Thursday, January 31, 2013

Boy to Girl {Nursery Update!}

The great room switch is progressing.  You know that point where progress doesn't look pretty?  Yeah, that's where we're at.  Instead of focusing on how un-done baby girl's room is, I'm choosing to focus on the sweet little things that are done.  Small victories, y'all.

First off, we have a girly rug!  The Kiddo's rug went with him to his big boy room, so we needed a new one in here.  I really, really thought I would be buying this rug from Ikea.  I was positive.  Nothing could change my mind.  And then we made the trip to Ikea in Round Rock and I met the Tradklover rug.  There was much hemming and hawing as I went back and forth between the two.  In the end, the Tradklover won.  It's polypropylene...which I generally dislike.  I'm all about buying rugs made out of natural materials, and the Stockholm Rand is made from wool...and reversible to boot!  But it's also rough and not really something I want sweet little baby knees crawling on, so I switched to the Tradklover.  I have no regrets.  It did off-gas for about a week, but luckily that coincided with our warm weather streak, so I was able to have the windows open and the ceiling fan on every day to let out the smell.  I know it will wear well and take a beating, and that is so important in a kid's room.  Plus she's pink!  

Next up, I have our sweet girl's baby blanket crocheted!  I used Lion Brand Sock-Ease yarn in Cotton Candy and the Sunshine Blanket pattern from Linda Permann's Little Crochet.  It's a wool blend, but it's super lightweight, so it will be easy to care for and perfect for Spring in Texas.

In case you're wondering what all this blanket is hiding, I have stacks of hand-me-downs in piles by sizes that are hanging out in the crib.  I'm all about the organized chaos.

And here is the next nursery project on my to-do list...a chevron stripe baby quilt!  I'll be using the Anna Maria Horner coral, teal, and citrine prints for the stripes and the Amy Butler grey and off-white floral for the back and binding.

The pillow and the throw are also from our recent Ikea trip.  The cream colored curtains were previously used in lieu of closet doors when the Kiddo used this as his nursery.  I'm contemplating re-installing the doors since we are now using the curtains on the window.  On my to-do list, the rocking chair will be getting a new white slipcover!  I'm thinking the more light-colored accents I bring in, the more feminine the room will feel, even with the blue walls.

Hubster has been busy with paint adding new leaves to the tree.  We've used Coral Gables by Ben Moore (color matched in Valspar from Lowe's) for new wall accents and... a new coat of paint for my old Eiffel Tower lamp, which sits proudly next to the vintage clock radio Baby Girl received from her Grandma, and my Molly doll (which is also technically vintage, ha!).  

I couldn't resist this mama and baby fox at Ikea.  We did owls for the Kiddo and will be doing foxes for Baby Girl.  Not too many - I don't want to be too theme-y - but I'm so drawn to all the cute foxes out there right now, they're hard to pass up.

And Baby Girl has a couple of new outfits in addition to her hand-me-downs!  Hubster couldn't resist buying her the Baylor cheerleader outfit the last time we were in Waco (I don't blame him) and I had to get some Mommy-Love in there somewhere.  ;)

Her closet isn't going to stay this bright green...more painting on the never-ending list of things to do.  But it will all get done.  I have faith.  

And seriously, if it doesn't, it's really not the end of the world.  It's so easy to get swept up with all the fun ideas for a little girl nursery.  But while this little girl is such a sweet blessing from God, she is not the only member of this family.  And with 4 room make-overs going all at the same time, something is going to have to give at some point.  I keep reminding myself of that, with the knowledge that the most important thing is to have a healthy baby and a healthy mama.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.  :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time & Management

First off, I have to say this is not something I have mastered.  At all.

Time management is a constant battle for me.  Some days I feel like I have conquered and slain the dragon clock.  Truthfully, most days I get to the end and sigh, wishing I felt more productive.

Sometimes I think the biggest dragon I have to slay is that of my own expectations.

Almost exactly two years ago I made the very difficult decision to resign from my position as a marketing manager at a local firm.  Before that point, my life was very organized, my days were scheduled out and packed full, and I worked hard at a fast pace each and every day.

