January's goals went.

1. Paint and redecorate bathrooms - This is about 80% complete.  Our guest bathroom is finished, I just need to add a small towel rack on the sink.  The master needs a shelf behind it and a little extra decor.  I'll share the finished products soon (hopefully the middle one this week). 

2. Join a gym again & lose 5 pounds - I lost 8 pounds this month on diet alone.  I have started working out in the last couple of weeks, but haven't seen any weight loss since.  I'm staying the course and continuing this journey.  I'm loving getting back in the gym!  

3. Look into sports associations in our city - I did this and can sign B up for soccer this Spring if I want.  I'm not sure why I'm hesitating, but I haven't officially done it yet.  

4. Meal plan each week. I've done a really good job with this and we've eaten in lots more than eating out (which I usually prefer).  I love cooking, but hate cleaning it up...3 times a day.

5. Declutter kitchen and master bedroom - I did a lot this past weekend, but it's not finished.  

6. Wake up at 7:30 - My plan is to wake up at 7:30 (on non-school days), make coffee, clear counter of any dishes that were drying/unload washer, light a candle, and read my devotional & Bible.  Maddox gets up around 8:00/8:15  - If I'm being honest, I didn't do well with this.  Shocker.  I will say that I woke up yesterday 30 minutes before Maddox woke up (only because he woke up 30 minutes later than usual) and wow!  It was amazing how much better that was.  I really hope I can do this in February.

7. Schedule dentist appointments for Beckham and I - Nope!  Someone just come pull all my teeth out.  Lesson learned regarding dental insurance...always get the more expensive one!!!  I've avoided the dentist because I know what they're going to say (cavities) and I don't want the dentists we have available to us to "fix them."  

8. Complete and mail sales tax for business.  Finished.  And learned I only have to do this once a year now (sales taxes are usually done quarterly)!  Yay!

9. Start my spreadsheets for 2015 taxes :( No I haven't!  Bleh!  Worst part about business.

10. Email contacts for blog redesign.  Yes, and everything is underway.  I'm really excited and even more nervous.  I know once it gets set up, there will be a lot of learning involved, but I know I've hired some really great people to help me with these tasks!\

Now onto February's goals!  In my new planner, there is a goal setting sheet.  I like how it has 3 goals at the top to focus on.  Obviously I have more goals, but this is nice to set 3 major ones or "themes."  So, I list out all of them in the bottom section.

1. Lose 4 pounds - I'm going to continue eating healthy and working out at the gym (aiming for 4 days a week).  I really hope the hard work pays off.

2. Finish my book, The Slight Edge.  I'm about halfway through and I really recommend this book.  It can be slow at times, but empowering how small, positive changes in your life can transform it!  For example, invest a little over the course of your life and become a millionaire.  It really doesn't take a lot to completely change your future financially, but consistency and time.

3. Do 2015 taxes - This will take some major time, but we usually wait till the last minute (April) and end up tweaking our taxes 2-3 times before we send them in, so hopefully this will save some stress in April. 

4. Start a new program for tracking my sales/expenses.  I bought this Excel program that will input my info from Etsy and organize it in Excel for me and haven't used it yet.  My goal is to set it up this month...once I set it up, it will be so easy here on out.

5. Add new signs - I'm not putting a number to this, but I at least need to add the signs that are already designed (most of these are custom orders that aren't listed because they were sent privately).

6. Wake up around 7 (at least 30 minutes before kids) - With that said, I will also aim for 7 hours of sleep.  Overall, my goal is to turn the lights off at midnight.

7. Schedule dentist appointment for myself and Beckham

8. Explore new grocery stores.  I'm having a hard time staying in our $400 grocery budget and so I plan to visit some other stores that "claim" to be cheaper than Walmart (Aldi & Winco).  I still shop around at Sprouts for their sales (and sometimes Trader Joes), but I'm wondering if the other two stores will save me more money.  My grocery haul this week...

9. Finish bathrooms.

10. Plan some birthday shindigs!  My birthday falls on a Tuesday this year.  I'd like to do plan something with girl friends, Ryan, and my family (all separately) so I just need to schedule it all out.

As always, thanks for your encouragement!  I feel held accountable when I post my goals and how I did each month.  And if you have any tips on grocery stores that you've had good experience with, let me know.

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How To Win My Heart

Today I'm linking up with Momfessionals' Show & Tell Tuesday to share the way to win our hearts!  I'm going to focus on my life long Valentine today, my husband!

