4 Moms Open House: Yard and Entry

Welcome to our month long open house series. Each Thursday during the month of August 4 Moms and 35 Kids ( Connie, Deptuty Headmistress, KimC and I)  invite you into our homes for a glimpse at how we  set up, organize and manage homes for our larger than average families.

This week we’ll cover our yard an entryway.  Welcome to our home!

Our home

Front porch and main entrance

Often in the evening when the weather is nice Mark and I sit out on the front porch after the children are in bed and enjoy some peace and quiet.  This is a great way to get a ‘date’ without leaving the children.

Chair swings for mom and dad

I got this chair (below) and another like it from Freecycle (free of course) added some flowers and our once empty porch now has a bit of  ‘pretty’.

My attempt at beauty on the front porch

When you walk into our home this is what will greet you, well this and more than half a dozen kids.

Entryway through the living room and kitchen and into family/school room

Turn to your left and  you are in the living room.  (I’m cheating and including the living room as part of our entryway because we have several living areas in our home.)

Family room from entryway

These book shelves hold our dictionary, concordance, thesaurus, many of our classics as well as science and nature books and an assortment of history readers.

Hand-me-down furniture, yard sale drapes, more freecyled chairs (the red ones) and an avocado green table that I found at a yard sale for $5 and spray-painted black all come together in our living room to look almost purposeful.

Living room

We use our living room for rest time,   family worship and as a quiet place to read or study.  Of course the little ones love making forts with the pillows and cushions from the couches, but that is generally discouraged.  I love having an area that is nearly always tidy and presentable in the event of unexpected guests.

Ideally I would love to have hooks for coats and purses, bins for shoes, boxes for hats, gloves and scarves and a sink for hand washing in our family entry area but this is what we have.


So we settle for storing coats, purses, shoes and for the most part hats and scarves in bedroom closets.

We have a deck that goes across the  back of our house with an eating area off the dining room where we eat most of our meals in the spring and fall and where the children eat lunch throughout the summer.

Deck off of dining room

There is also a play/sitting/eating area off of the family/school room.  This portion of the deck is ideal for little ones who need an outside break while we are working on school.

Back Deck

Our backyard is lovely for relaxation, playing children,

Hammock and swing in backyard

big time adventure and exploring

Kids explore the creek

but not so great for grass or gardening.  However, see that patch of sunlight right in the middle of our patch of grass?

Sunshine does make it into our back yard

That patch of sunlight now contains this garden that my wonderful husband put in this year.

Our square foot garden

Have you ever seen such amazing, tall tomato plants?  (humor me here)  We think that we have enough sunlight for two more boxes that we hope to fill with plants next year.

Edited to add:  Our outside storage, how could I forget?

This is probably the most helpful part of our outdoor area.  If you’ve read RO for long then you already know that I do not function well with clutter.  This was our solution for organizing our children’s outdoor playthings and tools.

Our bike port

(The steps go up to the eating area on our deck.)  The shelves are simple, plastic  large storage shelves and we purchased very large bins that fit the shelves perfectly.

Each bin is full of it’s designated items.  One bin stores all the life jackets, goggles, snorkles and water toys, another skates, another balls, and other throwing/catching toys, etc. We now even have space for sleds and snow gear.  This made outdoors a much happier place for me.

Of course no home with children is complete without wheeled transportation (and a lovely trash can).

Bikes in bike port

Photo credits for the bike port go to Alyssa (9), because I was busy feeding the baby.

Be sure to come back next week for a tour of our kitchen and dining room.

Raising Olives open house:

Visit the other moms of many to tour their yard and entryway:

Link up your entryway/yard open house here.  Please link directly to your post, not to your homepage.  Also, please include a link back to one of the 4 moms in your post, Raising Olives, Smockity Frocks, The Common Room or Life in a Shoe so that others can join the open house.

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52 Responses to 4 Moms Open House: Yard and Entry
  1. MamaHen
    August 5, 2010 | 7:55 am

    What a lovely home. It looks so homey and welcoming. And your deck is wonderful!


  2. Smockity Frocks
    August 5, 2010 | 8:03 am

    Beautiful! Thank you for the tour! Someday I want to really come over, though. K?

    (I will not be jealous of that backyard. I will not be jealous of that backyard. I will not…)


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    You are invited anytime. Maybe you can come up early for Blissdom next year!


