Thursday, December 1, 2016

Fall Recap

Before another season gets completely behind me, I wanted to catch up on all things fall that happened around here! Anyone else's life flashing before their eyes??? It's finally getting cold here in KC, we got our tree and the house is decorated, so it's feeling a lot more like Christmas around here! We had an absolutely AMAZING fall! The weather has been gorgeous and the Cubs won the World Series. We couldn't be happier!

This is our house post-Halloween. My pumpkins lasted forever this year because we never carved any and those huge Costco mums were so pretty. Of course, I chose pink. And the grass has been so green with cooler temps!
Speaking of Halloween, these two crazy kids had a ball this year. They stayed out longer than ever before and ran around the neighborhood with their friends. Our neighborhood is so fun and full of kids, and it's so fun to see everyone out and about.
We only accomplished about half of our fall bucket list this year. We certainly don't stress about it, it's meant to be fun, and who cares if we don't get to everything. We have so much to be thankful for.
We did manage to squeeze in a hike...a favorite among the kids...
And ate our fair share of cider donuts...
And finally, after living here for 5 years, we made it to the Nelson Atkins Museum. I loved the abstract art the most. And the grounds could not be prettier.
Steve and I had a long weekend in Chicago together. He was the best man in a wedding and the Cubs were playing that weekend. We had a ball! 
And thank goodness for retired grandparents who love to babysit. We are blessed and happy when they agree to watch the kiddos so we can get away! My mom snapped this photo of the kids while they were fishing and we were gone. Kansas sunsets in the fall are just gorgeous.
We hosted Steve's family for Thanksgiving again this year. The visit is always filled with laughter, relaxation, and good food! I always gussy up the bar cart and use our china for special occasions. We don't use the dining room table much, but I always love moments when we do.

And little miss just turned 8 years old! I know I'm not old enough to have an 8 & 9 year old!! :) She is so full of life and spunk and is caring and mature and a little smartypants. I just love her spirit.
Thanksgiving this year marked 5 years of living in Kansas City. This is a big deal when you've lived in 6 states and none of them were longer than 3 years! 
This is our home. We love it here. So happy life brought us here. Hope your fall was wonderful! xo

You can find me most days on Instagram, so be sure to follow along! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

DIY Colorful Abstract Art (So Easy a Child Did It)!

Hi friends! I've recently been scrolling through thousands of photos on my Mac trying to clean up duplicates and delete anything that is clogging up space. While doing this, I came across several photos of projects I never blogged about! This DIY is from an embarrassingly long time ago (2 years, ahem)! Better late than never, right?!
Kate painted this abstract painting when she was 6 years old and it has been hanging in our bathroom off the kitchen for that long. I just LOVE it! There were no intentions at the time of having her work commissioned for our home ;), it just turns out that I fell in love with it and had a frame that worked for it.

I only have one photo from the day she painted it. I busted out some acrylic paints and a poster board and let her have at it. The way the colors work together, with a pop of black, is just right up my alley.
The thing about kids is that they just don't care about perfection or screwing it up, so they just go with it. Most adults are scared to pick up a paintbrush, but kids paint for the fun of it, making them the best abstract artists around! And how wonderful to have something hanging in our home, in a prominent spot, that was made by someone who lives in the home. It adds just the right touch of modern, whimsy, and sentiment to the space (despite it being right above the toilet)! :)
The large frame/mat was a thrift store find. I used some Rubb n' Buff to give the edges a brass look. A custom piece of artwork for that in total cost less than $10, including the frame! I'll take it! xo

Thursday, November 10, 2016

School Storage in the Mudroom

Hello friends of the blog! I'm trying to get back into blogging after a long hiatus. I'm convinced I will never abandon the blog because I have too much to share! But real life just gets in the way a lot of the time!

We tweaked our mudroom just a tiny bit recently and I'm loving the added storage/organization. Our mudroom isn't huge, but it serves many purposes, so it has to function well. With the kids being in 3rd and 2nd grades this year, I noticed there were more papers coming home, reading calendars to manage, spelling lists/notebooks, and one big, heavy math book coming home. Each child also brings home a planner and folder each night to go through (that has to be signed). This is all in addition to remembering library books every week! In years previous, we could keep all this stuff on the refrigerator or in piles in the kitchen. This year, I was OVER it! I love a clutter-free fridge, and I was feeling the need to upgrade our school storage and become more organized in the process. Excuse the bad, grainy photos...our mudroom doesn't get any natural light!

