The Plan


Pretty standard fare, nothing too wild about this menu, except it is seriously lacking in veggies. But there is always a crudite platter to munch on before dinner, right next to the olives & pickles.

This is the second year I'm attempting my grandmother's scalloped corn. Last year it was delicious, but it wasn't very much like Grandma's. Her corn recipe was thick and custardy, and I know there were eggs, but that is the extent of my knowledge. Most of the recipes include corn bread, and I don't remember a corn bread taste or texture. We'll see how it turns out this year.

One of my sisters-in-law is making rolls from scratch. I need to watch how she does this. Someday I'll conquer my fear of yeast. (it's ALIVE, people!)

My other sister-in-law will probably tackle the green bean casserole, because she nailed it during her last visit.

My mother-in-law is making a family recipe for the dressing, and the famous Stevens noodles. These noodles are so yummy - a traditional Belgian recipe that she learned from her own MIL many years ago. 

Jason is in charge of the turkey and ham. He fries the turkey every year, after brining and injecting flavor. Oh yes, this is serious business. I can't express how much I appreciate being able to focus on the side dishes and leave the main dish in his capable hands. 

And this year I decided to tackle coconut cream pie, which is brand new for me. Pumpkin pie might as well be made of canned cat food, because no one goes near it in this house. I'd rather make something that will be eaten.

Add a couple of appetizers, some fun cocktails, a few bottles of wine, the obligatory football game, and we're looking forward to a great holiday with family!
 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

The Lounge II

The new sofa arrived as planned last Friday. These large purchases make me sick with nerves. We've made a few furniture-buying blunders in the past, and it just makes your heart sink to realize you really don't like the thing you invested hope and money in. 

But that is not the case with this guy. We found a keeper.


We are still playing with the arrangement. Someday I'll find a coffee table I like enough to replace the trunk. And the hubby would like a set of ottomans to go with the chairs. But we're in no rush to buy more furniture before we know what we want and need.


Snuggles this morning before school.


The material has a great midcentury texture, rather than a discount furniture store feel. 



One more gratuitous shot of Minne sleeping? Oh, alright.


 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

We Finally Started Natalie's Room

This girl is about to celebrate a birthday.

Oh that sweet face!
Other than the gorgeous blonde hair, and the height she inherited from her father, she is my mini-me. At her age I was shorter, chunkier, and I had the baddest mullet in all of Yates county. 

Despite those differences, Natalie is the child most like me, delightful personality quirks and all. 

This Halloween...dressed as a hippie
In our former home, her room was the first to receive any attention, and Ella's was never really finished. So in the current home, to be fair, there were a few projects to complete before I was able to concentrate on her room. And it's worth noting that her room in this house was already really cute, just not exactly her taste. 


Before: pink walls and black & white curtains, no real plan or design on our part yet.


Natalie has a signature color, and although I've tried to convince her to consider other colors, she sticks with turquoise/teal. I really wanted to design her new room around plum/purple, but she wouldn't hear of it. Blushy pink? Nope. 

Onward with teal then! A word about the teal that we settled on, Valspar Alpine. It is three shades brighter than I would have chosen and three shades more subtle than she wanted. We were at an impasse but settled on this color after much debate and mutual concession. 

This room is another (practically) zero-cost project. We have everything we need on hand, but may switch out a desk or chair, a night stand, or paint a dresser. The biggest impact came with wall color and (eventually) curtains. And we definitely need a good afternoon of purging and organizing.

Yesterday I painted. I started listening to the Serial Podcast from the beginning. I've heard so much about it. Before I knew it the whole room was painted, the sun was setting, and I felt like I'd lost a day of my life. I hadn't showered or eaten. But her room was painted and I had listened all eight episodes. Weird.

So this is what the room looks like now, at half-done status.


Truthfully, I don't love the zebra rug. I'm not a fan of zebra. I'm sure they are lovely animals, but I don't love the whole effect in design. It's just a personal preference. But she desperately loves this rug and a coordinating blanket, so who am I to keep these harmless things from her?

This week I will figure out the curtain situation, and a few other details: memo board, dresser refresh, wall decor, etc. But she is happy and excited to get back in there once the paint fumes go away. And I am happy to focus my attention on her in time for her birthday and before the holidays take over. 
 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

Pre-Thanksgiving Planning


The last three months of the year are so happy. It is my favorite time. I'm just beginning to gush about it, and trying not to gush too much.

 I've been playing around with table settings for Thanksgiving. I'm keeping it simple by using our everyday white plates on gold chargers, with white & gold accessories. And even though I'm keeping it simple, it won't be so simple that we don't use silverware, as the photo above might suggest. #sarcasm

That gold retro square carafe was my favorite find at HomeGoods over the weekend. It will be perfect for red wine...we already have a water carafe. The gold & white napkins are also from HomeGoods. 