Ryan can come off as a serious "tough guy", but the heart in this man is so amazing.  You can always tell how good a man will be to his wife by the way he treats his mother...and this guy treats his mom the way I want to be cared for when my own boys are married.

Here are some things that melt my heart when it comes to Ryan:

1. Words of affirmation.  This is my love language (that I like to receive) and his words can instantly put me in a better mood.  Here was a note he left just a few days ago on our fridge before he left for work one morning.  Ignore the other words on it (this is where I leave notes) :)

2. Conversation/Understanding - I wasn't sure how to word this, but what I mean by this is Ryan's willingness to really understand where I'm coming from and talk to me about it.  This may seem shallow but if I'm really wanting to change something in the house or buy something expensive (that we may not be able to do at the moment), Ryan will come to me the next day or two and I can tell he has been thinking about it.  Either he'll tell me the plan for us to accomplish that or explain why we can't do it at the time (but there's always a plan to pursue it).  He never lets something that's bothering me go without acknowledging it.  I've been wanting some updates to the house and so he came up with a plan in 2016 to tackle many of the projects so we get them done and can afford to do so.  That shows me he cares and values my desires.

3. He provides for us above and beyond.  This melts my heart all the time.  Ryan's gift is teaching.  We all know that teachers in America are underpaid.  With that said, he still finds a way to give us a wonderful life and assure an incredible future where we can enjoy the fruits of our labors and live in peace, not worrying about money.  To think I'd be a stay at home mom on a teacher's salary is pretty unbelievable.  He works a second job in order to provide (luckily he really enjoys this as well) and works super hard to invest money wisely so our kids are taken care of and we can retire comfortably!  I cannot tell you how much this means to me.

4. Seeing him with our kids.  This is a heart melter for many women.  Seeing a dad involved is amazing.  I love when he offers to take them to the park or run an errand to give me some free time.  Specifically with boys, I think it's extremely important for Ryan to spend time with them.

5. He recognizes my work as important.  The value of stay at home moms has shifted in the last couple of decades.  Majority of moms work outside the home today, which can allow pressure to creep in and think you're not doing enough.  I am thankful he sees my role as one of the greatest roles I'll ever accomplish in my life.  I've never felt pressured to go back into the workforce and that's a peace that melts my heart.

6. When he cleans.  This is probably one of the top ways to my heart.  Especially when it's done without asking.  Ryan is not a cleaner, so when he comes home, especially from reffing late at night, and picks up toys or unloads the dishwasher, my heart melts.

7. His faith.  Of course I love that he loves the Lord, but I really value that he won't let us skip church sometimes solely for the sake of our kids.  With kids there are a million excuses to skip church, but he won't do it.  Maddox is sick quite often and has to stay home for obvious reasons, but he always gets B dressed and takes him.  I'd be lying if I said it didn't annoy me sometimes that we don't all just stay home (if M is sick)...I don't want church to be legalistic, but deep down I know we're instilling good habits.

I'm not big on flowers or jewelry, but these things are sure winners!  If you're not Ryan, ways to my heart include:
-meals brought to my house
-free babysitting (thank you mom and Glenna)
-sweet things said by my kids (you know, just reminders that I'm not totaling failing as a parent)
-words of affirmation
-random acts of kindness

Now off to read some of the link ups.  I'll be sharing my February goals (and how I did in January) tomorrow.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Favs: Food & My Quick Weight Loss & BIG NEWS

Since I've had a few requests for what I ate when I lost 7 pounds in a week, I thought I'd share what I did and a few examples of what I ate.

First of all, the "plan" was to do low carb/high fat diet, basically the Atkins diet.  Just fyi, I do not think this is a healthy way to live long term.  I'm super impatient when it comes to weight loss and knew the first few pounds could come off quick since I gained them very quickly (thank you Christmas season).  

This is why the Atkins diet works (at least for me initially): Your body needs to burn energy to survive.  It looks for carbs first and burns those first.  If you have a lot of those, your body never burns the fat.  It just keeps eating the carbs for energy.  If you lower your carbs, when your body goes looking for energy to burn, it won't find enough and will then go to your fat reserve.  Therefore, you lose fat/weight.  It's way more scientific than that, but that is how it works in a nutshell.

Atkins allows for 20-40 grams of NET carbs per day (I stuck with closer to 40).  Carbs are in pretty much everything so this is really tough. If you can stick with eggs, meat, cheese, and veggies, you will do great.  My mindset was to do it for 2 weeks and see how my body was feeling.