So, we headed to Ikea and of course found exactly what we needed, in the form of shoe storage! These plastic bins come in white or black and come in a three pack for $40. They are large, so we only ended up using two. I think I'll use the third one in the basement toy room in the near future.
These containers are large enough to hold all things school, with a lot of room left over. Drew's is on top because he's taller, and Kate's is directly below his. They tilt down a few inches when opened and close back up easily. They stay open when needed, and stay closed until you pull them out. They are plastic, but not in a cheesy way. They look modern and sleek. I think they fit in just fine in our mudroom space. And, they are super easy to clean! Now, the kids know that all things school go in their designated bins. They check them every morning before school and transfer anything to their backpacks that is needed for that day. Who knew simple storage could feel so good! Ha!
I also got each of the kids clipboards for their reading calendars. This way they have a hard surface to write their minutes down each night. They each keep a pencil in their bins as well. I'm convinced will have these unit the kids leave for college! I love how roomy they are and love how everyone has their own space to keep their clutter.
In order to add these bins to the mudroom, I had to take down one side of the art display wall. Another thing with getting older is these kids do not bring home as much artwork as they once did. Insert tear here. I simply moved one of the rods/clips to the other side of the wall and made three rows, so essentially we only lost one row. The bins are hanging right on the edge of the mudroom/kitchen near the backpack/jacket hooks. Steve used anchors and screws to attach the bins to the wall so they are extra secure. I would highly recommend these for anyone who needs a catch-all space in their home (kids or adults)!
And here is a view of that whole wall (bathroom is the door in the middle).
I couldn't resist putting up these "family rules" just above where they gather their things. :)
And here is our cubby station. Each of the four bins on the right hold seasonal items (flip flops in the summer, gloves and hats in the winter). The three bins on the bottom hold all shoes worn on a regular basis (Drew has one, Kate has one, and Steve has one). I keep my shoes upstairs in my closet! The hooks in this space are used by yours truly since I have about 6 jackets on rotation at any given time. Whoops! And this is where I drop my purse.
Opposite of the cubby space are the kids jacket/backpack hooks, white board, and chalkboard. This white board is hands down my favorite organizational tool in my home. I have blurred our schedule for this photo, but every Sunday night I update the board with daily events, "to-dos", and items to "get" for the week. Everyone in the family knows to reference the white board if they want to know what's going on on a certain day. The white board isn't pretty, but I will always have one and will always do this!
It's either amazing or really, really sad that a couple of plastic boxes could make me this excited!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cubs Win the World Series!

Well, it's been over three months since I've visited this blog. You know, the one I'm the author of - ha! We have had so much going on with the basement reno and I have a laundry list of things to share with you guys. Today though, I feel compelled to blog and share about the history that was made last night. I have to share about the Cubs victory and about all the fun leading up to the win. I never want to forget what this day feels like, mostly for my die-hard Cubs fan of a husband, and for my kids who will hopefully always have memories of this month. What a fun October it has been in our household! We are all exhausted, but it's all been worth it. For the love of the Cubs, and all things sports, what an incredible moment in time!
One year ago today, we were celebrating the Kansas City Royals world series victory at the parade. I cannot believe the Royals won last year and the Cubs this year. It seems surreal. What are the odds....and if you know the Cubs history...not very good. :) And yet, two years in a row we've gotten to watch and cheer for some incredible baseball teams and such likable players. And how about Ben Zobrist? Just incredible to win two years in a row and be named series MVP. Wow, I just love it. And it just so happens that this birthday present I gave to Steve in May has been getting a lot of use!
Steve and I both grew up Cubs fans. He is born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, I grew up 3 hours west of Chicago. Steve holds memories of attending games with his family and going into the city, his Cubs game bachelor party, his first game with Drew. I remember my grandfather sitting at all my softball games with his blue Cubbies hat at every game. I remember loving Mark Grace and Andre Dawson as a little girl and singing during the 7th inning stretch. Now we add names like Rizzo and Bryant and Baez to our "favorites" list. Steve is quick to recall the rich history of Wrigley and the magic of the park. If you have never been to Wrigley Field, put it on your bucket list.
Ten years ago, when we lived in Charlotte, NC, Steve placed his name on the Cubs season ticket holder waiting list. Three years ago (living in KC), his name came up on the list, and he became a season ticket holder, along with his best friend from college. We live in Kansas City, don't forget! I've called him crazy many times, and I think I officially have to shut up about it! Because this year, Steve was able to go to almost all of the post season games played at Wrigley. For that, I am truly grateful. It was all worth him being gone a lot in October! His dedication to this team has been both heartbreaking and magical. He lives for this. He has been on cloud nine for weeks. He is not a fair weather fan. He will never waiver. He is a Cub. We are a sports family, and this kind of month is one for the record books. We will never forget this.
And what do you think the odds are that Steve's best friend and fellow season ticket holder happened to be getting married this past weekend? Yep, crazy. We were lucky enough to already be going to Chicago for his wedding and there just happened to be a little world series going on. :) The two of them were able to go to the Sunday night game and see the only win at Wrigley. We were all lucky enough to celebrate the marriage of two wonderful people amongst all the Cubs hysteria. What an incredibly fantastic adult-only weekend away. It just all worked out for this groom and his best man.
We danced our faces off and forgot all about that Saturday night game...
The vibe in the city was just so much fun. The Indians were staying at our hotel, and the Westin set out corn dogs and cookies every afternoon. It's all in the details...
The magic of last night will never be forgotten. We recruited our KC friends as Cubs fans in the post season. We hosted many a watch party. We stayed up late. We were nervous. We drank too much. We let our kids stay up until 1am last night. We witnessed one of the greatest baseball games ever. We still have goosebumps. We have two kids who love to share in the madness even though I don't think they quite grasp the magnitude of the moment.
Through all of this craziness, I realize how sports has such an impact on our lives. We can't stop watching interviews and YouTube videos, talking about the players and all the stories that come with an event like this. Thank goodness for sports. The history and the emotions and the memories that come from playing and watching sports is like no other feeling. We will never forget last night. I hope our kids tell their own kids about this moment. I hope they always believe in the magic of sports. Go, Cubs, Go!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Our Trip to London