  3. Kimarie
    August 5, 2010 | 9:02 am

    Beautiful – and thanks for the tour! Neat idea to not have the link expire for 6 days… I’m working on a post. 😉 I love the hanging chairs in the front of your house, and those ARE the biggest tomato plants I’ve seen!


  4. chantelle
    August 5, 2010 | 9:17 am

    First of all I am so glad that all of you are “back”, I enjoy this series so much and am looking forward to seeing everyone’s kitchens. I love the pictures of your yard, I think I would have a hard time not being outside there. I have always dreamed of living in the area that you do, but for now I am content to visit and see my family there. Your home is beautiful. I am curious about how you are able to keep all your “pretty things” out. For example, your decorative flowers and plants. Do you just train your children at a young age to leave those alone?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Chantelle, we do train our children at an early age, but that comes with a cost and that bouquet of red flowers NEEDS to be remade because of all the exploring hands who were in the training process. 🙂

    I try not to get upset if/when something is broken, but I don’t put anything that has sentimental value down low. It works.


  5. Cynthia
    August 5, 2010 | 9:19 am

    I love the tour! A beautiful place for a beautiful family:-)


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hoping to see you Saturday!!


  6. Denise
    August 5, 2010 | 10:02 am

    Beautiful…. very welcoming and relaxing.

    I am a bit surprised at the no shoes/coats in the door way. (Although my home is that way too…but not by choice)…

    So even when the weather is bad– the kids take their coats/hats/boots right to their bedrooms????

    Love the porch for littles during school time breaks.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We are blessed with a covered front porch, so when weather is bad we either leave our outer things on the front porch OR enter through the door in next to the bike port. (I added those pix later today, so visit again if you didn’t see them) That door goes into our basement and is closer to where we park the cars (it’s just a long traipse through the basement up to our bedrooms).


  7. KimC
    August 5, 2010 | 10:07 am

    Beautiful! I’m so jealous of your shade and grass, and your happy garden! My container garden on the deck does nothing but complain about being too hot. 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks Kim. Shade is one of the things we prayed for when we were looking for a house. Don’t let the pictures fool you, we have a lot more dirt/mud (depending on the weather) than grass.

    I’m really excited about my happy garden, or rather Mark’s happy garden. 🙂 Yay, we did it!


  8. Chris
    August 5, 2010 | 10:07 am

    Well I loved seeing your post and have tried to link up. Please bear in mind I am a very beginner blogger but thought you might like to see life in the UK.
    I am taking note of many of your ideas, tips and more and will begin working some into my life – once the housework is done and I ever come of this computer!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I loved getting a peak into life in the UK, thanks.


  9. Heather
    August 5, 2010 | 10:42 am

    This is a really cool idea! I just linked up! I really like your house, it looks peaceful in the pictures, but I’m sure with 10 kids it can be hectic!! Thanks for sharing!


  10. cristal
    August 5, 2010 | 10:48 am

    I loved seeing your beautiful home. It got me inspired. I so enjoy your blog. What a treat to see how others decorate inside and out. Thanks for the time you take to update and maintain your blog. AWESOME!!


  11. shannon
    August 5, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Lovely! I think your yard is beautiful, so serene. I’ve looked back through some post and can’t figure out what state you all live in. Would you mind sharing the state or region? I can’t wait to see the rest.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We live in Knoxville, TN and love it!


  12. Tami Lewis
    August 5, 2010 | 11:21 am

    absolutely gorgeous!!!


  13. Stephanie
    August 5, 2010 | 12:10 pm

    Your yard and entry looks wonderful, what a blessing 🙂


  14. Stephanie
    August 5, 2010 | 12:11 pm

    I forgot to say your garden beds are doing amazing, those are some huge tomato (and pepper) plants.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    🙂 Thanks!


  15. Tessa
    August 5, 2010 | 1:00 pm

    Your tomato plants look great,We also use the Square Foot garden method and it it works super well for us and saves so much space.


  16. Lesley
    August 5, 2010 | 2:29 pm

    You have a lovely living room. I am enthralled at all the green outside! (I live in AZ where it is 90% desert. ) Maybe someday the Lord will lead us to find a home where we don’t have to spend a fortune in water just to keep a patch o grass! Glory to God for the great blessings he provides!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We moved here from southern CA (back when I was 11) and that is one thing that I remember my dad saying is that he couldn’t believe how green everything was.


