Life Love Larson: 2014


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Family Photos & Christmas Card

Two days to go and there are two very excited children in the Larson household! It's hard to believe how fast the month of December flew by, but it has been such a wonderful month full of activities, movie watching, parties, listening to christmas music, decking the halls, and spending quality time together. Our kids are at such a wonderful age right now, I wish I could bottle their energy and excitement! We still have some baking to do, but everything else is pretty much wrapped up around here!

I know everyone is busy finishing up last minute details and spending time with family and friends, but wanted to drop in quickly to share our Christmas card and some family photos we had taken a few weeks back. Our photographer just so happens to be my neighbor (and my bestie), and she did such an amazing job of capturing our family and our personalities. If you are local and you are looking for a photographer, please contact her, or contact me and I will get your her info. You can check out her FB page here! You can check out last year's photos and Christmas card here.

Here are a few of my favorites from this year's shoot!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Home Tour

Welcome to our Holiday Home Tour! I am so happy to be a part of this tour with several other fantastic bloggers. If you are new here, welcome! I hope you will stay and look around for a while. This is such a wonderful time of year, I hope you are enjoying all the festivities this season has to offer!

I am happy to have to have all the decorating done, so we can enjoy a house full of lights and trees and coziness. I don't really have a "theme" for decorating, I just always use what I love. I also try to use what I have in new and different ways. I think simple DIY projects, thrift store finds, bows, ornaments, and fresh greens can go a long way. And clearly, I am not afraid of color! Step inside our front door and take a peek!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chalkboard Tree with Pom Garland

Happy Monday friends! It's my 35th birthday today and it's supposed to be in the 50's here in KC - best present ever for a girl who dislikes winter as much as I do! No big plans except for a take out sushi date at home with hubby later tonight. My number says 35, but I think I will always, in my head, feel 25, and I guess that's a good thing! :)

Now, onto a quick Christmas post. I wanted to do something a little different on our chalkboard wall this year. I made this DIY pom garland a few years ago and thought it would make the perfect Christmas Tree garland. A little chalk, some black electrical tape, and some fake presents, and we have another tree in our home this year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Tradition : A Real Christmas Tree

If you are coming from I Should Be Mopping the Floor, welcome to the next stop on the Christmas Traditions Blog Tour! I hope you are enjoying the tour, the magic of the season, and spending time with family and friends. A big thank you to Rachel at Like a Saturday for inviting me to join along, it has been so fun looking down memory lane to create this post!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescape

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, and thanks, and family, and meaning, and rest. And, of course, delicious food! I made a traditional meal with traditional desserts, and everyone seemed full and happy when it was all said and done!

This is the third year in a row we have hosted Steve's parents and brothers and it's always fun for me to set a more formal table. We are a super casual family, but it's fun to dress up the dining room when we have guests. I thought I would try something "fall-like", but a little less traditional. Cue the leopard print!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chewy M&M Cookies

It's been a while since I posted a recipe! I wanted to share this super simple and delicious cookie recipe. Every year at church we grab a cookie tin, fill it with cookies and return it, so that those cookies can then be delivered to people who are homebound during the holidays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Simple Match Storage

It's cold in Kansas City! It's that time of year again when I want to light candles everyday. I don't really do this in the warmer months, but there is something about the scents of fall/winter and the glow of a candle to make you feel cozy and warm.

I picked up this cute little blue and white decorative item while thrifting this week and thought it would be perfect to store matches in the living room. I was drawn to that cobalt blue, and it was only $1.99!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fiddle Leaf Fig Update + Propagating a New One

I have had some inquires about our fiddle leaf fig tree recently, so I thought I would do a follow up to this post, which I shared when we first got her (her being Jewel, which is what my kids named her ;). Because Jewel was way more expensive than most plants I buy and because I love a challenge, I have taken great care in trying to keep her alive and doing well. I knew this was not going to be easy since I had heard they can be hard to grow! I hoard love house plants and think they add so much to a space. If you can swing it, I believe every room should have at least one live plant in it!

She is not nearly as full as she once was, but I am happy that she is still alive and still sprouting new leaves! After having her for almost two years, I know what kind of watering system to use and I now know what spot in the house she likes (we have tried 3 different spots and finally found the sweet spot). I'm hoping to get her back to her full glory at some point, but as with most good things, patience is the key!

