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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Just Checking In

Good Morning!

Just checking in and making sure everyone is getting warmed up.

Our kids finally went back to school this morning. It was weird to see only a handful of closings after hundreds the last couple days. I thought there might possibly be a delayed start today so I had to check the list one more time.

We enjoyed our days at home with no pressure and no expectations to be anywhere. I feel badly for those who didn't have the option to just stay home and keep warm.

But now it's time to get back to our normal routine. After the kids left for school I looked around my house and, well, lets's just say you can tell we've all been home for a few days.

Today my plan is to get out a bit. I need to head to Joanne's to get some supplies for a little craft project. Not sure where else I will poke around, but I think it will be good to get out of the house. 

I heard on one of our TV station's teases yesterday that all this cold may mean an early Spring. I know they are just taunting me. They do call it a tease for a reason I guess.

I hope that if you are still in the throws of cold, snow, or ice that things will get back to normal for you soon.

Stay safe and warm!
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Vacation, Snow Days, And A Little Design Inspiration

I'm BA-AK!!

What a wonderful trip we had! So much fun packed into one week. We ate at great restaurants, went to movies (Yes, plural....we saw Saving Mr. Banks and Gravity. Two thumbs up on both by the way), shopped, toured around the area a bit, laughed A LOT, and relaxed. And the quiet....OH the quiet. It was lovely.

And I was reminded again how blessed I am. It was a treat to be able to spend this week with "the original four" parents, my sister, and me. To be able to say that we all get along so well and truly enjoy being together is something I don't take for granted because I know not all families can say that. Sal and I were so excited about this trip and Mom and Dad were just as excited for us to come. We really had a wonderful time together.

Meanwhile....back at the dear Hubster was handling everything at home. Cooking, making school lunches, getting everyone off to school, going to work himself, accomplishing some major home DIY, handling an unexpected snow day, even checking on Mom and Dad's furnace due to the frigid temperatures.....all with such grace and ease. He amazes me. I couldn't have gone on this trip without knowing that he was at home handling EVERYTHING. And over across town my brother-in-law was doing the same for my sister.

Yep....we're pretty blessed.

So I fully intended to jump right back into blogging yesterday but the kids wound up having a two-hour delay for school. Once they were finally off to school, I HAD to go grocery shopping. The cupboards were getting bare. And it was pretty apparent that they would be off today because of the cold wind chills that were predicted. So I had to get out and get it done while they were at school. And before I knew it, they were home again. And today, as expected, they have yet another day off.

This will be a January to remember for sure....such cold temperatures, snow days, a vacation. I fear that February is going to be a rough month for a lot of people trying to get back on track after this crazy January we've had.

Before I go I want to share a little decorating inspiration with you. The place where my parents stay in Florida, The Villages, has several regional recreation centers. Each one is decorated beautifully in a very specific theme. We went and looked at several of them, but I want to show you some pictures of my two favorites. 

First, a beach themed center.....

I thought this Adirondack style sectional was pretty cool. And check out the planked walls.

Here's a closer look at the amazing driftwood mantel. I think this is what Ariel's mantel probably looks like, don't you?  :D

We all enjoyed relaxing on these Adirondack swings.

Sal and Mom

Another favorite was the center decorated in Shabby Chic style. Yes, it may be a little over the top, but I thought there was a lot to gain inspiration from.

Beautiful furnishings and mixes of patterns. I loved the basket on the coffee table.

I thought this table and vignette were pretty. I noticed a couple great uses for basic pillar candles that I might try some time.

I've seen large jars like this in HomeGoods and I always wondered what I would put in them. What a simple idea!

A pretty tablescape.

This beautiful chair kept catching my eye.

Another thing that caught my eye was this round coffee table.

So there you have it.....a little eye candy on this Winter day.

I hope you are safe and keeping warm wherever you are!

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Favorite Bloggers, Part 2

Good Morning!

Today's post is coming to you from "somewhat sunny, but warmer-than-Ohio"....Florida! We are having such a good time so far. In our travels Sal and I have already shared a couple giggling only two sisters can share. Mom and Dad have made us feel so welcome in their little home away from home. They are showing us a good time!

So today I'm bringing you another one of my favorite blogs....Our Fifth House.

Carmel's style is somewhat different than mine (I like to think of it as "Sassy Ralph Lauren"), but she always has such good ideas that are a jumping off point for me and help me be more bold and creative in my own home.

I first came across Carmel's blog while doing a Google search for chalkboard walls WAY before I ever did the chalkboard wall in our kitchen. Her post about her chalkboard calendar gave me the confidence to take a step and paint a whole wall in our kitchen black when I'm sure there we're those that thought I was crazy. Ha!


And then there was her Mudroom closet. My, oh my, how I adore that closet! It was a HUGE inspiration for mine.


