Author Archives: Melissa

Unique Gift Ideas from Society6

This post is sponsored by Society6 and contains affiliate links. All opinions are our own and we only share things we really love with you guys. 🙂

Who here is still doing their Christmas shopping?

Who is barely started on their shopping?

Just me?

Oh. Ok.

But, if you are still shopping, I have a fun idea to share with you today. It’s especially helpful for those people on your list that cna be hard to shop for because they don’t need anything and they like things that are unique. Not something you can grab near the checkout counter of the grocery store when you realize it’s December 23rd and “hey, doesn’t everyone need a mini desktop pool table set?”

Seriously, check out Society6, guys.

home stuff

Society6 is home to hundreds of thousands of artists from around the globe. It works by letting artists upload and sell their original works as 30+ premium consumer goods from shirts, to art prints, to pillows, even bags and notebooks, tapestries and wall clocks. Artists create, and Society6 produces and fulfills, and every purchase pays an artist who designed whatever item you’d chosen.

Plus, right now they have 30% off and free shipping…and it’s getting super close to the cutoff for Christmas shopping, so do it now!


I was looking for some gifts this weekend and was so surprised by how much they had to choose from.

I like that you can search by category, like men, for instance. Because we all know guys are harder to shop for, right?


But you can also search by whatever design you’re hoping to find. Like pineapples, for instance.

pineapple prints

Or you can search for a specific item, like a make up bag.

make up bag

Or search for a specific artist, like Young House Love, who I happen to love.

younghouselove stuff

Ok, but enough window shopping for myself, I guess. Oh wait, one more…in case you need bathroom inspiration. This bath mat is awesome. And because of the way Society6 works, if you like the design, but don’t need a bathmat, you can also get it on a bag, a print, a shower curtain, a clock, and more. Super cool, right?

bath mat

I found a gift for the person I was shopping for, success! What about you? Who are you still shopping for?

Plus, Society6 is even offering a fun giveaway for our readers! They will provide a $20 Society6 e-Gift Card code for one lucky winner, so you can get yourself a little gift, too! To enter, leave a comment with a gift idea you found on Society6 to help cross off a tricky person from your Christmas gift list! I want to see what you find! That’s it, simple as that!

*Giveaway runs through Wednesday at midnight, central time and winner will be notified by email.

Stocking Stuffers

Dressing Up the Nursery Dresser

Well, friends, the nursery is still not 100% done, but I want to go ahead and start sharing a few details of putting together this space before too much time goes by and I forget too many of the details. #BabyBrain #INeedSleep

So, one of the things we needed for the room was a dresser, and I originally wanted to source one locally, but after looking around for a week or so, I ended up finding one for a super great deal online so we went for it. We liked the detail on the legs/side. Plus, it was a good size for the room and stain worked well with the other wood tones we have in the room.


I found the exact dresser we bought on Overstock, but it’s out of stock now. However, I found a similar one on Amazon and linked it HERE for you.

Sidenote, we saved an extra $50 on the price of this dresser using Ebates. If you’re not using Ebates, you should be! It’s cashback from websites just for going to the Ebates website first to check for coupon codes! I always google coupon codes anyway…might as well look for them here! Here’s our referral link which will give you a $10 bonus reward too!

Even though we liked the dresser a lot, I wasn’t crazy about the hardware it came with.

nursery dresser hardware before

For one thing, placing your finger in those tiny rings in the middle of the night when you need new pajamas or something would be annoying. Also, they rubbed on the dresser front and I was a little concerned they would scratch if a certain curious toddler purposely banged them back and forth a million times because he liked the sound they made on the drawer fronts.

Plus, I was going for touches of copper in this room and the polished nickle just didn’t do it for me.

So, I set out looking for something a little fancier. It took awhile so we had little tape tabs on the drawers for awhile. Classy.

Nursery Dresser

I ended up coming across these awesome copper hexagon knobs from CB2.

(It’s like the cool, teenage cousin of Crate and Barrel I think? I’d never shopped there before this purchase.)

CB2 copper hexagon knob CB2 copper hexagon hardware

As you might know, we like bees and honeycomb imagery (like our shelves in the living room) so these were perfect. At $4.95 each, they were a bit of a splurge, but really, it wasn’t bad since we only needed six. It wasn’t like we were putting them in an entire kitchen or something. Plus, we had gotten such a great deal on the dresser that it was okay to spend a little extra on this upgrade and it made it look a lot more special. More like West Elm instead of Overstock or Amazon, if you know what I mean.

Not that there is anything wrong with Amazon or Overstock. We do a lot of shopping from both of those places!

Plus, these knobs are just so pretty!

nursery dresser geometric copper hardware

For some reason, the dresser looks a little more yellow in these photos than it does in real life.

Overall, the look is very warm and cozy. And while I don’t think they were inherently “girly” now that we’re adding little touches of pink and more femininity to Emma’s room since she’s here, and a girl (still so fun for me to realize we have another girl in the house now!), I think these are perfect for a little girl’s nursery.

nursery dresser copper hardware

So, that’s the story of how the nursery dresser is officially dressed up!

Have you ever upgraded the hardware on something inexpensive and it instantly looks more high end? It’s a great trick!

Charging On the Go – with Verizon

We were sent these items from Verizon for a short free trial in exchange for sharing our opinion on them. All opinions are our own. 

With the arrival of our little babe a couple of weeks ago, you can imagine there has been a lot of phone usage around here, from taking photos to calling grandparents on Skype. And, since our phones are a little on the older side by now (we’re not upgraders until the ones we have get broken or too worn down), our battery life can sometimes be a little less than what we’d like. So, when Verizon offered to send us a few cool charging options to test for a few weeks and then report back to you all on what we though, we figured it was worth a shot.

The morphie powerstation was the first thing we tried and it was awesome for keeping in my bag, especially at the hospital. Honestly, we’ve both been using it more and more so we may have to order one. I have another mobile charger thing like it but it doesn’t hold quite as much power as this one. This one can charge both of our phones completely…and still have some leftover.

morphie power station charger bag

While we were at the hospital, we didn’t plug my phone into an actual charging cable once I don’t think. We just used this which was really handy because it could always be within reach of my bed so I didn’t have to get up to plug my phone in.

I actually also use it in the car, too. Because the current car charger I have is sooooo slow. Like, I gain one percent like every 5 or 10 minutes. Ugh. This one is a quick charge, which is much, much more useful. I can listen to a podcast while driving and still get like 20% or more on a short drive around town.

morphie power station charger

We also tried the Samsung wireless charging stand. I was excited about this for a few reasons.

samsung wireless charger living room

First, my phone always needs a charge with all the photos I’m snapping of our little Emma girl, but, I often forget to put it on the charger until after I’ve sat down in the living room to rest…so then I either have to get back up to charge it (which I don’t always do, especially if I’m holding a baby) or wait to plug it in later (which means I always forget and my phone dies).

The charge cables we have are old and sort of broken down. They don’t stay in the charging port on my phone very well. Plus, we only have a few placed around the house, and there isn’t one near the couch, so if my phone is plugged in while I’m sitting there, I miss all my texts and calls. ( I realize that makes me sound lazy like I can’t get up to check my phone…but, again, I just had a baby and I’m sleep deprived, sooo…..

Plus, it’s nice to be able to just quickly grab or set my phone down with one hand and have it charge. Hello, “nursing-friendly” charging! Plus, it’s easy to tell if it’s charging. It flashes when it connects, and shows a blue light on the bottom while it’s charging.

samsung wireless charger phone

Wyatt’s phone was too old to be compatible with this wireless charger, but I was a huge fan of this. It was just so handy! I want wireless chargers for all over the house now because yes, I’m lazy and yes, my phone is always that low on battery.

Ok, maybe I could make do with just one upstairs and one downstairs. Or maybe two on each level. Ha!

samsung wireless charger living room 2

I’m not normally one to want a bunch of new tech gadgets, but now that it’s Christmas season and we’re getting all the “what do you want for Christmas?” questions, I’m excited to add these to our lists.

What about you? 

Hello, Fall and Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Because of the whole “being nine months pregnant thing,” I didn’t do much in the way of fall decorating around here, but I did pull out a few little fun things, like my mini gold pumpkin flower pots I made last year.

simple halloween mantle


And, because Will gets so excited about pumpkins, I hid a few others around the house for him to find.

fall pumpkins in wills room

simple fall decor

simple halloween fall decor

So, our home isn’t super decked out for Halloween, but it’s still a little festive. We’ve been busy with other things…. like welcoming home our daughter! Honestly, I’m proud to say I even got the decorations out at all! Sometimes, a little bit goes a long way.

simple halloween mantle and fireplace decor

There’s something about a few fresh flowers that makes even the simplest decorations look better, right?

simple halloween mantle diy gold pumpkin vases

I hope you’re having a wonderful time dressing up and celebrating with your friends and family!

Tonight, we’re having round three of festivities after taking Will to a couple activities this weekend. This year, we went with a Hungry Caterpillar theme because it’s one of Will’s favorite books, and it worked well for me to wear Emma and have her be the butterfly.

halloween family hungry caterpillar costumes

I made Will’s costume from strips of green fabric and a red stocking cap. Emma also needed a red hat decked out with some felt eyeballs and some butterfly wings, which were just painted angel wings from our dress up stash. Pretty simple DIY and pretty cute! 😉

What did you dress up as this year? Any Halloween or fall decorations happening at your house?

Avoiding the Nightmare Before Christmas…Cards – With Minted

This post is sponsored by Minted and contains affiliate links. All opinions are our own and we only share things we really love with you guys. 🙂

Today, I’m looking ahead to the holidays…specifically the holiday card situation…which, let’s face it. Can be a bit of a nightmare if you are like me and often wait until it’s too late…oops.

I’ve shared about my love for Minted holiday cards on the blog in years past and this year is no exception. One of the cool things about Minted is that they allow artists to submit designs, the community votes on what they like best, and then those designers earn commissions when anyone buys their designs or art prints. It’s a way for people like me, who don’t have a lot of other easy access to art, to have awesome, unique art in the home… and for things like cards or stationary. In this case, holiday cards.

minted home cards

Yes, I know it’s still October…but let’s face it, if I’m going to get cards mailed before Christmas, now is the time to start preparing. I’m almost always scrounging around for a good photo around the first of December…and then I get them ordered…delivered to me…and then barely addressed and mailed out before the 25th…oops.

I do love to send Christmas cards though, so it’s not a tradition I want to cut out. There’s just something about packaging up all those lovely envelopes with sweet greetings and photos inside that puts me in the mood for the holidays. Plus, I love getting Christmas cards from friends and family… so, what goes around comes around, right? You have to send some out to get some back. 🙂

So, if I’m not willing to give up the tradition, I need all the help I can get and we’ve had great luck with Minted cards in the past and will likely use them again and again. This year, with a new babe, I’m especially interested in their new service called “Text Us Your Photo.”

You just have to text them your favorite holiday photo, and a Minted stylist will text you back your photo styled in 5 holiday card designs – for FREE – and you can choose your favorite and finish ordering on the website. So cool. Something I can do with one hand while on my phone and nursing the babe at 2 AM? Sign me up please.

They also have a cool feature on their site called “Find It Fast” that saves time by allowing you to see your photo in every holiday card design at once. You just upload your photo and it automatically replaces the stock photos in the display with your photo. Pretty cool. Look–there we are in four different card options below. Fun stuff, I’m telling you.

find it fast minted feature
You can also use their “Buy Now Personalize Later” option to take advantage of a promotional offer and buy your holiday cards now but then come back to finish personalizing with photos, text, or addresses at any time. This is great for those of us who *cough cough* never get their photos organized this early in the year to be able to take advantage of the best sales.

And they do have some pretty great sales. Right now, they are offering 15% off + free shipping on holiday cards $175+; 10% off + free shipping on holiday cards $125+ but that promo ends today…and I’m guessing a similar promotion will begin soon. They’ll also have some sales around Thanksgiving I’m sure. So, just watch for whatever deal suits your budget the best.

Be sure to check out their top-voted holiday cards selection. I love this one with the “merry and bright” script.

Minted Card Merry and Bright

And this one is really fun too with a similar sort of feel but a more modern take on the design with the off-centered lettering and photo.

Minted Days Be Merry

They also have these super cool ornament cards…how fun for creating a keepsake in addition to a card?! I can see grandparents especially loving these! If you did them every year, it would be so fun to have a tree full of these to look back on! There are a bunch of great ornament card design options, too!

Minted ornament cards

And of course, the option to have cards printed with real metallic foil for some extra sparkle. I do love me some sparkle around the holidays. These are one of my favorite gold foil option, but there are a lot to choose from in that category, too.

Minted gold foil

You can see there are a bunch of awesome options to find the perfect holiday card format to suit your style from their original holiday cards to foil-pressed holiday cards to letterpress holiday cards. Plus, the designs can be customized with features like changing out colors, shapes, paper upgrades, backers and interiors.

Plus, they have some super cool extras…like FREE recipient addressing on all cards. Hello, time saver! And again, with a newborn and a toddler and busy lives already…well, I’ll take all the time savers I can get.

Another fun extra I love? Custom stamps to match your cards! I mean, I adore cute stamps anyway, but a stamp with my family’s faces on it would be too cool, right?

So, be sure to check out Minted’s holiday cards and let me know what you think!

Minted stamps

Ok, so now, tell me how many of you still do holiday cards? Have you done them yet? Let’s make a pact to get them ordered before Thanksgiving, okay? And you better hold me to it!

A Little Basement Book Nook

This post contains affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra but it helps us. Thank you for reading LovingHere!

It’s been a very hard few weeks with a sick kid and a husband working 14 hour days at work, while being very, very pregnant. But, I managed to be a little productive and finished a little book nook in the basement family room.

Better Homes and Gardens Cube Bookshelf Family Room Book Nook

You all know I love books and make it a goal to have pretty bookshelves in as many rooms as possible in our home. Also, look at my tiny boy in this old photo! Oh, goodness, the hormones are strong this week!

