Good Design with Kids in Mind: Hosted by 6th Street

A 6th Street Design School Segment
6th Street Design School

1. Is there a way to have kids and nice things coexist in your home?  What are some of your tips to keeping your nice things “safe” from kids.

Yes.  They include:
A Costco sized box of Magic Erasers, A great Dry Cleaner, and LOTS of patience :)
I kid, I kid.
Okay, really... In MY opinion, and experience the BEST way to allow your nice, pretty house decor, and things... coexist in your home, are these few ways:

Stay CLUTTER free and SIMPLE - ANY small child is going to go straight for mini figurines or a table full of apothecary jars, so keep your kiddos in mind when decorating.  Try to keep "in reach" breakable, antique, or expensive items, up and out of little children's reach.

Be SLY and TEACH them - Everyones children are different.  But MY kids do BEST when I "sneak" new home decor into the mix.  Usually when I get something new, I try not to make a HUGE deal out of it.  I just place it where I want it, and then watch the next few hours to see if my kids notice.
When they finally DO, they will want to explore and TOUCH it.  That's OKAY!  That's part of being a kid, right?
SO when they DO head for your nice new "thing"... don't freak out.  I usually just walk over and say... "What do you think?  Do you like it?"... "I think it makes our house look so pretty!  And it makes me really happy..."
Then I will sometimes let them touch or hold, or tinker with, whatever it is, for a minute... (jar, candle, plate) 
I say...
"I REALLY like this "______new thing______" and Mommy would be SO sad if it got ruined, or broken."

I try to make my world, part of THEIR world"... Mind you, I have all GIRLS, so this might be easier. LOL.
But in this way... when I actually have a kinda grown-up conversation with them, they are REALIZING:
WHY this thing is so important,
and HOW I would feel if something were to happen to it.

This works REALLY well for our family.  And recently I just overheard one of our older girls say to their 3 year old, younger sister... "This is my NEW toothbrush, and if you play with it, and lose it, then that would make me really sad, so don't touch it okay?"

2. How do you keep your toys from taking over the house?

Well, if you read along on my blog, you'll notice that I don't STORE toys in my kids's rooms.
The rooms are just WAY too little.
My husband and I are VERY FIRM believers in the fact that rooms are for relaxing.
sanctuary away from toys, noise, and the craziness of the day.
Isn't that what you use YOUR room for?  Isn't that why we try to choose paint in bedrooms that calm and make us feel happy?
I don't think it's any different for our kids.
We DO store books in our girls's rooms, under their beds in a basket, or in their drawers... so they are easily accessible.

So where DO we keep the toys???

Well...in our house, we actually have a designated ROOM in our basement for toys.
It's NOTHING special.  Just a plain ol' room with some simple bins and things for my girls's "stuff".
I have never been huge on the whole "Completely Pimped Out Play Room" craze... only because I feel like small children grow out of it SO FAST.
Before you know it, you're having to turn it into a "cool" study / friend hangout. (which is a phase that I think lasts a LOT longer)
So in only a year or so, we'll probably start working on a great space for the girls to have... to be able to sit, relax, and have a few of their favorite friends and things around them, to enjoy and play with.
Kinda like this:

Um.... ya RIGHT... in my Pottery Barn, DREAMS!
but you get the idea, right?
I like the idea of how these rooms have storage for... whatever!  Toys, books, cd's magazines...
They are really "transitional"  and not filled with too many "age appropriate" themes... making the rooms easy to live in, at ANY age.

3. What do you do when your kids “tacky” stuff doesn’t go with the room but they still want to display it?

***keep in mind... my children are young... so this answer will work well for mothers of small children, just starting school***
We haven't really gotten into TOO much of that yet, with  my kids being so young...meaning... no SUPER scary artwork, or funny looking pottery, LOL... but ONE good way that we have decided to keep our "creations" in check, is to put them in a place where the kids can reference and look at them frequently.
We have a book like this:

Really... as you can see, NOTHING special...(in the looks department, anyways) lol.  It's just a plain ol' 3 inch binder, with all of my kids's artwork and creations in there.