Her use of beadboard wallpaper in the closet inspired me to use it in our kitchen even before the Mudroom closet project.

She even convinced me that converting a recessed light over our kitchen sink to a pendant light would be an easy project. And it was!


It just goes to show you that you can gain inspiration from a lot of sources and easily adapt them to your own needs and tastes.


So stop on over to Our Fifth House and check out the rest of Carmel's beautiful home. You may find yourself inspired to try something bold and new in your home or the confidence to try something you thought you couldn't do.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Four Things For Friday 1.17.14

Good Morning Everyone!

Here's a little Four Things For Friday!

1.) I've done quite a bit of purging this week. Yesterday I dropped off 6 trash bags full of giveaway stuff. Clothes, games, and stuffed animals mostly. Yeah me!! I organized the remaining games so the kids can reach them better (I used to keep them up high so they COULDN'T reach them!). Hopefully this will help with them getting put away too. Are you doing any organizing this month?

2.) We are so blessed to live in such a great school district. Yesterday I had an IEP meeting for one of the kids and the small conference room was packed. I truly believe this is because they all really do care about our kids. I know a lot of parents with special needs children have difficulties in getting the services and accomodations that their kids need. That has just not been the case for us. We always tell people that the Lord was really looking out for us when we weren't looking out for ourselves. When we went shopping for houses, we didn't even think about the school district (bad, I know). But the Lord allowed us to find the perfect house with great schools. I'll say it again....we are SO blessed!

3.) Yesterday the Lord answered a prayer that I had actually stopped praying about because I just assumed it wasn't meant to be. Sometimes my faith is just so little.

4.) I guess I've kind of alluded to it since Christmas, but tomorrow I am leaving for a week in sunny Florida. Hubster surprised me for Christmas with plane tickets for my sweet sister and me! So we are off tomorrow for a week-long [much-needed] vacation and our dear husbands will be holding down the fort at home. I'm not sure what that will mean as far as the blog goes because I didn't really have much time to plan ahead for posts while I'm gone. Maybe I will pop in.....or maybe it will be a true vacation....we'll see.

Have a great weekend everybody!
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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Please Forgive Me!

It's been brought to my attention that I've made a bit of a mistake.

Check out THIS POST and see if you can find it.

Go ahead....I'll wait!


YOU'RE BACK! Did you find it?

Yep, I left out a day! Can you believe it? (Actually, I'm surprised it hasn't happened sooner!)

We don't want to leave out the 26th! You never could turn out to be a very important day.

My son noticed the error the other day and got quite a case of the giggles over Mom messing up. I wish he would follow me around all the time and giggle EVERY time I make a mistake. That would make life a lot more bearable sometimes.

So here you go.....the new and improved....and correct....January chalkboard calendar!

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Changes In The Living Room For January

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

We've been busy this weekend working on a major project in my son's room....well, mostly Hubster, but I'm the support team. What that meant for me was totally emptying out our son's large closet, half of which was my stuff. OY! Our house is a disaster at the moment.

Today will be spent going through everything and purging....which is good. I just wasn't planning on doing it this week when I need to be preparing for being out of town all next week.

A little stressful, but it will all work out.

But I promised that I would post photos of the changes I made in our living room now that it has been "de-Christmafied."  (I just totally made that word up.)

I decided on aqua/turquoise for the accent color and as you'll see, I kept out some pine cones so hopefully it wouldn't look to Spring-y. I think it looks nice and fresh.

So let's start with the TV cabinet and work our way around the room, shall we?

I'm still on the lookout for some art for over this cabinet. Just haven't found the right thing yet.

For the mantel I just changed the ribbon on the boxwood wreath and switched out the pillar candles in the lanterns for a couple chunky candlesticks. I bought these candlesticks years ago. They were very country looking, but a couple years ago I spray painted them this aqua color and now they have a new life.

I used a few blue Ball jars around the living room too just like I did in the kitchen.  I love those blue anniversary jars. A little baker's twine adds some color too.

In this corner I added pops of color with some plates. I made a trip to HomeGoods the other day and found these turquoise plates that compliment my black and white Asiatic Pheasant plates. They are made by two different companies but that doesn't matter to me.

I know they look blue in the photo, but they are most definitely turquoise.

And on the sewing machine, more stacked plates and my little Ironstone creamer under glass.

I also grabbed this pillow from our bedroom to hang out in the living room for a while.

It's amazing how you can change the look and feel of a room just by changing the color of your accessories.

If you want to try a different look in a room, search around your house for some things that are similar colors and gather them all in one room to change things up a bit. Sometimes we just need a change. It's not hard to do and doesn't have to cost a lot of money either.

Today I'm linking up to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch....

And Fabulously Creative Friday with Jennifer Rizzo.

