Monday, November 11, 2013

A Day at the Farm.

Boy #3 had his first field trip of his Kindergarten career last Thursday to a local petting zoo. J took the day off and we brought Angel-baby to experience the animals and met up with the school at Old Mcdonalds Farm. We were running late but lucky for us their buses were running later so we still made it there before the kids. There were pens with goats, sheep, ducks, pigs and chickens. We saw a donkey, a cow, a rabbit and a couple of llamas. We even ran into a handful of deer. The farm also offers pony and train rides.

The kids ate their lunches at the covered picnic tables, played on the large playground and got to pick a pumpkin before returning to school. The weather was perfect! The rain finally moved out and a cool front came in so it really felt like autumn. Boy #3 had a great time feeding and petting everything he saw. The goats really do eat everything, including his bag of feed right out of his hands! The deers were not the least bit timid and came right up and ate out of my hand and ran off with the brown bag of food. Angel-baby wasn't so sure about the petting part but she went right up to all the pens. The flock of birds that kept soaring over our heads kind of freaked her out but she really enjoyed running around and taking everything else in. She ran and ran and ran! I think she made it 5 minutes in the car before she fell asleep and slept the whole way home. I remember doing this same trip when Boy #2 was in Kindergarten 3 years ago. Hard to believe that it's already Boy #3 turn. It was a fun day and I'm glad we got to share it with him. He now wants everyday to be a field trip day! I think this was his one and only for the year. 

Here are some pics from the farm.

Not so sure about the birds.

When I asked her if she was ready to go night-night? Her response: "Na-Na. Nie-Nie" For those of you who don't speak baby, I'll translate. "No-no. Night-Night!"  Yup, she told me! Love her!

Then this happened. Worn out from all the fun.

Friday, November 8, 2013

An Easy Update for the Computer Nook.

We don't have a office in this house.  We have a large Game Room upstairs with a computer armoire that houses all our office essentials. It works since we can close it off and keep certain things away from tiny hands. This was a our solution for serveal years but now the boys are into computer games and use this space sporadically for homework. It has recently come to our attention that our upstairs "office" has slowly been taken over by the boys. I'm never up there much since the baby perfers downstairs and J has a laptop that he keeps in the Family Room. He likes to spread out and work at the kitchen bar but occasionally leaves his laptop out I'm always afaid that the kids will mess with his things or worse yet, spill whatever it is they are snacking on at the time around or on it. This always leaves me cringing a tiny bit because I CAN NOT STAND to have things just sitting around out of place for days on end. I am a bit anal-retentive that way. I admit it, everything has a place so put it back where it goes!

When we moved into this house 7 years ago. It was your basic run of the mill track house with nothing of interest what-so-ever. We had a empty enclave in our Family Room that I knew could be something really cool if I could just figure out what to do with it. About 5 years ago, I decided to turn the space into a little computer nook for our old laptop. It wasn't a real work area but more a of place for displaying pretty knick-knacks. There was no real lighting or storage. Visibility was limited but that was ok because my nook was pretty and I didn't want a bunch of dangling cords. It filled in all the dead space without throwing in a plain boring bookshelf.  With the boys moving in on J's work space upstairs I decided to revisit this little nook and make it a little more functional. My goal was to add some lighting, simple storage and update the paint inexpensively as I could. Simple right?

Here's what I came up with. The total spent was around $30 and only took a day or two to put together. I think it blends better with the Family Room now. I love it!  



The breakdown.
I bought stencils (yes, I know stencils!) at Wal-mart for $3.97 and 2-2oz bottles of acrylic craft paint in Old White for $.47 apiece. I cut out the stencil and applied the paint with a paintbrush working in rows moving across the wall and down. When I was done, the stencils looked too perfect. I decided to give it a "aged" look by brushing in a few light coats of more craft paint all over and letting it dry. I then rubbed it all down with a damp cloth to blend in any lines. I added a few "splotches" of my chalk paint in Antibes Green to give the entire wall a bit of a patina. 

Next thing I did was rehang the shelving tracks a bit lower to add a new shelf. I painted the tracks with more craft paint to help camouflage them on the wall. The shelves went lighter with a couple of coats of my leftover chalk paint in French Linen. I restained the desk with a darker walnut stain I had in the garage and sealed it with some poly.

