Monday, May 23, 2016

Life Lately

Wow! We made it to the end of school the school year and today marks the first weekday of summer break! We are so excited for warmer days, later nights, and lots of downtime together! I don't think our weekly calendar has ever looked so light and I couldn't be happier about it. I was just telling a friend that I will be having the "summer talk" with my kids today. You know...NO whining, setting expectations for behaviors, reminding them that grocery shopping is still a thing even in the summer, reminding them about chipping in around the house without being asked, reading gets done in the morning, it's not my job to entertain you every minute of every day, etc, etc. We can't and won't do all the fun stuff unless we are meeting expectations around here - total mean mom and I'm okay with that!! Ha!

I thought I would post a snippet of what we've been up to lately...it always seems people like to see into other people's lives, and I'm okay with that too... :)  Warning...photo overload!

We counted down the days in May until school let out on our chalk wall. We are out so early here in Kansas (no snow days)! Our summer bucket list will be going up this week and I will share it when it's done!
Here is the last day of 1st and 2nd grade. Many inches grown and many teeth lost this year! Oh, I wish I could stop time. These early elementary years are my absolute favorite. They are so much fun right now, and easy, and independent, and snuggly, and still love their parents, and want to spend time as a family. I just love it.

And one of several outtakes...this is usually the case around here...Drew doing something to "annoy" Kate and laughing hysterically about it...hence the "summer talk" :)!

 Two amazing teachers this year...

Cheer and soccer are coming to an end until we pick it back up in the fall. Drew played on his first competitive premier soccer team this year and had a wonderful experience. Great players, coach, teammates, and parents.
Baseball is in full swing around here between watching Drew's team and cheering on the Cubs and the Royals!
Love having a TV on the back covered patio space! We use it all the time mostly to watch baseball! All of you who have Boulevard beer near you, you must try the new Tropical Ale! It's delicious and it comes in the most adorable cans (I like details)!
May 3rd marked our 13th wedding anniversary. I just cannot believe we have been married that long! Life with this guy is such a joy! We were 23 y/o in this pic...such babies! My hair gets lighter as I become more gray! The greatest disguise... :)
It seems our favorite summer pastime is fishing and we've already been at it. Kate caught a huge catfish the other day on a small little rod. Time to get her a bigger one! Drew is simply obsessed with fishing and fishing shows and Jeremy Wade. Google him...he's the River Monsters guy. Completely obsessed! Even mom likes to get in on the fun, but you can clearly see I don't catch the big ones!


This past weekend we all ran a 5k together. It's such a fun family event and we want to do more of them. This 5k supports are dear, dear friend of mine and we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day!
In house news, we are getting ready to start on a basement reno. We have hired a company to complete the project. They start in about a month which means we have to get all the stuff out of our basement in preparation for a summer full of dust, early mornings, and lots of banging. I just know it will be worth it in the end. I will hopefully be blogging more this summer and will keep you up to date on the progress. It will be ready just in time for football season!

Cheers to an enjoyable and relaxing summer! Don't forget to connect with LLL!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

String Lights on the Front Porch

I'm currently blogging on the back patio on a gorgeous afternoon! In between rain storms, it's been warm and sunny. Baseball is in full force around here, kids are out of school in 10 days, and it's really starting to feel like summer is just around the corner. I love it!

I've been working on sprucing up our landscaping, potting plants, moving perennials around, and getting our porch ready for summer. I'll post daylight pics of the porch soon, but for now I wanted to talk about adding string lights to our covered porch.




It's difficult to photograph these when it's dark, so this is as good as I could get. It seems everyone has string lights on their back porches around here, including us. They add such ambiance to a space. I decided this year, it would be fun to be different and add some lights to the front porch too!

I love, love, love having a covered front porch. It was not something I ever knew I wanted and now I'm not sure I could be without one. We spend a lot of time on this porch, in those rockers...drinking coffee, watching the kids play, having drinks with friends. I decided that adding string lights to the front porch would also make this space feel cozy at night, just as on the back patio. Think Christmas lights, but with a summer vibe. :)


We live in a neighborhood where things can quickly start to look the same, so I also thought this would be a fun touch of something new and different! I'm all about curb appeal! We used two strands of inexpensive string lights and hooked them up to a timer so they come on when it's dark and turn off around midnight. This also makes them no maintenance, which is so great. Steve strung them using a staple gun and they have held up great, even through what felt like a monsoon we had the other day!