A few months ago I was worried I was killing her. She was dropping brown leaves and no new leaves where sprouting. I have done so much research on these plants, watched several You Tube videos, and have troubleshooted many things. I decided to move her from the space in the dining room to a different corner in near our kitchen table. I also decided to take a look at the roots to see if that was part of the problem. If your plants have bad roots, they will never grow or thrive no matter what you try. A few months ago I posted a picture on Instagram of when I carefully took Jewel out of the pot she came in, threw out all the old soil, trimmed up the root ball, and repotted her in the same container she came in (with new soil and freshly cropped roots).

A few weeks after trimming back the root ball, new leaves started sprouting from existing branches and a new branch is also forming! Woo hoo! I think the roots where overgrown and suffocating and weren't getting the right amount of water. Getting new growth in November is a good sign since it will most likely go dormant in the winter. Fingers crossed!

I recently added some moss to the base of the tree for some added color. I love the added pop of lime green next to the woven basket (basket is from Homegoods). You can also see that I have a vent cover blowing any drafts away from the plant.

Here are some things that I do to help keep this finicky thing alive…

1. Only water her when very dry. And even when I think it's time to water, I wait a few more days just to be sure. I was told by the professionals at the nursery where I purchased it to soak the plant when it needed watering (up to 1 gallon at a time) and then wait several weeks to water again. You will know when you have added enough when the water starts coming through the bottom of the pot. Never let your FLF sit in the standing water. Take your drip pan and empty it if too much water has seeped out. Also, if you are watering a large pot and the water starts coming out of the bottom immediately, there is something wrong with the soil. Your roots will not be able to take up the water if it is leaving the pot too quickly.

2. Wipe the leaves every few weeks with a plant cleaner and a soft cloth. These leaves are large and will collect dust. If the dust doesn't get wiped away, the plant can't take in all that indirect sunlight it needs to thrive!

3. Find the right, sunny spot. Our fiddle leaf sits in a north facing corner that gets lots of bright, indirect light. You don't want direct light or it will burn the ends of the leaves. After trying three different spots, she seems to like this one, and I just leave it alone. Once you find the right spot and a good watering system, you can basically leave them alone and forget about them.

4. I fertilize every couple of times I water with a basic plant food.

I have also recently tried to propagate one of the leaves of my fiddle leaf fig. This means I trimmed a healthy leaf (that was hard to do!) and stuck it in some water and put it in a sunny spot. After several weeks, it started growing roots! I couldn't believe it was working! Once the roots were long enough, I planted in soil in a small pot and now have the start of a new FLF!

I hope this helps if you have your own fiddle leaf or are thinking of getting one. I know several people have scored these at Home Depot and IKEA, but I have yet to encounter any at my local stores. For all of you locals, this one was purchased at Family Tree Nursery in Overland Park. Happy Monday!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Porch

Happy Monday, friends! It's Halloween week and my kids are getting excited. How fun is it that it falls on a Friday this year?! I didn't do any indoor decorating for Halloween this year, or even fall for that matter. I just didn't feel into it and didn't want to force it. I do, however, love to decorate my porch, so that is where I concentrated my efforts!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Updated Kitchen Pics

I have been wanting to update my Home Tour pictures, so I cleaned up the kitchen, put away the coffee pot and the dishes, and snapped a few shots. When we purchased this home almost 3 years ago, it was being built as a spec home. We got in just in time to be able to pick all the finishes and paint colors and make it our own.

I spend so much of my day in this kitchen. It is truly the hub of our home. This is the spot where we gather, eat, laugh, entertain, bake, make school lunches, talk about our day, and make memories. I just wish it was always this clean! :)

We went pretty classic in the kitchen and kept things on budget. White cabinets, subway tile backsplash, stainless steel sink and appliances, granite countertops. We did decide to stain the island dark to contrast with the white cabinets. The cabinet color and trim color throughout our home is SW Alabaster. The wall color is SW Big Chill. The pendant lights are from Home Depot, and the stools are World Market.

As soon as I finished snapping these photos, I had to pick up Kate from school. Papers were quickly scattered, PB&J was smeared on the island, and dishes started filling up in the sink. It took us no time at all to get this kitchen looking back to "normal".  xoxo

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dining Room Progress

Happy Friday, friends! It seems as though I have been blogging about our dining room for about 3 years now, and well, it's because I have been. I have a real problem with "finishing" anything before changing it up again!

This room hasn't changed much since I last blogged about it, but I have updated the paint in the niche, moved the bar cart to a new location, added some white cell shades, and brought in a palm from outside.