Toy storage in living room with built in bookshelves Will playing with cups

So, about a year ago, I started a book business, where in addition to being a freelance writer, blogger, and designer, I began my journey as an Usborne Books & More rep. My main reason for joining was because I love children’s books and wanted to buy them all for Will, but pretty soon, it became clear this was an actual business and I’ve stuck with it. In addition to the income, which has been wonderful, I have managed to build a pretty amazing library for our kiddos (pretty much all for free!), and I knew that having a special book nook space in the basement family room was a priority. Books can’t be read and enjoyed if they are piled away in boxes.

Awhile back, I posted a photo of my office (my old office now) and my growing collection of children’s books. Clearly, storage was becoming a problem.

Usborne Books in office

That was just the beginning of the collection of new books. The boxes of free books just kept coming withe every month I earned bonuses. Too many books is never a problem in my opinion, but we needed a better place to store them since Will’s room was also already full of books.

Will reaching for Usborne Books

So, we needed another bookshelf just for kids books.

Because we have our awesome Craft-Art countertops, I wanted some shelves that matched fairly well. I also didn’t want to have to spend a ton of time and money on them. Mainly because Wyatt hasn’t had any free time to build things for the basement or nursery this summer. So, while we’d love to have something custom eventually, we needed something that would work well in the meantime, even if we wanted to replace it later on. So, I was specifically interested in the white-washed-looking Better Homes and Gardens 8-Cube Organizer.

walmart bookcase

There was a rustic gray finish, too, that I considered. But I’m glad we got the weathered. It matches the whitewashed counters really well even though it isn’t solid wood.

Better Homes and Gardens Cube Bookshelf 2

I will say that I typically hate faux wood finishes and especially hate the cheap laminate “kit” furniture. While this is certainly not high-quality, it is a step up from the cheaper lines I have more experience with from our college days. You can see the corners are much less noticeably fake-looking.

Better Homes and Gardens Cube Bookshelf

And the thicker panels on the outside give it a better, more substantial look I think.

Better Homes and Gardens Cube Bookshelf Usborne Books

You’ll see a little glimpse of how these looked for awhile as I was still moving into them…

messy book nook

Here’s the before and after of the project. The bins are full of my business supplies, prizes, and other odds and ends books that don’t fit very well on the shelves.

basement family room book nook before and after

Now that this little book nook reading corner is finally finished, I can’t stop grinning when I glance over there. And while I’m sure they will get messy occasionally as Will finds his favorites and struggles to put them back on the shelves, I love this tidy, bright, and fun little corner.

Better Homes and Gardens Cube Bookshelf Family Room Book Nook

I originally wanted a tent or tee pee or something for cozy reading, and we may still add that eventually, but for now, I think I’m going to just get some cozy floor pillows and a fluffy rug.

Better Homes and Gardens Cube Bookshelf Basement Family Room Book Nook

Any suggestions for making a cozy little reading nook? What are some of your favorite book nook inspirations?

Want these shelves for yourself? Grab them here (on sale!):

Nursery Progress

I know I’ve been griping and complaining about how slow progress has been for the nursery, but the truth is that we ARE chipping away at it. It’s just a slow progress. Still, I should give a little update of where we are so far and what projects we’ve managed to complete. You know, considering we’re like a week away from my due date now. Ha!

1.Scraping and painting the ceiling.

This room still had popcorn ceilings which means they needed to be scraped and repainted. Not a fun process, but it’s so worth it to have it done, and in a small room, at least it doesn’t take too long. We knocked the scraping out on a Sunday afternoon while my parents played outside with Will and the painted was finished in the evenings that week.

Scraping Nursery Ceiling

For all our tips on removing popcorn ceiling, including what you need to know about possible asbestos risks, CLICK HERE.

We also had to patch the ceiling around the light fixture. If you remember way back in 2013 when we were replacing the light fixture in my office, Wyatt got a little messy when cutting the hole for the junction box in the ceiling and we used a medallion to cover the rough edges of the hole.

Adding A Junction Box 6

Painted Vintage Chandelier

But, we wanted to fix that this time, so we grabbed a drywall patch from Home Depot.

Here’s the one we picked up. It’s less than $5 and worth every penny because it’s much, much faster than patching with actual drywall: 8 in. x 8 in. Drywall Repair Self Adhesive Wall Patch

drywall patch

It’s adhesive and we were able to cut the exact size hole we needed to fit it over the junction box. Wyatt tried to use a marker to trace along the edges, but in the end, we used a different trick…lipstick.

Patching Nursery Ceiling Patch for Nursery Ceiling

Which let us get the perfect patch and a really smooth ceiling. At last!

2. Painting the walls and trim.

Next, we primed, painted, and repainted the room and the closet. We were painting over stripes, and a bright teal color…with white. So, it took like 100 coats. Ok, just kidding. It was only 3 and a half coats of paint…but, still. It took a long time.

nursery white paint

It did end up very clean and bright, though, which was the goal.

painting nursery

3. Adding a ceiling fan

Finally, we chose and added a ceiling fan for air circulation. Air circulation in a nursery is very important for reducing SIDS risk levels, and for us, it’s more practical than a fan on a table, so we knew we wanted a ceiling fan, even though they aren’t always the most trendy lighting choices. It’s the perfect battle of form versus function. And in the end, function wins out for us in our family-friendly home, just for the safety of not needing a fan within toddler-reach.

So, we try to find the prettiest fans we can…and I spend hours searching and end up feeling overwhelmed and confused every time I have to pick one out. This time, though, Wyatt wanted a more modern design for the light, which narrowed it down. We considered going with a black fan to play off the black and white theme, but in the end, went with white to help it just blend in to the ceiling.

Here’s the one we chose: Modern Matte White Ceiling Fan (It also comes in fun colors like green and blue and orange and red if you’re looking for a theme room or something fun like that!)

Modern White Nursery Ceiling Fan

I don’t love that it only has two bulbs, instead of three like the fan in Will’s room. But, I think with a lamp in the corner, it will be bright enough for us, even on the darkest of nights. Plus, this room gets a lot of afternoon sunlight, and the white walls make it feel brighter, too.

Also, for our tips on installing a ceiling fan, CLICK HERE.

Other updates to the room include adding the dresser, chair, and crib to the room, and a bunch of other random things we need to get hung up, put away, or sorted out. It’s been a very, very busy summer with Wyatt working extra long hours and me trying to work as much as possible with a toddler in the mix, but the room is slowly, slowly coming together.

Early White Nursery Progress

So, there’s a little nursery update for you. We’ll be back with more soon! In the meantime, are you team ceiling fan (function) or team pretty light fixtures (form)? I struggle so much with that balance!

A Sweet Sectional for our Basement Family Room

So, it’s no secret we’re behind on things around here. I already admitted we were not as far along with the nursery as I would like to be when I shared the mood board for that room in THIS POST. But, one thing that has been done for awhile and just not shared yet is the basement sectional. So, it’s time to introduce the newest member of the household:

Basement Family Room Aqua Sectional 2

Isn’t she pretty?

For anyone else in the market for a sectional, HERE’S THE LINK to grab this one for yourself. It’s even on clearance right now…which maybe means it will be discontinued or something in the future? I don’t know.

I searched and searched for a sectional for this space and it was a struggle to pick one after all that shopping overload. But, a few things made this one stand out:

  • Local – It was on display at Nebraska Furniture Mart, which is within the metro area so we could go look at it in person. I wasn’t totally against ordering something online but being able to sit on and touch this before we spent a ton of money on it was a big perk.
  • Color – Something unique and fun without being crazy
  • Shape – We needed a chaise on the left side, and I was surprised at how many I found online with the chaise on the wrong side. This one ended up being able to be very customizable so it could have gone on either side, but many I looked at online weren’t that way.
  • Size – We wanted something big, but not too big. This pushed our space a BIT tighter than we originally thought we wanted, but it works well in the space and will seat at least 6 people, assuming you don’t mind cozy-ing up a bit.
  • Mid Century Feel – We liked the sort of subtle Mid-Century feel of this one…without it being too dedicated to that era. It’s sort of transitional in that it will blend well with a few styles. Plus, it’s a bit “loungier” than most mid-century looks I liked, which made it feel more comfortable and family-friendly.

I’ll be honest and say we saved up and spent about $1300 on this, all options included, so it’s certainly a piece we expect to have a long time, and we are hopeful it will wear well. Of course, that’s very “middle of the line” when it comes to sectional costs, but it’s a lot for us to spend on any one item.



Basement Family Room Aqua Sectional

I was a bit worried about pulling the trigger to get the fun aqua color, but it feels fresh and bright, and honestly, I’ve liked teal/turquoise/aqua for many years without wavering, so I think it’s a pretty safe bet for us. I don’t think Wyatt ever feels “tired” of a look. He’s more of an “if it isn’t broken, don’t replace it,” kinda guy when it comes to design. Ha!

We did get the fabric protection on it as well so that should help a lot considering it’s a fairly light-colored fabric. We had that on our upstairs couches and they have looked pretty good for almost 7 years now. The cushion stuffing is getting a bit deflated, and we have been a lot more lax in letting Will have snacks on the couch lately…so it’s showing some age now-ha! #ToddlerLife

I think a dark couch would have looked a little too stark in such a light space since we have so much white in this room. And…really, is an aqua sofa going to get any more stained by grape juice than a light gray sofa? Not really. So, we went for it.


Basement Family Room Aqua Sectional 3

Surprisingly, I actually liked two of the three pillows that came with the sectional. I usually really dislike the sort of “stock” throw pillows that come with couches, but these white fuzzy ones were cute and soft. So, we’ll use them for awhile until I get tired of them.

We also want a coffee table. Preferably something round and family friendly. I may also get a rug for the front of the couch to make it extra cozy feeling. But Wyatt thinks rugs on carpet are a bit unnecessary unless you’re covering a stain or something. Maybe I’ll just have to spill something before he lets me get one?


Of course.

I would never.


Now just to get some other pieces in this space so it isn’t quite so stark! Maybe including a new, bigger TV? I told Wyatt I was considering that and I think I caught him off guard. I’m not really a big TV person, so adding another one to the house feels a bit redundant, but I just think a tiny TV will look so odd on that big wall…so, we’ll see where we end up.

What do you think? Big TV or big artwork on the wall? Both? It’s a big wall, there might be room!

Black and White Gender Neutral Nursery – Mood Board

This post contains affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on a link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra but it helps us. Thank you for reading LovingHere!

So…with baby due in less than 6 weeks (AHHH!!) I figure it’s time I finally finish and share the mood board I’ve been slowly, slowly putting together for months now.

We knew we wanted gender neutral again as we aren’t “finder-outers” and I have been really drawn to a lot of white lately, and black is just a fun accent for that, especially for babies who respond well to black and white contrast as their eyes are developing. So, my inspiration became a black and white modern nursery.


gender neutral modern black and white nursery mood board


1. Black and White prints  |  2. Plus Sign Pillow  |  3. Crib  |  4. Ikea Bins  |  5. Dresser    6. Book Ledges  |  7. Letter Block Ottoman  | 8. Stuffed Zebra |  9. Side Table  |  10. Glider

Some of you more longtime readers may notice this is the same exact crib we have in Will’s room. No, we’re not reusing his. We actually bought a second one. Basically, Will is still happy and does great in his crib (with the walls up) but it also converts to a toddler bed, so even if we wanted to transition him to that, he could keep using his crib another year probably if we wanted. It just made sense to buy another crib for us.

I looked for different but similar cribs, (because we really like this one–you can read all about the factors that went into choosing it HERE) and I just wasn’t finding anything I loved, so Wyatt finally asked me why I was worrying about it and to get the same one. Of course he would be so practical. When I looked it up and found it was actually in stock and even cheaper than when we bought it 2.5 years ago, I gave in and clicked the order button.

You may have also noticed it’s also the same glider we have in Will’s room. But, for that one, I didn’t have to buy a second one. You may remember that we actually had a rocker in Will’s room at first, and then switched to a glider to make it easier to get some serious movement for our seriously temperamental sleeper back in our rocking to sleep days…which means we still have the original rocker in the basement. The glider will be moved to the baby’s room, and Will will get his original rocker back since we rarely actually rock him now and mostly sit and read in that chair. It”s just as comfy and will still rock for some subtle bedtime motion, so I think it will be perfect for him as an older kiddo.

Nursery DIY Mid Century Side Table Done New modern gray nursery glider from target

We have started shopping for big items like the crib and have a few of these items already so we’re not at a total blank room this close to our deadline/duedate. But…we do have a decent amount of work to be done still.

I’ll be sharing more about our choices as we get this blank room furnished. For now, you can rest assured, we are officially starting with a clean, blank slate. It’s got white walls, white ceiling, white trim, white closet. Seriously, it’s a very white room right now. Ha! Nothing like a fresh start, right?

Plus, you may remember we recently painted our basement family room white, and are loving that so far in terms of the lightness it brings to a space that could otherwise fee, a bit dark, so I’m hopeful it will do the same for this space.

Here’s a fun look back and where this room has been so far in it’s lifetime, at least as long as we’ve known this house. It actually started out fairly simple…and then I crazied it up with so many mismatched posters and prints and stuff. (So. Many. Nail holes. to patch when we painted this time around.) Then, I grew up the space a bit for my office, and finally, it will now be a nice, white nursery.


office-ikea-draget-bookshelves-4 replanted-houseplants-in-office-ikea-hack-flower-pots-with-rolling-cart

I know it’s okay if the room isn’t totally ready when the baby arrives, but I’m glad it’s at least painted and prepped. And there is a crib in there. No mattress, but a crib.

Also, if you want to go back and see where we started with our inspiration for Will’s room CLICK HERE. It was fun for me to see how close to the actual room we ended up on that mood board. His room is one of my favorite rooms in our house so fingers crossed this room comes together just as well!

will's nursery collage colorful and bright gender neutral nursery design insiration

Any advice to calm my nerves about getting this room ready in time? Any suggestions on where to find some super cute black and white baby stuff? Drop us a comment below!