For the lighting, I found these industrial clamp lights at Home Depot for $6.97a peice. I painted them in Robin's Egg Blue with spray paint that I bought I Michael's with my 50% off coupon. The paint was horrible, more oil and water than anything else but it was only $4. I hid the cords to the lamps down the sides of the shelving tracks with electrical staples hammered in for a tight fit. When I was satisfied with the placement of the cords, I gave them a coat of more craft paint.
hidden track and cords (hopefully).

I didn't buy much in the way of new accessories other than a couple of things. I found a rustic basket with tin containers for pencils and pens but I didn't care for the tin when I got home. I replaced the tin containers with glass jars that I save from the fridge, usually jars from pickles, jams or jelly's. J got a charger caddy for his bday and I painted that (yup, you guessed it- with more craft paint) to help it blend. I also painted my black framed cork/dry erase board white and rehung it over the new monitor shelf. I had the chipboard boxes in my closet and pulled them out and used my crappy Robin's Egg Blue spray paint to give them a quick new look. The wicker basket was from Wal-mart and was $7. The blue wire baskets came from Homegoods and were $5 apiece. I bought those a few months ago for the kitchen but wasn't crazy how they looked in there. The rest of the accessories were either here on the old shelves (ceramic dogs and amber glass bowl) or gathered from other areas of the house. I love it when that happens! I was afraid the overall look was kind of busy so I reworked a few things but I think this works now. I really enjoy this little nook and it's now as pretty as it is functional and all under $30!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What's in the pantry chicken casserole.

Yesterday was one of THOSE days. The baby is still adjusting from the time change and getting over no more nightly bottles so she was up bright, early and ready to go while not sleeping so well the night before. She ate breakfast and watched her "stories", Bubble Guppies as I walked around in a dazed stupor trying to straighten up a little for a play date we had mid-morning. It was going to be a busy day with our morning play date, my latest project that needed some more work, kids, homework, science project, laundry and dinner.  I still haven't made it to the store since the weather and the never ending rain is a maor turn off at the moment so I scanned the freezer for dinner ideas. I set out 4 large chicken breast to thaw and figured I would come with something to make with it later. 10:00 play date, 12:00 naptime. I worked some more in my bedroom on said project and read for a bit on my book that one of my Besties, Jennifer, recommended instead of doing anything productive. A friend stopped by so we could talk kitchen ideas since I'm going to help her paint cabinets. The baby wakes up so I feed her lunch and pick the boys off the bus from school. Crazy time ensues with homework, snacks, reading logs, math minutes plus project.  Dinner time is creeping up so it's now or never to figure out the chicken. I fight the urge to order another pizza! I scan the pantry to see what all I can throw together  to make a simple one dish dinner that will taste edible when mixed in a casserole. This is what I ended up with so I called it Pantry Chicken Casserole. Clever, huh? It was tasty, quick and most everyone enjoyed it. That's a Winner-Winner, Chicken Dinner! 

A simple easy dish that can be made around screaming babies and whiny kids. You could even make this the night before and cover it in the fridge and add the croutons and cheese before you pop it in the oven the next night. A homecooked meal that beats another night of pizza, well to me anyways. My kids could live on pizza!

Pantry Chicken Casserole

1.5 lbs chicken breast
1 medium onioin
1 TBS garlic
1 16 oz pkg of penne pasta
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Trader Joe's Tomato Basil)
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 bag of butter gralic croutons. (mine was 3/4 full)
6-8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese (I used what I had on hand so these were sandwich slices.)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Boil water for pasta and cook following directions and drain. Trim and cut chicken  into bite size pieces. Peel and chop onion. In a large skillet, heat 1.5-2 TBS of olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion, garlic and chicken and cook until onions are clear and chicken is no longer pink. 5-7 mins. I added salt and pepper as the chicken and onions were cooking. Drain pasta and add it back to your pot. Dump cooked chicken mixture on top and mix with noddles. Add the jar of sauce to your pasta. I added a little bit of fat free cream to the jar and shook it up some with the lid on to get all the leftover sauce out and poured that in too. Stir well and move everything into a 9x13 baking dish. Spread evenly in the pan. Crush your croutons and sprinkle them over the noodes followed by the cheese slices on top. Bake at 350 for 20 mins. Switch oven to broil and broil for 5 mins or until cheese is bubbly and browned, whichever comes first. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013, a recap.

I can not believe that Halloween has come and gone and we have now moved onto planning for Thanksgiving. Seems like it was just yesterday that I was trying to figure out ways to entertain my gaggle of guys for summer and now Christmas will be here in less than 9 weeks. I know, I can't fathom that at this point either. 