When my son was born I felt completely lost - like a fish out of water.  All of a sudden my days were unplanned.  The basic plan was, of course, feed my child, change my child's diapers, cuddle my child, watch him sleep, lather, rinse, and repeat.  It sounded easy.  But after the first month or so I realized it wasn't quite that simple.  I would go in circles trying to finish just one task.  Easy things like applying mascara...I very clearly remember the day I left to do an errand and realized I had mascara on one eye and not the other.  My brain felt like it couldn't think in a straight line anymore, and even though I would line up the day's tasks, the constant interruption of someone else needing me left me chasing my own tail.

And I felt overwhelmed.  At first it didn't bother me if I didn't get to shower until 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  But a couple of months later it really started to wear on me.

I wish I could say that I then figured out the secret to staying home with my baby, getting everything done, and staying sane all at the same time.  The truth is it took a LOT of time for things to work out and it's still not a perfect system.

That said, here is what I have figured out so far...

You have to order your priorities, and then stick to your guns.

When I resigned, it wasn't so that I could read all the books I wanted, or sew, crochet, and knit to my heart's content.  Or even to repaint and redecorate my house.  Or to keep an immaculately clean house.  Or to blog.  Or to start my own business.

I resigned so that I could be the primary care-giver of my child.  So my number one job every day is to take care of him.  To invest in him.  To read him countless Thomas & Friends books no matter how tired of them I am.  To teach him how to count and recite the alphabet.  To cook 3 meals a day for him and give him snacks and sippy cups.  To teach him how to use a big boy potty.  And failing that, to change his undies, again.  To teach him not to hit and throw tantrums.  To help him learn how to slide and not throw sand.

It seems basic, but it took a while for me to realize this.  Of course, logically I knew I was staying home for him. I just didn't realize how much my attention and focus would need to shift to him in order to achieve my purpose.  And I didn't realize how much that would feel like I was giving up little things I wanted to do in my daily life.

Until I really thought about my priorities and what I was there to accomplish, it felt like I was getting interrupted every time I started a naptime project only to have him wake up.  But of course he woke up! He was only napping.  And he was the real reason I was home, not me and my books and crafts.  Once I realized that he was top priority, it was easier to put aside what I wanted and focus primarily on him.  I  wasn't thinking in circles anymore.  Basic things like showers got moved up the list a bit, but I realized I already was accomplishing what I was there to accomplish every day.  Anything else that got done became a bonus.

The thing is, to the outside world this doesn't look like much.  And that is hard.  Good friends would ask me "so what do you do all day?".  My answer?  A lot.  And a lot that is hard to measure by our culture's standards of productivity.  But it doesn't diminish the fact that it is a lot.

Regardless of your situation, mom or not, once you decide what is top priority, you need to make that your top priority and not waver.  It will come under the scrutiny of others, and you need to be okay with that.  This is your life, not theirs.  These are your priorities, not theirs.  At the end of the day you need to be satisfied with the work you've accomplished, not them.  If others insinuate that they could do more...more power to them!  But they don't live in your shoes.  Remember that.

Once you have your priorities ordered, plan your day accordingly.

Again, it may sound simple, but it is so easy to get distracted with peripheral things.  For me, this meant that I needed to focus on what my child needed daily first.  Basic things stayed the same (eat, sleep, poop, repeat), but as my child got older his needs became more varied.  He needed play time, could interact more, and eventually moved to one nap a day.  In each stage of his life, I have adjusted my expectations for everything else.  For instance, when he took a morning and an afternoon nap I had more time to read, crochet, and write - things that left me feeling refreshed and productive.  As soon as he stopped taking his morning nap I lost two hours I previously had counted as "me time".  But the knowledge that I really only had 2 hours at naptime and anything after bedtime to do things for myself allowed me to schedule things lightly.  Did it still bother me that it took a really, really long time to get any one project done?  Yes.  But my expectations were set more appropriately to my daily life and I learned to celebrate my accomplishments more and to not focus on the things which went undone.

Are you over-scheduling yourself?  Do you need to pare back your project list in one area of your life in order to better focus on your primary goals?  It's so easy to be distracted and to try to jump in and do everything at once.  But it is so much better to accomplish one or two things well than to start five or six projects and not complete anything.

Work your plan.

Once you have a schedule that allows for top priorities to take center stage, do not back down.  Carefully consider any requests for your time and do not add anything to your weekly life that will take away from that top priority.

