I get a bunch of repeat questions about our house, usually just the same ones over and over again. So here are the answers:

I am trying to find a map similar to the one you have of the world by your dining table. Where did you buy yours? Thanks!! 🙂

We bought this map at some map store that has gone out of business but I know they were available at nationalgeographic.com at some point (that’s the brand). It is laminated so that it can be touched and utilized. I had a guy come build the frame around it right into the wall. He just used some molding I picked up at Home Depot. Then I painted it black.

I love to have a visual of the world right where we spend most of our time. I want so much for our kids to understand how tiny our corner of the world is and to be interested in finding out about how others live all over the world. Many a dinner conversation has been centered around that thing. We put red stickers where at least one of us in the family has been. I hope that thing will be covered in red stickers some day 🙂

Here is is up close:
(For more on the reason for that map click here and scroll down to mid-post.)

What color paint is in your living/kitchen area? We’re finishing a “spruce up” ourselves and I’m trying to find that just-right beige 🙂

I think more people have asked this question than anything else on this blog! And the sad thing is that I don’t have an answer. It is a color that we “color-matched” from our friends’ house. It is a shade darker in the kitchen and dining nook than it is in the rest of the house. I wish I had a good answer for this because I know it’s rough to find a tan that’s not too “rosy” or too orange. Good luck on that one!

I love your table..Is it square? I have looked for a square table for 6 YEARS!! I can only find “pub height”…why!!?? I love this- you can see everyone this way while sitting. Where, oh where did you get it?

We got that table at a consignment shop and although we do love the shape, it sure isn’t a quality table! It is about to fall apart and I think the top is made of plastic or formica or something because every time a hot dish is anywhere near it it lightens in that spot. So it is black with grey weird ‘polka-dots’ in random places. The chairs are literally on their last leg as well.

But what memories we have had around that thing. So I love it polka-dots and all.

This is a thing we did around it for FHE the other day:

Look at those sweetie-pies just working so hard together. Heart-melter.

And so many dinners:
Love that thing.

We may opt for a round one when this one falls apart, but I think it may be as hard to find big round tables as it is to find this size.

I have a question…I notice you have very light wood floors. They do look beautiful, but I’m wondering how you like them? Is that light color easy to keep clean, or does it show dirt and dust quickly because they are so light?

When we bought this house ten years ago I was in love with maple. So we did maple cabinets and maple floors. Well, little did I know that maple kinda turns yellowy-orange over time.

I’m not in love with yellowy-orange.

So we painted the cabinets:
And the floor remains the same.

Although I do love having wood floors, I would never, ever do this light again. They show every single crumb. They are rough to keep clean. In our new house I am planning on doing some kind of medium color wood flooring because I know we’d have the same problem with super dark floors.

I keep seeing pictures taken in your back yard and I’d love to see the layout! It is so fun to have wholesome recreational activities for teenagers to do to draw them to your home… and it seems like your backyard is loaded with possibilities! Could you share pictures?? 🙂

Our yard is not huge, but we do love how it’s laid out. It works so well for our family. Here it is looking from the pool to the other side:
And here it is from the trampoline vantage point:We’ve hosted many a party and barbecue here so this is making me sad to look at this knowing we are moving at some point 🙁

There is a good little side area where the kids do their imaginative games and “secret hideouts.”
(Click here for more about those “secret clubs.”)

Aside from your backyard, what things have you invested in that are good recreational things for you and your family and their friends to do in your home? I want my kids and their friends to congregate at our house… and want them to have good clean fun while they are here!

The swimming pool and the trampoline are really the only recreational things we have out there but boy howdy have they ever been good investments. Those things have been used more than I ever could have even imagined. The kids love the rock slide and being able to jump from up there into the pool. They make up all kinds of games and spend literally hours and hours and hours out there. I love that that pool is situated right outside our kitchen. I can see the kids from all the windows in there and I feel safe (at least with the older kids) to have them out there while I’m inside in the air conditioning making dinner or folding laundry.