Adding these string lights was a small time and money commitment and they add such a fun, cozy vibe for summer. I can't wait to log some hours underneath them as we approach summer and later nights!


I hope you are enjoying warmer weather wherever you are! Who's ready for drinks on the porch?! xo

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Master Bedroom Sitting Area

Hello friends! Hope your week is off to a great start. We had a fabulous weekend full of sports, hanging with friends, and warm temps! It felt a hint like summer, and I was loving every minute of it!

We've sort of made over the little sitting area in our master bedroom and I wanted to share it with you. By "made over", I simply mean that we actually added items to it. It was a blank space for a long time, and we've slowly added furniture, art, and of course, plants. The space isn't huge, but our master bedroom is. The space needed to be filled to make the room look finished.


We've had the bamboo shades (Lowes), curtain rods (World Market) and the curtains (IKEA) for several years, but everything else in the space is new. The starting off point were the two chairs (also from IKEA). These are actually recliners! We found them in the clearance section of IKEA one day and felt they would be a good fit in this space. They were floor models and looked perfect, so we jumped on them. Each chair was $190. They recline, they are neutral, and they are small scale, which was essential for this small space. We don't sit here very much, so super comfy chairs weren't a priority. They offer these chairs in this blue/gray color as well as a linen color.


My most favorite piece in this whole space is the vintage light fixture. Find out more about it here.  I wish I had 10 of these lights to put all around the house.  It puts off so much light and it's perfect for reading in this space.



The artwork isa  huge stretched print from Homegoods. I feel in love with this print the minute I laid eyes on it. It fits the space perfectly and adds a bit of whimsy to the bedroom :).




The little gold mirrored table is from Ross. I'm not sure if everyone has these stores near them, but I can usually find great little home pieces there. Several of my baskets are from Ross, as well as many of my bookshelf pieces and blue/white vases. It's a little hit and miss, but this little gold side table was only $30 and was the perfect size, so I snatched it up!





The pink lumbar pillows are from World Market, the bird of paradise plant is from Costco, and the basket it is sitting in is from Homegoods. The grey/white blanket is from Tuesday Morning. I'm addicted to buying orchids, and am obsessed with this bright fuchsia color. This color has found it's way into every space in our house, including the master bedroom! I wanted this space to feel inviting and neutral, with just a slight pop of color.


The white shag rug was a DIY project from awhile back. I sewed two inexpensive IKEA rugs together to make a runner for our office space. The office ended up being to much of a "traffic zone" for that rug, so I moved it up to the master. It adds just the right amount of texture.


In the process of finishing this space, we also paid someone to come mount our new television. The laundry room is right behind that wall, so our cable box and all cords are in that space, leaving only the clean lines of the TV. This was so worth doing. We had a large, outdated armior in here previously, housing a smaller TV, and it just wasn't working for us anymore. This space now feels much more open, airy, and more "us".

If it were up to me, I wouldn't even have a sitting area in a master bedroom, or even a huge master for that matter! I would much prefer a larger laundry room, but this was the footprint when we purchased,  so we are making the space as useful as possible! Let me know if you have any questions! xo

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Living Room Rug

Hello friends and happy Tuesday! I bought a new rug for our living room a few weeks back and I'm just getting up the nerve to remove the tag. I love the rug, but it's very different from what we had before which was a white, high pile shag. I've needed to "live" with the new rug for a while and I have since grown to love it in the space.




I have been on the hunt for a new living room rug for several months. It wasn't a dire situation, but I've definitely been in the market for an 8 x 10 or larger. I didn't want to rush into anything, and I wanted it to be a good price. Ordering a large rug online annoys me because of dealing with shipping it back if it didn't work out. Finally, while in Des Moines visiting family, I found this rug hanging at Homegoods and it spoke to me. It's a Martha Stewart Collection and is super soft and neutral with a classic pattern. I've learned not to toy with decisions like this. Just buy it, put it in the space and decide. Or in this case, shove it into your SUV between your kids and drive 3 hours home with it! :)


I truly loved our white shag rug that used to be in the space. It was so comfortable and the pop of white was so nice against our dark sofas and hardwood floors. However, the high pile on the rug caused major flattening in certain spots. It was also hard to vacuum and started to become very dingy in places. We turned it often to expose cleaner parts, but it just started looking sad.