I DO try to write a little note at the bottom of each piece that I keep, to remember WHO did it, and WHEN it was done.

As far as "school" work that comes home... at the risk of sounding like an awful mother, to some... I keep about 1 piece of artwork a week, and ditch the rest.
Usually, I'll keep the weeks work, just in the kitchen, on top of the fridge, or something, and then on Friday... I just pick the ones the girls loved the most, and ditch the rest!
You can't keep EVERYTHING... so keep the stuff that speaks the loudest about your child, and store it somewhere safe, like in some protective sleeves, so that your kids can enjoy them :)
They won't even remember the silly other little things that you got rid of.  Promise :)

4. Do you have spaces that are off limits to kids?
Only one.
And it's... kind of a secret. LOL.
wanna know?
UGH... I've NEVER shown this to anyone before...
It's the room in the VERY back of our home, in the basement.
(AKA: my beautiful guest bedroom, someday) ha!
But for the moment... it's the home to hidden Christmas presents... and  ALL of my home decor... that has YET to be repurposed, reused, sold, or donated.
Cason (my hubby) is pushing for a big home decor garage sale, for the things that I don't want anymore...  I say "Bring it on"... now just give me the energy to actually STICKER and PRICE it all.... *siiigh*.
Can't people just come over and barter for these goods, in my basement...instead?

5. How do you find time to blog or run a business with kids?
Ooohh...  THE Number ONE question emailed to me.
My REALLY short answer...

My amazing, awesome, sexy hubby... does the laundry.

hahahahahah... yup.  It's true.
And no, you can't have him :)

Okay, even though that's a HUGE chunk of time saved... that's not ALL of it...
The REALLY BIG one, is...

I - LOVE - WHAT - I - DO.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't look around and say... 
"What the HECK am I thinking!" LOL
But there also isn't a day that goes by that I don't stop, at some point during the day and wonder "How lucky am I !? "
Life is short.  It goes by too quickly, and no matter what... my Family always comes first.
Blogging, decorating, and my vinyl business are ways for me to help out my family, not only to make a little money for us, but also... because they make this Momma HAPPY! :)
And you know what they say... "If Momma ain't happy........"  lol.
I've found something that is MINE... that I have a passion for and that also keeps me feeling GOOD!

And no.  I'm not talking about the times in my week when I break down crying because my house is mess and I have 200 new emails in my inbox, or when my three year old sneaks under my desk and flips that lovely RED SWITCH, to OFF, on my computer, and I lose EVERYTHING...
(yes, this has happened twice.  And I literally had to LOCK MYSELF in my bathroom for about 20 minutes, so as not to BEAT my child into her next life)
........just keepin' it real.

I'm talking about the times when ...

* I find myself literally laughing out loud, crying or nodding along while reading peoples comments left on our blog.
* I get the opportunity to connect with extremely talented women, that inspire me EVERYDAY, all over the world!
* I experience peace and therapy from writing my thoughts down...the good, the bad, AND the funny :)
* I Create something new, that I am proud of, and get to share it!
* Finding out that you and a few thousand other ladies can relate to and feel the SAME way about things... that YOU DO!

So I guess that my answer to this question REALLY is...

It's hard.  Anyone who tells you different... is a liar. LOL.
There will NEVER be enough hours in the day. 

Kids, church callings, a house, a husband, school, business, blog.....  It's all just part of who I am, now... It's what makes me tick...

Nobody can be the BEST at everything. 
I'm still working on this one, but I think I'm coming to terms with that. LOL.
- Someones house will ALWAYS look better
- Your neighbor/friend/co-worker will always make more money than you...
- And you can NEVER give ENOUGH time, attention or LOVE to your kids.... because even if you try your HARDEST, you'll almost ALWAYS feel like you could have done more.

SO... just DO YOUR BEST!... and if YOU feel good about what YOU'VE accomplished at the end of the day... then that's ALL that matters :)

If I've learned one thing in my adult life so far... it's this...

