Friday, December 23, 2016

Outdoor Christmas Decor & Porch 2016

Merry almost Christmas! Steve and I just got back from a quick trip to NYC. There's nothing like it this time of year and it definitely put me even more in the spirit! A separate post to come all about our trip, but for now I wanted to share the exterior of our home all decked out for Christmas!
I was actually able to capture a few photos when we had a little snow this past weekend! It's supposed to be 60 degrees on Christmas day here, so this is about as festive as it's going to get as far as the snow goes!

I decided I wanted to do something classic this year with our home, so wreaths on every window for the win! I absolutely LOVE this look and will be doing it every year!

Steve is the real MVP here. I have the vision, Steve executes! The wreaths are all hung from Command Hooks, the kind with a metal hook. We cleaned the window with alcohol before adhering the strips. The wreaths have a metal base, so they are easy to hook right onto the Command Hooks. We have had not one issue with them falling down. We have crazy winds here in Kansas and have also had a few rainfalls, and these wreaths are hanging tough!
The wreaths are cheapies from Hobby Lobby. I think they were $5 each since all of their Christmas stuff is always 50% off. Why not just price everything the cheaper price?? I will never understand it! Anyway, the red bows are really what make these wreaths pop, and they are also cheapies from HL. I think I paid less than $2 each for one. Now that I've made the small investment, I will have them every year.
I decided to leave the rockers out this year since we never really seem to get that much snow. I'm sure I just jinxed it, but that's okay, my kids want to sled this year!!! The black and white pillows are cheap covers from IKEA. They are not outdoor pillows, but they are washable. I rectify them not being "outdoor"  by stuffing outdoor pillows as the inserts so they never get moldy! It's my favorite hack. The gold garden stool is from Homegoods from a few years ago. The touch of gold is nice this time of year, or always in my book!
I have a thing for fresh garland this time of year. I buy this at either Costco or Home Depot. It's easy to string around the door and it is just so classic looking, I love it. I kept the wreath on the door the same as the windows, added a red tassel on the door handle, and some birch sticks to complete this simple look. We placed a strand of string lights around the garland to light it up at night. The string lights add more punch with the large bulbs than regular Christmas lights.
I also made some DIY outdoor containers using tree trimmings and some red/gold/silver sticks shoved in our black urns. I made two and they flank the garage doors. Can't do much better than free, right?! I made some of these last year too!
You just can't go wrong with a classic look for Christmas!

I hope you are all enjoying some downtime with your family and friends. Having a warm, cozy, and festive home filled with people I love is something I will never take for granted! xoxo

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Chalkboard 2016

Hi friends! It's been whirlwind couple of weeks, but all fun stuff, so I can't complain! It's become a lot colder the last few weeks and it really is starting to feel like winter is approaching. We even had a little dusting of snow. Our winter bucket list chalkboard is now up! Bucket lists are easy for this large wall because I only have to change it out every few months. It's fun and it cures my chalkboard cleaning laziness...
I love to get cozy this time of year, and let's be honest, I'm usually ready for bed around 9pm since it gets dark so early. A good time to hunker down and snuggle. It's on the list. :)
We will fill in the stars as we get to the activities on the list. The kids love this part! I've said it before, we never get to everything, but it's a fun blueprint. We reference this list often and it's a good reminder of all the things we have on our to-do wishlist.
Here is the view from our kitchen into the mudroom. This chalk wall connects the two, and I love how it's visible from both spaces. Also, I have a thing for fresh garland.
And here a view from the mudroom side.
I hope your bucket is being filled every day, especially this time of year! xo

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!
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