Here's a recap of our night's events. IT. GOES. LIKE. THIS. EVERY. YEAR. FOR. REAL. The kids were all super-excited getting home off the bus from school and the weather finally cleared up so they were relieved to see that trick-or-treating was still going on as planned that night. We've had nothing but rain for over a week and forecasters were callling for a rather ominous Halloween night. Glad that wasn't the case because we had no back up plan; our plan B, umbrellas? Anyhoo, afterschool snacks consisted of candy from school and more candy from the bus driver. Homework was much frowned upon being that it was Halloween. Our pumpkins still were not carved and I debated about "forgetting" to do them this year but guilt got the better of me because they really do enjoy it. I asked J, if he would be coming home early from work to do the carving and his solution was to grab a Mrs. Potato-head package that they had on the tables at his Halloween work party. I asked Boy # 3 what he wanted to do? A Mrs. Potato-head pumpkin or a carved pumpkin? Of course he wanted to carve a scary face. I told him we could do a scary ghost with circles for the eyes and mouth and he said "yeah, except make them triangles and scary!" I told him I wasn't so good in this department but I would do what I could in 20 minutes. He just wanted to play in the pumpkin's guts and seeds. I managed to start carving the pumpkin and told J to grab pizza and bug spray on the way home. With all the rain we had it felt like The Mosquito Coast out there. After one pumpkin was carved and another pumpkin was Mrs. Potato-ified, dinner was served. Cut to kids running around outside in their Halloween costumes.

I go to change clothes so I can match the other half of Angel-baby's get-up. Boy #1 ask if we could take his friend along with us to trick-or-treat. I said that was fine if his parents could drop him off and we would bring him home. We were planning to head out around 6:30 and this was brought up at 5:30. Short notice but they argeed to bring him over. I'm dressed, J is changing and I work on getting the baby ready. She wasn't having any of it! She did not want to get changed, have her hair messed with or put shoes on. Cue the doorbell ringing as others who have their sh!t together are already out collecting candy. My kids, on the other hand are now running outside minus all costumes except for Schaefer Flynn who takes this opportunity to take off out the opened door. No one knows where the candy is even though it's sitting on the table in the dinning room next to the front door. I have a screaming baby minus pants and one shoe in one hand and a Boston Terrier in a devil costume in the other. I tell Boy #1 to grab the candy and pass it out while they let a handful of trick-or-treaters into the house who all follow me into the kitchen?! After that round leaves, I tell the boys to put their costumes back on and man the door. We put the pumpkins outside and Boy #1's friend arrives. More kids come while my kids are scrambling to get dressed even though all afternoon they had their gear on and were ready to go. Go figure. Mr. Flynn runs out the door a second time to which I tell them, "if it's meant to be he will find his way home."

We manage to get some pictures taken, the baby in the stoller and someone brings back the dog. Some adult beverages were made due to the stressful nature of events. The boys make it out and around our small cul-de-sac and decide that the MineCraft costumes were not going to be as functional as they thought. The heads were bulky and they couldn't see so well out of the eyes. Boy #3 who requested the whole body made, couldn't use his hands to reach the doorbell and Boy #2 said he would just carry his head. I told Boy #2 to go inside and change into last year's Spiderman costume. J throws a fit saying he'll stay home if they don't wear the costumes that he spent all that time on. I told him he could give out the candy instead of leaving it in a bowl on the table. I know he worked hard on these but kids are going to be kids and I wanted them to be comfortable. Plus, I didn't want to be the one dragging these heads around all night. What seems like 20 minutes have passed, our drinks have been downed, and the candy on our front porch is quickly depleting while we wait for Boy #2 to change into Spiderman. Boy #3 is crying next door because this whole time he's been trying to ring the doorbell but his costume will not allow for much mobility. I go inside to see whats holding up Spiderman. It seems that Spiderman's costume was put away inside out last time he was out fighting bad guys and he had to figure out how to fix it right-side-in. Boy #1 and friend, come back after hitting all the available houses on our street and wants to know if he can change into his skeleton pull-over from last year since Boy #2 changed into Spiderman. Fine. Another adult beverage is made. Still waiting to actually leave and do some treating of our own. Enough time has passed or maybe it's the drink that has helped but J is now over all the costume changes and is back on board to go with us. Boy #1 and his friend head out of their own to attain maximum candy retention without being slowed down by little brothers. Angel-baby who fussed so long in her stroller waiting on Spiderman to arrive decides that she has forgotten why she was fussing in the first place. Things are starting to look up. We told Boy #2 that he had to stay together with Boy #3 to ring the doorbell for him. Schaefer Flynn is back on his leash and ready to go, the little devil. Finally we can start getting our trick-or-treating on! 