The niche was painted in SW Urbane Bronze, but it ended up being too brown. I decided to change it up and use a matte black paint. I love it so much more. The wall is now painted in SW Tricorn Black (had it mixed in flat Behr paint at Home Depot).

After moving the bar cart from the niche to in front of the windows, we now have opened up a new hole in the niche. I am on the lookout for a long console table, as I don't really need any more storage space, just something to fill the space. I also purchased a gigantic canvas on sale at Michael's in the hopes that Steve will be able to create a cool piece of artwork for the space. More to come on that!

You can't see them in this photo, but both of the windows have been outfitted with white cordless cellular shades. They get pulled up during the day to let all this light pour in, and they are easily pulled down every night when it gets dark. I need to do a whole post on cell shades, I love them so much!

I'm still debating whether or not to add two pillows to the end chairs for a little more color/pattern. I will have to reassess once the niche area is completed. This room is the first room to the right of the front door, and I love all the light that pours in. Even though we don't eat here much, it is still one of my favorite rooms in the house!

Source list:
Dining Table : West Elm
Dining Chairs: Restoration Hardware
Curtains: DIY
Bar Cart: Vintage 
Cell Shades: Bed, Bath & Beyond
Chandelier: Vintage
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Entry Rug

Because I can't ever seem to leave well enough alone, I decided we needed a new entry rug. For 2.5 years, we have had a long and narrow indoor/outdoor runner at our front door, which was graphic and fun and durable, but I wanted something more substantial to really ground the entry area. We don't have a grand foyer or vaulted ceilings, so I wanted the floor space to feel soft and pretty.

This space could handle a 5 x 7, so I was keeping my eye out for rugs in that size. Finally, while shopping at Homegoods (is there anywhere else to shop?), I found this little beauty and instantly snatched it up. It is so soft and I loved the grey. I'm drawn to the vintage, over dyed look, and it adds a bit of a traditional element as you walk in the door.

And because we chose to not put a rug under the dining table, this larger rug breaks up all the hardwood. Cost wise, this rug was $149 for a 5 x 7. Here is a shot of the space with no rug.

I purchased a rug pad at Homegoods (way cheaper) to keep the floor and rug protected. We have had it for a few months, and so far, we love it!

I like to reuse things I still like, so the indoor/outdoor runner got moved to the upstairs hallway, and that has added a nice graphic punch to that space. My husband things I'm nuts, but I think it's fun to switch it up!!

What's next for this little foyer space? I really want to replace the light fixture and I can't decide if that little closet door needs to go black. Please weigh in on that! xo

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DIY Pumpkin Spice Scrub

I recently had a little get together at my house to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend. I decided to make everyone a DIY pumpkin spice scrub to take home with them.

Of course, I went to Pinterest for inspiration and came across a simple recipe and a cute idea for how to package the scrub via Decor and the Dog blog. This scrub uses simple ingredients right from your pantry and it smells delicious!

Pumpkin Spice Scrub
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3-4 Tablespoons coconut oil (warmed and runny)

You simply combine the sugars and spices and add your oil at the end and stir. The texture should feel like wet sand when you are finished.

I mixed up 8 batches of this fairly quickly and packaged them in little canning jars. Dollar Tree sells the perfect size jar for this recipe. Just like the inspiration post, I added some Washi tape around the edge of the jar and added some baker's twine and tags (all from Target dollar spot) for a finishing touch.

I think this is such a fun gift for a friend or neighbor! This is the perfect time of year for some fall smelling exfoliation! xo

Linking up with: 
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bar Cart Print & Spray Painting a Picture Mat

We recently switched up a few things in our dining room, which included moving our vintage bar cart out of the niche into a more visible space. It is such a unique piece that we love (and got for a steal) and we wanted it to be more inviting for guests to come in and pour a drink.

I also wanted to lean a print with a fun quote on the cart. I came across this saying that I love…

I quickly made this print on my Mac and printed it out on heavy card stock from our home printer.

I have a stash hoard of frames in my basement from other projects, so I grabbed a white frame with a white mat. I really wanted a black mat to surround this new print, so I busted out some spray paint to see if that would work. Two coats of spray paint later, I had a black mat. I had everything I needed for this print project, so it cost me nothing to make! Woo hoo!

I used a black satin finish spray paint because that's all I had on hand. I love the pop of black against the white frame. Leaning it against the wall keeps in casual. Full reveal of the bar cart coming soon!

