A special little touch.

Here in our apartment we have this giant kitchen with less than practical cabinets and no pantry. Since getting some new gadgets, pots, pans and a Costco membership for Christmas we’ve struggled with storage solutions and finally decided to buy an industrial looking shelving unit to help make some space. Josh put it together last night and while we bought it to serve a purpose, of course I had to try and make it look cute too.

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We ended up being able to clear out about two shelves plus decluttered a few more. Once I saw the amount of leftover space that I had to spruce up, I added a little plant and started browsing Pinterest for kitchen printables to frame. I found a couple of cute phrases and a kitchen conversion chart but then I remembered a project I had never finished from over a year ago and knew it would be perfect.

When my grandma passed away 8 years ago, I was lucky enough to inherit one of her notebooks filled with her handwritten recipes. Mammy was the best baker in our family and thankfully, she had written down all of her famous cookie recipes in this little notebook, including my all time favorite no bakes. I scanned the recipe and had it printed on to linen with the intentions of making tea towels but I never got around to sewing the towels so the linen has just been sitting at the bottom of my fabric pile. I realized that rather than print off some random cutesy quote, it would be so much more special to display my favorite recipe scrawled in my late grandmother’s beautiful handwriting.

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I love how it turned out. If you notice the discoloration on a few spots, that’s actually some kind of food stained on the actual 30+ year old paper. A little added character. So it turns out this industrial shelf holds much more than just some pots and pans.


The kids’ rooms: Take 2

 photo PicMonkeyCollage_zps51cf4812.jpgI can not get a good picture inside of this house. The lighting is terrible. 

I’m a chronic re arranger. Chronic. Which is funny because when I was a kid, I hated changing my room. I had the same bedroom set up from the time I was 8 until I was 18. Unlike me, our kids have had about 4 different rooms each, just within the past year. I love to decorate but mainly, something about a new house takes me around 8-9 months to “figure things out.” Our house has 4 bedrooms so when we moved in, everyone had their own room. And then the boys decided that they wanted to share so we moved Parker into Theo’s room since it was bigger. We painted and decorated with a combination of their tastes. And then a couple of months later Josh decided that he wanted to move Ruby into Parker’s old room. Her bedroom was in the back of the house and had a huge bay window that faced the ocean so aside from our room, it was the coldest in the house. Because she’s still so little, we keep her door shut at night so it was getting really cold as the temperature dropped and it just made sense to move her to the other side of the house. We painted her new room and redecorated similar to her old.

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Over the weekend Theo decided that he no longer wanted to share a room. We decided to move him into Ruby’s old room with the hopes that the cooler room will help him sleep. He’s our little sweaty guy so maybe a temperature drop at night is exactly what he needs and since we don’t close his door it shouldn’t be too cold. I spent all day today moving furniture and hanging pictures and was able to finish up in time to surprise Theo when he got home from school. He’s a major nature lover so his room reflects that. I still have to hang his curtains but he loved it.

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As for Parker’s room, I decided to try and make it a little more “grown up” for him so I used our extra love seat to create a hangout area. I’m not a fan of tv’s in the bedroom and although he did have one for about 3 months, it’s not something I ever want to do again. Though we didn’t mean to do a “theme” for Parker’s room, I noticed today that his walls are covered with all things travel. Maps, bikes, license plates and these incredible car paintings that Josh’s aunt bought from a street artist in Cuba.

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I still have some holes to patch and a little touch up painting but hopefully we’re done playing musical rooms. The kids are all happy with the way things are now and so am I. For now.



Remember when I said that we were sick of spending money and tired of spending energy on houses that don’t belong to us? Well, after painting the spare room as well as our second living space and entry way, we’ve just about covered the entire apartment. The only rooms left are the bathrooms, the kitchen and the hallway which I plan to have finished by the new year (only the hallway – I’m not doing the other three. For real.) Josh continues to bring up laying laminate wood flooring to cover up the disgustingly ugly tile that is in our second living area but I’m not as interested in tackling that one. Our nice big wool rug does the trick for me.

We moved Ruby’s bedroom into the spare room (hence why we painted it) and I am so happy with how it turned out. I absolutely love decorating and organizing so spending an entire Saturday redoing a bedroom is my idea of a good time.

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While Josh and I were preoccupied with Rubes’ room we all neglected Lolly and she pooped right by the door. Usually she comes to me and then Parker but since she couldn’t get to either of us (Park was in the shower) she did what she had to do. Why am I telling you this? Because it has apparently scarred Ruby. Lolly never has accidents so when Ruby saw the mess on the floor she immediately started crying and hasn’t stopped telling us “Lolly poot! Bad!” every single day, multiple times a day since Saturday. It’s kind of hysterical.

It is so annoying to me when people make comments about how awful it is to say happy holidays rather than merry Christmas. For one, it’s the holiday season, not just Christmas time. There’s Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the New Year all within the month. Secondly, I have never heard anyone say “You’re not allowed to say merry Christmas!” so I don’t understand why people take offense to happy holidays. Quit being petty and just appreciate when someone wishes you happiness.