I think this is the hardest part.  At least, I know it is for me.  I like to say yes to people and I'm a somewhat reformed people-pleaser.  For me, my weakness is church activities.  I like to be involved and help, but with a toddler and a newborn on the way, and with the Hubster's work schedule, it's not feasible for me to be super involved.  Truthfully, it is huge that we are able to attend one worship service every week.  Huge!  Growing up I was at the church every time the doors were open.  And even when they were closed, I was most likely doing something church related.  So for me and my family to only attend once a week feels a lot like failure.  And yet, I know it's not.  To constantly be saying "no" when I'm asked to come to activities that coincide with my child's bedtime feels like failure.  But it's not.  I am serving my family.  And right now, that is what I'm supposed to be doing.

Do you find yourself adding in extra activities when you should be saying "no"?  This is such a struggle for me!  I have to guard my family's schedule so carefully.  When I don't, it results in an overtired toddler, a stressed out daddy who's trying to pick up the slack for me, and a frazzled me...who once again bit off more than I could chew.

Give yourself space and grace.

But little mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!
-"To a Mouse, On Turning Up in Her Nest with the Plough" by Robert Burns, 1785 (Standard English Translation)

As I said at the beginning, this is not something I have mastered.  I am not perfect and (so sorry to point it out, but) neither are you.  Failure is inevitable at some point.  Falling short of our goals is inevitable at some point.  It's a fact of life.  This is one of those things that we all know, but at times it seems magnified.  Nothing in my life has magnified my short-comings and daily failures the way that being a stay-home mom has.  Even if I manage to do everything on my list, I struggle with doing everything on my list and doing it cheerfully.  Or with patience.  Often times, both.

I know what my daily "must-get-dones" are, and I try to add only one or two "extras" with a couple of "bonus tasks" thrown in just in case I'm able to get to them.

But there are always going to be the days when not. one. single. thing. gets. done.

On those days I encourage you (and myself!!) to slow down.  Take a deep breath.  Give yourself the space to think "what can get done?", the fortitude to do it, and the grace to accept that you've done what you could do.  And that is enough.

I'm linking up today with Edie @ Life In Grace.  If you have the chance, please click over to read lots more thoughts on using time intentionally.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vintage in The Home {The Favored Chair}

I know lots of people who love the idea of vintage, but have a hard time envisioning how to integrate it into their homes, offices, and daily lives.  Every week I spotlight one of my favorite vintage items and how we use it in our home.  Hopefully, this will offer inspiration to all of you who are vintage novices, as well as the seasoned collectors.

Please allow me to introduce you to Arabelle.

Don't let her age fool you...this is the most comfortable seat in the house.

My sweet mother-in-law found her ages ago at a Salvation Army in Waco, TX.  She always wanted to get this chair reupholstered.  But, unfortunately, her cats also took a liking to the chair as a scratching post.  So poor Arabelle sat lonely in a room - unused and defaced with her stuffing exposed. 

Last Christmas, as my gift my mother-in-law graciously offered to have Arabelle reupholstered in any fabric of my choosing if I would like to have her come live at my house.

To which I said, "Heck yeah!".

And so we ordered yards and yards of Robert Allen for Dwell Studio Indoor/Outdoor Peony Canary.  (Psst...the price has dropped significantly since then...I'm guessing because Dwell Studio dropped Robert Allen's's a steal now!)  And my in-laws took Arabelle and her fancy new fabric to the best upholsterer in Waco to get a face-lift.  And he said...."What???  You want me to put this antique-1920's-can't-find-one-like-it-anymore-chair in a modern indoor/outdoor fabric? You're crazy, I won't do it.  And, oh by the way, you need twice as much fabric and I happen to have some lovely options on my showroom floor starting at $30/yd.  You want a traditional print in a very small scale in muted colors."

At this point there was much discussion about the crazy fabric I chose.  Yes, I knew it was indoor/outdoor.  I chose it because I have a dog and a toddler and we wanted more dogs and toddlers.  She's pretty, but she needs to function if she's going to have prime real estate in my house.  If when coffee and milk get spilled I need those drinks to bead up and wipe off, not soak in and stain.  And, no, I did not in fact want a small print in muted colors.