We saw plenty of friends, cool costumes and some awesome decorations. The younger boys were done after 3 streets and were ready to go home and check out their collective stashes. The 2 older boys came back to get the electric scooters so they could hit more houses. Our left out candy was all gone, the pumpkin's candle went out, and we turned off the porch lights. I told the kids that I get 10% of their candy for taking them out that night and I would collect my fee in the form of Reese Cups. I assured them I was only kidding after crying ensued shortly after that but that didn't stop me from making a mental note of who had the most so I could sneak some in after they were tucked far away in bed for the night. The kids were cleaned up, one was friend driven home and all were in bed by 9:15. J and I settled in for the evening with some leftover pizza, a beverage and a Indy scary movie. We may have gotten off to a rocky start but in all it was a great night. With Angel-baby only being 1 year, I see at least another 10 years or so like tonight. These are the times we will remember no matter how hectic. I would say that Halloween 2013 was a success just the way it was. 

Boy #3 helping to de-gut the pumpkin, his favorite part! 

Finished Pumpkin Products! 

MineCraft while it lasted!

Princess Tiger-Lilly and Cowgirl Momma.
The whole crew minus J, who was taking the pic.

Sneaky Pete...A.K.A. Schaefer Flynn.
Ready to go home to rest "tired feet" and check out their candy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crafty Costumes!

This year we told the kids that we were not going to pay big bucks for store bought Halloween costumes. With 3 kids, not including one Angel-baby, and 2 dogs (not to be one to leave anyone out, much to their dismay) our Halloween's were really starting to add up. As a way of tightening our belts and trying to stay on top of a budget we decided that costumes would be made this year. There certainly isn't a shortage for ideas in this department thanks to the web or Pinterest. You can find plenty of helpful tutorials that are easy and simple and don't require too much skill or materials to make. The kids knowing how crafty their mom was (wink, wink) didn't seem to have of a problem with this idea. I took any reasonable suggestions (sorry kids, robots were above us at this time) and narrowed my search and hit my favorite go-to place, Pinterest first to see what I could find. 

The top choices for boys #2 and #3 were Lego figures of some kind, possibly a Super-hero or a Ninjago character. Boy #1 said he didn't care and could just wear a football jersey and helmet and go as a football player this year. I'm just glad that he is back into the idea of dressing up because last year he swore he wasn't going to do Hallween until the very last day and I had to run out and find him something. It makes me happy that he still wants to dress up, have fun and act like a kid even though he's in 6th grade and a Call of Duty FANATIC! Angel-baby doesn't get a say since she is 15 months old and I speak for her. My only requirements are something that involves a tutu. I've waited YEARS to be able to do a tutu and if she could live in one right now, I would SO do it!

I found some easy costume plans but J surprised me with one of his own and went in a different direction all together. He found a Minecraft tutorial on one of his blogs and was excited to try it. I guess if it's geeky enough then J can be into crafts, who knew?  My boys LOVE Minecraft and once he said the words "Minecraft costume" all three were sold. I asked what was invloved and when he started talking about graphs, mathematic equations and using dry wall screws on cardboard I tapped out and let him take over this project. He was really into making these and that is just another reason why I love this guy so much. He does anything for his kids, always. I gave him a deadline since the costumes had to be finished in time for Halloween and he can be a bit of a procrastinator. I'm happy to say he finished them all last weekend and they look great! The kids were impressed with the final product. The hard part will be keeping them away so the costumes will make it to Halloween. They are already reenacting fight scenes from the game that involve TNT, pick-axes and a golden sword. 

Angel-baby is going a Princess Tiger-Lilly. Her costume was relatively easy in comparison. I made her a tutu, head-dress and an embellished onesie with the materials purchased all on sale at Hobby Lobby. It was eally simple and I will write up a tutorial later. 

It's calling for rain here on Halloween night. I hope the soggy weather holds off so the kids can have a good outing. I can't wait to see everyone all dressed up and ready to go. I love these times and they seem to be flying by too fast these days. I've got to remember to slow down and enjoy this ride, even all the crazy hectic times in between. 