Garden Update

Well, it’s summer and that usually means a bunch of garden updates for you all, as that does take a decent amount of energy to maintain but I’m pregnant and sweaty this summer… and sore (hello, second baby, #amIright?) so I’ve been a bit less enthusiastic about working in the garden, but I have managed to do a few things. Will and I water out there a couple times a week and I try to pull some weeds and harvest while I’m at it.

Watering garden with Will

But it had gotten out of hand because we hadn’t had a chance to mulch it or clean the sprouts out of the fence yet…so we spent several hours weeding and mulching the garden last week and it was a huge job. Just look at those sprouts coming through the fence and the grass EVERYWHERE in the mulch. Sheesh!

Garden weeds before 4

It probably took both Wyatt and me working together a good two hours to get it all cleaned out.

Garden weeds before

Then we added like 15 bags of cedar mulch. It does cost a little more but we use that because it helps keep the bugs at bay naturally, and it doesn’t decompose as quickly, plus it smells nice and looks nice.

garden august 17 mulched

We had to do most of that during naptime and when we had grandparents here to entertain Will since it was such a big job, but he is great at helping with the weekly or daily stuff we do out there.

Mostly, he loves filling his little bucket and carrying it over to water various things. I don’t think he tries to get soaking wet during this process, but he doesn’t mind when it happens, that’s for sure.

Will Watering Garden

And he’s so cute and concentrates so hard on doing a good job that I don’t mind either. I do prefer it when I remember to put on his water shoes at least, but thankfully his tennis shoes dry fairly quickly too.

You can see our tomatoes have turned into a tomato hedge, maybe thanks to what a good job he’s done with the watering?

Will watering tomatoes

In all seriousness, those six plants are LOADED with tomatoes, but I don’t see how they’ll get enough sunlight to ever ripen. I’ve thinned them three times and may have to just give up. They are crazy. Seriously crazy.

In contrast, the peppers are losing their leaves and just not doing much of ANYTHING! (The peas are hanging on though, and actually doing really well with all the recent rain we’ve had.)

garden August 17 peppers and peas

I’m not sure what the problem with the peppers is but I’m hoping they get with the program soon or we won’t get any. We’re just now starting to get some blooms and little bitty baby peppers! Seriously, we’ve picked two peppers so far this year and that’s it. LAME.

garden august 17 peppers

The okra looks good though. I honestly don’t like okra that much but I think the blooms are gorgeous so I plant them for that.

garden august 17 eggplant okra

The eggplant is also doing well. Will loves when there are big purple eggplant on it. He gets so excited when he sees them. They are exciting to me too, so I get it. They are just so colorful and fun. I always say they look like jewels shining out there. We only have one plant this year and we usually have four. So, we shouldn’t be overrun with it like we sometimes are.

garden august 17 eggplant

The cherry tomato is getting so tall that it has fallen over and is now growing back towards the ground again. It outgrew it’s cage so I don’t know what else to do for it. The blooms are mostly at the top so I hate to trim it. For now, we’re going with it. At least this one doesn’t have as much greenery hiding all the little tomatoes and they are yummy!

cherry tomatoes

There are a few carrots (a very few of the seeds I planted came up) around the base doing okay. I think Will will love pulling those up in a week or two.

garden August 17 tomatoes and carrots

We actually planted a few more seeds today so maybe we’ll get a few more things before fall. All in all, it’s been a bit slow out there, which I know is because we planted everything like a month late. We did get two nice green bean pickings, which weren’t documented, but still totally count as a success.

This rain should give things a boost and we’ll hopefully have a good month. Assuming it doesn’t turn out to be 100 degrees this week before the new seeds have a chance to get started. Fingers crossed!

Seeds planted August 2017

All in all, I’m feeling so much better about the state of things out there. The rain may be good for plants, but it’s also hard to keep the weeds down so I’m very glad we got the mulch done before that. Will is pretty good at weeding too, but you have to watch him or he’ll pull out the actual plants with them!

I have to share how nice our cucumbers are doing though. They look so healthy for this time of year. Again, probably because they were planted late. Have any of you local peeps had my cucumber ranch buffalo dip? It’s AMAZING and I just want to eat it all day every day. Anyone want a recipe post about that or do you all not like cucumbers? Some people don’t, which I don’t get…

Maybe we’ll even make some pickles this year again!

garden august 17 cucumbers

We do still have to weed and clean our the “berry area” because we left it alone the last time. We need to get in there with some leather gloves and rip out all the crazy raspberry canes that have taken over. And yes, pull weeds. And maybe straighten the leaning  mesh house a bit?

garden august 17 berries

But even with that still needing to be done, it’s WAY better. As a reminder, here’s a before and after for you from similar angles.

Garden weeds before 3

See how much of a difference it makes to get the sprouts cleaned out of the fence? Plus, mosquitoes hang out in those sprouts and wait to attack me I think. So, now that they are gone, it’s just nicer out there all around.

garden august 17


garden august 17 update

You may have also noticed an update to one of the garden beds. The white is PVC and it is going to be awesome if we can ever get it done. More to come on that soon!

In the meantime, there’s a not-so-short garden update for you all, just to prove that we are doing SOME things around here, even though updates are a bit slow. I’m trying to get back caught up and have a list of posts to get written so I’ll be working on that, I promise! We have so many things started and just a lot of tiny little progress happening in each area.

What are you working on this summer? Anyone doing a basement reno? A nursery design? A master bedroom refresh? What about a garden?

Ikea Cabinet Review

We’re still playing catch up on updating you all on everything we have going on, but we wanted to go ahead and give a full review and breakdown of what we thought after using Ikea cabinets for our basement project. Honestly, I’ve wanted to try them for awhile because a lot of bloggers I follow rave about them in terms of value and “hackability” compared to other cabinet options for built-ins on a budget.

Style: We chose the Veddinge doors and the Sektion base cabinet frames basically because we wanted simple and cheap, but not toooooo cheap. It’s a basic solid white look, very clean lines because of the smooth door faces (no panels). It’s also easy to clean and won’t collect dust as bad as other styles would. I can use all the help I can get in that department.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets with Dark Stair Rail

I was a little worried they wouldn’t be as white-white as our white walls because I had read some reviews that said it had a more cream undertone, but honestly I would say that they are a true white, at least they look that way in our basement, despite the sort of yellowed tint in this photo. I need to work on my photography skills apparently.

Wyatt would say, “white is white” and even though I sort of disagree with that, in this case, it applies.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets White Room 2

Quality: There are some parts of these cabinets that seemed a bit cheap (the backs are super super super thin…..) but honestly, it doesn’t affect the function since they are against the wall permanently. And now that they are installed, they seem just as durable as our Kraftmaid cabinets. The only thing I would say is that the Kraftmaid cabinets in our kitchen have drawers on the top, which means they have a solid cabinet face behind the doors and drawers. These are just a frontless box, so to speak, so there is no front face of the cabinet top for the counters to sit on, which makes them feel a bit more flimsy. They do come with a metal bar brace to attach to the counters, though so they are supported fine, but you can see they look a bit different at first glance.

Ikea cabinet no tops

Building: The instructions for putting the cabinets together were fairly simple to follow, but it was Wyatt doing it, not me. So, if I was on my own, I likely would have had a bit harder time.

Ikea cabinet instructions

The sides were attached to the bottom with cam locks, which isn’t Wyatt’s favorite method, but they seemed secure enough and were going to be screwed to other cabinets in the long run of cabinets against the wall so we weren’t too worried about them falling apart. Plus, they won’t get a lot of wear and tear because they are along the wall with only the front sides exposed.

Basement Cabinet Building 2

The back is nailed on which makes them more sturdy too, though the back boards are very flimsy.  On the top, the sides are secured by 2 metal braces, which also helped the sturdiness.

Basement Cabinet Building

Wall Installation: For the installing the cabinets to the wall, we used the rail method. We leveled and screwed a metal rail to the wall, attached at each stud. The cabinets had brackets that screw into the sides that hang from the rail and lock in place with some washers and screws.

Basement Cabinet Building Hanging Progress

To support the fronts of the cabinets, we attached legs that span the joints where the two cabinets fit together and then adjusted the height so they were tight to the ground. The legs and screwing the cabinet sides together turn the bank of cabinets into one sturdy piece.

Will in Ikea cabinets with feet

The filler strip that filled the extra couple of inches were screwed into the sides of the cabinets closest to the walls before final hanging. This may have been the most difficult part, but watching some videos online and planning the cuts really makes this go smoother. It will depend on your situation, but will probably involve scribing the wall to ensure the piece fits perfectly even if the wall is not straight.

Door Installation: I loved these Utrustra door hinges. I assume they are used in every Ikea cabinet as the standard option. They aren’t perfect yet in terms of placement adjustment but I only spent like 20 minutes on it and was able to improve them considerably where there were some gaps originally. It was WAY easier to install these than the ones that came with our Kraftmaid kitchen cabinets. They basically just snap in place and I did it all by myself–no handy-husband-help needed. That proves how easy it was, friends.


Of course, I did put the smaller doors on the bigger cabinet at first…oops. Forgot we had one that was smaller. But it was no big deal at all to remove them and move them to the right cabinet. Easy-peasy to install these doors, I’m telling you.

wrong cabinet doors on Ikea cabinets

Toe Kick: We were a bit disappointed and unimpressed with the toe-kick because we needed one long run of it and the connectors that come with these kind of left a gap that was visible. We needed three sections of toe kick, but Wyatt came up with a little hack that made these seems look a little better. He’ll share about that in a post of it’s soon in case you have the same issues and want to do what we did.

IKEA Cabinet Toe Kick Hack End Caps Far

Cost: All together, we spent about $1200 on these cabinets. Ikea cabinets are actually not that cheap. In fact, not everything from Ikea is cheap. They seem to have two basic lines: the basic college dorm quality stuff that is super cheap, and the nicer—you can put this in your forever home without it looking too cheap stuff.

It certainly wasn’t a cheap project, but it was fairly affordable. I do think that it was cheaper at Ikea than it would have been to do something similar with cabinets from Lowe’s or Home Depot, just compared it to what our kitchen cost. The quality is a bit less, as I stated above, but I think for this particular project, it was perfect.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets with Inspiration Pillow 2

I’m very glad to have the storage and I think it adds a lot of value to the space down there. Plus, I have really enjoyed using them so far. Will even enjoys getting toys out and helping to put them back in, which is fun. And I’ve been able to not only put away some of the bigger toys that visually clutter the living space, but also a bunch of things (like my entire craft supply collection!) out of the storage room and into these. We also now have a home for all the outdoor doors like bubbles and lawn mowers.

Now just to finish organizing and moving into them.

Inside the cabinets

We haven’t decided on what kind of hardware we want to use, if any, so they may stay “naked” for awhile. I actually like the way they look but for functionality, I think we’ll need something so we don’t have to bend over and open them from the bottom every time we want to get something out of them.

Have you ever used Ikea cabinets? What do you like or dislike about them?

A Chocolate Chip Cookie Themed Party – Will’s Sweet 2nd Birthday

For Will’s birthday, I always try to fill the celebration with his favorite things. This year, that would be all things “Cooo-kee!” Or specifically, chocolate chip cookies. So, we went for a cookie themed party birthday for his 2nd birthday celebration.

I printed some cookie images and made some fun little banners, and we even had a little cookie shoot and used those photos to decorate a bit more.

cookie birthday party welcome sign

I mean, this happy cookie-eating kid is sweet enough to make any party sweeter.

Will 2nd birthday cookie face (4)

I also got balloons because Will loves those and it’s a pretty cheap way to make even a small party feel pretty festive.

2nd birthday balloons

We held the party downstairs, so there are some little sneak peeks of that space I guess!

We only had our close family here so the party was small, but it was good to have things at least a little festive. When he got up from his nap and was so excited and surprised by the decorations and everyone else that was here.

Will 2nd birthday cookie themed birthday

I actually reused some of our decorations from his first birthday party last year (the streamers and tissue paper tassles) and just added some cookies and a new gold and white banner to make it a cookie themed birthday instead.

I grabbed the “HOORAY” balloon banner from the dollar section of Target for $5 and Will loved it so I’d say it was worth the money. It’s actually still inflated and looking pretty good two weeks later, too.

hooray edited

One of his presents was a wagon, and he had fun pulling Big Gee and Little Gee around with his balloons.

will pulling birthday wagon

And of course, we had a cookie cake for his birthday cake, along with some other cookie treats.

cookie themed party cookie birthday double layer cookie cake

Sidenote, who remembers Cookie Crisp cereal being better when we were kids. Honestly, I used to really like it but I was less than impressed as an adult. I wonder if it was always like this and I just have higher standards now or if it really used to be better?

Anyway, on the subject of cookies, our cake did NOT disappoint.

We used this cookie bar recipe and divided it in half, making 2 layers for our “cake” and cutting the rest in regular cookie bars. Then we whipped up my favorite chocolate frosting for inbetween the layers and it was delicious.

cookie birthday double layer cookie cake

Will loved having everyone sing to him. Goodness, this boy’s joy made the day so sweet!

cake edited

He also loves candles and fire. “Hot” was his first word, after all.

will smile in background with cookie cake

And he loved blowing out his candles for the first time. He did the first one all by himself but Wyatt was pretty close by and helped with the second because he started trying to grab it with his hands.

will blowing out birthday candles

And of course, eating the cake, too.

will eating birthday cookie cake

FYI, when I google cookie themed party, I came up with a ton of Cookie Monster themed parties, which is cute, but not really what we were going for since Will doesn’t really watch Sesame Street. And we didn’t really go all out with decorations or anything since we only had a small group here for the party, but it was still a super sweet day for our super sweet boy.