You can probably guess how this story goes.  Since I'm already showing you pictures of Arabelle's new digs.  The Hubster and I ordered even more fabric, found a local upholsterer with a fabulous reputation and had them do the job instead.

They didn't question.  They did beautiful work.  They charged a lot less.  And we received half of our fabric back because they didn't need so much.

So now, if you come visit me, you are more than welcome to visit Arabelle as well.  You will have to fight off a dog, a toddler, the Hubster (in that order) to have the chance to rest your buns here...but she is definitely, hands down the most comfortable seat in the house.  She is vintage...antique even...but she serves her purpose well.  And she's not too formal to hang out with my garden stool from Tar-jay and my end table from Kirkland's.

Have you ever considered reupholstering a thrift store or estate sale find?  If not, I encourage you to consider it as an option the next time you're in the market for new furniture.  Often times vintage furniture has sturdier frames than their modern counterparts.  And when you reupholster you have your pick of all the fabrics in the world, can customize your piece with details like contrasting welts, and even alter the firmness/softness of the cushions.  The result is a piece of furniture that truly suits you and your taste and is one of a kind.

Monday, January 28, 2013

In Which Procrastination = An Organized Pantry

I'm still waiting on my fabric to be shipped.  It's been ten days.  The waiting is driving me crazy.  And while I have promises from customer service, a tracking confirmation that my order has been overnighted, and all signs show my fabric will be here tomorrow, today I needed to feel productive.

There it is folks.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  It's really not that bad.  It's really completely organized and functional.  Beans in bags work.  Pasta in bags work.  All my chicken, beef, and veggie stock is all nice and lined up.  My flour is all up top.  Some candy that I will not under any circumstance own up to is within easy reach.

But do you see those two canisters with labels?  Since my paint color picking hands are tied until my new fabric arrives on my doorstep tomorrow, I decided I needed labels.  On everything.  Immediately.

This is also known as "crazy, pregnant lady nesting".  It's the nit-picky part where suddenly very minute details must get ironed out perfectly.  I know it's overkill, and yet I just can't resist.

I picked these labels up at Hobby Lobby.  They were only $4 and are repositionable.  Which means I don't have to worry if they're a little crooked and I'm free to use them somewhere else in the house at a later date.

Since my chalk marker is extra large, I just used regular old chalk.  It worked beautifully.

When I ran out of canisters I moved on to mason jars.  I actually prefer clear glass containers because I can easily see when I'm running out of something.  It's like an automatic reminder to get more at the grocery store.

Twenty minutes later I had this...

...and this.

Why yes we do have 12 quarts of Michigan maple syrup in our pantry.  Doesn't everyone?

And a close up for all of you who love being all organized...

Don't y'all worry.  Those Valentine's Day candy hearts are still in there...strategically placed further out of reach.  Behind my 3 different types of sugar.  ;)

Good times.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fast Fried Chicken {For Your Sunday Dinner}

Happy Sunday!

I hope you all are having a wonderful day and are getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

As requested by my sweet friend Janna, here is the recipe for the fried chicken I made for dinner last Sunday.

Y'all should know I never do this the same way twice, and it's super quick because I slice my chicken into tender sized pieces.  Smaller pieces = faster cooking time.  Fried chicken is super easy, as long as you don't set the kitchen on fire (again, I am so, so sorry mom!).  Just keep your fire extinguisher close and remember...don't use water to put out a grease fire! ;)

My Fast Fried Chicken Recipe


1-2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced 1" thick
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk (or faux buttermilk - 1Tbsp lemon juice+1 cup milk...or just use regular milk)
1 Tbsp chili poweder
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
olive oil or canola oil for frying (make sure it's an oil that can withstand high EVOO here!)


{Note: I use pie plates for dredging my chicken slices, but you can use a regular plate or a shallow bowl...whatever you have will work.}

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.  In one pie plate mix 1 cup flour and 1/2 tsp salt.  In a second pie plate add egg and next 4 ingredients and mix very well.  When skillet is smoking hot, carefully add 1/4-1/2" oil.  While the oil is heating, dredge one third to one half of your chicken slices in the egg/milk mixture.  Let them soak for about a minute, then dredge them in the flour mixture.