Steve and I traveled to London in March, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it! I want to share with all of you, but I also love keeping a little travel diary on the blog so I can always go back and quickly reminisce! You can find our other travels under the "Travel" tab at the top of the page!

This was Steve's second time traveling to London and my first. Steve got a wild hair one day in January and said "let's go to London. Let's just go". I'm a planner and not super spontaneous, so I was a little apprehensive, but he assured me we could pull it off, and by mid-March we were on a flight across the pond! And because Steve travels for work most weeks, and books his own travel, it's like being married to a travel agent! We are also lucky to have retired parents who will watch our kids for extended periods of time. I will NEVER take this for granted - such a blessing! Well, London was everything I wanted it to be and then some. We just had the most fantastic time together exploring, eating, walking miles and miles, pub hopping, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. I can't wait to go back!
We toyed with the idea of taking an overnight trip to Paris or taking a day trip to the countryside, but ultimately decided to just stay in one place and really take London in. This way we could unpack and relax. We stayed at the most amazing hotel, Marriott Park Lane, in a fabulous location (right across the street from Hyde Park). We walked (A LOT) and took the Tube everywhere. There was a stop right outside our hotel and it made our lives so much easier!
We did a little shopping. We did a lot of sightseeing, park strolling, touristy stuff, and we pub hopped and enjoyed many a beer in London! We just love ourselves a good English pub. We visited both touristy pubs, as well as off the beaten path pubs. This was at The George Inn, since 1677.
We also love to go off the beaten path and find spots where the locals go. We had the best Indian meal  one night. And no surprise, we have beers in our hands. :) This meal deserves it's own post. This was at a little corner spot we found in Marlborough called The Rajdoot. So quaint and delicious, a must try if you are in London!
Oh, Notting Hill, I loved you. We strolled the Portobello Road Market. It was packed, but fun to be in the hustle and bustle. Have to do it once.
Since it was my first time to London, we hit up all the tourist spots (Buckingham Palace, Borough Market, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Tower of London, etc).
One of the most fun things we did was attend an Arsenal Football Match. This is Steve's team and his second time seeing them play. The whole experience was something I will never forget...the stadium, the fans, the passion, the yelling, the atmosphere. I was indifferent about going, but I'm so glad we went!
We walked/rode bikes through three parks in London (St. Jame's Park, The Regent's Park, Hyde Park). I can only imagine how beautiful they are in the spring/summer! We were there just before spring and only a few daffodils were sprouting. Riding bikes through Hyde Park with Steve was just awesome.
As you can see, we are glad we brought winter hats/scarves/coats/gloves! It was certainly chilly in London in mid-March. And I'm not sure how we pulled it off, but we did not see one drop of rain in the 6 days we were there. We were dressed appropriately, so it was never an issue, and when the sun was shining it was perfect. We also felt it was not busy this time of year, which was a bonus. It's London, so it's always "busy", but we never felt crowded. We also never felt scared. With all that is going on in the world, sometimes it's scary to want to travel. I'm happy that did not stop us. We had such a fantastic time. I love making memories in new places. Going away with each other is always such a gift.

And we definitely perfected our English accent by the time we left London! Send me an email if you have any specific questions! I can't believe it took me 36 years to get to London. What a memorable experience! xo
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