Will birthday smile with balloons

P.S. Thanks for sticking with us in these very laid back blogger days we’ve been in lately. I promise we still have things to share with you all, and we’re working on catching up with writing posts. Things are just moving so fast lately it seems like. I still can’t really believe we have a two-year-old and another soon-to-be-born babe. Life is certainly sweet!

family cropped

Summer Home Goals Update

It’s time to fess up and share a sort of non-update in the form of a yearly home goals update. It’s summer, and that means it’s time for the halfway point panic, right?

Well, read on for what we’ve done so far, what we still have to do, and how I’m learning to cope with the realization we can’t always do everything we want.

1.Finish the basement family room.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets with Inspiration Pillow 3

This isn’t finished yet, but it’s well underway and I’m confident we’ll finish it. The only big projects that are left are finishing the baseboard trim, and updating the lighting fixtures.

Here’s a little list of what is currently still needed down there:

  • Baseboard trim (painting and installing)
  • Touch up paint on gray stair wall
  • Replace light switches and vent covers –there are only 2 more to do–this is almost done!
  • Paint can light trim silver
  • Replace handrail for stairs
  • Paint closet under the stairs
  • Furnish and decorate

But to be fair, here’s everything we HAVE completed:

  • Whitewash brick fireplace
  • Replace the leaky door
  • Add extra vent to utility room
  • Repair, scrape and repaint the ceiling (we hired this out, but it still counts)
  • Replace old outlets with white, tamper resistant outlets
  • Install built in cabinets along north wall
  • Replace all doors
  • Paint door and window trim
  • Install wood counters
  • Get a sectional for the main living space

2. Do at least one concrete project.

I have so many thoughts on this…no time to do any of them.

concrete projects

3. Finish organizing the garage.

Um, this may be a winter project. Ha!

4. Revamp the laundry room. 

laundry room

No progress, other than a deep clean last month. This will be after the basement and the nursery. I hope. Fingers crossed. We’re moving so slowly lately.

5. Rebuild all or some of the garden beds. 

One is mostly done…the others are in progress…we’re getting into the heat of the summer so it’s hard to be motivated to work outside. Will likes helping with the watering, but it’s awfully hot for us all to be out there working.

Garden Bed Will Watering July 2017

6. Maintain no more than 10 magazines in our “to be read” stash. 

We’re really making progress on this. I think there are currently around 10 to-be-read magazines in our house, a few in the living room and a few in our bedroom. The poor wooden box I stash them in is breathing a sigh of relief.

7. Finish 24 books. 

Great progress on this so far. Currently at 17/24. Here’s what I’ve read so far:

  • The Joy of Less – Francine Jay
  • Baby Laughs – Jenny McCarthy
  • Bricking It – Nick Spaulding
  • The Cat Who Came to Breakfast – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Wild and Free – Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly
  • The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst
  • The Cat Who Said Cheese – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Went Into the Closet – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Loving My Actual Life – Alexandra Kuykendall
  • The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Talking As Fast as I Can – Lauren Graham
  • The Cat Who Blew the Whistle – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Moved a Mountain – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Could Read Backwards – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Wasn’t There – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Chasing the Last Laugh: Mark Twain’s Raucous and Redemptive Round-the-World Comedy Tour – Richard Zacks
  • The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern – Lilian Jackson Braun

Three more are currently in progress and I have a few others I’m excited to start soon.

  • Comfort Detox – Erin Straza
  • Autobiography of Mark Twain, The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1 –  Mark Twain, Harriet E. Smith, Benjamin Griffin, Victor Fischer, Michael Barry Frank
  • The Cat Who Turned On and Off – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
  • Wait and See – Wendy Pope
  • Monsieur Pamplemousse Hits the Headlines – Michael Bond

And if that isn’t enough, I’m very excited to start reading The Wizard of Oz soon, too. (Yes, I have a TON of books in progress at once. No it isn’t confusing. I like to read or listen to different books depending on what I’m doing.)

8. Finish decorating our master bedroom.

The new bed is fixed (need to share about that) and I do have new curtains in there, but they aren’t really amazing or anything. Where I’m really stuck is with the new nightstands. I CANNOT decide what I want and anything I like is over $200 for one…and when you need two of them…well, that isn’t happening. I’m seriously more stuck than I have ever felt before.



9. Replace or paint the front door. 

Still no progress here. Honestly, it gets pushed to the bottom on the list for the summer because the angle of the sun isn’t as direct on the door and we don’t notice the problems with it as much as we do in the fall, winter, and spring.

Door Peephole Frame

10. Replace the garage door. 

Still in need of replacement. Still planning to do this the same time we do the front door…and yes, it’s getting worse.

11. Get my office organized. 

This is sort of on hold since we’re moving the office to the basement to make room for our second nursery. I need to figure out the plan for down there, probably buy some new organizing pieces (maybe a new filing system) and some more book storage, and then get to work I guess.

Usborne Books in office

12. Take a family vacation. 

We went to Branson with Will and that was good, except for getting sick and stuff…but all in all, I really want to go again this summer/early fall, before Baby arrives on the scene and throws off our traveling mojo for awhile. Or maybe this baby won’t hate the carseat so much and we’ll be able to travel more. Fingers crossed!

SDC rides with Will

13. Take a couple vacation. 

We took a short trip to Tulsa, and an even shorter overnight trip in July, so we’re doing pretty well on this…not sure we’ll have time for a big trip before baby comes…Wyatt is really busy with a work project that means he can’t take off much right now.

Wyatt and I at Card game July 2017

14. Conquer the toy clutter

The basement built-ins aren’t fully organized yet, but I’m starting to work on them and I am already loving the toy storage they offer. Just look at this outdoor toy cabinet—there’s even room for lawn mower parking in there!

Outdoor toys in basement built in cabinets

I so appreciate not having to have everything sitting out all the time and I think it helps Will stay more focused too, when he only has a couple things to choose from at a time.

15. Finish and order more photo books. 

Um…yep…still behind here too. Boo. We have the photos, just need to get the book layout finished and ordered.

shutterfly baby book

We’re still so far behind on these goals based on my hopes for the year, but the timing has been so hard with Wyatt working late a lot and me being sick and lazy. I’m still hopeful, but we may have to either prioritize and skip a few things or kick up the progress quite a bit to finish out the year. And either one of those options will be okay. If there’s one thing I’m learning this year, it’s that it’s okay to have grace with ourselves and our home. It’s a hard lesson, because I’m a planner and a do-er…not a sit-and-relaxer…but when you’re pregnant and sick and busy with the “have-to-get-done-work tasks” that life sometimes gives you, things just have to slow down a bit.

And that’s okay. It’s a busy season, and an even crazier season is headed out way when Baby 2 arrives in October…so learning grace and patience now is probably just practice for more hard lessons to come.

But, this post did motivate me to do something. Anything. To tackle one item on the list, so I’m off to finish some work tasks, start another load of laundry, pick Will up from school, return our library books, and then trade off parenting duties with Wyatt so I can do to a staff meeting at church…and then, maybe after that I’ll get to tackle something from this list.


What are you working on these days?


Debuting our Craft-Art Wood Countertops

**This post is sponsored by Craft-Art and we received products in exchange for sharing our opinions with you, but rest assured all opinions are our own!**

Ok, friends and family, I know we’ve been a bit MIA lately, and life has been crazy.

Like–Wyatt has been at work until 6:30 or even until 7:45 a few nights and then comes home and sits at the kitchen table with his laptop as soon as Will is in bed–crazy. And then we were all sick for like a month. But, we’re still here, and slowly, slowly catching up on documenting what’s been going on in the basement. Enough excuses, though, right? What I really want to say is….


CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets with Inspiration Pillow 2

Aren’t they lovely?

These are the basement built-ins of my dreams, you guys! Just look at that gorgeous whitewashed walnut—um. Every time I’m in the basement, I just have to pet them.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters

I haven’t started moving into these at all yet. I haven’t even put in the shelves. but I can tell you that I’ve started daydreaming about toy bins and craft cubbies and other stashed away goodness. Just look at all the storage!

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets Open 2

While I’m brainstorming those things, tell me your favorite ways to organize toys. I know I’m interested in making little modules where we can pull out certain things for certain weeks, then put them away and play with new things for awhile. Sort of a rotational system. Anyone do anything like that?

But, back to the new wood countertops, right?

CraftArt Driftwood Counters 2

When Craft-Art reached out to us to see if we would want to partner on a project, I jumped at the chance to add these to our already planned basement built-ins.  We went with the “driftwood” finished wood countertops, rather than opting for their DIY option, which lets you put the finish coats (stain, etc.) on yourself. Kelsey was our main contact with Craft-Art and she was awesomely helpful through the whole process.

Their DIY wood countertops line is awesome for achieving a lower price point direct to a homeowner who is willing to use some elbow grease, which we would normally be all about, but since this was our first time working with wood counters and we knew we were going to be overwhelmed with other time commitments, we went for the pre-finished option this time. I really want to try the DIY for another area…probably the laundry room counter top I want to add later this year!

Custom finishes like driftwood are not available in our DIY line, but popular species like walnut and maple are available in stock sizes to which the customer can add stains, cutouts, and edge profiles to their heart’s content. Here is a link to the page where they talk all about the DIY lineup they offer. And here’s a link to their photo gallery. Go drool over those projects for awhile!

Here is a screenshot from their website that shows the DIY options and even some support videos they’ve put together.

Craft Art DIY Page

And here are some of the finished options. Just a note that custom wood countertops like ours, (cut to size, finished, etc) are only available to homeowners through certified installers, which you can find on their website. However, I checked and there are more than 5 within driving distance to our house, so I don’t think you’d have an issue finding a dealer.

Craft Art Finishes

We really wanted the end grain walnut product they have (it’s GORGEOUS!) , but again, I was so impressed that they really worked with us to understand our project and they recommended we not go that route because we needed such a long stretch that was sandwiched between two walls so it wouldn’t have enough room to expand and contract without damaging. Wyatt was totally understanding and not at all surprised they said that. I got it, but was disappointed which being very grateful for their wisdom, and in the end, I’m so thrilled with the driftwood whitewashed look we went with. It’s perfect for the light, bright space.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters 3

I was a little nervous it would be “boring” since it is whitewashed and when not done properly, that can make wood grain look a little blurry and blah…but um…this is not boring. It’s beautiful! Honestly, it’s even better in person, but I so appreciate all the unique features you get with wood, like knots and color variation.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Detail

I think the thing I like most is how warm they feel in the room, without overwhelming the space in a dark, heavy way. Because we have white walls, and white trim, and white cabinets, and even the whitewashed brick on the fireplace, the room could easily feel stark or cold. But the wood countertops really adds an element of coziness and texture that would otherwise be missing. Without going too far in the other direction like the too warm/too orange tone on the wooden column in the middle of the room…which we still need to deal with.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets with Orange Tone Column

I have to drop a few more photos here for you all because I just can’t stop.

CraftArt Driftwood Counters Ikea White Cabinets 2 CraftArt Driftwood Counters with Inspiration Pillow CraftArt Driftwood Counters White Room

Of course, this room is FAR from finished when you consider it’s basically a white box with lovely cabinets on one side right now. The cabinets aren’t even completely finished. We still need hardware, door bumpers, and even a few adjustments to make the doors are level. You can see in the above photos a few of them aren’t quite lined up. But I’ve been so delayed in sharing the wood countertops that I couldn’t wait any longer.

For a refresher on where we’re headed with this room (and to see the mood board, CLICK HERE.)

Now, tell me which wood countertop finishes are your favorite and what room you’d love to install them in your home! I can think of at least 3 other rooms I’d love to design around some amazing wooden countertops. 

**This post is sponsored by Craft-Art and we received products in exchange for sharing our opinions with you, but rest assured all opinions are our own!**

Weekend Rewind: Family Mini-cation Edition

It’s been a long time since we’ve shared a weekend rewind with you all, but since I had several photos from this weekend, and some things to document and remember (the ride down was pretty eventful), I figured I’d go ahead and share everything here with you all, too.

We have been planning a little mini vacation to Branson for the past month of so, mostly because I thought Will was old enough to have a really fun time riding rides and exploring with us. And because Wyatt has been working late a lot lately and we just needed a little break.

Then, Wyatt ended up with a bad cold last week and ended up having to stay home from work on Wednesday and Thursday, and he was pretty much in bed all day. I had pretty much given up on going that weekend but Wyatt woke up Friday morning and said he felt well enough to go, so we got packed up and headed out a little after noon, in hopes that Will would nap in the car on the way down for a couple hours. It’s about a four hour trip and he’s not a good rider so any sleeping time is good time.

But, he ended up only napping for less than an hour. Oh-uh. Cue the fussiness.

So, we rigged up my phone with some downloaded favorites on Netflix and hoped for the best for the rest of the trip. He did okay for a little while, but got really grumpy by the time we got to Springfield. Meanwhile, the sky was darkening as a storm moved in and we ended up going through Springfield at rush hour during a tornado warning. All. The. Stoplights.

Fun times. Oh, and then Will suddenly started puking in his carseat as the rain and winds picked up. I can’t make this stuff up.

springfield storm

We were almost to another stoplight and managed to pull off the highway and under the awning of a nearby funeral home…where a funeral was getting ready to take place. So, we were wiping puke and changing clothes and all that fun stuff as the rain poured down and the nice funeral worker asked us if we were in the direct family and offered us trash bags and bottled water. We accepted the trash bags, but got out of there as fast as possible and were immediately faced with an unmarked detour after a wreck had closed the highway.

At this point, I’m wondering if we should give up and go home. But we were already closer to Branson than we were to home so we decided to try and keep going. We managed to make it to the condo after taking it very easy on hilly and curvy roads to avoid any more carsick-induced episodes from Will—at least we were hoping it was carsick, since he hadn’t shown other signs of the flu or anything. But you better believe we were watching him closely for any signs of sickness.

We got everything unloaded and Will was acting like he was starved so we gave him a few trial Cheerios and after he did okay with those, decided to go ahead and get some dinner. The rest of the night was fairly uneventful but we all went to bed pretty early, after a super fun shower of course. This kid loves showers.

