August 8, 2016

Dining Room Before & After (Old House)

I've been in the new house for about 10 months now, it's finally starting to feel like 'home'.  I firmly say that I love the new house and neighborhood and though there are things I miss about the old house, on the whole I don't miss being there like I did at the beginning.  So those are all great things!

Before I begin blogging too much about the new house I want to wrap up the old house with a few rooms that I never got around to featuring.  It's funny to me how hindsight is always 20/20.  There were always spaces in the old place that never felt done or felt like I needed to redo or tweak them more.  I'm not going to bash our old style too bad because we used our spaces well and thoroughly enjoyed the life we had in them - which if you ask me is the true measure of a home, no matter how 'styled' and well put together they really are.

I feel so silly writing this post!  Clearly it isn't stopping me too much since I'm going through with it. I just feel like I need to 'preserve' it here on the blog for prosperity.  So here we go, let's start with a pretty world class 'before':

Dining room with two tone floral wallpaper and coordinating border
With our first house we inherited rooms full of floral wallpaper.  Sadly this wasn't the worst wallpaper in the whole house, and honestly it wasn't the first room that we planned to pull down (that would have been this one), but on moving day a dear friend of ours saw a seam of loose paper on this wall and riiiiiiiped it down!  And thus, makeover #1 was on the books!

I never hated this room, but it never felt quite right to me either.  Looking back now I see all the reasons why.  We chose and bought the paint in the store, we chose the wrong finish, we decided to stain all of the outlet/light switch covers (still not sure why we did that), the curtain rod and curtains were bought on clearance and were okay...but not a wow.  The table was purchased in the excitement of new house buying before we moved in and so was a little big for the room and we never found chairs that we loved to go with them so we always used these mismatched ones from our wedding (11 years in and they are still in use).  The light we bought from a big box store (our first foray into changing out light fixtures) and in retrospect is not something I'd choose again.  But we got the wallpaper down (WALLPAPER!!!! GRRR) and paint up and spent a fair amount of time updating the space and in the 9 years we lived there it was good enough.

In staging the house for listing we took out the small buffet and replaced our dining table with an oval table.  I'm not sure how but the room felt smaller.  Our house sold fast but we lived with the staged version for about 2 months before moving and after living with less furniture in there it is kind of funny to think that we had all of that in such a small room!  Here is the listing picture to give another look at the space as well as a few more pictures of it without the small buffet and with the round table.

So that's the reveal of a room that we no longer live with and that I was ready to redo :)  In total I lived with the space in a variety of forms (but always with the flat Havana cream-yellow) for 9 years.  I was ready to redo it by then, how long does it take you to feel like your rooms need a refresh?

June 8, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Birthday Party

My baby is getting ready to turn 5 in a few weeks.  I literally can not wrap my head around FIVE.  I just keep turning it over and over in my head wondering how it has went so fast.  (And then I read this by Katie and this by The Nester and I basically just sob because it never stops.  Parenting is so lovely and strangely hard. #bittersweet)  Anyways, back to the point at hand - Ninja Turtles!  When my nearly-5 baby was nearly-4 he desperately wanted a TMNT birthday party.   Because I take a long time to process my thoughts and am a terrible blogger who doesn't post things anywhere online in a timely fashion this post is a year late.  But somehow it feels ok to share this party in honor of his upcoming birthday, which I know makes no sense to anyone but me.  #thatsok

I love, love, love being a boy mama.  I love the loud, dirty, wrestling around, skinned knees-ness of boys.  But one of the things I struggle with HARD are characters.  Oy, the characters.  And boy characters pretty much all follow the same themes - they fight, they defeat bad guys, they have super powers &/or are weird.  So when TMNT came up I fought it.  I am fighting the good fight for all of us character-disliking mamas out there - and I am epically losing.  Bleh.  So when this came around as the toy/character of choice I decided that I would be ok with the fun-happy-silly turtles of the 80's, not the mean, aggressive, grunting TMNT of 2014.  (I'm hoping that I'm not the only mother out there who has grossly over thought this.)