Here was the basis of my diet each day:
Breakfast - Eggs and bacon
Lunch - Salad
Dinner - Meat and veggies
Atkins bars (these were good for my sweet tooth, snacks, and meals if I was in a rush)

If you know me well, you know that diet does not appeal to me whatsoever (except the breakfast), so this was quite the adjustment.  Bacon saved me.  I love bacon and pretty much ate that everyday.  I'll show you some of my favorite meals and then explain how I did/felt overall.

 Eggs with cut up ham topped with cheese and coffee (I'll explain how I made coffee below)

 Cobb Salad - lettuce, tomato (pico cause I was lazy), feta cheese, Ranch, and chopped bacon

 Chicken sausage, broccoli, eggs.  I was trying different mustard sauces :)

 Eggs and bacon

 Grilled chicken topped with bacon and cheese and sauteed zucchini/squash

 Eggs and Morning Star veggie sausage patties (got from Costco)

Hard boiled eggs (one with yolks, one without) and Boars Head Everoast chicken deli

Coffee is okay on this diet, but the creamer I like has 5 carbs in it per Tbsp so I had to be very mindful how I made my coffee.  This is how I made it.

Cup of coffee + 1Tbsp Coffeemate Caramel Macchiato creamer (5g carbs) + 1Tbsp Half n Half (1g carb) + 1/2 packet Truvia (1g carb)

And this is what it looks like (sorry I couldn't get the coffee to focus)

Speaking of favorites, this is my favorite mug right now.  I found it at Tuesday Morning.  I just love it.  

Through all of this I used MyFitnessPal to calculate everything I was eating.  After 1 week, I was down 7 pounds.  I was feeling good.  I decided to continue doing it and pretty much stayed at that weight.  I also started working out.  After some research online, I realized I needed to add carbs, but limit myself to a certain amount of carbs, proteins, and fats.  

I decided to do something called flexible dieting.  You can read THIS article to understand it and THIS to calculate what your macros should be based on your personal information.  This is a great article and great for those who don't want to bring a tupperware of broccoli and chicken to a social gathering. :)  If your food intake fits within your macros, you can eat it.

I knew with working out that I needed carbs and this is a much more balanced diet.  I'm really liking it so far.  I'm using MyFitnessPal to calculate everything I eat right now.  I'm sure as time goes on, I won't need to use this as much, but I would not be doing well without this app.  It takes some time getting used to but is amazing.  Every now and then I won't be able to find a food on there or it's just too complicated to find something so I'll have to use my best judgement and just do well with my other foods for the day.  For example, I got fro-yo with the kids yesterday (my first dessert in 2.5 weeks) and couldn't look it up so I did a "Quick Add" of 250 calories and just kept on with other eating.  It is what it is.  I've lost 2 pounds since last Monday.  

My macros are 1537 calories, 165g carbs, 124g protein, and 43g fat.  I'm aiming for closer to 1300 calories and adjusted my other macros accordingly on MFP app.  That website I linked above tells you what percentage of your diet should be carbs, protein, and fats so I imputed that into MFP as well.  

It really sounds confusing but it's not once you start messing around with it.  Bottom line, I just became aware of what I was eating.  Some days I go over, sometimes I don't reach the protein (this is hard for me), but I'm learning.  I also listen to my body and see how it reacts...I think that is important.  Two things I'm working on is water consumption and adequate sleep.  I can tell those two things are affecting my progress.  

I've added this protein powder to my diet after my workouts (just mix with water) and the flavor is SO good.  

Another favorite of mine this week was this chicken enchilada casserole (there's a video).  I calculated the macros and it's only 305 calories per serving if you cut it up into 8 pieces per casserole pan.

Lastly, two more sneak peeks of favorites that I'll be sharing soon...

BIG NEWS:  I'm in the process of migrating my blog over to my own domain, so if things get interrupted, this is why.  I will give you a heads up though beforehand so you know where to go.  If you search this blog name though, it will automatically take you there.  I'll be sure to share this process as well.  And the big news is, my name is changing!  The new blog will be called...

Y'all this was like changing the name of one of my babies!  So hard, but everything is underway now.  I can't wait to provide better content and have a more organized blog.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday: January 2016

It's been a while since I blogged...shocker.  As y'all know by now, it's a super busy time for me, but I love doing these What's Up Wednesdays each month as kind of a catch up on the blog.

Today I’m linking up with The Larson LingoPinterest Told Me To, and Mix & Match Mama to answer the questions  below.  And the bonus question is “What is your favorite Valentine's treat?”

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 1.58.02 AM
Here’s what’s up lately. 

I think I've briefly mentioned how I'm eating a lot healthier and really focusing on my macros the best I can.  So my meals haven't been the best, but lots of eggs and bacon/veggie sausage for breakfast.

For dinner we're having,
Monday - Chicken patties wraps (kids had chicken nuggets)
Tuesday - Breakfast Burrito (kids had pancakes, sausage, eggs, and fruit)
Wednesday - Chicken Enchilada Casserole with salad
Thursday - Turkey Chili
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Out

I keep thinking about my college days and how easy it was to be fit :)  I swear I ate close to 3000 calories a day and was a bean pole.

I'm really loving working out at the gym again.  Maddox FINALLY goes in without wailing and that makes my workouts so much better.  I already feel bad taking them to the gym, so it's nice to know they're okay.  I love lifting weights with a little cardio afterwards.  Every muscle in my body is sore :)

Lots!  It's pretty busy around here for me...Ryan is gone a lot so it's the boys and I a lot, but we've been having fun.  The weather has been pretty great lately, so we've been taking longs walks to a local park and ate lunch outside this week!

I've also been re-doing both bathrooms.  I still need to put some finishing touches, but just haven't done so yet.

We've had MOPS, Pre-school, play-dates, and errands that have been keeping us busy.  But I've also been doing well to stay at home at least once a week and we really need those days to "just be."

Saturday.  Ryan has a game far away, so it will be another full day on my own.  Although I'm going to plan something for the boys and I with other peeps!  I honestly am used to the week days being long, but the weekends are tough when he has games.

I'm working on adding some "dormant" signs to my shop.  I'm also moving forward with my blog "re-design."  And really working to de-clutter...I'm not sure this is ever going to end.

Beckham learned how to write his name!  I didn't really drill this into him either.  In the last couple of months, he's really been into coloring and writing letters.  He'll ask me how to write letters, I'll show him, and then he just practiced.  I've showed him how to write his name a few times and the other day, he showed me this!!!

I was so proud!  On another note, I'm attempting to cut his hair today so let's hope he doesn't look totally jacked up afterwards.

I'm reading The Slight Edge, which has been pretty good so far.  It's about getting things done and forming the right habits to succeed.
 The shows I'm watching right now are The Bachelor (my favorite), Biggest Loser, American Idol, and Homeland.  It's killing my productivity :)  Monday nights are my favorite.  Ryan is usually off and I'll either watch The Bachelor after the kids go down or, like last Monday, go to a friend's house to watch it.

I've been listening to a lot of Carrie Underwood's Storyteller album.  My favorite song is Choctaw County Affair.

Mainly workout gear, but not solely because I workout.  Dressing nicer to take care of kids just doesn't make sense to me.  At least when they're so young.  I'm sure to acquire snot, food, drinks, and germs throughout the day.  I'll dress up for church, but I don't have any pictures of that.

Like I mentioned, Ryan is gone on Saturday so we will hopefully be hanging out with some friends that night.  The weather is supposed to be pretty this weekend as well, so we will definitely be outside!  I may put the bounce house up!

My birthday!  I turn 31 on the 16th and I'm hoping to have a couple of fun nights out!

Maddox cut a new tooth and is really developing a goofy personality!  I love it!  And he learned how to say "baby" which is a huge deal because he doesn't talk much!

I couldn't find the link to this, but I love these brownie/strawberry cake treats.  You basically make brownies and strawberry cake from a box (or scratch) and put brownies on the bottom (about 1 TBSP) and strawberry cake on top.  I can't remember how long I baked them, but might have followed the cake directions for cooking.  I topped mine with cream cheese icing.  They are so good!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Life Lately

It's been a little busy around here and I haven't had much time to even think about a blog post, but I wanted to do a life lately post.

First, let me start by saying that if I didn't do anything else besides take care of my kids, it's still super crazy because it's basketball season, which means I'm parenting/housekeeping solo 5 days/nights a week.  When he's home that one day during the work week (he has Sundays off), I realize how much easier it is to have that extra help in the evening.  I feel like it's a day off!  Even though it is really tough, it makes me a really strong mom...I used to go to bed feeling defeated most days, but I've shifted my mindset to realize everything I DID do, and did by myself.