Your oil should be nice and hot now.  Carefully add your chicken to the skillet, making sure you don't crowd the skillet.  After about 4 minutes, flip your chicken slices and cook for another 4 minutes or so.  Your chicken should be a nice golden brown and not be pink at all on the inside.  Remove cooked chicken and place on a paper towel covered plate to drain.  Repeat dredging and frying the remaining chicken slices.

For the dinner rolls I used this One Hour Dinner Rolls recipe I found through The Nester (y'all remind me I need to make those folding chairs one of these days).  They really do only take an hour and are delicious!!

Also on our table were green beans (with a good dab of butter), carrot and potato mash from The Petite Appetite Cookbook, and for dessert we rocked some Strawberry Ice Cream from Blue Bell.  For my friends not living in Texas, I'm so sorry.  But you can always have it shipped to you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Vintage in the Home {Have You Met Hazel Atlas?}

I've been thinking a lot lately about what vintage goods inspire me and how they serve a purpose in my home.

I have a serious obsession with all manner of vintage treasures.  But, when I first starting thrifting and estate sale-ing in my college days, I quickly realized that I needed to carefully consider what I brought into my home because I had a finite space in which to live (which was a mere 450 sqft back then).  I needed to choose vintage goods which were both beautiful and functional.

Not much has changed in my approach during the last decade (shhhh...I didn't just say decade).  My living space has increased over time, but it's still a finite space and I've tried to be mindful about only bringing in furniture and accessories that will actually be used.  The exception to my rule is decorative hanging on the walls, colorful vases to cheer up a table or bookcase, etc.  If its originally intended use was to be a decorative object, I'm okay with it functioning solely as that.

I know lots of people who love the idea of vintage, but have a hard time envisioning how to integrate it into their homes, offices, and daily lives.  So I thought it might be fun to do a weekly feature spotlighting some of my favorite vintage items and how we use them in our home.  Hopefully, this will offer inspiration to all of you who are vintage novices, as well as the seasoned collectors.  Once a month I will expand this to feature an item from the shop, sing its praises, and offer suggestions for how it could be used in your home or office.

So without further ado...I would like to introduce you to my hands down favorite vintage label...

...please allow me to introduce you to the fabulous Hazel Atlas.

Before West Elm, Home Goods, and many others copied complimented them with reproductions, Hazel Atlas made the El Dorado Gold juice glasses in the early to mid 1960's.

Why have the repro if you can have the real thing?  Or both, even?

I have these in the juice size glasses, and I do also have a set of clear reproduction glass tumblers which I picked up at Home Goods ages ago, before I knew a thing about Hazel Atlas.  However, I've discovered that many of the glasses made today are super thin and prone to shattering.  I really don't know, but I'm guessing this is due to the lower quality of mass-production these days.  All I know is my Hazel Atlas glasses are about 50 years old (Hazel-Atlas went out of business in 1964), are super sturdy, and were made in the USA.

As far as functioning in my much-used kitchen, I love them for juice in the morning or for the inevitable onslaught of prenatal vitamins I down each and every day.  They also would be fun cocktail glasses....and come May I might just have to have a mojito in one!  It probably goes without saying, but I don't let the Kiddo use them.  And, though we have a water softener, our water is still fairly hard so I find hand washing helps them to stay their prettiest.  That said, they totally can go in the dishwasher on the top rack...especially on a china-safe cycle.  They might be vintage (antique really), but they are workhorses these little glasses!

Above all they look cheery in my cabinets and on my table, and they make me smile.  Nothing not to love here.  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All The Small Things...

Slowly but surely things have been shaping up around here.  I firmly believe that it's the small things that make a space feel complete.  And, often times the small things are quick and easy to change.  Since I'm waiting on an order of fabric before finalizing furniture and chandelier paint colors, now is the perfect time to tackle some of these projects.

The Kiddo's bathroom has long needed hooks.  I think it's a good idea to encourage independence...which is fortunate because I have a very independent-minded young gentleman on my hands!  Hooks in the bath mean the Kiddo can get his own towel off the wall to dry with and hang it back up again.  Bonus: this means I will be bending over a little less in my 3rd trimester.  Just a little less...but I'll take it!

I still love these framed antique book pages as much as I did the first time we hung them.  But the frames were lacking a little something.

Nothing a little gold couldn't fix.