I do not think there is a day that goes by that our trampoline is not used. It is slept on, played duck-duck-goose on for FHE, used to learn flips, picnics, sprinkler games in the summer, games of imagination, etc. etc. We love that it is built into the ground for easy access, especially for Lucy. Man alive, it is the best thing in the world especially for her because we worry so much about her weight with her syndrome. She LOVES to jump out there even just by herself so it’s worth it’s weight in gold for us.
In looking at your carpet in your family room… Do you have any idea the brand and color of dark brown you used? Has it worn well with your kids? What is the brand and color? Thank you! Also, the brand/color of paint on the walls in your family room? Thanks for any info!

Our carpet is called “Mira Loma” and it’s a Shaw carpet with the word “tuftex” in there somewhere. The color is Santa Fe #7754.

Here it is a little further away in Elle’s room:

I do adore this carpet. It’s just durable and easy to keep clean. Love it. I love that you can even put other rugs on it to add texture if you want like we did in Max’s room:

Do your kids really keep their rooms that tidy and if so please let me in on your secret!

Heavens no! But because of our rules that we set up from what seems like the “beginning of time” (that I’ve talked about in a bunch of these q&a’s) and keeping on them about it over and over and over again, they do at least make their beds each morning (except for Sunday which is our “bed-making-day-off.”)

I’ll take that 🙂

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  1. I have a question that I would just love answered, if you have the time. 🙂 I have 4 daughters and 1 son. I want, more than anything, for my daughters to be close. I want them to be best friends not only in their growing up years but also when they are married and having children. Sisters are so powerful! I am aware of the MANY wonderful things your parents did with you and your siblings growing up, but I would like to know how they taught you and your sisters to be so close.

  2. And another question for another time- how on earth did your parents do everything they did with 9 kids?!?!?! All of their ideas that I have read about in their books are just amazing, but man my head swirls trying to think of how I can implement everything they did when you and your siblings were little!

  3. They have a table similar to the one you have that is lower to the ground at Costco. I am not sure if you have one in your area but my in-laws just but one and love it

  4. Should have asked this question before since you were talking about your home. But I am looking for a sofa and looked at one online at a place called clubfurniture.com In one post you mentioned that you bought a couch there. What is the quality and comfort like?

  5. I LOVE your blog. I feel like I can relate to so much that I read on here and share so many of your opinions on mothering. Also, I am totally with you on the maple floors. We have them and I am SO not a fan!

  6. I left a question in a couple comments for you about a month ago wondering what kind of bag you use to carry your DSLR around town and when you travel. I'm going out of town and want to know the best way (or the way you do it!) of carrying around my DSLR so its protected without bringing my huge bulky and ugly camera bag. You can email me the answer at mommyvignettes(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!

  7. I would love to know more behind your children's names. I think they are classic, beautiful names. In the era of kre8tiv names, I really like the simplicity and elegance of Max, Elle, Grace, Claire and Lucy.

  8. Shoot, I should have waited for this post. Two weeks ago, I ordered a frame for a map that's going on the wall by our kitchen table. And I am betting that molding from Home Depot would have been a lot cheaper than my custom-made frame 🙂

    I've always loved the idea of a map, but just never found the perfect one. When my 9-year old daughter asked if Mexico was in a different continent, we decided it was time to get something up quick.

  9. Another option for the person looking for a regular-height square table; Bassett Furniture. They have a line which is semi-custom: you pick the color, the shape, the height, and the chair backs from several choices. We bought two tables from them, one square and one rectangular. The quality and wear have both been good.

  10. Did you make your trampoline ground level yourselves? Do you know of a good tutorial on how to do it? We want to do this, but are nervous about doing it "wrong"!

  11. I don't know if you want to post this at a later time but I too have asked you about your wall color. I think we finally have it after much trial and error. For anyone who wants to try it we brought a color swatch from Pottery Barn called Coastal Path to Lowe's. The color matched it in the Valspar contractor grade Eggshell with the formula 101-1YO.5, 107-3Y19, 109-10 with Pastel Base 31103. It came out the perfect tan.

  12. I like your first picture, i think its a dining room. your whole house is looking great and your family is looking so happy and excited in the house. i like your furniture and other stuff. I have also purchased some furniture from online furniture stores but it did not so beautiful but your furniture looking nice and durable. Thanks

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