Sneak Peak

Minecrafts heads.

TNT, you've got to have it according to the boys!

More props, pick-ax and golden sword.

Princess Tiger-Lilly!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life with kids!

When I started my blog I intended to use it as a way to keep up with the kids. Down the road when they all are "big-kids" and off doing their own thing, it will be nice to have a their younger days chronicled. This is one of those said post. The last couple of weeks have had us down and out. A stomach bug, croup, and even a case of head lice that seems to be jumping around on the school bus, AGAIN! The sickies has left us worn out and my washing machine is calling for back-up relief! Boy #1 has had 2 major projects due within couple of days of each other and the procrastinator in him holds off until the last minute to finish it. He's in 6th grade and I am trying to let him handle this all on his own istead of constantly hovering over him but it has me sitting on my hands and gritting my teeth. Give him wings, right? There have been quite a few long nights but hopefully things have settled down with the start of the new grading period and with everyone feeling better.

I took Boy #3 to the doctors for a bad case of croup and while we were there Angel-baby had her 15 month well check-up. The time was not the best since they scheduled it around 2 and that's her nap time. She was already on the cranky side. The tiny rooms don't help and there's not much to entertain a baby with other then a couple of books that she throws right to the floor.  Our nurse measured and weighed her and left us to wait for the doctor.  Boy #3 was waiting on the exam table and Angel-baby was walking around the room while I put her things up. I hear a knock on the door and I look up at the same time the door opens and knocks her to the floor. She screamed and cried for 20 minutes but who could blame her! She shrieked through her brother's exam as well as her own. Our doctor never once apologized! When he was done he said "Everything looks good except for her temperament."....FOR REAL?!... All I could say was, well it is her nap time. He leaves and says the nurse will be in to give the shots. Angel-baby finally settles down so I put her down to get her things to dress her and the nurse walks in and does the same exact thing! Then she said "After she finally settled down, I heard her screaming down the hall, sorry." I said shes 2 for 2 with that door. How hard is it to knock and then give you a second to make sure your child is out of way of the door? Angel-baby is a very good baby, we get compliments every were we go. When we left she had a huge goose-egg on the side of her head! I've been going to this place since I had Boy#1 but I think I will start looking around for a new place soon. Re-damn-diculous! 


Weight 22 lbs 7oz (70%)
Height 32.5 " (97%)
Head 47.5 cm (93%)

CLOTHES- she's tall and skinny
anywhere 9-18 mos for pants 
shirts 12-18 mos
shoes 4.5W
diaper 4/5

mac and cheese
yogurt melts
gram crackers

whole milk
apple juice

see-ya later
hi Gage

wake up 8:30-9:30
nap 1-2 to 3 or 4
bedtime 7:30-8:30

walking (started at 14 months)
climbing stairs
jumping (in her crib)

leap frog table
stuffed tiger
most of Schaefer's toys

Bubble Guppies

Love this girl!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Niche' Problems. Making a easy DIY Rustic Pallet Wreath Hanger tutorial.

I have a decorative niche' in my foyer that I was never sure what to do with. I felt like nothing looked right and the ledge that trims the bottom was too narrow to sit much on it. I guess in theory, niche's can be really nice if done the right way but mine always left me scratching my head.  A couple of years ago, I decided to dress up my foryer niche' with some paintable wall paper and complimentary accent color. The awkward size of the niche' made it difficult to decorate it in just the right way. Pictures or collages never went well with the long, semi-circular wide hole. One day recently, while moving some things around the idea hit me that maybe I should try and fill the space by going upwards instead of outwards. Something taller in height but slimmer in width to highlight my niche' instead of trying to fill it out. ( many times can a peson say niche in one paragraph, go...) I had a old pallet that was lying next to the house for months becoming more "seasoned" with time and weather. I LOVE pallets and always keep them if I get one. I figured this could be the perfect project for it. I was going to attempt to make a rustic style display piece resembling an old gate for hanging my wreaths. 

Laying out the boards.
I started this project by hauling the old pallet to the driveway and pulling off 4 boards with a crowbar and hammer. The boards came off easily enough since the wood was pretty weathered. I would advise wearing a pair of gloves incase the boards splinter in the process. If I wanted a nice smooth finish for painting then I would have broken out the plam sander but since I was going for the rustic look, I didn't care how beat up the wood was. I knew that this was just going to be hanging up for display and away from fingers so I went over whatever coarse parts with a sanding block and called it a day. I added some more character by pounding the boards a few times with my hammer and crow bar for extra wear and tear. 
Slightly staggered. 