This new rug is very thin, but super soft. It's not a rug to lay around on, but we have large comfy sofas for that. We are also getting ready to finish our basement, so that will become our "lounge" space, allowing the living room to become a bit more formal. This pattern made me a little nervous because I didn't want it to compete with pillows and those navy stools I love, but in the end, my motto is to decorate with what you love and make it work. I'm a huge fan of pattern mixing, and I think when it's done subtly and in good taste, it just works. I also love purchasing items from places like Homegoods because there is usually only one of them, which makes it more of a "find". The thrill of the hunt makes me happy!


The subtle blue in the spots works well with our wall color and it is still light enough for the space. I like how it adds a bit more glam to the space without being too much. Most of all, it's easy to vacuum and it doesn't show anything!


Unfortunately with Homegoods purchases, I can't really source this rug for you. I've tried finding it online with no luck. It was such a steal at $299 for an 8 x 10. My advice is to be patient with home purchases, especially when it comes to large scale pieces in a room. This rug is classic and neutral enough that I know I will not tire of it! Don't forget that good design doesn't have to break the bank!! Patience is key!

*Always be sure to look on Wayfair, West Elm, Overstock, Rugs Direct, Esale Rugs, Home Decorators, Ballard Design, Rugs USA if you are looking for more online options! I know for all you locals that Nebraska Furniture Mart has a large selection of area rugs too! Have a great week!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring Mantel Details

Thanks for all the sweet comments on the spring home tour! I love this time of year and I love all the bright light pouring into our home. I can't wait to get out into the yard this weekend!

I wanted to break down our mantel really quickly and source some of the items. I only purchased the "Spring is Here" banner to complete this look. Everything else was in another part of the house or in the basement. Shop your house first! Purchase items on clearance after the season is over and have them waiting for next year! You don't need to spend a lot to make something look great. It's all about height and color and keeping it simple.




The "Spring is Here" banner is from Joann Fabric from this year. I bought some small, colored clothespins at Michael's to attach the letters to bakers twine (that came with the banner). I find clipping items like this is easier than stringing them. I keep two small eye hooks on the mantel at all times to attach banners, buntings, stockings. This makes it easy for me to change things out quickly.

The green glass vase is from Hobby Lobby. I've had this one for a while, but I assume they always sell this kind of glass. The smaller glass vase is from Homegoods. I rotate these glass vases all over the house. These are easy and inexpensive items to use in your home all year long.

I recently found this log holder at my mom's Homegoods in Des Moines on clearance. I like the openness of it and it allows the birch logs to really be seen. I scored the logs from my sister and BIL's house. They had a huge bundle delivered to their home because they have a gorgeous, wood burning fireplace. Ours is a flip-the-switch kind, but I still love the look of logs by a fireplace!


The pink flowers are real from Trader Joe's, but the moss sticks are faux and purchased about five years ago at Hobby Lobby. Faux flowers/stems have a come a really long way and I'm not afraid to use them in small doses. These are large and dramatic and inexpensive (be sure to catch their florals when it's a 50% off week).

The glass vase is also from Homegoods, it's just a different size. The moss balls are a thrift store find from several years ago, and I made that small moss wreath several years ago as well. These are all items from the basement that said "spring" to me when I was shopping my own stuff. The pink ceramic ball is also from Homegoods (can you see a theme here)?

I love to use books for height variation. If you don't have a book spine that is the color you want, simply turn them around so the pages are showing. White pages always work!

The large pieces of driftwood are from a park/lake near our home. I found them several years ago and bleached them in the sun. When not decorated for a season, these pieces of driftwood are the only things on the mantel. I just love the natural look of them and they work all year long with any style of decor.


And the TV? Well, it is what it is and it's not going anywhere, so I have to decorate around it! Wall color is Sherwin Williams Big Chill and fireplace trim/mantel is Sherwin Williams Alabaster.

Hope you are enjoying your spring! xo
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