Have a great day!
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Friday, January 10, 2014

We Interupt Your Regularly Scheduled Friday.... bring you....

Nope, photos of the living room today. I did a little more tweaking yesterday and so I didn't take pictures yet. Next week, I promise.

I decided that today I would take a little break from my usual Four Things For Friday, to introduce you to one of my favorite bloggers. If you've ever looked over at my sidebar over there on the right, you'll see that I've listed some of my favorite blogs. Over the next few weeks, I'd like to tell you a little bit about some of them and how they inspire me.

Today, I'd like you to meet Kelly from Talk Of The HouseKelly is a wife, mom, and school teacher and she blogs about all things related to beautiful houses. My favorite posts are the ones about her own warm and inviting southern home. She shares her creative ideas about decorating her home for the seasons, setting a beautiful themed table, entertaining ideas, and home styling.

Kelly also writes about favorite home designers and is a wealth of information regarding Inns and great places to visit and vacation. She obviously does her research. She also does hand-lettering and her talent can be seen on the various chalkboards around her house and often on creative favors she makes for her themed tables.

This week, Kelly has been sharing about how she has decorated her house for the new year.

So how does Kelly's blog inspire me? Well, one look at her lovely home, and I don't know how you couldn't be. But here are specific ways that I have been inspired and influenced....

* I've moved towards keeping my general decor neutral and changing accents and colors seasonally.

* Hand-lettering on our chalkboard wall . Kelly's tutorial on chalkboard lettering is priceless.

* I styled the open cabinets in our kitchen.

* I continue to try and make our home a warm and special place for our family and for guests who visit.

* I'm also inspired by the fact that Kelly only chooses beautiful and quality things for her home.

I really hope that you will stop by Talk Of The House and take a look around. Tell Kelly that I sent you! I can almost guarantee that you will spend a bit of time there. (Make sure you also take a look at Kelly's adorable classroom. It will make you wish you had been in her class.)

Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Let's Get this Year Started....January Chalkboard Calendar

Well, today was the day. Our extended Christmas Break ended and the kiddos finally went back to school. The morning actually went better than I anticipated and nobody had to be drug out of bed. Ha!

Hubster thought it would be really funny to call our home phone from his cell phone around 6am just to see if we would all jump thinking there might be one more day off. He's such a jokester!

So we're already a week into 2014 and yesterday I finally got around to doing the January calendar for our chalkboard wall. I told you we were getting a slow start on this new year!

Yesterday afternoon I did some "re-working" in the living room. If I'm able to get some good photos today, I will share them tomorrow. If not, then hopefully next week.

Today I'm off to the grocery store. It's a good thing the weather is breaking....the refrigerator is kind of empty.

My daughter is on the jump rope team at school. This afternoon is their first performance. We've seen her practicing at home, but I can't wait to see the whole group in action.

I hope things are warming up a little bit where you live and that you're finally able to get your new year going too!

Have a great day!
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snow Days

See these backpacks?

They were all packed and ready to go back to school today. But alas, it just wasn't meant to be. At about 8 o'clock last night....right after I got finished making everyone's school lunch.... we got the call that our kids school would be closed again due to pipes that burst. And as it turns out, this morning our whole district was closed because of problems with several buses related to the cold temperatures.

I have to say that I'm actually kind of proud of myself. I am generally the mom who is VERY ready for the kids to return to school. And when I hear other moms talking about shedding tears over their kids going back to school, I just don't get it. No judgement.....we're all different. But I usually find myself on a bit of a guilt trip because of how I feel.

But we've survived this long break from school. My kids thrive on routine, but I guess we've kind of gotten used to this routine of very little routine. When it comes time to go back it will no doubt be difficult. May be that's why I was happy to get the "no school" call last night. Or it could be that I don't mind not getting up at 5:15am. 

So are some trivial facts about our extended Christmas break.

* We've done interesting cold weather science experiments. Like spraying Windex on the outside of our front door window (kids weren't impressed by the formation of crystals), blowing bubbles out our front door (they blew away before we could see if they froze), and the very popular throwing boiling water up in the air and watching it "snow." (This was actually very pun intended.)

* We put a sweatshirt on our dog. Hey, he looked cold.

(Sorry....blurry photo.)

* One of my children has worn pajamas about 16 out of the last 19 days. And I'm okay with that.

* We watched three deer go through our yard yesterday evening. Although we know they are around, we rarely see them so this was a surprise.

* The kids have watch Despicable Me 2 (received for Christmas) at least 5 times.

* I have been catching up on episodes of Parenthood online.

* We've eaten pretty much all of the Christmas candy we had. Except for a few candy canes that no one seems too interested in.

Isn't this Tom's jar my sister and her family gave me for Christmas cool? I kind of love it it. It WAS filled with all our Christmas candy at one point.