This was a painless change since I knew the frames could easily be re-sprayed black if the gold turned out to be a little too much.  But I'm loving gold tones right now, so I was fairly confident I would be happy with them...and I am.

My gold crush started over the summer when I found this on a thrifting spree in Pagosa Springs, CO.

The shade it came with was hideous, so I replaced it with one of the many I have on hand from the many lamps which have died a slow and painful death thanks to the combined efforts of a 2 year old and a very grown man.  I initially had intentions of painting the base a fun color (or white at the very least), but once I got it home I just couldn't.  I've never been a fan of brass, but this one just reeled me in.

And over time, I've really grown to love the warmth of gold tones against the cooler tones of our house.

Which eventually led this classically shaped mirror... get a facelift as well.

I love how it instantly brightened the space.  Seriously love.

And the juxtaposition of the 1980's vintage brass lamp with the mirror is fun, too.

(Yes, there is a bowl and a spoon on my bookshelves.  And remotes.  Y'all just pretend y'all don't see those and I'll pretend I didn't put my independent-minded gentleman down for a nap 7 times this afternoon.)

All in all I'm super happy with these quick little updates.  They make me smile in the middle of a (still) very chaotic house.

Still on my list for the bathroom is to come up with some filler for the space between the hooks and the framed book-pages.

The hooks are as low as possible so little hands can easily access them.  I'm thinking of hunting down numbers in all different fonts and colors to hang...or maybe stenciling numbers....or stenciling numbers in all different fonts and colors.

Or I might go in a whole different direction.  We shall see!

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Praise of Sunday Dinner {5 Lessons I've Learned}

It takes time.  Maybe that's why we overlook it so often.

Sitting down to Sunday dinner is ingrained in me. 

I was fortunate to grow up in the same city as both of my grandmothers.  And sitting down to Sunday dinner was ingrained in them.  They, in turn, ingrained it in their children.  And my parents ingrained it in me.

Even though we honored this tradition in my house growing up, I think I owe most of what I know about hospitality and cooking and serving to my grandmothers.

Lesson #1: You make time for it.

We had Sunday dinner at each of my grandmothers' houses once a month.  The other two or three Sundays we had Sunday dinner at my parents' house.  But it happened.  Every Sunday.

Lesson #2: It doesn't have to be fancy food.  It doesn't have to be pretentious or laborious.  It just has to taste good and make it to the table.

Both of my grandmothers grew up on farms in rural Texas.  Eating out in restaurants daily was not an option the way it has become for our generation.  If you wanted to eat, you cooked.  Food might have been simple on most days, but even simple food can taste fabulous.

Lesson #3: When company calls, you put another bean in the pot.

I have never witnessed either of my grandmothers stressing out about company coming to dinner.  I never saw either of them panicked, worried if there would be enough.  If someone extra showed up to the table, the meal stretched.  It just did.  And with ease.  The iced tea always lasted and there was plenty of dessert to go around.  To this day, I do not have this figured out.  To this day, I cannot for the life of me figure out how these women served their family and friends at their tables on the spur of the moment with such grace.  But I am happy to spend my life trying to achieve their effortless manner.

Lesson #4: There is always dessert.

Again, it doesn't have to be fancy.  It can be a couple of scoops of ice cream (preferably Blue Bell).  But there is always dessert.  Somehow my mom didn't catch on to this one.  ;)

Lesson #5: Sunday dinner is at lunchtime.

I guess it's a Southern thing and something I say without thinking...but when I say Sunday dinner, I mean lunch.  Dinner is the biggest meal of the day.  We eat a big dinner at lunchtime on Sundays, and then have a light, snacky supper in the evening.  Any other day of the week in my house, dinner and supper are synonymous.  But Sundays are a time to slow down and catch up with family and friends.  And, therefore, dinner is a small feast (even if it's a simple feast), so we eat it at lunchtime.

This little man helped himself to 1/3 of that plate of chicken before I even had the rolls on the table.  ;)
It might be different for you and your family.  Preparing and sitting down to eat a big meal for lunch on Sundays might not work with your schedule.  Honestly, it doesn't entirely work with my family's schedule either.  But I'm choosing to continue the tradition.