Don't forget to be creative and work with what you have! CHEERS! xo
Friday, September 12, 2014

DIY Bright Fall Yarn Wreath

I felt like getting a little crafty last weekend, and wreaths are usually my go-to project. I have been using the same leaf wreath for a few years, and wanted to switch things up a bit this fall. I found this yellow yarn wreath online that I thought looked really pretty against a black door (yes, my blue door has been painted black!), so I thought I would try to create something bright and fresh for fall.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chalkboard Fall Bucket List

I recently added another coat of chalkboard paint to our existing chalkboard wall. It has been painted chalk for almost two years, and after several cleanings, the wall just looked dingy. A one-coat touch up was all it needed to look new again!

After taking down the Summer Fun list, I decided to go ahead and continue that theme and make a fall bucket list. The kids LOVE these lists and I don't have to change the chalkboard wall for a few months. Win/win! :)

Our neighborhood pool officially closed yesterday, and cooler temps are on their way. I think it's finally time to get in the fall mindset and we are ready! In Kansas, there is no mistaking when fall hits, and it is glorious!

I'm a creative person, but NOT an artist. My husband asked me why we have a pink pumpkin on the chalk wall…. :) For the record, it's supposed to be an apple, but maybe I need to change it to orange and just call it a pumpkin! Happy Fall! xo

See how I clean my chalk wall here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

DIY Headband & Jewelry Storage

As of late, Kate has been acquiring more things for her hair and has been asking for a place to put her necklaces. Her small bathroom drawers were busting at the seams so I knew I needed to come up with something to provide some additional storage.

I decided to repaint the knob necklace holder I had made a while back, and repurpose it in Kate's bathroom. Now, she has space for her hair bands and necklaces, and it provides some great color in her bathroom space.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kid's Card Table Makeover

We gave Kate a little mini room makeover this weekend (more to come on that), and while we were cleaning things up and moving things around, I realized I never blogged about a card table makeover I did for her room last year.

I purchased a kid's card table at a thrift store for $4, and gave it a new look for about $5. As you can see here, this has been the table where Kate likes to play Legos or read books in her room.

The original table was pink, with the word princess repeated over and over, and it was banged up.

First, I removed the table top and covering, and spray painted the base brass.

I purchased some oil cloth fabric at Joann's to recover the top. I thought the polka dots looked child-like without being to juvenile. The oil cloth fabric is perfect because it is easy to clean and is sold by the yard! The table already had a layer of batting underneath, which I kept. I simply cut the fabric to size and used a staple gun to adhere it to the table top. The top is thin, so I had to use really small staples.

After two coats of spray paint, I was ready to put the table back together. I added two wooden chairs that I also found while thrifting. The turquoise chair was already painted, and I painted the pink chair the same color as her headboard. I also added some gold paint to the bottom of the chair legs - it's all about the details!

I'm convinced that most ugly thrift store finds can be transformed with a little time and effort! This table has gotten a lot of use in the last year and a half. During the mini makeover, we added a larger desk to this corner, so this table/chair set will be moving to the basement playroom.

Happy thrifting! xoxo

Linking up with:,,,, http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com,,,,,, http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com,,,,,,,,,,,,, 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Family Weekend Getaway: Branson, MO

The four of us took a last minute weekend trip to Branson, MO last weekend. School starts here next week, so we wanted to get away together for a few days. The place had to be close (3 hour drive) and it had to be family friendly. We had heard good things about Branson and thought we would check it out!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Office Space Light Fixture

Happy Monday, friends! I'm still chipping away at this office space and wanting to fill you in on the progress. On our recent trip to Chicago, I stopped in at IKEA and purchased a few things, including this large black JARA Shade. It was already inexpensive ($29.99), but it was also on sale the day I was there ($22). SOLD!

I knew I wanted a large light fixture in the office space since the ceiling is high. I thought the black would be a good contrast to the light walls and carpet and trim. This shade is 22" in diameter, so it is huge!

Once we were home, I went looking for light kits at Lowe's and found this inexpensive black pendant light cord for $16.

Steve was able to wire this baby up for me in no time and I love how it looks! The only debate was how low to hang it. Because it is large, and my husband is so tall, we had to eyeball it until we thought it was the right length.

I was nervous that the light would look yellowish coming off the black shade. We used a 60W Reveal light bulb and it actually puts off a bright white light, which I am so happy about.

Loving the bold statement this shade makes in the room! And for less than $40, the price was right too!

You can check out the DIY Trimmed Roman Shades here, and the fabric wrapped pin board here!