Will after shower in condo

We had a great time the next day at Silver Dollar City, riding rides in the morning despite wet weather and a fear of more motion sickness, but we took it pretty easy. Luckily, Will was almost as happy to watch others ride the rides as he was to ride himself, which was good because he was too little for most of them. He had fun and was full of smiles that morning though.

SDC rides with Will

Around noon, he got tired and we found some lunch and headed out shortly after so he could nap. He didn’t sleep long, but was rested enough for us to head back to SDC that afternoon for a little more fun. He really loved watching people come down the log ride and we stood and watched the big splashes for awhile while he grinned.

Will at SDC

We even got to have some frozen drinks. Let’s just say Will was a big fan.

Will frozen drink at SDC

We had a pretty successful dinner out (no public toddler meltdowns!) and again, went to bed early since we were all exhausted from a day of walking around outside. It wasn’t exactly what I imagined for the weekend, but we still had fun and I’m glad we decided to stick it out.

family photo at SDC (2)

Will did start coughing that night, a sign he had picked up at least a little bit of Wyatt’s cold and we packed up and headed home the next morning after attempting to get breakfast at our favorite diner but ended up at Hardees since it was closed on Sunday. Ah well.

We had decided to stop a few times on the way home to let Will get out in hopes of avoiding any more car puking incidents and we found an awesome park in Springfield where we fed the fish the rest of Will’s Cheerios and found a fun walking trail to explore. He didn’t nap well on the way home either, not a big surprise since he’s just not a good car sleeper, but we made it home that afternoon without a lot of stress.

All in all, we had a good weekend, despite a rough start and being pretty exhausted the whole time. Now we’re home and had hopes of things settling down, but Will and I ended up catching the cold Wyatt had last week, and he’s still recovering too it seems. Here’s hoping for a restful week and that we’ll be all ready for a fun, productive holiday weekend in a couple days!

The Plan for our Family-Friendly Basement

Well friends, we have been WAY TOO LAX in posting updates for you all. Between late work nights for both of us, a huge garage sale, a mini camping trip, and more, we’ve just been behind on blogging. But we have made some progress on a few things, so I’m hopeful we’ll have a few blog posts to share this week and next week.

All that apology/excuses stuff behind me, I’m excited to share something I have been working on, slowly, behind the scenes. The mood board for our basement family room!

basement mood board

1. Walnut Counters    |   2. Ikea Cabinets    |   3. Wooden Craft Easel $20   |   4. Play Tent $250   |   5. Colorful Pillows $12   |   6. Zebra Rocker $149   |  7. Similar Mid-Century Sectional $1700  |  8. Similar 8 x 10 Shag Rug $342   |   9. Planter Stand $150   |   10. Baskets $39

One of the main goals for this space is that it will be truly “family friendly.” Not just “kid friendly” but a place where adults can hang out and feel comfortable and not overwhelmed with toys, too. Which is why we have an entire wall of built in toy storage…to contain the clutter!

While working through the plan for this room, I kept asking myself how we’ll be using this space and the answer always comes back to “family room.” The truth is that we aren’t ever going to be formal living room and separate family type people. But, our current living room is small and there isn’t a lot of great storage opportunities for toys so they end up spilling out all over the room, even when picked up and tidy. Plus, it would be great to have a “clean area” upstairs so if guests do come over unexpectedly, they aren’t tripping on the 25 balls (literally) that Will dumps out onto the floor every. single. day.

But, I was determined this wasn’t just going to be an empty “playroom” because it felt like a waste for us in this phase of life. Yes…kids get older and eventually need less and less supervision, but we’re a long way from being able to just put a basement full of kids in our basement and ignore them for an hour or two while they play safely and happily on their own. Plus, I need to fit in a working/relaxing/crafting space for me in this big room, too. So, I wanted a space that adults could be comfortable in, too.

But, we are taking a lot of “kid-proof” precautions as well, in thinking through furniture choices and other finishes. Rounded edges where possible, comfy soft rugs for sitting on the floor, tamper-resistant outlets, and the TV will be mounted to the wall above the cabinets where it will be safe, or safer, from any toys being knocked into it, and out of reach for fingerprints…which is a current issue we have in the living room.


We have plans for a little baby safe cushion for the hearth down there as well, but it might not happen until the next baby starts crawling.

One note I will throw out there…even though I’m a big fan of the way the white walls look in this space, I’m already a bit worried about how “kid-proof” they are since we’ve already scuffed them in a few places just during the construction phase. Of course, there is the opposite side of that where we might find that it will be easy to just touch it up or wipe with a magic eraser…so we’ll see.

Basement Paint White Mantle 2

So, there’s the plan for the basement. Finally. Now I just need a little free time, and a healthy husband so we can get it completed!

What are your thoughts on family-friendly design? What’s a must-do or a don’t do? 

The Current State of the Garden (Spoiler–it’s sad)

Well guys, this time last year we were working on the garden. (HERE’S THE POST on that if you want a refresher.) It was completely planted by May 4, and I can tell you that isn’t going to happen this year sadly…mainly because the garden beds need some work.

Damaged Raised Garden Beds April 17

We lined them with plastic to avoid any stain or chemicals leeching into the soil, and to help slow down the rot on the sides of the beds, but that needs some touch-up, too.

Damaged Raised Garden Beds April 17 tape

Even the beds we made a year later with pallet wood aren’t looking so hot. (HERE’S THE POST on those)

Damaged Raised Pallet Garden Beds April 17


Yep, our HOLLOW CORE RECYCLED DOOR BEDS lasted pretty well for four years, but this year, we can tell it’s time to replace or repair. Last weekend we went to Home Depot to price our options (cedar is expensive!) and came up with a plan that should allow us to repair these for under $300 total. It still sounds like a lot, but they should hold up pretty well for awhile again…at least that’s the goal.

So, we’re hoping to find time to work on that project in the next few weeks, although with the basement project in full swing (slow swing, but still full) and a garage sale coming up, along other spring things and Wyatt being super busy at work, I’m not sure when this will get done. Hopefully soon!

In the meantime, we also have the frustrating dilemma that our asparagus and our strawberries didn’t come back at all this year. Boo!

Garden April 17 Asparagus

The only signs of life in the garden right now are a few blooms on the blueberries….not many at all!

Garden April 17 Blueberries

And some lettuce that appears to have survived the winter.

Garden April 17 lettuce

The bird barrier house we build to keep the birds from eating our berries also looks like it needs a little TLC.

Garden Bird Barrier House April 17

The good news is that Will loves “helping” in the garden and the yard, so we should be able to work on these projects other than just at naptime…which is when we have to do most of our other projects since he thinks tools are toys.

Will in Garden April 17 (2)

In the meantime, any suggestions on garden bed materials that are non-toxic and non-expensive? It seems those two things don’t coexist!


Wednesday Wish List: Throw Pillow Therapy

Hey friends, I’ve been doing a lot of online window shopping lately as I’m working on choosing design styles and organizing my ideas for the basement family room. We haven’t decided on a couch yet, but have one we’re planning to go look at and sit on soon, and to hold myself over, I spent some time looking for bright throw pillows at Target (online, because I haven’t had a chance to go browse the aisles in our local store recently).

I found so many favorites (that were all on sale!) that I was inspired to pull them all into a little wish list to share with you all in case you might be looking for a little throw pillow therapy in your life today. The sale prices end either tonight or later this week depending on the pillow so if you see one you like, I’d snag it now!

Plus, this will be a fun way to add a (hopefully) weekly post to my blogging schedule when I’ve been so behind on keeping up with life here, lately. Turns out “We haven’t worked on any projects this week” makes for a pretty dull blog post, so I was in need of some motivation and thought this was a fun idea to share. Let me know what you want me to window shop for, next and I’ll try to do it next week!

But, in the spirit of wishlists, here’s a little throw pillow therapy for your afternoon!

bright throw pillows

You can tell I was in the mood for bright throw pillows. Maybe because bright colors remind me of happy spring and summer days. Or maybe because I’m just in a bright, happy mood thanks to all this throw pillow therapy. Either way, here are the links if you want to grab any of these for yourselves (affiliates):

  1. Knot Circle Pillow
  2. Dream Big Pillow
  3. Love Triangle Pillow
  4. Happy Place Pillow
  5. White Tassle Pillow
  6. Hand Woven Tassle Pillow
  7. Green and Blue Embroidered Pillow
  8. Home Sweet Apartment Pillow

Now, I know the last one doesn’t really apply to us since we live in a house, but I was window shopping, not actually shopping, and I couldn’t help reminisce about our first apartment together, one bedroom, tiny kitchen, spider infestation–but home. I would have totally bought that back in the day.


Related side note: The pillows that come with your sofa or love seat and probably not the ones you should be using, as you can see from the photo above. You can do better. Trust me. 

You also might recognize the pillow in the top middle of my wishlist from Will’s nursery. You can see it’s a really large pillow–much bigger and fluffier than I expected when I ordered it for his room a couple years ago.

New modern gray nursery glider from target for gender neutral nursery theme 3

Ok, so now I have to get back to working on the actual mood board for the basement, but you should go buy a couple new bright throw pillows right now while they are on sale! Take a break, you deserve a little throw pillow therapy too!

Happy Wishlist Wednesday, friends! Which one of these throw pillows is your favorite? Or have another favorite? Drop it in a link in a comment, below!

**If you’re reading this post and the sale has ended, I’m sorry—but remember there are often coupons or discounts available–and when you use your Redcard, you’ll save an extra 5%! Plus, you can use eBates to save even more by getting cashback! So, there’s your money-saving tips for the day!**

2017 Home Goals Update

1.Finish the basement family room.

Basement Paint White Mantle 2

This isn’t finished yet, but it’s well underway and I’m confident we’ll finish it. We’re almost ready to start looking for furnishings and get into the “fun part” of designing a space. The hard work (paint, trim, built-ins) are getting closer to being finished.

Here’s a little list of what is currently underway down there:

  • baseboard trim (painting and installing)
  • new doors for bathroom and stairs closet
  • touch up paint on gray stair wall
  • countertop installation for built ins
  • outlets, light switches, vent covers (changing to white)

A few other things on the list that we’ll be working on after those are done:

  • paint can light trim silver
  • replace handrail for stairs
  • paint closet under the stairs
  • cabinet organization
  • curtains

And of course, things like adding furniture and other design elements like mounting the TV on the wall. We still have a lot to do, but progress is being made, even if it’s slow.

2. Do at least one concrete project.

No plans for this yet. We’ve talked about a few outdoor concrete projects but I’m not sure what to try first.

concrete projects

3. Finish organizing the garage.

This is hopefully a project for April…before we have a garage sale in May. Better get on it! But right now, it’s a painting/holding area for the basement trim, doors, and even some wood for the alteration we’re working on for our new bed. Yikes.

Garage Trim and Door Work for Basement

4. Revamp the laundry room. 


No progress. This will be after the basement.

5. Rebuild all or some of the garden beds. 

This is also a project for April…I hope!

Garden 2016 Before

6. Maintain no more than 10 magazines in our “to be read” stash. 

We’re really making progress on this. I think there are currently around 5-7 to-be-read magazines in our house, a few in the living room and a few in our bedroom. The poor wooden box I stash them in is breathing a sign of relief.

Magazines to be read

7. Finish 24 books. 

Currently at 5/24. Here’s what I’ve read so far:

  • The Joy of Less – Francine Jay
  • Baby Laughs – Jenny McCarthy
  • Bricking It – Nick Spaulding
  • The Cat Who Came to Breakfast – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Wild and Free – Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly

Three more are currently in progress and I have a few others I’m excited to start soon.

  • Comfort Detox – Erin Straza
  • The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst
  • Loving My Actual Life – Alexandra Kuykendall


8. Finish decorating our master bedroom.

We’re working on the bed situation, which will hopefully be completed soon, and then maybe that will inspire us to move forward on the rest of the room. I’ve been looking at curtains recently but haven’t pulled the trigger on anything. Why do curtains have to be so dang expensive?

New Bed Issue

9. Replace or paint the front door. 

I’ve been trying to decide on a color for sure. And now I’m second-guessing wanting a window. I guess that’s what I get for taking so long to make a decision that I talk myself out of something I had already decided. But, we’re adding a couple lights to the area near our stairs, and that may solve my desire for more light…and then we get to keep the peep hole…

Friends Frame

10. Replace the garage door. 

Planning to do this the same time we do the front door, so it’s not done yet either. I just took this photo for this post and I had honestly forgotten how bad it looked. It even has a piece of the seal sticking out–sheesh!

Damaged Garage Door in Nook

11. Get my office organized. 

Well, it’s worse than it was before in there I think. Oops. Maybe I’ll tackle it tonight…? Maybe?

12. Take a family vacation. 

We’re hoping to go on a few weekend trips this spring/summer, but I’m still hopeful for a longer trip, too. We’ll just see how Will handles the shorter ones first. He likes sleeping in his own bed still. (I don’t blame him!)


3. Take a couple vacation. 


We’re looking at a few options for this, but we actually have one weekend trip planned for June already that will be fun, so that’s a step in the right direction towards some quality couple time!

Here’s a fun flashback photo of us, just for fun. We were such youngsters!

July 2008 wyatt and mel

4. Conquer the toy clutter


Um…no progress here yet, but I’m hopeful the basement built-ins are going to be our saving grace when we get them finished! As a rule, we’re not buried in toys, but I still feel like we need a (much) better system of storage.

Toys and quilt on brick hearth babyproofing

15. Finish and order more photo books. 

I still need to order the book from Will’s first birthday…(insert embarrassed monkey emoji here!) but it’s started at least (the photos are all uploaded…I’m just working on the text and details. I also would love to start family yearbook style books for us, but I want to be realisic and know that probably won’t happen.

But, we are still Chatbooks subscribers and just got another auto-shipped photobook in the mail a couple weeks ago which was great! We really appreciate this series that takes all the work out of getting some photo books printed and they’ve even added a prints feature now so we have a few actual printed photos sent with each book as well which I this is so nice.

