Archive of ‘Home’ category

Magnolia Market

This Friday we went to Magnolia Market for Spring at the Silos.  It was packed busy, but a lot of fun.   My mom went with us and ended up surprising me with a few small things for the kitchen.  The kids loved the swing and the food trucks but we didn’t have a chance to hit the bakery because the line was around 2 hours long.



At the end of the day, we headed back to the parking lot, only to meet up with Chip Gaines for a photo! He was so kind and happy to take a photo with us and introduced himself to each of the kids.  We are already planning our next trip back without kids!

Dresser Re-Do #2

One thing I don’t think I’ve ever paid retail for is a dresser. There are so many great, wood dressers out there with lots of life still in them, that just need a little loving.  I bought this dresser back in 2007 for B’s room. I picked it up off Craigslist for $5.

After a bit of sanding, and some stain, we ended up with this beauty…

It’s held up well over the years, and matched his toddler bed well enough, but once he got older and got a black twin sized bed, it looked out of place.
I always dread painting over stain (because I know what a headache it is to get that paint back off later, if you need it a different color) but I finally couldn’t look at his mis-matched furniture any longer. So it was time to Re-Do this dresser, again!

Last week I picked up some Black PolyShades and went to work on the dresser.

dresser2All I did was used some sandpaper I had on hand to rough up the finish a touch, and started brushing on the stain. Because it was so dark, it went on much like paint. Two Thin-ish Coats was all it took!


After leaving them out to dry for a while, the dresser was finished and ready to bring inside and replace the hardware..

dresser3Now it finally matches his storage and bed!

Now to decide which to refinish next… L’s dresser (which grossly mismatches her new bed) or the dining set (since I’m on a PolyShades kick right now)….


Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day everyone! The kids were both so excited for their Classroom Valentines Parties today.  We did homemade Valentines as usual, but this year the kids really wanted to do Rainbow Loom Valentines. Of course, that means Mommy was making a LOT of bracelets. I designed the cards in Photoshop and printed them at Kinkos. Not counting the cost of bands, I think I spent $10 on both kids cards? I used lingerie tape on the back (because we are mid-move and you work with what you’ve got) to attach little plastic bags I had on hand, to hold the bracelets.


(Don’t mind the bad finish on the table… That’s the dining set we just picked up to refinish for in the dining room.)

We also had to make boxes for their valentines, which is a new practice for me! I’m used to them coming home with a little gift bag full of their goodies! So we took to Pinterest and got some ideas.  B fell in love with the idea of a Minecraft box, so I did my best (but it’s still laughable), and L wanted “Anything with Elsa”.

Brendan’s is a character named Hero Brine? I guess

All I know is he wears a purple shirt and his white eyes glow (which makes for a really hard time photographing it)
Had I been in super-mom Mode, I would have grabbed a strand of battery operated Christmas lights and made his eyes really glow 😉 But this mama was running ragged, the night before these were due. I’m not thrilled with how it came out (because I’m a perfectionist) but he was stoked and said it was “AWESOME!” so game on.

Lily’s was a little easier.  We found some holographic looking paper that reminded me of ice/snowflakes, and tacked that on… then I printed out a pic of Elsa that my friend Stacie sent me. I had it laminated at Kinko’s for a whopping $2 so that I could glue it without the color running, or the paper wrinkling. Worked like a charm. I printed Olaf onto card stock too, but didn’t bother laminating him because I knew it wouldn’t take much glue to tack him down. The hills are frosted scrapping paper, cut into 3 different hill-like shapes and overlapped. On the sides, we wrote the lyrics of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” which you can’t see here.
Lily Valentine Box

I can’t wait to see what the kids bring home from their friends today! Hope everyone’s Valentines Day is wonderful!

Jewelry Storage

One of the last things I packed before we moved was my jewelry. I wear jewelry every. single. day. so the thought of going a week or more without any of it was not something I cared to experience.  In the new house, I had to find a way to organize my many long necklaces without them getting tangled, and I just needed them out of a box.  I decided to hang them in our master closet (which has more than enough wall space), which means only I would ever see them, let alone use them. Because of that, I decided my budget would be as small as possible, while still aiming for something cute and rustic.

I had an unused fence picket in the garage and a hack saw, so I got to work cutting the panel down to 32 inch lengths.  It made for 2 panels.  I had a box of white cup hooks on hand, and I picked up a tiny sampler can of the color stain I wanted to use.

I lightly sanded the two wood panels before staining them and banishing them out to the garage to dry.

Once dried, I measured in 2″ on each end of the first panel and placed a cup hook at each of those spots. From there, I placed a hook every 3-4″ between the two original hooks.