  17. […] House: Entry and YARD August 5th, 2010 I’m participating in the Open House hosted by the 4 Moms, 35 Kids.  Throughout the month of August, they are giving a glimpse into their homes and how they manage […]

  18. mary beth
    August 5, 2010 | 3:37 pm

    Oh goodness , I love the photos, your house and everything in it, I’m so envious. I’m moving in. Thanks for sharing all the photos and part of your world. God Bless


  19. Celee
    August 5, 2010 | 4:40 pm

    Beautiful! I need to follow your lead and start instituting some yard and porch chores for the kids. Your place is immaculate and you have a newborn! Delegation is key, isn’t it?

    Thank you so much for the $50 Sonlight gift certificate. I just got it and am headed to the website to spend it now. Thanks again!



    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks Celee. We just added yard and porch chores. They needed to be added, spiders LOVE our front porch.


  20. Kathi
    August 5, 2010 | 4:49 pm

    Your HOME is beautiful and looks so cozy and full of Love. Thank you for sharing, and inviting us all to join in!


  21. Shannon
    August 5, 2010 | 5:23 pm

    I’ve been back throughout the day to look at your pictures again – the ones of your porch, deck, and yard. It looks so relaxing!! Enjoy the blessings God has given you… thanks for the tour!


  22. cristal
    August 5, 2010 | 7:22 pm

    Ok I tried to redo the link I hope I did it correct this time. You can delete the original Cristal link. I messed up. So sorry I’m still learning. Please be patient with me.

    Thanks again,


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    You’re fine Cristal, thank you for linking up with us today.


  23. Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy
    August 5, 2010 | 8:36 pm

    It looks like such a peaceful oasis! A real home, bravo! May I ask how much land you have? Your yard looks so nice and open 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks Cheryl. We have a half acre in a subdivision, but with the trees and the hills it is fairly private. (You can see the roof of our neighbors house in the picture of the back deck.)

    Also behind our house is an empty wooded area which makes our yard delightful for the kids.

    God has really blessed us.


  24. Jennifer
    August 5, 2010 | 11:02 pm

    I cannot believe how clean and organized your house is. I think I need desperate help. And I don’t see any toys. Are you sure you have 10 children? May I ask how many sq footage? I have 2 children and 4000 sq ft and keeping it even picked up is a constant battle. Love your blog


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Jennifer. Remember, this is the company part of our home, the area that we try to always keep tidy in case the neighbors or unexpected guests come knocking. We don’t keep toys in this part of the house and reserve it for reading and game playing.

    We don’t have a lot of toys considering we have 10 children. We only keep toys that have long term play value and limit the number of stuffed animals/dolls that each child owns.

    We lived in a 900 square foot house until I was pregnant with our 7th, so we know a lot about keeping our clutter to a minimum. We try very hard to keep only things that we need or love, otherwise the things just make work for us and do not provide a benefit. (Love Clutter’s Last Stand: It’s Time To De-junk Your Life! and other clutter books by Don Aslett.)

    Our home is a little over 3700 square feet. When we first moved here our oldest was 9 and it was difficult to keep everything clean. Now with the children being able to help more with the cleaning chores it is much more manageable. So I think that in this instance, having more children actually makes it easier.


  25. Shannon
    August 6, 2010 | 1:08 pm

    thanks for lettign us into your home. I linked to my post(a day late).


  26. Jenn
    August 9, 2010 | 3:38 pm

    I love your front porch! It looks like it is calling for people to sit and read a book out there.


  27. Grateful for Grace
    August 9, 2010 | 4:23 pm

    Love the outdoor storage shelves/drawers and the bike port!! Seriously. I soooo wish we had something covered. It’s killing some of our stuff to not have shade or some kind of semi-carport/garage thing in the Texas weather. I’m stashing your idea away.

    Your home is lovely.


  28. Young Wife
    August 10, 2010 | 4:08 pm

    What a lovely home! I can’t believe you got your curtains at a yard sale. What a find!


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  35. Theresa
    August 27, 2010 | 11:31 am

    I love your home! I love how organized you keep everything. It’s very inspiring–I am always looking for new organizational ideas!

    I just found this blog hop, and although I have an average size family, I had sooo much fun looking at your pictures, that I wanted to share my own:



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