Time is like Money... You'll never agree on how other people decide to spend it ~Shelley Smith haha

hmmm... I think that needs to be in vinyl somewhere . . .


  1. you are full of wonderful advice! We believe in letting our little see and touch something nice and explain it to her the same way you do...it has always worked for us.

  2. Oh, and the binder idea is brillant!!!

  3. This post had me laughing and also shaking my head in agreement -You sure do keep it real- that is why we all love following your blog

  4. Really great tips! I love the picture of your hubby folding laundry. My man does laundry and dishes too! Thank you for visitng my blog and for the well wishes, I really appreciate it.

    Michele Smith

  5. What a great post! Love the artwork idea (my kid's two so he doesn't care too much now, but he WILL). My hubby hates the laundry, but he's a HUGE help with the dishes (when he's home) and *GASP* even likes to cook! =D

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I think it's awesome that you can do all that you do and then share it with all of us. AND on top of that write really interesting and entertaining blog posts.

  7. Those are really awesome tips! We are pregnant with our first ( A little girl!) and I've always wondered all of these things. My general answer in my head was "Well I'll just tell them no and they'll learn" haha. I like the way you explain it to them. Also I love the idea of the binder! I'm not a horder and I can't stand clutter and that a great idea. Plus it will be memorable to them and their kids eventually. I've also never thought about the idea of their bedroom being a santuary to relax. It makes total sense! Thanks again for all the great tips and great posts!

  8. I wonder did the hubby say..."nice while I work you take pictures of me and post them to your blog..lol" he seems wonderful...even in that bust a move video he seems to co exist with you...awesome!

  9. I love how down to earth you are. These are things I have been thinking about a TON lately and you have so eloquently put into words what I have been feeling. Thanks!!!

  10. Welllll if you feel like getting rid of some of that extra home decor stuff....I would be MORE than happy to take it off your hands..... And even though I am sure someone's house will always look better, I am a little obsessed with trying to make mine as perfect as I think it should be. Sometimes it makes me cry. Or is that just the hormones? I have no idea. I'm jealous that your husband does the laundry. But my husband does all the cooking! (I brainwashed him with Food Network 24/7 so now he thinks he's Bobby Flay. It has its pluses and minuses...) Of course that means I'm left with the dishes. (.....) Thanks for the post! It made me feel like neglecting those dishes just for tonight. :] I think we'll go see a movie.

  11. I think I have a girl crush on you ROFL! You're so down to earth, real, and fun to read about. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I loved this post. And AMEN!!! I just realized yesterday, that I do this blogging/crafting craziness, not because it makes me crazy, but because it does just the opposite- it's what helps me be the best mom I can be. that doesn't mean it's not hard to keep priorities in check, and that sometimes the crafting/business stuff has to come first, but in the end, it's what makes a happy family. Messy kitchen and all!
    Thanks for this post.

  13. I love that last quote of yours. I've never heard anyone say that before. I'm going to copy it down right now. And I agree, you should definitely put it in vinyl. :) Thanks for this great post!

  14. OH!!!! Shelley I just LOVE you! I love your tutorials, your funny witty posts, your inspirational posts, your pictures, your smile, your girls, your tell like it is attitude! Girl, I LOVE YOU! I am so glad your out here. Bloggyland would be so BLAH without you!

  15. I loved this post! Funny thing was, I was astonished when you showed those awesome kid hang-out room pics and then said "In my Pottery Barn dreams!" because never for a moment had I doubted that you would create something equally beautiful when the time comes. And I know you will!

    I had to smile when I saw your kids' artwork binder - I keep my kids' artwork in the exact same binders, also with the name / date written on the bottom! I've blogged them here:

    And here's to lovely laundry-doing husbands! I am lucky enough to have one too :)

  16. Your girls' room's are absolutely precious and they do look amazingly relaxing so you and your husband have done an awesome job with that!!

    And I absolutely love how you've kept your kid's art work in a binder like that... Love it.