And I'm encouraging you to try it, too.  If Sundays aren't the best day for a sit down meal, think of what other day might work.  I'm convinced that there is something about the routine and rhythm of getting together once a week to share a meal that cuts through the noise and busyness of our everyday lives, gives our souls a chance to breathe, and gives us pause to enjoy living in the moment we're given.

Need help getting started?  Here are some links to help inspire and motivate you...

All of Edie's 31 Days To a Heart of Hospitality series is good, but her post on Feeding People Well particularly stands out.

Bringing Back Sunday Dinner by Aimee @ Simple Bites

Easy Entertaining by Jan @ Simple Bites

4 Special Entrees @ Southern Living

Friday, January 18, 2013

For Your Weekend...

These boots are made for walkin'...

May your weekend be full of warmth and sunshine.  And may you be blessed with good sleep, warm beverages, and peace and space to unwind from the craziness of life.  :)

Homemade Coffee Syrup @ A Beautiful Mess
I'm itching to try these - especially since coffee is finally back in my life!

Style File: Glitter & Dots @ Darling Magazine
So fun and I could actually do three out of the five!

Time's Up: Time Management & Efficiency @ Darling Magazine
A good read for everyone, but this especially speaks to my nesting-mama-soul and makes me believe that I just might be able to get everything done in the next 11 short weeks!

Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress @ Made By Rae
I just added this adorable free pattern to my to-make list for Baby Girl.  I know she'll outgrow it in a minute, but I can't resist.  Too cute.  :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dining Room to an Office. Or is it a Studio?

The rearranging and repurposing continues!

Here is a look back at the room formerly known as my formal dining room.

I'm so glad I took those pictures.  It's so clean.  And peaceful.  And pretty.

Here's a glimpse at how it looks now.  A tragic train-wreck in progress.  It's sad, but true.

This curio cabinet will be painted and better organized and will house my yarn, fabric, and fun paper.  Child locks have already been installed to keep curious hands at bay.  The chandelier will be painted a fun green - either Pantone's Emerald Green or I'll have Lowe's color match Kate Spade Green.  I haven't quite decided.  Eventually, all the furniture in this room (except my grandmother's china cabinet) will be painted Elephant Tusk by Benjamin Moore in a high-gloss finish.  The big bookcase that is still in the Kiddo's room will also be painted and move in here.  So the overall thought is white, off-white, tone-on-tone, with gold accents, and splashes of color.

And the furniture is already being rearranged thanks to the Kiddo's adventure with our iMac and a stack of DVD's he found who knows where.  My sad computer is off for repairs, and it appears there is no way arround having all the furniture pushed against the wall if this room is going to function as an office with little ones running around.

Which brings me to my next thought.  Is it an office?  This room sits smack in the middle of my house.  It's very high traffic.  And (God-willing) one day it will be pretti-fied and organized and look pulled together, but it will house more than just a computer.  It will house all manner of crafting and sewing supplies and general creative goodness.

So...perhaps the word STUDIO better applies?

If I have my very own STUDIO, with close proximity to coffee and snacks, then maybe, just maybe I can truly be okay with losing my pretty but seldom used dining room.

Say it with me..."this room will be pretty, this room will be pretty, this room will be pretty".

I almost believe myself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nursery to a Boy's Room. Progress...Kind of.

My house is completely turned upside down.  But I thought I would share it with you anyway.  (Please forgive the poor lighting...I was losing daylight on these.)

Here's a last look at my sweet boy's nursery.

And here is his new big boy room!  Still a disaster area, but slowly getting organized.  :)

 The Hubster built his bed - a modified version of this plan by Ana White.

We opted to forgo a box spring and added extra slats to support his new mattress.  Hubster also beefed up the bed frame, ensuring that the bed can handle our rambunctious Kiddo.

We brought in the rug from the nursery since Poppy will be getting a girlified rug.  This is also the cleanest this rug has been in months.  Photographed for posterity.  ;)

His little, old-man recliner is well positioned next to his bookshelves.

We're learning about how the hamper can be used for dirty clothes...not just as a fun basket to crawl in or as a hiding spot for dog toys.

And for now, the dresser/changing table is in the closet.  Kiddo thinks this is the best idea ever.  It works for the moment.

For the most part, the other side of his room still looks like this...

We still have a looooong way to go!