If you’re not familiar with chatbooks, it’s an app that uses your instagram (or facebook, etc.) photos to create photo books for you automatically, and when they get full, they ship to you. It’s only $8 per book and they have a ton of other cool features too. We use a special hashtag to track photos of Will, or our family, and when it gets to 60 photos, it ships to you for free!

If you want to learn more, feel free to reach out, or you can sign up HERE and using my link gets you your first book for free! 


Ok! There’s our update for the year so far….not too great, huh? I’ll be honest with you and say that I’m disappointed, but looking back at the last few months, I’m not surprised! We’ve been busy and other things are on our priority list, so the house projects have been moving pretty slow. I’m hopeful that with some warmer weather, we can make some good progress this spring. And Will is getting old enough to play by himself a little more (within eyesight of course!) so maybe we’ll get a bit more done in the second quarter of the year!


Built-ins for the Basement

I realized a couple of weeks ago that we haven’t even really shared the plans for the basement. And that might be because we hadn’t fully decided on every detail, but I have found that talking things out with you all tends to help me make decisions, so today, we’ll start with what we do know, and go from there in the future.

Basement Cabient Building Progress

The first thing we had to decide was how we pictured ourselves using the space. It’s a big room, and we hadn’t really been using it at all. It was a catch-all for junk, pretty much.

Garage Sale Mess in Basement 2

And occasionally home to a pop up play center.

Basement Room Picked Up with Pop Up Play Tent

And of course, we had the ping pong table we rarely used but never got rid of.

Clean basement May 15

Basically, it was a wide open space and because it had no designated functions or comfortable places to hang out, pretty much just sat empty. We decided the best use of the space would be a super kid-friendly/family-friendly family room, with lots of room for playing, watching TV, and just spreading out more than we can in the living room upstairs, which is pretty small.

I found a lot of inspiration in recent family room renovations by a couple of my favorite home bloggers. Check out Young House Love’s bright and fun play room, and Chris Loves Julie’s more moody family room.

The first order of business was storage. Namely, storage for toys and games. As Will gets older and starts actually playing with more things, it has become clear that we need more toy storage than two ottomans in the living room.


Not that we don’t really like those ottomans, it’s just that they don’t really hold everything anymore. So, the toys needed a place to live. Especially bigger toys, like battery-operated turtles, ride on trains and bubble lawn mowers, and baskets of 25 balls that get dumped out onto the floor multiple, multiple times a day. (Thanks, family, for those lovely gifts.)

We also wanted some more functional storage for art supplies. I have a TON of things leftover from my childhood, teenage years, and even young adult life, and everything is sort of thrown into some cheap, hand-me-down plastic drawers and shoved in a corner of a storage room. The drawers aren’t big enough to hold bigger supplies and often don’t slide well since they are over full. Not ideal.

Organizing the Basement Part 19

So, I had my mind set of a wall of built-ins right when you come down the stairs.

Imagine something like this, found in a google search, from this source.

white built in cabinets

But, when we priced something like that out, it was pretty high. As in, way too expensive for a “probably-not-forever-house” basement makeover. So, we decided on just base cabinets and we’ll do some sort of shelving on top.

Even that came out to be around $1000 for all the cabinets at Ikea, so that gives you an idea of how much it would have been to add in the uppers and middles and everything in between. Ouch.

We went with a full wall of traditional base cabinets, which would give us the most storage. We didn’t add any bells and whistles…not even any drawers, because we plan to use bins to store toys and shelves work just find for that. We ended up needing 7 cabinets to completely fill our wall, and two small spacers on each side.

ikea basement cabinet order

We really had a great experience ordering with Ikea and Wyatt will be back later with a post about the ease of building and installing them, as well as a review of the quality compared to the Lowe’s Kraftmaid cabinets we used in out kitchen remodel.

Of course, cabinets need some sort of countertops and Wyatt was pretty set against doing a painted wood finish. It just doesn’t hold up that well in our experience. But, I was against granite or laminate because I thought it would feel too much like a kitchen. So, when Craft Art wood countertops reached out to us about a collaboration, we jumped on board. I’d never heard of this company before, but you guys…I’ll totally use them again and you should too. I’m just so excited about these and can’t wait to share them with you.

So, more details coming soon on that as we get them installed. They were delivered a week or so ago and I’m so anxious to get them all moved in and finalized.

In the meantime though, here’s the current mood board:

basement mood board cabinets only

Ha! Just kidding. I still have a ways to go, but it’s a start, which is what we started with when planning this room…the storage.

So, there’s a little recap on the “why” behind this room. I can’t wait to share more progress down there soon!

What do you think about basement family rooms? Any must-have features?

Some Unfinished Updates

This post contains affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our direct link. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra. 

While in the middle of this basement renovation, we actually ended up with a few other small projects also in progress. To be fair, both rooms (my office and the bedroom) were sort of in progress before the basement project began.

But, while shopping for basement furniture I happened upon a couple of other pieces of furniture that were too good of a deal to pass up. The Overstock President’s Day sale proved to be a pretty good deal, I guess.

The first thing we picked up with a new bed. A fully upholstered bed, not just the headboard, like we had before. Now, I still like our headboard, and you can read all about finding it for a great deal, HERE. In that post, you’ll also read about our grand plans to make a bed to match the headboard…but…it’s been almost three years and we haven’t even begun to think about making a bed. It’s just not at the top of the list.

And we were both tired of the metal frame that we kept stubbing toes on. Plus, the cheap bed skirt we were using had a big rip in it. Not exactly classy.

So, when I saw this one on Overstock for just a little over $200 for the whole bed, I was impressed. Plus, it kind of matches our style a little better. It’s actually gray instead of beige, and it looked so soft and plush to lean against. So, I bought it.

New Bed

(If you’re wanting a link, the queen was currently out of stock, but here’s the king version.)

And we do really like it, but…three of the slats were missing, so we couldn’t put it together all the way and the mattress and box springs are now just sitting on the floor inside the frame. Whomp Whomp.

New Bed Issue

So, I’ll have to share after photos of this change later. I’ve called Overstock and they’re working on getting the missing parts. Who knows how long that will take. We also need to find a place for the leftover hardwood flooring we were storing under the bed. Any ideas for what to do with that? (We tried taking it back with no luck.)

I also happened upon a new office chair while browsing Overstock. Well, actually, I went looking for it. I wanted one that swiveled and I saw one in a HomeGood’s instagram photo that I really liked…but our HomeGoods never has the items in the ads, so I went looking for a similar one.

The best one I found was from West Elm, for $500, and that was crazy…so I settled for this version and I do think it’s very nice. I got the blue one, not the gray one. The gray one was more expensive…

Office Chair

However, I SHOULD have waited because the chair is on Amazon (PRIME even!) now for even less! Here’s the link!

But, it was too tall to fit under my desk, so I had to improvise for now.

New Office Chair Desk Issue

Again, no real after photos yet because this is not a great solution, obviously. We’re brainstorming other ways to make it work. (Leg extensions are the front runner option right now. And it’s working fine like this for now.

Well, actually, it’s currently in the garage because the fabric had a strong factory smell so it’s airing out.

The basement has slowed down a bit since we made all the progress last weekend. But I’m hopeful we’ll hit it hard again soon because our counter tops were delivered and I’m so excited to get them installed!

So, there’s our little update that isn’t really much of an update. Tell me something you’re working on that’s taking forever or that is fighting back or that just isn’t working at all…misery loves company, right? Not that I’m miserable…I’m just being dramatic. Being in the place to buy fun new furniture is never miserable, even when it doesn’t magically work out like I dreamed!

Paint and Progress

I don’t have any exciting “after” photos yet, but we do have a few little updates on our basement renovation from this weekend. First of all, the white paint is finished and it’s looking so fresh and bright down there!

Basement Cabinet Building

Of course, we still have some ceiling paint touch ups, the gray wall that leads upstairs to repaint, the closet, and probably a few other things I’m forgetting, but the bulk of the work is done. Thank goodness. Our families came up this weekend and gave us a boost to knock out the final coat. Otherwise, it was taking us like an entire evening for one wall. There is a ton of cutting in that has to be done because of the ceiling beams and duct work. So, thanks, family!

Also thanks to my two brothers-in-law, we got the cabinet boxes built and the rail installed on the wall. Exciting!

Basement Cabinet Building 2

I realize we haven’t really talked about any other plans for the room but we are doing a full wall of cabinets along the wall at the base of the stairs. We were excited to try Ikea cabinets and so far, we’ve been pretty pleased with them, but I’ll share a little more about those later.

We need to get them mounted to the rail, and the doors put on of course, but then, we’ll be ready for counter tops. And organizing and filling these with all our junk.

Basement Cabinet Building Hanging Progress

Just kidding. The goal is really to get rid of the junk and only move good stuff in these cabinets. Right?

I was worried about the white paint at first, but basically, I’m now a big fan. I can’t wait to start choosing furnishings! I should probably create a mood board to save ideas so I end up somewhere more cohesive than just pieces I pick up randomly, huh?

Basement Cabient Building Progress

If I’ve learned anything in our nearly five years of experience in “DIY design work,” it’s that it’ better to have a plan at the beginning and stick with it, for the most point. Otherwise, you can choose a bunch of awesome pieces that don’t really end up working together all that well.

Anyway, there’s a little basement update for you all. I’m hopeful we’ll get a lot more progress done this weekend and be able to share some better photos next week.

In the meantime, give me your best suggestions or discussions on furnishing this now-all-white family room. I want to keep it simple, but add some fun pieces, too. 


A Little Basement Paint Update

I’m stopping in today to share a few photos of the basement so far. We’ve been painting and painting and painting. And we’re still not done.

Basement Paint Progress

I will say that the white paint is so fresh and bright and clean. Yes, please! It makes me feel all energized and relaxed at the same time. But, I haven’t been very relaxed while actually painting.

Because…. apparently, white paint doesn’t cover that well.

Go figure, right?

I thought we’d need two coats, because it seems like everything needs two coats to really look nice…but, we’re not two coats in and going to have to do a third one. I’ve NEVER needed three coats to paint a room before. But, then again, I’ve never painted a room white before.

Basement Paint Progress Compared to Old Paint

I thought the walls were pretty light before (a pinky sort of beige?) but apparently, they were darker than I thought. At least when compared to white. Imagine if we were painting over blue or brown or…black! Goodness gracious. That would have taken ten coats.

Another tip, when painting a big room (this room is huge) just get the big 5-gallon bucket. Also, get the paint plus primer. Thank goodness we’re doing that. I can only imagine how many coats we’d need without the paint plus primer. Yikes.

So, yea.

I realize in these photos, the walls actually probably look pretty finished, but trust us. In person, it’s still splotchy. Especially where we had to cut in with the brush.

Basement Paint coverage issues

We also have to repaint one of the walls (that faces the stairway) the gray of our living room since it goes all the way up there and I don’t want to repaint that one white. These are leftover touch-ups needed from the ceiling repair.

Basement Paint Touch Ups

Also, I’m currently struggling with what to do about the mantle. It’s pretty washed out since the walls are white. I actually like the way the white trim matches the white walls, and there will be curtains on the windows anyway, so I’m not worried about the windows looking washed out, but something is bugging me about the mantle. Wyatt wants to build a new one, so maybe we’ll do a wood one, (whitewashed to match the counter tops that are going on the built in cabinets, maybe?)

Basement Paint White Mantle 2

Or paint it gray? Black? Another color? Maybe I need to whitewash the bricks lighter so they don’t stand out as much? (We already have a plan to make the fireplace less of a black hole.)

Maybe just add some art above it and some decor items? Maybe some sort of garland or…greenery?

I’m not sure. And I’m open to suggestions, so feel free to weigh in!

A Fun Flower Update – DIY Quirky Painted Animal House Plant Picks

This post contains affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our direct link. Don’t worry, it doesn’t cost you anything extra. 

Today I’m sharing a super fun little project that is perfect for these psuedo-spring days we’re having here in Kansas City! Animal plant picks! They are perfect for indoor or outdoor potted plants!

Mini Plant Picks Camel

I wish I could say I came up with this idea on my own, but I totally copied it from Cassie, a blogger with super fun ideas. Here’s a link to HER POST.

It was pretty easy. I simply glued an old, large screw to one foot of a plastic giraffe and gave it a couple coats of spray paint. You could use any color you’d like but I chose a rose gold color I’d been eyeing at Home Depot for awhile.

It goes on pretty thin so it took awhile to get full coverage, but the end result was pretty fun. Now he lives in one of the large potted plants in my office. And I like to think he’s happy there, chilling in the shade of the big leaves.

Replanted snake plant Ikea hack trash can flower pot with girafe plant pick 2

I also made some tiny ones, because why not?

Mini Plant Picks Gold Animals

I actually found a few little package of animals at the dollar store and just glued some old screws onto the bottom on them using my favorite crazy super glue. You can grab this amazing glue, here.

DIY Mini Plant Picks Supplies

What, doesn’t everyone have a box of random screws you’ve saved for some reason? Um, the reason is projects like this. Duh.

Mini Plant Picks Screw Supples

Then, they had some time to dry, and got a coat of bright neon green or gold spray paint.

DIY Mini Plant Picks

And now, they make our houseplants just a little more fun.

Mini Plant Picks Gold Elephant

After all, who takes their houseplants seriously? Not this girl. (I mean, I do get sad if one dies, so…) But, a little whimsy is certainly not something I run away from.

I had a hard time choosing animals because I wanted my old favorites (giraffes and elephants) and a few fun touches. So, I threw in a camel. Because why not?

Mini Plant Picks Camel

Plus, neon green camels and dinosaurs are just fun. If Will ever gets old enough to leave a potted plant alone (instead of dumping it out to play in the dirt), I plan to put this one is his room.

Mini Plant Picks Dino

The little animals aren’t that noticeable in the living room honeycomb shelves, and I like that you only see them if you’re looking.