On the flip side though, I have to give a big shout out to my husband who really works SO hard for our family so I can take care of the kiddos each day.  He makes sure we can live comfortably, while still saving for college and our retirement!  I'm really thankful for him and I don't give him enough credit.  He's so great that when he got home last night at 1:00am, he worked on our toilet that had a leak (and fixed it)...AND then proceeded to put away all the dishes in the dishwasher before he went to bed (my most dreaded task).  This is coming from someone who needs a good amount of sleep each night and had to wake up at 6:45 to go tutor 9th graders!  Love him!

Lately I've been working on our bathrooms like I mentioned in my Goals post.  This is the BEFORE and it's almost finished.  I really love how it turned out.  I'll share this as soon as I take pictures of the updated one.  This is our guest/boys bathroom.  I actually didn't mind the decor, but just wanted a change and no more yellow :)  So this has really been keeping me busy.
Side Note: If you have an unframed mirror (like below), adding a strand of decorative beads (can find at craft stores or Garden Ridge) is a great way to "frame" it.

Laundry!  I swear I can't keep up.  I feel like laundry in the winter is so much harder because the clothes are so much bigger forcing you to wash more frequently.  I have this weird/bad feeling our washer and/or dryer is going to go out soon.  They both work fine, but we've had them for 9 years and are pretty hard on them (wash a lot).  Let's hope not, because we incurred an unexpected and EXPENSIVE "fix" last week.

Our water heater broke!  Did you know that when your water heater breaks it leaks out tons of water (see picture)?  I'm learning so much as a home owner.  Luckily, our water heater is in the garage and primarily leaked water all in there and on the side of our house.  Unfortunately, it somehow leaked into our master bedroom (which is connected to garage) and soaked the corner part of the room.  We're still in the process of drying it out.  Ryan, among teaching and reffing all day, had to manage to find someone to come replace the water heater ASAP.  Not good when it breaks in the winter (the kids got a spit bath that night) and I smelled for a day. :)  On top of the inconvenience of replacing it, it cost $1200!  And this is why it's important to have an emergency fund.  We actually managed to pay for it with extra reffing money Ryan had stashed away, so we didn't have to dip into that.

I've also been doing a lot of this...that's right, lot's of eggs and meats.  Which means a lot of cooking and avoiding fast food.  I've lowered my carbs significantly in order to shed some excess fat (since your body burns carbs first then fat) and it's been working great.  I've lost 8 pounds this week, which is nice, but also terrifying how badly I was eating.  I still have a long ways to go to my goal, but I'm motivated.  Ryan has been doing this with me, even though he really doesn't need to lose all that much.  He's SOLELY doing it as support!  Again, how great is he?  I told him to eat whatever he wanted while he's gone and just eat low carbs WITH me, but he says he's "all in." :)  And of course, he's lost 10 pounds or so (he's also running every night with reffing).

We've also been taking a lot of walks to the park.  Beckham led me to a new park...yes, I followed my 4 year old to a park I hadn't been to (he's been with Ryan) and it's about a mile away, so it's been good exercise (and a good time filler).  Maddox didn't feel good last week, so this was him cuddled up with me while B played and tried to race the elementary kids on his bike.  B never was a cuddler, so I'm eating up all the cuddles Maddox gives me.  I want to note (since I go back and read these types of posts) that B is such a cool kid...maybe it's just the age and I'm experiencing a more "conversational" relationship with him, but he's just "with it" and extremely independent.  This week, I also realized that I was meant to be a boy mom.  I was around a few little girls this week and, although awesome in their own ways, I am much more in my element with boys.  Maybe it's because it's all I know, but I sure do love having boys.  I'm praying for more good weather, so we can keep going outside (it's my saving grace during this season).

Another saving grace is bath time!  Once it's 7:00, we hit the bath tub, get our pj's on, and play/read in B's room until bed time!  Our night time routine is down pat!

And then I get to watch some TV.  I'm not much of a TV person when I know I have tons to do, but when I'm solo, I don't feel as guilty taking an hour or two to catch up on shows.  Last night was The Bachelor and I was cringing watching these chicks "play" soccer.  Regardless, my guilty pleasure hit the spot last night.  I also watched the Biggest Loser, which pretty much sealed the deal of my unproductive night.  Therefore, I have lots of cleaning and catching up to do today.