But I digress.  So, how about if I actually talk about the party?  After over-analyzing if we should do this theme or something else I knew that our kiddo would love it the most and we went for it.  Honestly I had no idea how to make it fun.  I wanted it to be interactive and not just a lot of cutesy decorations. I decided pretty early on that I needed a few basics to do this party.

Pretty simple, right?  This party was very easy to set up.  We created a maze that had Turtle silhouettes on foam core at the entrances.  The maze was made of plastic electrical conduit that was cut in thirds, Dollar Tree pool noodles, and crepe paper streamers.  The whole maze cost around $20.  We had clothes line poles at our last house and we hung balloons at varying heights from the clothes lines.  That was the biggest hit of the whole party with the kids!  At the entrance of the maze we set up a tub with foam swords (also from the Dollar Tree) and DIY TMNT masks.  We didn't have many girls at the party but I can attest that the boys LOVED the swords and fighting the balloons.  Those things didn't stand a chance!  If you are throwing your own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed party this is the one thing that you have to do!

I wish that the pictures of the yard weren't so blown out.  But that's what happens when you have to shoot in full sun, you get the harsh sun/shade shadow.  To do the maze take your 10 foot electrical conduit and cut it into 3 pieces with a saw.  Then take a rubber mallet and tap them into the ground.  Slide your pool noodle over the tubing and then wrap the paper around streamers around different sections of the noodles making 'walls'.  Seriously, the possibilities are endless with this idea.  For the turtle silhouettes I picked up the black foam core from the Dollar Tree (#unofficialsponsor) and had my friend from Sprinkle The Kindness make me the turtle silhouettes.  She also cut the letters for the Happy Birthday sign behind the cupcake/gift table.

The rest of the party was just as simple.  I did paint the TMNT peg dolls for the cupcakes, but those were mostly for me because I thought it would be cute (my son declares that he 'hates peg dolls') and I wanted to do them.  For something similar you could look for something on Etsy or just use smaller figurines.  I had grabbed the green 'Pizza' banner after Christmas because I had a sneaking suspicion I would end up doing a turtle party.  I used some striped washi tape to spell 'Pizza'.  I used a scrap piece of wood to make a 'Mutagen' sign for a batch of green punch.  

And that's that!  If you are planning a TMNT themed party what are your plans for the day?  

Looking for more birthday party inspiration?  You might enjoy these too:

March 23, 2016

New House 'Befores'

I've been in the 'new' house for almost 4 months now and I feel like I can finally say that I'm ok with it.  Apparently I don't do change well.  It took me almost 3 months to get to the 'ok' point but once I got there things started clicking for me.  In the beginning every time I looked around all I could see was a roadblock, and it seemed like every time I meagerly attempted a project something came up that stopped me.  But now I am feeling inspired and ready to start tackling some things around here.  The only question is to decide where to begin!

Since I never really showed off this house today I'm going to show off all of our 'before' pictures.  As a little bit of background our house was built in the late 70's as the model home to our neighborhood.  (Side note: I'm LOVING our new neighborhood!  It's small, friendly, and walkable!)  Lots of people have said that the house doesn't look like my style - and I admit that I was very afraid of that (I still kind of am) but I have always like this style, I just never had a reason to explore it before - now I do.  The house was occupied by a family whose patriarch was a self-employed graphic artist for 30+ years, which just makes me feel like this house has good vibes.  I'm pretty sure that the majority of the house has not been updated since it was built (except for a few things here and there, certainly no over-hauls) so we will have lots of room to put our own stamp on this space in the future.

These are the listing photos so they show all of the previous owners furnishings and decor.  There are a lot of things I am itching to change but I'm not going to knock their choices, they were perfect for them.  Now it's time to set about making this place our house! It's hard for me to not interject a paragraph in between each photo with everything that is on the to-do list, but those things will come over time.  I will say tho that that family room has already gotten some changes (it's amazing what a coat of paint and carpet will do to a space!).  I think I've come up with a loose-whole house plan that is going to work and I'm excited to see some of those things happen in the near future.