Mini Plant Picks in Living Room Honeycomb Shelves

Now, do you want to know a secret? I started this project in August! Um, it’s been seven months. To make some tiny little animals. I took a HUGE break because I lost the little animals that I bought and had to find them. And then, I had this done for over a month before getting it on the blog.

Good grief. I’m a blogging disaster these days, huh?

Anyway, thanks for checking out a (semi) recent project. Also, tell me what animals you would choose to live in your house plants?

Why I Decided to Try Stitch Fix…Again

Hey friends, I’m back with a little update on my Stitch Fix experiment. For the first post I wrote on the mail styling service, click HERE.

As a refresher, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the service, Stitch Fix charges you a $20 styling fee and then sends five pieces in each box for you to review and choose your favorites. The $20 styling fee is credited to your account if you purchase any of the items from your box, so you aren’t “out” any money for the service itself…unless you don’t buy any of the items. Make sense?

stitch fix

However, right now, if you want to try Stitch Fix, you can get a $25 credit applied to your account if you order your first fix between now and February 21, which means you can try it FOR FREE! CLICK HERE. If you remember, that’s how I joined (and got $25 off my favorite pair of jeans….). So, hurry and get your free trial now!

I got a few other boxes after that first fix, but didn’t have as much luck with them. One had clothes that were all a little too dressy. Another had a pair of jeans I liked but that was too big…basically, it was fun, but if I wasn’t finding clothes I wanted, I decided to stop paying the $20 styling fee and didn’t order any fixes for awhile. Then, I got an email saying they’d waive my next styling fee if I tried again…so I did. And this is the fix I got.

I actually haven’t checked out yet so you all can help me out by giving some feedback.

Item 1: Yasmin V-Neck Blouse $48.00

stitch fix blouse

Spoilers, but this just isn’t for me. It’s boxy and big, but too short. (When I raise my arms, my stomach shows.) Plus, I don’t like the fabric. The pattern and color also weren’t my favorite. All in all, not very flattering.

Wyatt’s take: “Yea, it’s kinda weird and big.”

Status: I’ll be returning this.

Item 2: Chaplin Lined Hooded Anorak Jacket – $94

stitch fix coat

I liked this as soon as I saw it. And I liked it more when I tried it on. It feels great. I really like the sleeve length, the lining is so soft (and cute with those stripes), and the weight is perfect for spring or fall. Or this weird early/fake spring weather we’re having right now. Plus, it has a hood. A perk for rainy days.

I wish it was a TAD longer and a TAD slimmer, but other than that, no complaints on the style or fit really.

I had made up my mind to keep it if it was less than $60, and to seriously consider it if it was less than $80….but it’s $94, so I’m trying to decide. On the one hand, I think I could find something similar for less. On the other hand, I barely have time for grocery shopping these days, much less hunting down a specific jacket.

Wyatt take: I like it. Fits you well. I bet you’d wear it a lot.

Status…Maybe keeping

Item 3: Gisella Hammered Fan Necklace – $38.00


Item 4: Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan – $38.00

stitch fix cardigan and necklace

To be honest, I wrote the necklace off as soon as I saw it in the box. It was cute and fits my current gold obsession, but…$40 for a necklace I might wear a few times doesn’t work for our lifestyle. I would have had to really love this. And I didn’t. It was a nice length though.

The cardigan on the other hand, I think is actually nice. It fits well and I like the flowy front…but, I’m not sure on the color. It’s nice because it’s different from other things I have, but I’m still undecided.

Wyatt’s take: “It good if you like it.”

Status: I’ll be returning the necklace, still deciding on the sweater. Maybe.

Item 5: Kate Boyfriend Jean – $88.00

stitch fix jeans

I’d specifically asked for boyfriend jeans with no holes, so these do fit that requirement. My last fix had a similar pair I liked but that were too big, so this time, my stylist sized down…and these are still a bit too big in the waist, though the legs fit fine. They felt good and I do like them, but I’m trying to decide if they are EXACTLY the pair I want…and I’m just not sure yet. I need to put them on again and try walking around the house in them I think.

Wyatt’s take: They seem to fit okay. (I show him the gap at the top.) Oh, well, yea. I still think they’re okay. You can try on my jeans if you want real boyfriend jeans. (He’s so helpful.)

Status: Maybe keeping

So, thoughts on what I should keep or send back? Thoughts on Stitch Fix as a service? 

Want to try it for yourself? Use MY REFERRAL LINK to get $25 off your first fix (that covers your styling fee and goes towards a purchase!) if you order before February 21. Hurry! And don’t forget to leave time to fill our your style profile. I just went through and changed some of my answers as apparently my style has changed over the past few month.

Oh, and they also have men’s clothes now–and they are launching a plus size line this spring! Remember, you don’t have to sign up for recurring fixes (I order mine on demand) so I don’t have to worry about forgetting to cancel if I want to stop.


*this post includes my Stitch Fix affiliate link. So, if you plan to order a box, I’d love if you do so through my links above. Thanks!

Outlet Updates – Finally, Some Basement Progress!

Well, friends. We’re still battling the winter sickies over here. Whether it’s Wyatt and Will, I feel like my boys and I have been taking turns with colds and flu bugs since October. Plus, that means that our work productivity has been down and we’re behind on some big projects….and that means the home projects have been pushed to the back burner.

But, we’ve managed to get a few things done on the weekends and we’re now ready to paint!

So far, we have repaired the ceiling and removed the popcorn and repainted. Technically, we hired someone to do that, but it’s still done, so I’m counting it as progress.. You can read about what we learned through that process, HERE.

basement ceiling painted repaired

We also got all the trim painted (finally)! I started this process last year when we replaced the door, but still had two interior door frames to paint (inside and out) as well as touchups and final coats on the two windows and other two doors. But now the trim is all done.

Basement trim painted

We also removed the baseboard trim (we don’t have time or energy or patience to paint baseboard trim when there’s carpet involved) so we’ll be replacing that with new trim, like we did upstairs.

Also, perhaps the biggest update to talk about is adding a few more electrical outlets up so they’ll be accessible on top of the cabinets once they are installed. We’re putting built in base cabinets all along the north wall of the basement and it’s illegal to abandon junctions in walls (or behind cabinets I assume, since these will be permanent) so we either would have needed to cap them off, or cut holes in the cabinets so they will be accessible.

Basement cabinet order

We were going to cap them at first, but decided we might want to plug in some TV-related consoles and such, so we went ahead and left the lower outlets and we’ll cut holes in the cabinets to make them accessible.

Plus, we made sure to do some pre-planning about where the TV will go on the wall so the outlet would be in the perfect place to plug it in. That involved tracing the TV outline out on the wall, and even doing a little room arrangement plans to make sure that would work with furniture and room flow.

Basement Outlet Update done

We also had to move the outlet on the end out a few inches, because it would have been cut in half by the cabinets, which wouldn’t work at all. To do that, Wyatt had to cut a hole in the drywall to run the wires to the new location (the other side of the stud).

Basement Outlet Update Stud

The stud was actually turned sideways in the wall because of the concrete behind it, so he just added an extra piece of wood to screw in the drywall patch.

Basement Outlet Update Stud addition

Then, he screwed in the drywall.

Basement Outlet Update drywall

He also had to mud it, sand it, mud it again, and finally sand it smooth.

Basement Outlet Update mud

So, we’re officially ready to paint, assuming we can get a final paint color narrowed down. Did I mention we’re going with white? I want a bright, fresh look since it’s a basement that can be pretty dark and shadowy, even with pretty good natural light.

Basement Outlet Update

But, I’m a little nervous to choose a white paint and then get it on the walls only to discover it’s actually gray or beige, or yellow. Plus, I’m worried if I pick the wrong color, it will make the walls look stark or the carpets look like dirty beige (dirtier than they already look–they’re clean, I promise, we’ve had them shampooed.)

White paint swatches

Yea, Wyatt thinks I’m crazy, but these actually do have subtle differences. I’ve decided I think, though. Now to figure out how many gallons we’re going to need for this room and get it bought. Then finding time to paint it.

Oh, and Will is already super helpful during all of these projects, as you can imagine. He helps us find all the trash that is within a choke-able size and likes to play with dangerous tools! Ha!

Will during basement remodel

What is your thought on white paint? Boring? Crazy? Already played out? Have any color choice recommendations for us?

Basement Drywall Repair: What We Learned About Hiring a Contractor

So, I wanted to share a little update on the basement to keep you all up to speed about that project, and to share a little bit about what we learned with hiring out the drywall repair to a professional.

The short version of the story is that yes, we would consider hiring out portions of our remodeling projects again…but, I’m not sure we’d do it in the same way.

For starters, it was really great to get the project done in only about a week’s time. I mean, if we had scraped the popcorn ceilings, removed and replaced the water damaged drywall, patched, mudded, sanded, primed, and painted that whole ceiling, it might have taken us a month. Not a month of constant work, of course, but when you factor in our real jobs, our toddler, being sick, the holidays…it’s likely we would still be working on it, to be completely honest. And this way, it was done in a little over a week. (It was still months after the damage, but once the repairs started, it was fast.) Thank goodness.

basement ceiling painted repaired (2)

So, in that regard, we’re very glad we decided to pay someone to do it.

On the other hand, we’re not really sure the quality of the work turned out much better than we could have done ourselves. Maybe we’re perfectionists (I’m raising my hand there) or maybe we hired a sub-par company to do the work, but I wanted to share our thoughts with you all either way.

We called him and they came back and made some repairs which helped, but still, we’re a little disappointed we didn’t walk down there and gasp in awe of how great it looked.

For example, the guy’s company name had painting right in the title, so I would have expected neater corners. Of course, I can repaint, and we will be painting anyway, but it wasn’t what I expected.

messy basement ceiling paint

And, we had some issues with the corners on the duct work. It’s a tricky area, and technically, we only hired him to do the ceiling, but it seems like the corner of where the ceiling meets the bump outs on the ceiling would be a priority.

messy basement ceiling seams

Plus, while they did tape off the basement to avoid dust getting upstairs, at one point, it came loose and thus, a snow-like layer of dust settled all over the carpet on the stairs and the hardwood floors. That was fun to clean up with a toddler tracking it everywhere.


There were also some sanding imperfections near the lights. Which is easy to understand because I’m sure they had the can lights pulled down and there would have a been a shadow where they were working…but still. We’re DIYers and we have worked around those conditions and gotten better results. We just expected more from professionals.

messy basement ceiling sanding

Of course, this is our first time every hiring out home repair work, so maybe that’s normal. Or maybe we’re just better DIYers than we thought, but we expected it to look…perfect…at least for what we were paying. (We purposefully chose a more expensive bid because we thought he seemed the best…) But it definitely wasn’t perfect. So, we’ve officially given ourselves a promotion in how we think about the quality of our work I guess. Ha!

I do think I’d do it the same way again if I had to choose from the three businesses we met with, just based on a few factors such as the contract we had with this company. The others weren’t going to have us sign a contract, which made me nervous after watching Mike Holmes on HGTV repeat “get it in writing!” on every episode. Plus, this guy was very fast and available shortly after meeting with us, which was good because we were doing it right before Christmas.

And, he did treat the ceiling for mold, even though we weren’t sure that was necessary. We do have a baby, and Wyatt has a history of coughing issues we believe are tied to living in a moldy apartment in college. So, that seemed like a “better safe than sorry” option.

basement ceiling painted repaired

And it’s better than this!

flooded-basement-ceiling-dry-wall-water-damage-2 flooded-basement-ceiling-dry-wall-water-damage

That photo with the popcorn and the brown stained water damage makes me feel so gross just looking at it. Very thankful to have this taken care of, for sure!

The thing is, it’s DONE. And we probably won’t give it a second thought now that we won’t be inspecting it. I mean, who looks at the ceilings for imperfections every time you walk into a room? Not me. At least not when the rest of the room is finally finished, right?

basement ceiling painted

And thankfully, we do have a savings account for repairs like this. (Because we also learned home insurance claims are a really sucky process and honestly not worth it if you aren’t dealing with a HUGE claim amount.)

Still, it was a learning experience in hiring a contractor for sure.

Sort of like it was a learning experience for us to DIY the popcorn ceiling removal upstairs. For a recap on how to do that (and why we think it’s sometimes worth it to do it yourself, READ THIS POST.)

pocorn ceiling pin

So, now you tell us, what have you learned from hiring professionals to repair or remodel your home? What tips can you share with us for “next time.” Although I think we’re both hoping there is no next time, at least in terms of the water damaged ceilings!!

Home Goals for 2017

We’re a few weeks into 2017 and it’s time we (finally) share our goals for the year. After a fairly poor showing last year, I tried to be a bit more realistic, but I can’t help myself–I did include some big stuff, too. As well as a few things we didn’t get done from our previous list. Because we believe in second chances over here.

I mean, our kitchen took over a year, and look how worth it that was!

Finished White Kitchen Renovation

I’m a dreamer. A list maker. It’s important for me to write down things I want to accomplish, if only for the purpose of reminding myself I want to do them before I get carried away and set new goals before finishing the old ones.

I have a big goal to really rededicate some time to the blog this year. I miss sharing our adventures here. I miss adventuring. We’ve had a really rough fall and winter so far with sicknesses and work schedules and I’m thankful for your grace in sticking around while we try to get our bearings and get back on the DIY horse, so to speak.

I’d love to work back up to posting several times a week, if not every day, but I know we have a long ways to go before that feels normal again, so we appreciate all of our readers who hang with us and we’re so excited to start working on our goals and share our progress throughout the year.

Plus, we’d love to hear from you more, so feel free to leave us comments, send us emails (you can find that info on our contact page), and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. Say hi. Tag photos to show us your progress and projects…let’s encourage each other to embrace DIY, go on adventures, and celebrate all things family and home. Let’s work on loving our homes, and loving well IN our homes, in 2017.

Will first birthday family picture at park

So, here we go!

1.Finish the basement family room.

No excuses. That means top to bottom, this room will be done. Possibly evolving in terms of furniture choices or decor, but finished enough to be fully functional.