I brought the boards inside and laid them down based on how I wanted to hang them. I decided on a slightly staggered pattern. I found some scrap wood in the garage to use as a way to attach the boards together and cut two pices for the top and bottom with a hack saw. I made the pieces just long enough to nail all the boards to it. Super easy. I used 2 inch nails and hammered the boards into place from the front.

Attaching the hanger.
When everything was hammered in place, I flip the holder over to add the hanger to the back. I used small eyehooks evenly spaced on both ends and screwed them into place. I added some floral wire between my hooks and twisted the ends down. That was pretty much all it took to finish the back.

Dry brushing in French Linen. 
I dry brushed the front with a couple of coats of Annie Sloan's chalk paint in French Linen but kept the coats really light so the weather parts of the wood would still peek through. After the paint dried, I rubbed in some Brixwax in light brown to seal the paint. 
Finished niche'.
This was a super-simple project that took around 2 hours from start to finish. Of course I was working around kids, homework and dinner. To think of what all I could get done if I had more time! I'm really diggin' the rustic vibe it adds to my niche'. I plan to change out my wreath seasonally. I think the pallet hanger fills the space nicely without it becoming too busy. I am finally satisfied with my niche' and think that this is the best way to display my style. I may have finally made peace with my niche'!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Transforming my old TV armoire into portable Mud-room!

I love the idea of a Mud-room, somewhere the kids can take off all their dirty shoes and keep all their jackets and bookbags in one place. A little room out of the way from the rest of the house literally and visually speaking. A place for all the necessities while keeping it all organized for easy retrieval in hectic mornings.  I SO wish I had a larger laundry room with a sink for this or a area off the garage to add that kind of storage all tucked out of the way, but I don't. My somewhat awkward floorplan with small laundry room doesn't allow much room and the door to the garage is only a few feet away from our front door.  I set up a make-do solution in the foyer with with a storage bench and mirror with hooks. The problem was the cumbersome bench made it too hard for the kids to retrieve and put their backpacks away and our small mirror with hooks didn't leave too much room for everything that needed hanging. Once the cooler weather came around everything would get piled up like a
big-messy-closet right at the front door. Not really the impression you want to spotlight as soon as you walk in the house. What to do? 

While recently rearranging our Family Room I moved out our old TV armoire that had tons of storage. Funny how over the years the TV's have gotten smaller and slimmer and these big housing units now sit practically half empty. When deciding where I was going to put this thing for the time being the idea hit me that this could be the perfect soultion for my sought after Mud-room! I saw all the potential storage that this beast had to offer and wanted to monopolize on that to my best advantage. My Mud-room would be a somewhat portable station that could be moved easily enough while keeping all of our unruly must-haves tucked away out of sight. I was kind of digging the idea.

The transformation was really simple. There were only a few adjustments that needed to be done to get the piece ready. I had the old backing that came with the armoire stored in the garage and slid that back into place. J took the old hooks off of our old mirror and attatched them to a piece of scrap wood and drilled that into place on the inside of the cabinet. I took out one shelf that held the TV components to make a little more room for storage. I painted the inside of the cabinet doors with chalk board paint for friendly reminders to forgetful kids. I chose Annie Sloan's chalk paint in French Linen and my faithful Briwax in light brown for the finish. The inside was painted with Antibes Green followed with a light coat of French Linen. It took a while since the piece was so big but I CAN NOT say enough good things about this paint. This simple makeover took a couple of days. 

I organized the inside with a few baskets I already had. I added one tall basket that we kept by the front door for shoes and couple of long flat plastic floral boxes (came with some flowers I planted) for small things, like dog leashes, sun glasses and hats. The drawers are great for gloves, winter hats, more dog supplies, bug spray and sunblock. I really like that I can shut the doors and close it off and it's all out of sight. It really works well as my go-to command center when getting the kids ready and out the door, well anytime! How many times we as moms say: "Where are your shoes?!"  I'm so gald I save this piece and up-cycled it into something even more purposeful! 

Before. The only picture now is from when we were still using it in the Family Room.

After the hooks were put in place and before a serious cleaning!

He she is in French Linen and Antibes Green on the inside.
Hooks, Chalkbaord, and baskets make this piece functional!

Excuse the dog head in this shot. 

Love the new look and there's no telling how messy it is inside!