Toddler Life Lessons From Jacques Pepin


As a parent we get to enjoy the education of life that takes place in the world of our children. Sometimes it’s joyous, sometimes it’s heartbreaking and sometimes it’s both.

This is one of those “both” moments.

I watch tv on my Ipad in bed. No, it’s really not healthy to watch tv before falling asleep. But sometimes I am wide awake, mentally dumb and physically exhausted at the end of a day, so I choose to lay still and watch rather than meditate or read. Recently, I started rewatching Julia Child’s The French Chef. It brings back childhood memories of Saturday morning cooking shows on PBS. One evening, in an attempt to get my 4 year old to bed when she was refusing,  I offered to let her share my ear plugs and watch with me, thinking it would soon bore her and eventually she would sleep. To my surprise and delight, she loves cooking shows!

Last night was one of those nights when she was refusing bedtime, so I offered a cuddle with Momma and a cooking show. This time she chose Jacques Pepin. Unfortunately, it was a lobster recipe. It was already cooked, but still whole and he began tearing and pounding at that creature. Some of my readers will remember me discussing my daughter’s decision to be willfully obtuse when it comes to the reality of where we get meat.  With this episode, she wasn’t going to be able to ignore the carnage she was watching.

She asked what it was, where it lived, and finally why that man was “breaking it”. So I answered simply, that is how you get the meat out. Realizing it was bothering her, I had 2 choices, turn it off or let it happen. I was afraid if I turned it off, it would leave her with questions and a negative impression. So instead I asked her. “Does this bother you?”. With sad eyes she looked at me and said “uh, huh”.  Instead of telling her about the cycle of life and trying to remove those feelings, I did what most might consider ridiculous. I told her it bothered me too and that it was ok to feel that way,  because we are supposed to feel sad when life is taken. Because it is sad.

We are so removed from the process of food that we no longer look at that pound of ground beef and see a life force. I firmly believe  the reason our food sources have turned to putrescence is because we as a nation no longer emotionally or physically participate in it’s production. When we feel the loss of life, we respect our food and demand that it be better. We are more grateful for it’s gift of nourishment. I can tell you the name of every piece of beef in my freezer. Each steak had a personality, a name and a life. I don’t ever want to lose that, I was proud of my sensitive child for feeling this way and I wanted to nurture it. No that’s not true, what I really wanted to do was change  to another episode, tell her it was only a TV show and that the lobster was fine. But I didn’t, and I am proud of both of us for taking the hard road of truth.

The end result?

She decided it looked yummy and wants to try some lobster. She was too tired and most likely too young  to understand the problem with good seafood in a landlocked state.

That truth will have to wait for another day.


Neutral? Children’s Room Done

“Neutral” Children’s Room


I did my best to stay neutral, but in the end, it’s a girl’s room. I truly despise categorizing genders.  Unfortunately I am in the minority and I have to think like the majority in this process.

I decided on an owl theme based on researched trends because I had a set of full size owl sheets and no full size bed. They got ripped up along with a matching shower curtain to be repurposed. I bought some matching wall decals to make a lampshade and wall art, repainted a lamp and nightstand, even tried my hand at a throw pillow owl. It didn’t come out as expected, but still cute.

Before and After Owl Kids Room 2

Before and After Owl Kids Room

Four rooms down, two thirds to go. 

Room Four, A Neutral Children’s Room

This used to be my haven, a lovely lavender Creativity Room.

Fotor0609171941In the few days it took me to move things out of the room, the girls really did a number on it and and left it in it’s current state. This room was never finished when we did the basement. Because I wanted a craft room I decided I would paint the walls and put down carpet myself. Yes, I put down carpet, as you can see from the corners I cut and tucked, I did not staple.

This room is going to need carpet, baseboards, closet dry walled and paint. The handyman is not coming for a few weeks so logic would dictate I wait, but since I banished the girls toys from the Family Room to the forgotten corner of the guest bedroom, they must go somewhere. They don’t have that many toys, but what they do have is big stuff, kitchen, piano, rocking horse etc. Things that don’t fit in their smallish shared bedroom.

