Cozy favorites

CozyLiving in Wisconsin, I’d like to think I know a thing or 2 about staying cozy, and keeping warm. As for relaxing, that I need to work on. Although I don’t have a whole lot of extra time to relax anyway, well more like never, it is something that I am really bad at. My husband and I are opposites in this way, and I am fully aware of juuusst how much it irritates him that I can never sit still. When I do get a chance to kick my feet up, I always feel like there is something else that I should be doing. Oh I dunno like ALL of the to-do lists. I am working on it though! Especially now that the Christmas season is in full swing, and our calendar is jam packed, momma needs to de-stress. These are some of the things I run, not walk to, when I want to cozy up and [try to] relax.

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A good book: Reading has always been my go-to way to relax and a favorite hobby of mine. Right now I’m reading Where’d You Go Bernadette (I know, I know, I’m the last person on earth to read it), and on deck is Longbourn, then a million Emily Giffin novels.

My Netflix favorites: Seriously (every time I say seriously I think of my dad because he mocks me saying it all the time. Apparently I say it a lot? Who can be sure? Seriously) my favorite part of the day is climbing under the covers and catching up on my shows, with Ralph and snacks of course. I look forward to it from the moment I get up in the morning. Does that make me a bad mom? I love my kids and my time with them during the day, but I also love when the house is quiet and I can have something to entertain me besides block towers, and lego cities. Some days this is the only time Ralph and I have together, alone, well sort of…there is usually a baby crawling all over us but still. Some of my our favorite things to watch are Gilmore Girls, House of Cards, The Mindy Project, Brooklyn 99, Parenthood, Call the Midwife. Right now they have all kinds of crazy good movies on Netflix too.  Youve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, An Affair to Remember to name a few. And you can never go wrong with classics like Scrubs or The Office. We laugh harder every time we watch those shows over even though we’ve seen them all 20 times.cozy (4)

A cozy pair of slippers: I have tried many a slippers in my day, and these Uggs are the best. As soon as the kids are off to school I slip back into these babies. What’s great about them is they have a hard rubber sole on the bottom, so they are supportive enough for us high arched ladies to wear all day long.

A warm cup of tea: My husband is into looseleaf tea and he always makes a big pot in the afternoon for us. Our favoite place to get loosleaf tea from is Adagio, and right now we are loving masala chai.

My oils: I know I talk about them a lot, but they are a huge part of my daily life. I keep the diffuser running throughout the day, but particularly when I am trying to relax. My favorites to diffuse for a calming atmosphere are lavender, peace and calming, and ylang ylang.

Pinterest: Planning is relaxing to me. Does that make me weird? Probably. Definitely. My happy place is my laptop open to Pinterest, my house planning binder open on my lap, and my favorite pen (nerds unite!) ready to do some list making. Its probably ironic that making lists is relaxing to me, because when I am done searching around Pinterest,  I have made my to do list even more giant with things I probs don’t need to do. The Pinterst curse. But so many good things!

Snacks: I try to eat healthy snacks all day long to keep me going, so at night I like to treat myself with some real good junk food. Obviously not the greatest time to indulge but HEY, I’m still breastfeeding and eating for two…errr….yeah. Dreading the day I can’t say that anymore. My favorite snack at night is my trusty box of Candy Cane Joe Joes from Trader Joes, and a very large glass of cold milk.

An oversized knit sweater: Like this one I’m wearing from Gap, which is unfortunately not available anymore. It was from their Made in America line back in the fall, which was AHHmazing. Here is a similar one from AE that looks super cozy and adorable. Poncho sweaters are another comfy option I love this winter. I love them because they are easy to lift up and nurse Lucy, plus they hide my extra baby weight. These are the two I have and wear a lot. This poncho from H&M. This poncho from Old Navy.

A comfy bed spread: I have bought so many darn bedspreads, comforters, and duvets its insane. I have yet to come across the perfect one, but I am simply swooning over this bedding from Parachute Home right now. This might be it! I want to jump in that fluffiness right now. This is what I am saving all of my monies for right now, for real.

Cozy (2) Cozy (1)Thanks Ralph for taking these silly photos of me and making me laugh, as always. Next stop: ANTM LOLS.

 

Wishing that you all take some time to cozy up and relax with your family this Christmas season. Thanks for reading!

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DIY Flocked Christmas Tree

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Decorating for Christmas is a passion of mine…errrr more like an obsession. And it seems every year I start earlier and earlier, much to Ralphs’s dismay. He keeps saying “It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!” Thanksgiving is super late this year…so yeah…well go with that. I put so much time into decorating for Christmas that I want to enjoy it for as long as I can, mmmmkay? And I am totally the day-after-Christmas-all-the-decorations-come-down lady.

When we moved into our new house and realized how much space we had, I had dreams of lighted garlands everywhere, a Christmas tree in every room, and basically just Christmas lights everywhere.  Ahhhh, that glorious glow. We never had room for more than one tree in our other house, and honestly, we barley had room for that one. But it was cozy and pretty, and I wont go down that sappy road because somedays I miss our humble abode so. Anywho…back to all the space we are blessed to have! I also dreamed of having a flocked tree in our new house, because, durrr. Flocking is just wonderful and so beautiful, I am a huge sucker for that sparkly, snowy, white goodness. Everything is better with a little fake snow on it I say. After looking around, I found some flocked trees that I loved, but I decided I was never going to pay 400 dolla dolla bills for a fake Christmas tree. I am way too cheap for that. Then I remembered we had a hand-me-down-tree in the basement from my mom. I searched around online and found “bonding flocking snow” on Ebay. From there it was all trial and error, because I had no idea whatIi was doing.