For the second panel, I placed them in between each of the top hooks, to leave room for the upper necklaces to hang down.

I then drilled pilot holes on each end of both pieces of wood, and nailed them into the wall. So far so good, and they are holding up nicely!

Necklace Hanger

If I had wanted to make them a little prettier, and was okay spending more money, I probably would have hit up hobby lobby to buy an assortment of vintage-inspired cabinet knobs, and would have used those to hang the necklaces off of.  The only downfall is that in addition to a greater expense, it would have allowed for fewer hooks, so each hook would have been more “cluttered” with jewelry for me.

As is, this project cost me about $2.70. Not too shabby! If you don’t have any of the items on hand, you should expect to spend about $2-3 on wood, $4 on cup hooks, and $2-3 on stain.


We are finally in the new house!

What a whirlwind the last nearly-week has been.
I’ve contemplated, multiple times, updating our blog to share what has happened so far, but honestly, it felt daunting.
Our whirlwind of wonderful chaos started on Friday. We woke up Friday morning in time to feed and dress the kids before shuffling them off to school. Our Walk through for the house was at 10:00 so we had some time to kill.
We went back to the house and wrapped up a few boxes that were partially packed, and grabbed some Starbucks before heading out to the house for the walk through with the builder.
before closing
The walk through went perfectly. Only very minor issues needed addressed (a spot on the wall needed the paint touched up, an area on the mirror needed the caulking fixed, etc). We fixed those and re-keyed our doors as we headed over to the Title Company for our closing appointment.
final walkthrough
Our Realtor, Alex, had met us at the house for the walk through and followed us over to the closing appointment. We waited for a few minutes before both of our Loan girls came out to congratulate us. It’s funny to be how when we see the people we worked with in this process, it feels like seeing family. Our Loan girls both called us the day of our final approval, together. They had met in one office, put us on speaker, and cheered with us when we found out. They were nearly as thrilled as we were, and that felt great. On closing day, they came over, hugged us, told us how excited they were, and that if we needed anything – “Really, Anything!” – to give them a call. It was only a few more minutes before we walked back into a small office with our contracts and sat down to sign, what felt like, our lives away. The closer was very sweet, and she excused herself for about 15 minutes to file the paperwork and get the loan funded, during which time we sat in the office with Alex and exchanged funny stories and tales of the great post-Christmas deals we’d each gotten.
closing appointment
Once the load had funded, we were congratulated by a handful of people before we headed back to the house to pickup our keys. We met Rob, our sales guy, at his office where he gave us our keys, and then followed us over to the house. While there, we met with the rep for the local security service – and boy was I blown away by what they offer! – and chatted with Rob for a few minutes. The cleaning crew was there, vacuuming carpet and washing windows in preparation for us to move in that weekend.
cleaning ladies
The girls had been let in by the builder when he was changing the locks, and didn’t have a key to lock back up, so we figured that when we came back after carpool (more on that later) we would lock up.  This is when we hit our first blip. While at the house we asked about our garage door openers. All three of us were confused when we walked out into the garage and realized that there was no garage door opener installed… Only then did we realize that a garage door opener was an upgrade (which we obviously didn’t pay for since we weren’t aware) and we would need to go buy one on our own.  Not a huge deal, but just funny to realize that we bought a beautiful new house with a two car garage… and a garage door we couldn’t open without climbing out of the car, running inside to unlock the garage door by hand, lifting it by hand, and running back out to get back in the car. You’d think in this day-and-age that would be standard. So off to home depot we went. Not just for the garage door opener, but also because we had been waiting to buy our fridge until after closing. The upside was that the fridge was on a 10% sale (on top of the already discounted price), but the downfall was that buying on Friday meant that our delivery would be scheduled for the next Tuesday… and we would be without a fridge for 4.5 days… with two kids. Yikes.
home depot
This is when things started to fall apart, bit by bit. While at home depot, our sales guy started to place our order on the back register by the appliance area.  After everything had been input, he realized he couldn’t process our payment there and had to take us to the front of the store. Once at the front of the store, the register girl had to wait for a manager to come by and approve the 10% discount. We were there for about 30 minutes before everything was placed and in process.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal? Just wait, it’s coming later.