Right now, we’re working on painting trim and replacing outlets and light switches to make them all white. The next step will be choosing a paint color and painting the walls. Thankfully the ceiling repair is DONE and


2. Do at least one concrete project.

We have been talking about doing some concrete projects for awhile. This is the year we do it. I’m not sure what it will be yet, but maybe planters. Or some type of counter top or surface. Or anything else. Suggestions to share or things you’d like to see us try?

concrete projects

3. Finish organizing the garage.

Again, it’s okay if this is evolving, but we need to at least get a functioning recycling area set up and get rid of some stuff that we don’t use out there. Wyatt has already started this thanks to a cabinet we got from a friend so I’m hopeful we’ll get this done pretty soon.

Garage Organization Progress Woodworking Tools

4. Revamp the laundry room. 

This is one that got carried over from last year, but I still really want to make this happen. I need a new hamper and more storage. I mean, I’ve been using a cruddy ripped hamper for YEARS. Why?


laundry room before

5. Rebuild all or some of the garden beds. 

We used our old hollow core doors to make our beds, which was fine, but they are starting to fall apart. If we want to keep using them, they’ll need some repairs, or replacing.


6. Maintain no more than 10 magazines in our “to be read” stash. 

Right now there are like 30. Yikes. Our little box won’t even hold 30 so they are spilling out into other piles. Not good, friends. Not good. Also, we don’t pay for any of these magazines. We get them free from various sources. And yes, we recycle them when we’re done. And before you say, “just stop getting magazines!” I have to say that I adore magazines. It was my dream to work for a magazine back in the day. And I’m proud to have several in my current client list. I like the glossy pages and the high graphic spreads. I like that they are “happy mail” in the mailbox instead of bills. I’m in awe of the amount of content that gets created to fill magazines every month. But I can’t handle being that far behind. Plus, it makes unnecessary clutter. So, this year, I’m going to sit down and read magazines instead of scroll on my phone. That’s the goal, anyway.


7. Finish 24 books. 

I’m upping this one to two books a month. I’ve had a goal of 20 books a year for the past two years and made it, so it was time to stretch myself a bit more.

That’s a little scary, but thanks to audio books, I think I’ll get there! That being said, I want to tackle a few from the bookshelf that haven’t been read before buying a bunch of new ones…so, yea. I’ll work on it.

Toy storage in living room with built in bookshelves Will playing with cups

8. Finish decorating our master bedroom.

Again, this is carrying over from last year because we didn’t get it done. But I’m determined this year. The goal is to make it less cluttered, more restful and retreat like. But we’ll see where we end up. Things on the list are new bedding, new nightstands, new curtains and some art on the walls. Moving the bookshelf to the basement when we get that all furnished down there.

Bookshelves in Bedroom

9. Replace or paint the front door. 

I want to replace this one for one with a window I think. (Even though I’ll be sad to lose our peephole and our FRIENDS frame if we do that.) But, we might decide to just paint it. Either way, we need to do something because with the hot afternoon sun bearing down on the door, it smells so hot with the current paint on it. It’s awful, even though we used exterior paint. It’s time to get it fixed.

DIY Newsprint Wrapped Tulip Wreath for Front Door 5

10. Replace the garage door. 

The scratches and scuffs and terrible seal on this door are going to be replaced this year. It’s time. We just need to get it done. So, it’s getting added to the list. Plus, I want to paint it a nice, fun color I think.

Finished White Kitchen Renovation with DIY custom cabinetry nook 2

11. Get my office organized. 

Some of you may know that I am a rep for Usborne books. (You can find out more here.) That means I’m getting TONS of free books…and now I need to figure out how to store them all. They are taking over my office right now. Not to mention all the clutter that gets dumped in there when we need to clean up the living room. And, I need a new home for some of my plants…

Usborne Books in office

12. Take a family vacation. 

We did manage to cross this off the list last year, but barely. Preferably this year we’ll be able to take more than one family vacation…but we’ll see how the year goes. At least one family trip will happen, for sure.

And fingers crossed no one will get sick and cut the trip short like this December. Blaugh–flu bugs suck!


13. Take a couple vacation. 

We’re not sure where, or when, but Wyatt and I want to have a little trip this year. Maybe for our anniversary. Even if it’s just one night, it would be good for us. The last time we spent a night without Will was July 17, 2015….the night before he was born. The last trip we took just the two of us was also shortly before Will was born…and I was VERY pregnant.

I think this year will be the year we try it again. 🙂

White Water Baby belly

14. Conquer the toy clutter

We don’t even have that many toys and I’m already feeling like it’s too much. Will gets bored a lot faster when he has a lot of toys to choose from. When we only get out a few things, he’ll sit and play a lot longer. I’m thinking of doing a weekly system where we box up a lot of the toys and get out different ones throughout the week.

Or maybe play with the same ones for a week before switching it out? I’m not sure, but I’m excited to try some systems out until we get one that works. Anyone have a system that works for you? I’m sure there are a lot of ideas on Pinterest for this, too.

(Also, aw…look at my tiny boy who could’t reach the couch–he’s getting so big!)

Will trying to reach toys on couch

15. Finish and order more photo books. 

I am so glad I was able to order several books last year. (Shout out to my friends who send my codes and discounts!)

This year, I want to keep at it. Printed photos are so important in this digital age, I think, and these books are a great way to store memories. I started Will’s book for his first birthday but never got it ordered. I need to finish that one, and I’d love to do a few others, too.

He loves to read the family books we made him, and I’m glad to have my pregnancy one, too.

shutterfly baby books

Ok, so there’s our list for 2017! We’re off to a pretty good start with a few of these in progress already…so I’m hoping that’s a good sign.

Now, let us know your goals for the year. Let’s be a community of doers in 2017–join in and share!

2016 Goal Recap

Well, friends, it’s time to fess up about all we got done…and not done…in 2016. I already know this is going to be a bit of a disappointment to go through. At least personally. You probably don’t care quite as much as I do. Ha!

Still, in the spirit of being honest, here we go!

1. Add a garbage disposal back under the kitchen sink.

Done! Read about this project, here.

New garbage disposal in farmhouse sink 2

2. Revamp the laundry room.

Not done. Not even a little bit done. In fact, I’m still using the same, broken hamper I’ve hated for the past 3 years. I don’t know why. A new hamper is like $20 probably. Time to get on that, right? Wyatt did fix our washer three times after various, unrelated issues. And, we cleaned it out after the whole floor flooding issue…but I don’t think that counts.

This will get bumped to next year I guess. Boo.

laundry room before

3. Declutter and “babyproof. (Mostly done)

We have everything we use on a daily basis babyproofed, but my office isn’t totally safe, and neither is our bedroom or bathroom. Of course, Will is never in there without us…but we still need to finish up. I’m

  • Secure furniture to walls.
  • Get a baby gate for the stairs. Read about this project, here. 
  • Make sure all breakables and other adult-only items are put away/locked up (Mostly done)
  • “Cushion” the hard edges of the brick fireplace, TV stand, etc. 
  • Add door locks to applicable cabinets
  • Tie up all window blind cords. (In progress)
  • Get rid of the junk. (In progress)


4. Build a new strawberry planter. 

We got the strawberry planters done. You can read about that project, HERE. We may have to make some modifications to them next year though to keep them from drying out so fast.

Container Gardening Suburban Garden June 2016 Strawberries

5. Take Will on his first vacation.

We made it to Branson for Christmas. It wasn’t as long of a vacation as I would have liked, but it was still super fun to show him new things. And thanks to Netflix and downloaded Curious George videos, we made it (mostly) screaming free. He’s still not a fan of being in the car. Sheesh.

6. Conquer the basement storage rooms.

Well, the basement ceiling repair is done…but to do that, we had to move all the furniture and everything to the storage room…so…yea…not done. But at least we had a good excuse, right?


7. Read 20 books 

Some of these I’ve read before, and many of these have been audio books listened to on my runs with Will in the stroller. But I enjoy that so much, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to “read” while I’m doing something else I love.

  • The Cat Who Knew Shakespeare – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Private Life of the Cat Who – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Grace Based Parenting – Tim Kimmel
  • Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee
  • The Cat Who Talked Turkey – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Who Was Walt Disney – Whitney Stewart
  • The Cat Who Sniffed Glue – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Robbed a Bank – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Loveable Liveable Home – John and Sherry Petersik
  • Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus – John Eldredge
  • The Cat Who Went Up a Creek – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Wild in the Hollow – Amber C. Haines
  • The Cat Who Saw Stars – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Went Bananas – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Life on the Mississippi – Mark Twain
  • The Cat Who Brought Down the House – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • The Cat Who Dropped a Bombshell – Lilian Jackson Braun
  • Present Over Perfect – Shauna Niequist
  • For the Love – Jen Hatmaker
  • This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing – Jason Good

In progress:

  • Wild and Free – Hayley Morgan, Jess Connolly
  • The Cat Who Came to Breakfast – Lilian Jackson Braun

8. Make some cool toys or games for Will. (Sort of done?)

I made him a couple books for his birthday. I also sort of count the homemade homemade maracas and drum I made him out of “trash” as homemade toys. I mean, I did make them…they just aren’t that cute. The busy board is half-finished and we’ll get to it soon!

Will smiling at custom family photo book from Shutterfly

9. Make some cool stuff to give to friends and family.

In addition to canned good, we made a few things to give friends and family this year. Here’s an example of one of those projects that turned out pretty cute.


10. Make some cool stuff to sell. (And sell it!)

We completed a couple of custom orders but I still need to add a page here on the site where readers like you can reach out about custom orders as well. Which reminds me that I really want one of these tree bookshelves noq

Custom Tree Bookshelf

11. Finish decorating our master bedroom.

I added a few baskets for clothes that had been worn but weren’t yet dirty, and we looked at nightstands, but didn’t buy any yet. Basically, no major progress…maybe next year.

Tufted Headboard in Master Bedroom 8

12. Paint the basement window and door trim in the main living space. (In Progress)

Well, I said I was determined to get this done this year, but because of the whole basement ceiling repair project that wasn’t completed until the week before Christmas, it just didn’t happen. It’s close to done, but I need to do a bit of touch-up on the window trim, and I have two door frames to paint still. Bummer.


13. Organize the kitchen cabinets.

I tried. I made progress. They got messy again. So…yea, I failed at this again. Boo.

14. Buy a new laptop. 

14. A. Buy a new laptop to replace new laptop.

This is done, twice. Long story short, the first one ended up having an issue so we had to return it and pick out a different one. It was a pretty awful process to deal with customer service through all of that…but it’s done and the new one is here and it’s wonderful. So far.

15. End the year with more houseplants than I’m starting it with. 

I totally made it through the year without killing all my plants! Some of them look a little puny, I’ll admit, but as a group, we are doing pretty well! Now just to get some more permanent homes for them instead of all being in my office.


 16. Replace the garage door, and the basement door. (Half done)

We didn’t get the garage door replaced, but we did do the one in the basement, which turned out awesome and I have no idea why we waited as long as we did.


All in all, not terrible…but also not our best showing. Nine officially crossed off and four others half done. And two that we hardly touched. I have to give ourselves some credit and say that we also dealt with a lot of other stuff that wasn’t on this list. Like the washing machine flood fixes (post coming about fixing the hardwood flooring soon!) which took up most of our fall dealing with insurance and finding a contractor. (Post about that process also on the list to write.)

Plus, we’re still adjusting to life with an ever-busier toddler around the house. We really only have naptimes and bedtimes to work on projects, and both Wyatt and I have been doing a lot of work for our real jobs late at night this year. I guess those are all excuses, but it helps to be honest with ourselves about the season of life we’re in as we look toward setting goals for next year, too.

What about you? How did you do on your list of goals for 2016? Have you made your goals for 2017 yet? We’re still finalizing our list, but we’ll be sharing them soon! (And you all have to promise to keep us motivated all year, okay?

And, which of our goals surprised you the most? I wonder if you over or under estimated our progress for the year?

For a look at our original goal list, click here. And for how we did with our 2015 home goals, see this post.

A Quick Look Back at Our Christmas

Hey friends, happy 2017!

I’m going to be honest and say that I’ve been a terrible blogger. More specifically, we’ve been terrible home bloggers. We haven’t had any real home updates for you all in awhile, and few other updates either. I’m hopeful for a fresh start and a renewed joy in checking in with you all this year though, after finally getting the basement ceiling repairs done and some exciting plans for the coming months.

So, I wanted to stop in tonight to share a few photos of our Christmas, from decorations around the house, to family photo attempts, and some other randomness thrown in there. Thanks for sticking with us through the rough fall season, and thanks for being a part our little community of people who find joy in DIY and seek to fill their homes with love.

Here is a little glimpse into our home this Christmas season:


christmas-hearth christmas-books-basket christmas-living-room-north-pole-crates christmas-hearth-with-will

christmas-fireplace-with-tree  christmas-kitchen-plate-wall


And, a few shots from our family photos:


will-playing-in-front-of-christmas-tree will-in-front-of-christmas-tree-2016 will-and-wyatt-christmas will-in-front-of-christmas-tree

Tell us how you really feel about family photos, Wyatt.



And… an outtake, in the spirit of keeping things real…


Lastly, we FINALLY took a little trip with Will to Branson. (one thing we get to cross off our list for the year!)

will-and-wyatt-at-dannas-branson will-and-wyatt-at-sdc-branson-christmas will-at-branson-condo melissa-and-will-at-sdc-branson-christmas melissa-and-will-at-sdc-lights-branson-christmas

There are a few more (better) photos of our Christmas trip on our personal Instagram pages. @WyattJudas and @MelissaShipman

Ok, that’s enough photos for one night, right? I feel like we at least got to catch up and share a bit about how our December went. (Minus the details on the stomach bugs, snotty noses, basement messes, drywall dust all over everything, work deadlines… but you get the idea.)

Anyway, now tell us a little about your December. We’re excited to start the new year with all of you!