Wait a minute! Did I just say all the chocolate was gone???

That's it....everyone back to school!!!

I hope you're surviving too. Have a great day!

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Monday, January 6, 2014

A Slow Start

My plan to get back into the blogging groove has been thwarted once again! Like many of you, my kiddos have had their Christmas Break extednded two more days due to the "Artic Blast" that is blowing across the country. I know some of you are ready to send the kids back to school, but I was kind of happy when I got the automated phone call last night. We've had a good break. Trading the stress of school for the stress of running around to spend time with people we love has been good for us. The meltdowns have been fewer and peace has [mostly] been kept. And I have no problem with two less days to pack lunches, get up early, and help with homework. I'll take it!

That said, I feel like I am blogging by the seat of my pants again....which I don't like. The Christmas season was very planned and now I am just winging it.  But I thought today that I would at least give you a peak at how things are shaping up in the kitchen post-Christmas.

I had fully intended to keep a little red throughout the house through February. But then my sister and her family gave me some pretty Anthropologis mugs and a bowl for Christmas. I just started playing around with them in the kitchen and found that I loved the way they looked with the pine cuttings that were left from Christmas.

Unfortunately the days are numbered for the greens as they are starting to drop needles, but hopefully this cold weather won't last too long and I can go cut some more from the backyard. Incidentally, I placed the cuttings in cold water and only replaced them once right before Christmas. So each bunch has lasted a good two weeks or more.

 The long shelf in the kitchen was brightened up with the two Anthro mugs, another cup and saucer I had, and a couple blue Ball jars.

I apologize for this photo. So far I'm finding winter photography to be challenging. And have I ever told you how hard this shelf is to photograph. It is on the wall right above our dining table so angles are kind of limited. I always feel like no matter where I stand, the shelf always looks crooked. Also, I have no direct outdoor light in my kitchen, so lighting is a challenge too. But I wanted you to see it. You'll ignore that wonky shadow of my ceiling fan, right? On a positive note, if you look at the right side of the photo, that is probably the best representation of the paint color of the kitchen that I've been able to capture. 

Anyways, I like the way things are brightening up in the kitchen. I will probably move in that direction for the living room too. With the Christmas tree and decorations down, it just looks a little sad to me with the red still I didn't finish decorating or undecorating, or something.

Before I go, I wanted to share one last thing. I am loving this White Barn Winter candle (from Bath and Body Works) that I received for Christmas. Hubster and I agree that it has the scent of a fire in the fireplace, but I can also smell some spices and citrus. It is really lovely. And I love the beautiful label as well. I highly recommend it.

Have a great day!
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Friday, January 3, 2014

Four Things For Friday 1.3.14


Here is the first Four Things For Friday for 2014! (It is Friday, right? My days are still so mixed up.)

1.) Let me be one of the last  people to wish you a Happy New Year. Ha! 2014 is only a couple days old and I already feel so behind! Yesterday I began the process of taking down everything Christmas. And some time today I will begin undecorating the tree so Hubster can take it down tomorrow. After all the Fall and Christmas decor I'm a little stuck on what to do now. Not sure if I want to leave a little red out through February or move right back into some yellow and aqua. I received some pretty things for Christmas that I'd like to put out too. So we'll see.

2.) We had a wonderful New Year's Eve celebration with dear friends. This is the fourth year that we have traveled to West Virginia to be with them. We always have such fun playing games, and eating, and playing more games.....and eating some more. You get the idea. And sometimes we throw a movie in....just to be a little crazy. We ring in the New Year early with festive hats, accessories, and noisemakers....for the kids, 'ya know. It's actually getting to be for the adults too because we rarely make it to midnight any more.

We love spending time with Tina and Brian. Our kids absolutely ADORE them and it is so nice to spend time with friends who really get our kids. They are wonderful hosts and make us feel like we have had a true little getaway.

The last two years, we have dined on a New Year's Eve dinner of various appetizers. Tina makes a couple and I make a couple. She makes an awesome buffalo chicken dip that I love and eat way too much of.

And in the morning, we were treated to yummy pumpkin waffles. 

3.) We really have enjoyed the Christmas break. We've had a good balance of getting together with family and friends and chilling at home. It was so nice to have Hubster home all but two days that the kids have been off. It is going to be rough to get up at 5:15 again come Monday morning.

4.) I have to admit that it has been difficult to blog during the last two weeks. What with the kids home and all our comings and goings. Not to mention that we have been SLEEPING IN! I feel like I have to get my groove back. And hopefully next year I will do a better job of planning ahead to get over this little bump.

2013 had lots of home improvements to share. I'm not sure what 2014 will hold as far as that goes, but I hope you will join me on the adventure!
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