We are still in the planning stages of the kids' table. I'm enlisting the help of my three, as they will be the hosts of the kids' table. They have some great ideas, from place cards to place settings. Together, we're pinning like fools to this Thanksgiving Board
 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

Just A Small Kitchen Tweak

I love this kitchen, but there is a lot going on. It feels very busy. Between the pattern of the granite, two types of backsplash, and the chandeliers, it's a lot to take in. The existing window treatments were really pretty, but not my taste, and I felt like they added one more pattern to the madness. 




So down came the brown paisley. 

And these windows sat kind of naked for a week or so. 


I knew I wanted to keep it simple, just a plain linen similar to the curtains in the dining room. Yesterday I showed up at the fabric store, with a 60% off coupon, and found the perfect ivory-colored linen. A few hours later, for under $20.00, we have new window treatments. 


These pictures were taken just before dinner, with my iPhone, so not the best quality. But you can see  the difference. It feels finished, and a lot less busy. 


I can take a breath in here now.  
 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

The Living Room Is Missing Something...


Two weekends ago I decided to move the sectional to the basement, on a whim. 

What an awesome idea. I'm known for these awesome spur-of-the-moment ideas that turn out to be less than ideal. 

We've been living without adequate seating since I made that rash decision. Two chairs, five people.

I've been going back & forth on the seating dilemma since we moved in to this house. We knew we would need additional seating in this house. But would the new seating go in the basement or the main living room? Should we buy a leather sectional for Jason's man-cave? Or should we put the beloved sectional in the basement and buy something new for the living room, which is really where we spend the most time?

The big problem (and these are really first-world problems, I realize) was the combination of the sectional and the chairs. 


I love the sectional and I love the chairs, but together, they're awful. They are basically the same color, but not really. They are not a set. The chairs are a rich caramel color, and they bring out an awful purple tone in the sand-colored sectional. They can't live together in the same room. (This is where my niece would mock me, saying, "this is unlivable!")

So with the sectional in the basement, I was able to focus on seating for the living room.

The new sofa would have to be family-friendly. We watch movies together. We are messy. We like to take naps and snuggle in the living room. So nothing too fancy, too small, or too precious. And the chairs are staying in this room, so the sofa would have to coordinate with those guys.

Hubby was very helpful in this process, to be honest. He gave me the glazed, disinterested expression that I'm accustomed to when we discuss decor and music. But when the topic shifted to spending money, he had all kinds of opinions. This sofa was the best of both worlds; it is affordable and it makes the most sense for our seating dilemmas. 

After doing the research, combing many, many websites and catalogs, with measuring tape in hand, we decided on a huge, 93" sofa from Crate & Barrel.



We chose a color called truffle which looks nice with the chairs. It's a deep neutral. I never would have chosen this textured material, but I fell in love with it in the store.
The sofa is scheduled to arrive Friday, and we are so ready to have a fully functional living room again! 

 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

The Best Of What's Around 11/7/14

I am making every effort to hold off on Christmas; I'm likely to lose this battle. I hope to focus on Thanksgiving through the month of November, but Christmas and Santa and trees and elves are breathing down my neck. This is a good sign though. I haven't felt the Christmas spirit for the last few years. It's nice to be excited about the holidays again.  



*We're hosting Thanksgiving in our home this year, which I love. It would be fun to make something like this for a pretty accent:




*These Woodland Animal Templates are prefect for Ella's bedroom. I picture us sitting down for Saturday crafts, making a couple of these adorable creatures, then hanging them in her little woodland bedroom. 




*These barns make me want to buy an old barn and make it amazing. I understand that sounds equally nonsensical and ridiculous. I'm just saying...if we had unlimited resources and a beautiful old barn, I would love to design something magical. 




*Ohio has been gray and rainy these past few days. The National is perfect for a moody, rainy day. This is my favorite Tiny Desk mini-concert. Real musicians making real music on the spot.  Almost unheard of these days. I love this band.

see the short video here:  NPR Tiny Desk and be prepared to love this band.


*We're thinking about adopting a rescue dog. By "we" I mean "the kids and I." Not the hubby so much. Bringing a dog into the family will be a massive adjustment, and we've only recently enjoyed the fruits of a toddler-free household. But there are so many pups in need of a loving family. I joined a FB group, for rescue dogs in Ohio. The steady stream of these images is breaking my heart:


Oh my gosh, that baby needs a big hug and a forever home. Our kids are amazing with Minne the cat. They shower her with kisses and sweetness every time they see her. We taught them to be gentle with her, to treat her with kindness and love. A dog is a lot more work than a cat, but I really believe that caring for a dog is a great life experience for kids. Dogs need to be walked, bathed, fed, taken out to do their business, kept healthy, and given plenty of love. The rewards are completely worth it, and my kids have so much love to shower on a sweet pup. Now, to convince the hubby...

 photo c44d9eee-e722-4c7c-8035-483a6e49f131.png

BLOG DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS