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A casual, kid-friendly family room eat-in space

I wanted to share our family eat-in space with you for some time. I thought I’d do it after I get a wide-angle lens so I can get some great photos for you, but it’s going to be a while, I’m afraid. In case you’re wondering, this is the lens I’m considering. It seems to be the least expensive option for what I need to be able to do (photograph our tiny powder room from a doorway, for example).

A casual, kid-friendly family room eat-in space

So for today, I’ll share the photos Melissa Oholendt captured that show our eat-in space between the kitchen and the family room at least a bit, although the photos are really just of our family.

This space doesn’t get great natural light. It’s in the NE corner of the house. Brightening it up was my number one goal.

A casual, kid-friendly family room eat-in space

We focused on practicality with this space. The capiz chandelier was a big purchase for us two years ago and I still LOVE this light. It’s available now and there are often 20% off coupons you can use to purchase it. It is a showstopper, in my opinion.

A casual, kid-friendly family room eat-in space

 

The table is casual and I love the X style legs that make it look like a fancy picnic table. It comes in a whitewash finish which really brightens our space. It’s also $100 less in 2015 than it was when we bought it. I love the knotty pine finish too.

The chairs are from Target. They are simple, extremely washable and affordable. Dining chairs are ridiculously expensive normally. They also come in a bunch of great colors.

A casual, kid-friendly family room eat-in space

The white cabinet, while not styled at all on the inside yet, is a great storage addition and also brightens up the space.

The lamp is also from Target. We have two of them.

We are so happy with this comfortable room. Check out the rest of the room and view the photos of how the room used to look.

Affiliate links included. 


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Things I'm failing at as a mother

Happy Monday! What better way to start a new week than share all of my failings as a mother and a person. ;) No, seriously, these are things I’m failing at, but have completely accepted during this season of our lives. I thought I’d share so that I can remember but also just in case someone out there can relate. And don’t worry. I’m not down on myself or sad about any of this. No need to leave encouraging comments (although “me too” comments are always appreciated). Here goes.  Read More »


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A Coffee Date: Encouragement, Energy

Happy Friday! Ezra Jude is SEVEN months old today. How is that possible?

I’m wrapping up this week (filled with a sick baby, a coughing big boy, cloudy grey skies, lots of coffee, conversations with good friends and dreaming of spring) with my second Coffee Date. Before I share the topics, I have to say that I have Spring Fever already. We had some “warm” days in Minnesota these past two weeks (and by warm, I mean 30’s) and it seriously smelled like spring outside. Simple pleasures, friends.

Today’s topics: Encouragement and energy. What does this mean? I’m going to touch on the Sisterhood of Mothers sometimes referred to as “mommy wars” video that is going around, life with two kids and a few tips for gaining a bit more energy in a healthy natural way. Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat. Read More »


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Valentine's Day finds for little ones

Valentine’s Day is around the corner. My husband and I don’t tend to celebrate much for this “holiday” but I think it’s fun with kids.

Like most things, there are WAY more “girly” Valentine’s Day things than choices for boys. I am planning to post some cute outfits for boys and girls soon and the options for boys are beyond limited while girls have a HUGE variety of styles, colors and fun choices. But, such is the life of a boy-mama.

Today I’m sharing a few fun and LOVE-ly finds for little ones for Valentine’s Day. My favorite is definitely the cute little card kit as Bodhi is currently sewing pretty regularly in preschool and would love this.

Valentine’s Day pajamas This is one of our favorite brands, but we rarely splurge on them. I love the Valentine’s prints.

Heart baseball cap This gender neutral option is one of the few things I found that I could definitely put on my boys with a cute baseball tee for Love day!

LOVE blanket This one comes in blue as well and I love the soft feel of everything from Little Giraffe.

Heart stocking cap This is so simple and so sweet.

Valentine’s Day “Sew Lovely” card set I already mentioned that this is the perfect little set for preschool aged children.

Heart pacifier clip A fun little accessory for Valentine’s Day and all through the year.

Affiliate links included. 


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Baby steps to financial freedom in 2015

Once again, I’m working with SunTrust Bank on today’s post. SunTrust’s purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being and they offer the resources, tips and tools you need to feel confident and in control of your finances.

Baby steps to financial freedom in 2015

 

We are well into the New Year! My big goal for 2015 is to be present with my husband and children. I want to slow down enough to enjoy life a bit more. Be on my phone a bit less. And there are certain things and changes that will make that possible.

Did you take time to create resolutions or goals for 2015? Did you reflect on 2014? I did and it was a great chance to take a look at our past year and really appreciate all of the blessings.

Baby steps to financial freedom in 2015

The holiday hangover is sometimes a very hard way to start a new year. If managing your money and creating better money habits is your goal for 2015, we have a fun way to get started with SunTrust’s money personality quiz.

My husband and I sit down about once a month to discuss finances, our goals, hopes, dreams and realities. Travel is big on our list. But so is just learning to have quiet nights and days at home.

Baby steps to financial freedom in 2015

We have a big dream of paying off our house (which we call our forever home) much sooner than we would if we simply paid our mortgage payment each month. Life happens and we know it won’t go exactly as planned, but I love that we have somewhat of a plan.

Take the quiz. With your quiz results you will have the opportunity to explore content that is relevant to your results that may help you begin to make changes. Use this information as inspiration and motivation as you plan your resolutions. Read More »


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A Psychic Reading 40th Birthday Party for Alexa
This summer, just a little over a month after Ezra was born, I got to walk to a neighbor’s house for a super fun party. Our friend Alexa was turning 40 and she put on an amazing event on a hot early August evening. The party was an elegant, candle-lit psychic inspired ladies-night out, a party unlike any I had ever attended before. Talk about making a puffy faced new mama feel fancy. :)

A Psychic Reading 40th Birthday Party for Alexa

The food, beverages, desserts and decor were simply stunning. Just wanted to note that I had nothing to do with planning this event. I got to be a guest. :) Read on to learn more about how this amazing party was pulled together. All photos were taken by our neighbor and friend Gina, who also did our gender reveal and a few other sessions for our familyRead More »


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Take better photos with four simple changes

After a funny text exchange with Tiffany the other day, I was inspired to write this post. I think most people want to take good photos. Now that nearly everyone has a cell phone with a camera, people are taking photos constantly. But, I see a lot of photos that are dark or blurry. I sometimes post those myself, since they capture the moment. And there is nothing wrong with that, of course. But, if you want to improve your phone or camera photos in 2015, I have five really easy changes you can make today to make your photos better.

Ezra is 6-months-old (12 of 22)

I’ve been working hard at making my photos for the blog and Instagram better. I’m not talking about the photos Melissa Oholendt takes either. Obviously, hers are amazing and I’d love to hire her for every blog post, but it’s not happening yet (I say yet, because we have big goals in the next few years). But I’ve made improvements just on my own photos with my phone and camera.

I do it for myself because I simply like pretty things. I am no photo or styling expert, but I have learned from my own mistakes and have made improvements.

Ezra is 6-months-old (8 of 22)

Take a look at some examples of before and after photos here.

Blog Photo BEFORE

No really. You have to click through and laugh at this post. Everything is wrong with these photos. Everything. And can I tell you something kind of unbelievable? That post is my number one pinned post and my number one source of traffic from Pinterest. With my blog friends, I call it “The Ugly Banana.” I’m so thankful I learned how to shoot manually and adjust my white balance after this. Editing can also make a difference, but wow! Just wow! This was almost 2.5 years ago. I can’t believe I let this on my blog. I only leave it because so many people come each day for this “recipe,” a term I use very loosely. ;)

Blog Photo AFTER

Blood orange mint mocktail baby shower bar plus easy DIY tassel wine tag party favors and simple syrup

I learned a lot from trial and error while shooting yesterday’s post and can’t wait to share more on that.

Instagram Photo BEFORE

This was just a few months ago, but I would not share something like this anymore. I’d either shoot super tight to capture the color or I’d shoot something closer to the window for a brighter, more beautiful image.

Instagram Photo AFTER and another AFTER

Obviously, I’m not going for perfection. But, I think this tighter shot of our powder room is much more visually interesting than a shot of the entire room (which would then be dark and dingy). It’s fun to think outside the box on how you are going to convey something, whether it’s your child’s smile, a new object on your fireplace or a recipe you are working on. Here’s another example of an Instagram photo I tightened up on that looks much better than it would’ve had I just taken a huge “look at my counter” type of photo.

Ready to make some changes? Click through to start improving your photos now.  Read More »


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A surprise online baby shower for Melissa Creates

Surprise! We have a special post today that I’m SO excited about. We are celebrating our friend Melissa of Melissa Creates with a surprise online baby shower before she welcomes her sweet little boy in the next few weeks! Have you been to an online baby shower before? If not, welcome to our shower and get ready for some eye candy here and on the sites of all of my fabulous co-hosts!

Blood orange mint mocktail baby shower bar plus easy DIY tassel wine tag party favors and simple syrup

Today I’m sharing a delicious Blood Orange Mint Mocktail Bar for the mama-to-be and our guests plus some easy DIY party favors.

Blood orange mint mocktail baby shower bar plus easy DIY tassel wine tag party favors and simple syrup

I played off of the shower invite colors when choosing to use blood orange and mint, plus I love citrus flavors with mint. Read More »


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Ezra starting solids

Feeling inspired by my friend Gina, I’ve decided to take photos of Ezra and Bodhi just doing regular things around the house each week and post here monthly or weekly… whenever I feel like it mostly. Today I wanted to share photos of Ezra eating solids for one of his first times. I say “one of” because his real first time was at night and it’s too dark for good photos with my skills.

Ezra starting solidsHonestly, I wanted to write a post for you… something like “5 tips for starting solid foods” or “our favorite utensils for baby’s first foods” but today, it’s just photos of my beautiful boy playing with his spoon.

Ezra starting solids

Parenting the second time around is so different and for me, so much better! I question everything much less, go with my first instincts almost always and just don’t worry about stuff so much. Sure, my hands are obviously full with two kids, but because I’m much more laid back, it’s more fun.  Read More »


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How to get changeable seasonal art on a budget

I’m excited about today’s post. I’m going to show you how to get changeable seasonal art for under $20 that you could use for holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthday parties or just to change with the seasons.

My friend Heidi (who seriously needs to get her blog going) recently shared a really budget-friendly secret with me that has made a big difference in our lives. OK, my life. OK, our home decor and parties.

Did you know Costco prints 20×30 photos for $9? This was life changing for me. Wow, I’m being dramatic today, but seriously. It’s pretty sweet. And that, combined with my friend Megan’s changeable frame art on her wall inspired today’s post.  Read More »