Have you moved homes?  What did you this was the most challenging part?

January 29, 2016

Valentines Day Family Party (2014)

Well I couldn't help but start this blog post with that picture because seriously, those faces.  See these little baby munchkins?  These are the kind of pictures that grab at a mama's heart and never let go.  This was our Valentine 2 years ago (yep, I'm that kind of blogger - late!) when H was just a few months old and our Davis was 2.  BABES.  Chris and I got this picture and knew we'd better stop while we were ahead because this was just too perfect.  I found this free 'LOVE' PSD overlay on Pinterest and the simplicity of it was too much to resist.  

The same year as we did this picture, Davis hosted a Valentines party.  He was just old enough to kind of grasp the idea and he was ALL IN.  At the last minute he even put on a sport jacket on his own free will.  I can't make this stuff up people.  This kid was born with the hospitality gene because he loves to have people and arrange parties and stuff.  It's adorable and hilarious. 

We basically decided about a week before Valentines day to host this party so we didn't do invites and it was all pretty basic.  Which is just about all you need for a little family stuff Valentines party.  We cut up some paper hearts and I think we made a simple banner.  We decided on some minute-to-win-it games that were really fun (men get into competition no matter what the game).  

These pics are pretty rough - I will never paint a room yellow again.  This was the first room Chris and I ever decorated and we chose the paint at the store (mistake).  I don't think it read bad in person but it did make the room a lot harder to photograph.  Of course not using some sort of external light while photographing at night in a yellow room *probably* isn't a recipe for success anyways, today I'm going to blame the yellow paint.  ;)

Pretty basic set up - a light dessert bar with a chocolate fountain.  The dining table was set for games.  We did a few games with conversation hearts, including one that seemed to be a hit where you were paired together and had a minute to stack as many hearts together as you could.  The other fan favorite was trying to fly an airplane into the heart 'target'.  Sarah got a pretty great action shot of that one below from her phone.  I love how serious all of the men are!

I kind of remember thinking right before people walked in the room that I should take a few pictures of the set up.  Oops.  So this is what I have to show for my efforts.  (Yes I know I photograph details for a living.  You can totally tell in these pictures can't you?!)

That's my main mister there in the middle.  Love that guy.

My little mister was such a great little host that night!  After the party his dad made sure to take some pictures of the two of us (Happy Valentines to me!).  I adore these, he looks so proud!

What are your Valentine plans?  Do you ever do silly things like this with your family?

January 25, 2016

A Mustache Valentine - Repost

For a short time I briefly started a family blog.  Then I realized I really wanted to come back to this blog.  From time to time I pop in and repost something I wrote at the other blog.  (Confused yet?!)  This was my oldest Mister's 2nd Valentines day and I felt inspired to decorate the house up for the day of love.  Since Valentines Day is just a few weeks away maybe you'll be inspired to dig out all your red too!

Little Valentine

I don't know what got into me this year but out of the blue I decided to decorate for Valentines Day.  I've never done it before, in fact I can't remember ever decorating for any holiday other than in the fall/winter.  Mom and I were out at Good JuJu and I found the funniest little pillow cover.  It was sitting around the house taunting me with it's cuteness.  So I packed up the little dude, bought fabric, came home and sewed a few coordinating pillows.  Then I shopped the house and pulled together a few more items and suddenly we were in the Valentine spirit!  The polka dots, bunting, and pops of red have been so fun peeking out at us.  I am going to be sad when it has to be packed up!

I had been wanting to take some photos of D wearing a mustache for Valentine's Day to send out to our family members.  Luckily Sarah and I caught him in a good mood - we got the cutest pictures of him.  Though the mustache wasn't much of a hit we did get lots of good smiles - especially when Auntie tickled and bribed with cookies!

Oh man I love this kid! 
 Happy Valentines Day!

Seriously how has this been almost 3 years ago?!  Where has my baby went?!?!