Like I mentioned above, we haven't been eating out, but we decided to go to Mooyah on Sunday evening so we could have turkey burgers wrapper in lettuce (ugh, I wanted the bun)!  They have a huge chalkboard there and I proudly watched Beckham write his  name on the board.  Suddenly, he's been writing his letters and I really haven't guided him much.  One thing I've learned in parenting is kids do better when they're ready.  Two examples of me trying to force B to do something before he was ready were potty training and writing.  Both times I tried to "teach" him to do these things before he was ready were terrible!  I let them go and he ended up doing both!  Not that I won't encourage him or challenge him, but I won't stress (a lot :)) if he doesn't do it right then.

Well, that's what we've been up to lately.  January has seemed like such a long month when I look back on pictures, but also, I can't believe it's already the 19th.  I've got a mom's night out tonight (thanks to my mom watching the boys) and I'm excited to relax a bit!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Playroom Update

Last year I shared some pictures of our boys' playroom.  You can see here.  And since then, I've changed it up a bit.  It was previously an office before we had kids, but we decided to make it a playroom a few months after Beckham was born.  For some strange reason, I wanted it to be green.  The green came out way mintier than I was hoping, but this was before I learned how important paint samples are (never ever again will I paint a wall without samples).

The green was killing me after a couple of years and once we had a little time and money, we decided to create more of an open/light room with more storage.  We went with grey as the wall color and decorated primarily with white and some metal decor!  The light color really does open it up.

Here is a little before and after to get started...

Painting the walls gray was the biggest difference obviously.  If you saw my post on Instagram last year, you saw that I painted this room TWICE.  Once with a purple gray and then again with this lighter gray (more of a charcoal base vs. blue).  I lasted 2 days sitting and cringing at my BOYS purple room, so the following weekend, my parents came over (Ryan was gone) and helped me repaint it.

We also took down the curtains and left the window open.  My mom gave us that table below from IKEA...sometimes it's in the playroom and sometimes we pull it out for the boys to eat on.

I knew I wanted to word "Play" to be displayed on the wall somewhere, but I could not find any letters that I liked.  My mom suggested metal letters and I thought that was a great idea.  I found these at Hobby Lobby for $30 a piece, but bought them 50% off, making them each $15.  They are each about 20 inches tall.  Well worth the price since they are the major decor in this room.

Another big difference is the storage.  The original storage was Target open shelves.  They worked well, but compared to these IKEA shelves, they look dinky. And these are only about $10 more (2x4).  They're sturdy and so far, there haven't been any scratches.  I bought two of IKEA's white storage boxes to go on the bottom cubbies.  They were kind of pricey ($14 each I think), but I'm glad I went with this version.  If you have children that have a talent for destroying any object, these are for you.  The fabric ones wouldn't stand a chance in our house (B demolished the Target ones).  These are very hard and sturdy and slide in easily.
*When I went to link these for you, I noticed that the price has gone up quite a bit since I purchased these :(  I'm pretty sure I bought these for $60, no more than $65.  They're now almost $90.  Boo, but I'd still get these over cheap ones (kids are crazy).  You can get other colors for cheaper.

Here are what I keep in the cubbies.  Games, costumes, balls, and some miscellaneous things organized in small bins or bags.

In between each storage unit, I put a toy box that also serves as a bench (but it's never used like that...sometimes a step stool, but rarely sitting).  I got this from Kohl's, but can't find it to link it for you.  We keep stuffed animals, fabric books, and other soft things.

I also added a small 2x2 storage unit, also from IKEA, to house a few more bins and toys.  Beckham accumulated a bunch of Paw Patrol and Blaze cars over Christmas, so we've stashed them on top of the unit.  The plastic bin to the right was actually not supposed to stay in here (it started off as baby toys), but has since become a box for junk that won't store on cubbies or in a small bin.

This is what we keep in that bin.

I made this custom "Playroom Rules" sign that is available in my shop.  I bought this white 24x36 frame at Michaels for $15.  I couldn't believe that price.  It was on sale, but I went back and bought another one of these (different color) and the original price was $20.  I just printed the sign at Office Max and wa-lah!

To the left when you walk in is the new tool table Maddox got from Santa and the kitchen (got this for $20 on Facebook a long time ago).   I decorated the wall with floating shelves that are made for pictures.  They're also from IKEA.

The tool table in action.  My little munchkin!

I am a big fan of storage boxes to organize small items that belong together (legos, cars, trains, etc).  Here are some examples of the storage boxes.  I just buy these at Walmart.  They've worked great.

I really like how it turned out.  My favorite part are the metal letters.  It's also a pretty easy clean up since every toy has a spot, which was one of my main goals when re-doing this.  Hope you liked this!