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Really strange fact: Parker and I have this thing with words. First, there are several that we can’t stand, including the obvious – moist. But also, slice, flesh, fresh, packet, and so on. We also – now this gets really weird – think of letters as if they’re boys and girls. I have done this my whole life but I randomly discovered that Parker does too so we ran through the alphabet and compared thoughts. Like, A’s a girl, B’s a girl, C’s a girl, D’s a girl, E’s a boy, F’s a boy etc. Interestingly enough, the gender of Parker’s ABC’s are pretty different from mine but I’m positive that such a quirk shared between mother and son must mean we’re geniuses. I mean, what else could it mean?

I’ve been meaning to write an update on moving and actually, maybe I already did? I can’t remember but anyway, in case I didn’t, we’re not moving. We found out that we wouldn’t be allowed out of our apartment (unless we continued to give up our BAH) until April so Josh and I sat down and had a good long talk about what we want, where we’re going (in life) and our near and not so near future and decided to stay put. The boys are really enjoying school this year and while there are still some major things we don’t love about city living, it’s a pretty cool experience to have for a couple years.

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So where are we going in life? We are absolutely, definitely ending our run as a Coast Guard family come 2015.  Josh has already started researching IT and recruiting positions within certain companies and he’ll start applying for jobs in about a year and a half. He’s going to stay in the Reserves but as a family, we just can’t handle this nomadic lifestyle anymore. It has never been Josh’s plan to retire so settling down just as our kids begin middle school is ideal. We’re looking at opportunities in our hometown area as well as Pittsburgh, Central Virginia, parts of North Carolina, the Atlanta area, and who knows. It’s exciting to think about actually choosing where we want to live and not being contractually obligated to stay there.

I’m so excited that I get to watch Idol again this year. Three words. Harry. Connick. Jr.

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Has anyone else seen the new findings on organic milk? I have to say, I don’t understand why it takes a research group to figure out that healthier cows who are fed better, produce healthier milk.

Lastly, I need some good book recommendations. Embarrassingly enough, I can’t remember the last book I read. I mean besides the books I read everyday with the kids. I don’t think I’ve read anything for my own personal enjoyment since before Ruby was born. My brain is turning into rhyming, kitty mush. Actually, I’ve been talking to Josh about writing a kids’ book called, “Shoes On.” I got the idea from Miss Ruby who has a favorite hobby of pointing out when people have their shoes on. Every single person who has their shoes on. Every one. Anytime we leave the house, “Shoes on! Shoes on! Shoes on! Boots on!” so I told Josh we should write a book about all of the different types of shoes since apparently it’s really interesting to toddlers. My rhyming, kitty, mush brain may just be on to something.



Free Printable!


PicMonkey CollagePrint it here.

I’ve been working on amping up Ruby’s room a little bit and decided I wanted to hang some more art. I came across a few sweet phrases while browsing Etsy but decided I could just make a printable myself rather than pay the $15 for the print. I thought this quote from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream perfectly describes little miss Ruby. This prints as an 8×10 with an inch white border but you can cut it down to fit a 5×7 as well. Print it on any kind of paper but obviously the higher the quality, the better it looks. I bought an inexpensive pack of glossy photo paper at Michael’s that works perfectly. Enjoy!

Our DIY headboard.

This weekend was filled with projects. We finished Ruby’s room, worked on a few small things and finally followed through with a bigger project that we’ve been talking about for a while. Building our own headboard! photo photo-83_zpse430da80.jpg

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big Young House Love fan and I was thrilled when, for my last birthday, Josh bought me a signed copy of their book. Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love. While flipping through, one of the projects really caught my eye -the DIY rustic headboard. At the time we had a very nice, full bedroom set but all of the pieces matched and I was just kind of over that look. I talked Josh into selling our bed on Craigslist the week before we moved to NY, with the intention of building our new headboard once we were settled. Four months later and we’ve finally tackled it!

We went to Home Depot and picked out the wood. We already had the stain so our total out of pocket cost was less than $15! Josh cut the wood to size and sanded it down to make it nice and smooth. He stained it with Minwax in Early American and let it dry.
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After it was dry, he laid all of the boards down on the floor (we used 1x3x8 cut down to 62 inches) and lined up the bracing boards. We used three to make sure the boards were totally secure. He screwed each board into the bracing boards and ten minutes later, it was done! To hang it, we screwed in heavy duty picture hanging hooks (for up to 90lbs).  photo picstitch-2_zps95fc875d.jpgLastly, Josh screwed anchors into the wall above our bed at the spots we measured for. We hung it and our gorgeous, rustic headboard was finished!

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 photo photo-82_zpsdc7f50fc.jpgJosh and I are by far not DIY people. I wouldn’t use the terms crafty or handy or anything even near those terms to describe us but this project was so easy and actually a lot of fun. We’re already scheming for our next one!

House tour: Miss Ruby’s room.