At this point we were running a little late for heading home… We had a plan to go load up the car, pick up the kids from school and take them to the new house to have a dinner picnic in the living room before Patrick had to leave for work.  We had talked to my Dad about this plan, and my Dad offered Patrick his commuter car to take to work, which would leave the truck available for the evening. The plan was that after we had dinner with the kids and unloaded, the kids would head to their Dad’s for the night, and my Dad and I would run at least 1 truck load of boxes to the new house in the truck. That didn’t happen though, because on the way to the house for the dinner picnic with the kids, the commuter car died leaving Patrick stranded and without another car to drive to work.
broken down car
We ran back and picked up Patrick while my Dad waited for AAA to come tow the car.  Got Patrick home just in time for him to get ready for work and put a few more boxes in my car. At this point it was 5pm, and it finally dawned on me that the house was STILL unlocked from the cleaning crew, and we had already dropped off a few boxes earlier that day. I knew I needed to get over there ASAP to lock up and shut off lights, so I left the kids with Patrick knowing he had to leave for work in 30 minutes and the kids Dad would be by to pick them up in about 15-20 minutes. I hustled back over to the new house only to realize that the cleaning crew had left, literally, every single light on in the house, and the air conditioner was pumping in the already ice-cold house. I shut everything down, turned up the heat a little, and unloaded by car before heading home.

The next morning Patrick and I were up at 5:30am to finish packing the last few boxes we had, before we had to pick up our U-Haul at 9am. We took two cars over to the new house, both loaded down with boxes, to meet Patrick’s cousin who had graciously agreed to help us move.
moving morning
The boys (Patrick, My Dad, and Patrick’s Cousin, J) unloaded both cars and hopped in the truck before heading over to U-Haul to pick up our trailer. Once they arrived there, they were told that there was no reservation on file for us, never mind the confirmation email I had received after placing my reservation online. They luckily had a trailer on hand, and quickly got the guys all set up so they could head over to our storage unit.  The storage boxes filled up our trailer quicker than we expected, so they had to make a drop off at the new house before they could clean out our unit, or head back to the house to get what was waiting there to be taken. Meanwhile, my friend K and her husband S and I were loading up my SUV and theirs with small boxes before heading over to the house. I had to be there before 1pm for the AT&T installation appointment.  K and I grabbed lunch on the way over and got to the house in time to unload before the guys got there with the U-Haul full of boxes from the house.
moving morning kristi
While unloading, the AT&T guy came by to start our install. In about a 7 minute span, the AT&T guy was spinning in circles saying over and over again how our house was wired wrong and he couldn’t install, Patrick realized it was 1:30 and he had to head out for work, and a Pizza Delivery guy came by with a delivery from “Dave” saying “Welcome to the Neighborhood”. It took a few minutes to asking questions to realize the pizza was from my brother Dave, in Pennsylvania, and I quickly sent Patrick off to work with a few slices to eat on the way.
moving morning pizza
Meanwhile, Mr. AT&T was being entirely unhelpful, pacing through my house, loudly chanting about how “There’s no wires” and “You don’t want me to wrap the house”. I was at the end of my rope. I finally just had to walk away, because his defeatist attitude was bringing me down hard. After about an hour and 15 minutes of acting like this was the only house in the history of ever to be wired in such a way that Internet and TV were impossible, he finally figured out how to handle it (after a visit from our Builder) and got to work. Once we were entering hour 4 of him working on the wiring, My Dad realized we were running out of time to make our last trip to the storage unit and old house, and offered to take the trailer out, go load up some stuff, and meet us at storage when we were done at the house (after AT&T guy left). We agreed and sent him on his way.  Mr. AT&T left about an  hour later, and My Mom and I were loading up and preparing to head out to meet my Dad…. when we realized we had no keys. My Dad had accidentally taken the keys for the only car we had (my Mom’s car) so we were stuck… This is where it might be helpful to know a few things. Patrick wouldn’t be home from work until around midnight, and we had intended on making one more trip from the old house…. so I had no blankets, no pillows, no pajamas, no shampoo, hair dryer, or clothes for church the next morning. No food (other than the few remaining slices of pizza), drinks, nothing to work on (because half of the bed we were trying to assemble had been left in the storage unit). We also didn’t have the dog, who needed to be taken out soon, a charger for my phone or iPad (both of which were at or below 11% battery), and we were still figuring out the heating vents to get the heat even (my bedroom was a sauna, the living room an icebox). This mama was hungry, cold, tired, and irritated. My Dad came back a little earlier than he  would have otherwise, thankfully, because He couldn’t get into my storage unit without me (and my key), so that saved us a little time. So in 25 degree temps, I ran outside with no coat and started to help them unload the trailer he brought back.  Thankfully my Dad had spotted a coat of mine at the new house and brought it back for me, so I bundled up and we quickly unloaded the trailer, before we piled into my Moms car to head to her house. We had settled on a plan that my Dad would drive the truck/trailer home while Mom and I drove her car home. I would stage everything that still needed to be brought to the house, and Patrick would come pick me up from there around 11:15 after work, and would pack up everything I had staged. That part of our plan went down exactly as scheduled, and we made it home around 12:15AM. The next morning we were bound and determined to go to church, as it was the first week of a new series titled Freeway, which went hand in hand with our church-wide Bible Study every small group was doing. We got up early and headed out to church and were surprised on our way home when we got a text from my Parents saying they had already loaded up our stuff at the house and storage unit and were on their way to the house. They unloaded and we cleaned up and unpacked a few boxes before they headed out for the day. Patrick had to work at 1:30, so our time was limited, but we grabbed lunch and I spent that night getting our bedroom in order so Patrick wouldn’t come home to a maze of boxes. On Monday the kids came over in the morning before school and finally got to see the house for the first time since before the carpet had been installed. They had fun exploring all the rooms before we headed out for school. On Monday I got a call from Home Depot letting us know that our delivery date was wrong. Remember that 30 minute delay we had? Yeahhhh, turns out that in that 30 minute timeframe, someone at another store nabbed our Tuesday Delivery day, and we had to be pushed back to Wednesday. This mama was not a happy camper, and the fact that the girl who called was rude only made it worse. Thankfully the rest of our week has been pretty smooth… Patrick had bible study on Tuesday night and I had it Wednesday morning… the fridge was delivered on Wednesday while I was gone, and Hayden’s Trundle bed came on Wednesday morning as well.
new fridge
So it appears maybe we are out of the “Can one more thing go wrong?” woods for a while. *knock on wood* The house looks wonderful, and I had the chance to photograph a friends newborn baby in my office here yesterday, which was fun.

hallway decor

Today, it’s cold again. It’s been cold, but today it’s actually snowing, so we are having a down day in this house. We spent part of yesterday hanging décor around the house, and have a lot more to unpack and hang this week. But it finally feels like a home!!

Quick House Update 1/28/2014

Well, Our Final approval came back this morning, 24 hours earlier than expected. We should get a call this evening or tomorrow morning to schedule our closing appointment for Friday. That means it’s a done deal, we are good to go! I guess I can finally give my nerves a rest from worrying that something will fall through! We are so excited!!

Quick House Update 1/27/2014

Today we heard back from our Loan Processor that our Appraisal had come back, and everything was being sent to the Underwriter one last time for final approval. It will take about 48 hours to hear back, at which time it will go to the Closing Department to have the contract drafted and printed for our closing appointment on Friday.

Today we got our TV, Internet, and Electric all set up for switch over this weekend! It’s coming up so quick, we can’t wait!

Wreath Re-Do

My Mom has a pair of wreaths that she’s had for years and years and years. They’ve been used outdoors for as long as I can remember, so I’m sure you can imagine how weather-worn they are.  Their berries are less “glossy red” and more “exposed foam” than they once were.
This year she proclaimed that it would be their last Christmas, and they were headed for the trash can in January.  I can’t stand to see things be thrown away that are still totally usable, so I told her “give me a chance to fix them up”. Afterall, the most expensive part of wreathes are the wreath themselves, and those don’t get too torn up in the weather, just the adornments do.  She agreed, and we headed to Hobby Lobby to pick up some goodies.
Our original plan was some sprigs of berries and other Christmas-y Goodness, and a bag of pinecones, but given how close we were to Christmas the pinecones were gone and the sprigs were well picked over. So we settled on two boxes of potpourri mix, and 2 remaining sprigs of berries and golden foliage.
WreathProject (7)The potpourri was $13.99 a box, but was on sale for 50% off, so for two boxes we still spent $13.99.
The large flowers were $6.99 each, but were 50% off, so we spent $6.99 total.
The berries were $1.99 each, and at 50% off, we spent $1.99 total.
And the golden foliage was $2.99 each, and at 50% off, we spent $2.99 total.
Our total spent was around $26 + tax.

At home, I took her wreaths down and brought them inside. They were missing some pinecones and had several areas with glue that was left behind, unable to be removed.

WreathProject (1)
I removed the bow and all of the other pinecones, berries, etc.
WreathProject (2)Then set to work fluffing all the branches.
WreathProject (3)
I used the large flower to cover the most obvious glue-spot. This wasn’t glued in place, but was wrapped to the “frame” using wire.

WreathProject (4)The rest of the adornments were attached using a hot glue gun and copious amounts of glue.
WreathProject (5)small

The result was a vast improvement from what they looked like previously, and for $26 + tax, we fixed up both wreaths, and had plenty of potpourri left over.

WreathProject (6)

After / Before


Printable: Chore Charts

Today it’s in the low 30s here in Texas, and we have a “Significant Winter Storm” coming our way. For those of us in Texas, this means icing of the roads and potential for some snow.  That might not seem like much to some (heck, I learned to drive in a city that is consistently ranked in the top 5 cities in the country for snow fall each year!), but in this area, where local governments are grossly unprepared to manage icy roads, it can be extremely dangerous.
So aside from sending Patrick off to work for the day – since we don’t really have a choice in the matter – the kids and I are keeping ourselves cooped up in the house with the fireplace blaring and activities to keep us busy like movies, snap circuits, our WWUSA prgramming, and more.

So today’s post is going to be a quick printable for your family. Here goes!
About 3 months ago, I made the kids to a quick “to do” list on some scrap paper. Their lists included things like “pick up all the clothes in your room” and “put barbies/legos back in their place”. It was small, quick jobs that helped get us closer to that larger goal of an organized play area, without overwhelming them or causing bickering. To my surprise, they happily crossed off all their items and brought the lists back to me, begging for more ‘jobs’.

You want to help me more?! SURE! Here’s a load of laundry!

Another thing my kids love to do is use our home-made dry erase board to write/draw on, so I decided to combine the two, and make them each a cute, permanent fixture in their rooms to keep track of their responsibilities.

BrendanChart1 LilyChart1
Brendan’s is Blue/Grey to coordinate with his room colors, and Lily’s in Pink/Brown to go with hers. We included a few blank lines to fill in responsibilities that might occur once in a while (or even just once) but aren’t common.
The chores listed on each one are representative of what we expect of them based on their ages and our current needs, so feel free to edit the downloadable PSD file to make the chore list better suit the expectations you have for your kids. You can also easily personalize each one with your child/s name in Photoshop.
I printed ours at Kinko’s as an 11×14, trimmed the excess paper off using their table-top paper cutters, and  then framed them in the ultra cheap document frames from Hobby Lobby or other craft stores. Quick and easy!

Charts1You can download the PINK CHART HERE and the BLUE CHART HERE.

If you enjoy this printable, please consider pinning it on Pinterest or sharing on facebook! Thanks!

Easy Come, Easy Go

The funny thing about the process of house hunting is how fast your news can change.

Immediately after my last post, we went and looked at the houses from that post.

previous prospects

Our fist choice house turned out to have a contract written on it the night before we could see it. Our second choice was a quick no, once we realized it was nothing more than creative photography that made the living room look so spacious. And the third, well that one was interesting. We got there and were impressed by the house from the outside…. more so than we expected to be, actually. Yet when we got to the door, the key didn’t work! We hope to come back to this house at a later time, but don’t have a appointment scheduled yet. With our list significantly shortened, I begrudgingly suggested another house.  A house we both loved the outside of, but weren’t too fond of the living room in.  Sure enough, once we got in we realized that the “oddly laid out living room” was really just another unfortunate product of poor photography skills. The house was stunning.

So, I intended to log in this morning and share how we had put an offer on a beautiful house. 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2600 square feet.  It was beautiful with upgrades such as heavy, decorative iron doors, custom bathrooms, and designer light fixtures. We submitted our offer and crossed our fingers. Our offer was fair, and included a bit more than asking, with the request that they pay part of closing costs.


Unfortunately, today we received their counter offer which told us loud and clear that they were unwilling to take 1cent less than their asking price, or pay 1cent towards closing. While we loved the house, we had our own hesitations on it, and ultimately decided to walk away from the deal.

While it was a hard decision, and one we definitely didn’t take lightly, I’m content in knowing that we made a smart decision.

There were a few functional issues with he house that we weren’t fond of.

1.) There was an awesome finished playroom over the attic, but it only was accessible through one of the secondary bedrooms.  That room couldn’t be made into the baby room or the kids wouldn’t be able to play in there while a baby sleeps, but I also don’t want to referee the battle over which kid gets that room. Not to mention, having to keep the room unavailable for impromptu, unchaperoned 2am play times.

2.) All those fancy upgrades??  While it was all beautiful, when we really sat down and talked about it, it wasn’t the style we were dreaming of for our first home. We picture less heavy wrought iron and more bright white with great lighting… so we would have been ultimately paying 30 years of interest on an up-charge for the upgrades we didn’t love, and would eventually replace. Not a smart choice.

Pictures found on Pinterest

Pictures found on Pinterest

At the end of the day, though, the decision really boiled down to what was right for our family. Our primary goal is to be sure that we can easily pay our mortgage, make upgrades to the house as we go along, and still live our lives – complete with dinner dates, movies, cupcake runs, etc. Those are the activities we aren’t willing to sacrifice in exchange for a bigger or fancier house. So, onward we go…. And we start compiling our next list of houses to see…

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