I could not find in my research on home staging a consensus on what to do with kids rooms. Some say, paint it neutral and keep the kid stuff to a minimum, some say if it’s magazine worthy, it doesn’t matter, others say make it a theme room.  I’m going to go with a bit of all three and my gut. The fact is, if the prospective buyers bring kids and upon entering the room exclaim, “I want this to be my room”, then job well done. If there are no children then the adults need to see this room can be anything. So I need it to be neutral in color, neutral in gender, cute and well organized. My only concern is, I still want to leave it a little girly. Who knows what the future holds and my girls still deserve a pretty spot to play in. I definitely have my work cut out for me. 

The good news is I don’t have to worry about getting paint on the carpet.


Paint walls

New Curtains

Move in unused Toddler bed

Matching Bedding

Art for the walls

Arrange all the toys so they don’t take up the whole room

Wait for 2 weeks until handyman comes to finish





Converted Laundry Room Done

The Creativity Room has been dismantled and I am sad to see it go.

 Before and After Craft Room

This room is brighter than the other so it does work better for a laundry/craft room.


It still works well as a laundry room, yes Virginia, I had an inset created beside the door when we finished the basement that is perfect for a clothes rack.


I put the shelves on the other side so this room still has plenty of space.

laundry after2

The only left left to do, which will be done by the handyman, is a table shelf on top of the washer and dryer so there is a dedicated space to fold laundry.

3 down, 9 to go and I’m exhausted.

Room Number 3, The Laundry Room

The Laundry Room

laundry after

So no this room doesn’t need much. Well, honestly this is the after picture from my Laundry Room Makeover, but it still looks the same. Just add a mountain of clothes to the table and stuff the laundry sorter to bulging. But here’s the thing, in my research on home staging I’ve learned that it’s important to add useful spaces where we can and this is a nice size laundry room. What could I put in here that would allow the prospective buyer to see more value?  

Being that I live in the scrapbooking/crafting capital of possibly the world,  I’m going to turn this into a craft room. This house has 5 bedrooms, since 70% of the market is LDS there is a great possibility they will need all 5 bedrooms for their many kiddos. Wouldn’t it be nice for the Mom if she could have a space that is all her own?

This means I have to say goodbye to my Creativity Room and it’s lavender walls. I don’t feel I got to enjoy this space long enough, but sentiment is not going to get this house sold.

Craft Room Makeover



New valance, throw pillow to match the yellow.

Reorganization and declutter

Move all my precious bits and bobbles from one room to the other


I really hope this doesn’t take 3 days, I need a break!






Family Room is Done

 Clean and Presentable

Befor and After

There was a lot I could have done to this room to change it up. But clean and presentable with a little bit of pretty is all I was going for. Plus, this room is wired for surround sound, which means “speakers must be placed at strategic points for optimum sound”. I had a 13 inch TV with rabbit ears that did little more than collect dust when I met my husband. When we opted to turn this into a movie room I let him take the lead, so now I know, once speakers go up, furniture can’t be moved.

So I cleaned the carpets and couch, washed the walls, fresh coat of paint, made some throw pillows and covered art canvases in coordinating fabric. I may add a coffee table in the future, but for now this room is done.

On to the next!

Room Number Two, The Family Room

The Family Room

IMG_2395 IMG_2394 IMG_2393

Up until today this room was filled to the brim with toys. They have since been relocated, most of which went to the local thrift, surprisingly enough, with the help of both kiddos. I assumed I was going to have to do this on the sly, but I opted for the lesson in giving.  They grasped the idea of “donation” quickly. Without any drama they chose toys to keep and toys they thought other kiddos might like to have. We got rid of easily 50% of their toys. Woohoo!

I’m still considering the addition of a coffee table, it looks a bit empty without it, but isn’t that a good thing?

What do you think?

Does it need a coffee table or would prospective buyers be able to envision it as a play/movie/family room without it?

Here’s the plan:

Scrub the crayon & stickers from the walls.

Fresh coat of same paint color.

Large artwork for back wall.

Throw pillows and maybe a coffee table.

Declutter, carpet cleaned and a good scrub.

 See ya soon!