    I can't wait to some day have a super awesome play room for my future kids and the pictures you found are perfect!

    Nice job :)

  17. Thank you for posting a little piece of yourself. There are days that I feel that same way (especially about the locking yourself in the bathroom issue) It makes me laugh and realize that we are all just woman, trying to do our best, but some days are better than others. We all fall short every now and again so do your best and forget the rest. Shows our kids that we aren't perfect and they won't be either. Love your blog and your creations. Thank you for all you do.

  18. First Commenter! I feel so cool. Thanks for this post reminding me that my house can be beautiful, even with the rugrats around :)

  19. Pretty sure you should have a garage sale and post in on here and I will come. Looks like you have some cute stuff in there :)

  20. Oooooo, I wish I lived near you so I could come "shop" in your basement! I wish I had a basement for that sort of stuff but there aren't too many basements in our neck of the woods (CA). Love your blog. Thanks for sharing!

  21. i loved this series!

    it was so nice to meet you last night, i am now lost in your blog...i can't stop reading :)

  22. Loved this post. I like to take random kid artwork and put it in a black (matted with white) frame from idea. Somehow now matter how "creative" it is, it suddenly looks like modern art. I had several running across the mantel over the summer and the kids thought they were famous.

  23. What a GREAT post! I really enjoyed reading it and gleaned some great wisdom from it :) I love reading about how you balance things with three kids (I have 2 year old triplets!). You are very inspiring and I'm glad you do what you do.

  24. Great post. I love the binder idea. I think I will do one for each of my kids. Thanks for "keepin it real" for us.

  25. Ahh so sweet. Life sure is bitter sweet aint it? Bitter at times so we can enjoy the sweetest sweet!
    I totally understand!!!
    I love all that you do:)
    and I to could not servive in life without my sweet helpful husband either;)l.o.l.
    Thanks so much!
    Happy Holidays!!
    Angela Timms

  26. I love this post! I'm totally going to do that binder idea. I file them now, with a little note of who did the art and the date, but it would be more fun to put them in page protectors and look at them.

    My husband also does the laundry. High five girl!!

  27. Okay, this is a late comment, but I just found your blog this morning, lol! I have four boys (18,10,7,and almost 2) and two girls(16 and 5)and the boys enjoy the house looking nice just as much as the girls. They also respect mom's "things", take pride in what mom makes, and like to find things they know mom will like. Super sweet boys, and their dad has taught them well! The seven year old dissolves into tears anytime he breaks something, which makes me so sad (and which he rarely does). I always remind him that he is so much more important than the "things". Even so, two days ago the 18 year old got everybody worked up and roughhousing, breaking a very large apothecary jar that was out of reach of hands. Ugh. I will *not* admit or deny that a *word* came out of my mouth, followed by my quick escape to my bedroom to avoid any further unwise words or actions!! Whew. 7-year old cried buckets, as he was the one who pulled on the scarf thrown by said 18 year old, which had landed on the top of it. Breathe, it's just a thing, it's just a thing, right? Right. Also, the binders are so great! We started one for each kid when we started homeschooling and I remembered all the work brought home by the two older public school kids. LOVE THEM!!!

  28. I love the binder idea for the kid's artwork! What a wonderful idea!! I have been trying to decide what to do with all of their "important" school work and this will work perfectly!

  29. OKAY ! I was just about to "turn off" my PC for today but then i clicked on your link, loved it, got soaked in it and wanted more allllll the way. Since I live in a fully furnished rental hence ITS not allowed to change the wall color and furniture. On top of that , I am a mother of three little vikings:)THIS post is lovely and yet beautifully realistic .I am in the process of retouching and this post is just what i needed. sending you love from the dunes.
    enjoy the heat @

  30. New to your blog (found you on Pinterest!) and can I say I LOVE this post? Well, I love your blog from what I've seen so far, but this post - especially the last Q&A of doing what you love (working on this myself as I get a photography business going) - has resonated. My kids are getting older, but there is still some wonderful advice here. Thanks a ton!


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