Since the time Ruby was just a baby in my belly, I’ve scoured Pinterest, blogs and websites drooling over baby nurseries. At this point I’m basically addicted and still check out Project Nursery and Ohdeedoh a few times a week even though my kids’ rooms are just about finished. Excitedly, I’ll have a new house to decorate within the next two or three years so I guess I like to stay ahead of the game 😉

This weekend, I decided that the extra gallon of paint that we had left from the living room would probably work in Ruby’s room. She has a huge bay window which brings in ton of light so I knew the color would look different there than it does in the living room. Having two older boys, you’d expect I’d be all pink and purple but actually I still go for blues and greens for Ruby, just girlier shades like teal, turquoise, mint, and lime. With the arrival of the rug that I ordered and the walls painted, we can officially call it dunzo! So here’s the rundown.

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Crib: The Jenny Lind crib. I held out for nearly four months after Ruby was born while this beauty was out of stock everywhere. I finally got it through Amazon.

Sheets and crib skirt: Target and a $2 yard sale find, respectively.

Quilt: Handmade by our aunt.

Mirror: Target. It was originally dark brown and hung in our bedroom. We sprayed it yellow.

Wall hanging: Homemade with paper garland from Glitter and Grain, a dowel rod and two small hooks.

Rocking Horse: a $15 yard sale find that we sprayed purple.

Rug: Urban Outfitters.

Light Fixture: Ikea.

Curtains: Ikea. I bought these curtains nearly 10 years ago and can’t remember ever hanging them but I thought they were perfect for a whimsical little girl’s room.

Dresser: Ikea. I love Ikea furniture (price point, modernish design) for kids rooms but I hate the cheapish looking hardware so we spent an extra $30 and switched out the pulls.

Gallery wall art: All of the framed art are free printables and scrap book paper. The “R” is a $1 wooden letter from Michaels that I, wait for it… spray painted blue. The “Let her sleep…” hoop art is from Atticus & Cole and the “Hey girl” hoop art is from Catshy Crafts.  All of the frames are Ikea and Target (some sprayed 🙂 ).

Chevron Toy Bin: Homegoods.

Little blue chair: Greenhouse in Serenbe, GA. Bought plain wood and sprayed turquoise.

Bookshelves: Ikea.

And there you have it. Miss Ruby’s bedroom. My favorites of the room include her crib, her quilt, the blue chair and the wall hanging.  A few other things – I’m ordering pink paper garland to replace the mint since the color is now blending into the wall color. I’m also going to eventually buy her an Expedit shelf and make a window seat something like this – but with lots of pillows and storage for toys.


A major DIY post coming later this week!

We painted. Again.

“We agreed that we’re not painting another inch of this house. We’re beat. And over painting houses that don’t belong to us.”

This is what I wrote just over a month ago and yet here we are, 5 hours of work and $90 later and we’ve painted our living room. It’s annoying but it’s just a part of this lifestyle. You gotta do what you gotta do to make your current house feel like home and painting is an easy way to do that.

To help us decide on a color, we used two different apps, asked for opinions on Facebook, looked through This Old House magazines and Pottery Barn catalogs and checked out a few different blogs as well. I always go for blues, browns and greens so I was really trying to come up with something new but what we ended up choosing falls into my same old category. I guess I like what I like. After driving Josh nuts with my indecisiveness, I saw a picture and knew it was what I wanted.

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This room caught my eye because of the dark to white contrast. Our living room has the same contrasts. I also love the accent wall and thought it would be a nice touch to our living space with it’s weird walls and low ceilings. I’ve never done an accent wall in any of our other houses and actually, I remember a few years ago when my friend, whom I always go to for decorating advice, told me she was repainting her house because “accent walls are out”, but I love this room in the picture so I thought we should go for it. The colors on the walls are Benjamin Moore’s tea light and azores but since I’m a cheap skate, I just went to Home Depot, used the Benjamin Moore app and found Behr’s comparable colors ($10 a gallon cheaper). We ended up with mountain haze and smokey slate.

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Mountain haze definitely has more yellow than tea light and smokey slate has more gray than azores but they’re pretty damn close to being the same colors. We bought two gallons of the the lighter shade and a quart of the darker. We also invested in nice, pricier than normal rollers. Josh read that a specific type of roller will cut the time and the amount of paint that it takes, in half. It turns out he was right because we have an entire gallon left that was never opened.

When we painted our bedroom, Josh did the edges by hand and we think this is why it took forever. This time, he taped the room off and then edged it all while I rolled. Of course we had to work around Ruby, making and eating dinner, and getting the kids to bed but over all it took us about 5 hours with everything included. We both agreed that this time painting was the easiest experience we’ve ever had. I think this is due to a few factors including, good equipment, margaritas and the fact that we’re nearing painting pro status. It was such a breeze, in fact, that we’re now also going to paint the dining room (and we’re considering the kids’ rooms too).  We’re just taking it nice and easy though so another room may not have color for another month.




These pictures are a little yellowed. We had bad cloudy lighting today.

I absolutely love how it turned out. And even though we were both nervous about the accent wall we’re really happy with the end result.

In the meantime, while we’re working up the desire to paint the dining room, we hung some curtains in the big, empty room.



Almost four months in and it feels like it’s starting to come together!