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The results were amazing though, and the tree turned out even more fabulous than the ones I saw in the stores! We turned our plain, artificial tree, into a flocked beauty for $20! The tree was free, and the 2 lb bag of flocking snow was $20 shipped. I have seen a ton of trees thrifting that are $20-30 which would still be a huge savings, compared to the $400 flocked trees in the stores. I promise you it’s really easy to do, just a tad bit messy.

So I don’t really even want to call this a tutorial because I had no idea what I was doing you guys. This is what worked for me and I hope it works for you! One thing you should know is that you probably will want to store the tree as is until you use it again. And by that I mean, I don’t think you could take it apart after flocking it… unless you want a huge, powdery mess. We are going to put a huge plastic bag over it and store it in the basement until next year.

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Here is what I did to flock my tree:

DIY Flocked Christmas Tree
Print
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lb back of bonding flocking snow
  • spray bottle
  • water
  • white spray paint (optional)
  • tarp
Instructions
  1. Start by putting down a tarp underneath your tree.
  2. You'll want to wear gloves and a mask while using the flocking powder so you don't breath it in.
  3. I sprayed a light layer of white spray paint over my tree first because I wanted it to turn out really white. This step is optional and not necessary. It all depends on how much green you want showing.
  4. If you choose the spray paint..wait until it dries and then you can start the flocking process.
  5. Start by spraying one small area of the tree at a time with water.I started at the top and worked my way around and down.
  6. Throw flocking powder onto the wet areas gently. You will want to throw it from the top down, so it looks like real snow would, falling down from the sky. It will clump and thats a good thing!
  7. Then spray water onto the branches that you just threw the powder on, to set them.
  8. Once the water connects with the flocking powder, it creates a bond, and will stick to the tree for about 5 years(thats what my package said)
  9. Continue to to do the rest of the tree and let it dry overnight.

 

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Lucille’s Nursery Tour

Lucille's nursery

When decorating a room, starting from scratch is so exciting but it also can be quite daunting and overwhelming when you are unsure of what direction you want for the room. It’s hard to picture the finished product when all you have to start with is a big, empty space. The process doesn’t have to be stressful though! Putting a room together should be fun and finding all the perfect little details that make the room work shouldn’t happen overnight. It takes time to shop around, especially with little ones at home. Shopping online is also helpful, but just make sure the place you order from has free return shipping.Things you may like online, might look completely different once you get them in your space. Places like West Elm, Overstock, and Wayfair always have really great sales and free shipping. I can’t tell you how many times a week I am running places to return things and dropping off packages at the post office. It is a process! Even when I think a room is finished I find myself constantly rearranging and adding new pieces. It’s a disease you guys. Our house will never be complete, much to my husbands dismay. Bless his heart!

For me, a room always starts from one piece and evolves from there. The hardest part of designing a room is finding that one defining piece. When I designed my son Jack’s room I really had no idea what I wanted for the space besides the fact that I wanted to incorporate the color navy, which is his favorite. One day I was browsing in a thrift shop and came across this brilliant, old, pirate ship that could hang on the wall. After bringing home that piece, I knew exactly what I wanted the rest of the room to look like. Jack and I had so much fun spending time searching for all the nautical details that really made his room special.

Lucille's nursery (7)As a mother of three boys you can only imagine how excited (and surprised) we were when we had our darling little girl, Lucille. As soon as Lucille was born I started dreaming of what her nursery would look like. After designing boy rooms for the last 6 years, I was pretty thrilled to finally get to design a room for a sweet little girl. I quickly found out, after doing some hardcore Pintersting, that I was not drawn to the typical girly, pink, glitzy nursery. You would think after all the boys I would want to go all pink everywhere…but that was not the case! I am not quite sure why this surprised me so much, as I am not a girly girl myself. My inspiration for this space ran dry after much searching online, so I decided to go back to basics. I needed to find my one piece. As soon as I found my piece, hopefully I would know the direction I wanted the room to take.
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I had seen a shop on Etsy that makes tassel garlands for over cribs, which, seriously how genius is that? I am always weary of hanging anything too heavy over the crib just in case it would fall, so this was a perfect idea. As I was looking through all the color schemes in the shop, I came across one that I loved. Just like that I had my piece. A gorgeous pastel mint, peach, and bold navy. Let’s not forget the gold. Everything in life needs to be gold is what I think. In fact I keep a bottle of gold spray paint in the basement juuusst in case of emergencies. So there it was, I found my perfect piece!

We have a local artist, Missy, that is helping us with all of our painting projects and she’s been here for so many weeks that we are total BFFs now. She is so creative and knows exactly what I like. I knew I wanted neutral walls in this room for a clean look, and also so the garland would pop, but I did choose a white color with a touch of pink in it to soften it up a bit. For a fun pop of color we did mint on the ceiling, and brought the mint down with a scallop edge. I love a clean, crisp room, but I also really love to incorporate vintage pieces into every room. The scallop around the top of the walls was inspired by a vintage wooden tray table I picked up a flea market. Missy cut a stencil for the scallop edge and took it all the way around the top of the walls. The challenge for this room was to keep it clean and feminine, while still giving it the vintage flair I wanted it to have. Sometimes I find that it’s hard to throw vintage pieces into a room without making it look junky. I bought a few vintage items that I ended up not even using in Lucy’s room because they just took away from the clean look I was going for.


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I wanted her name above her crib and I really wanted to do some kind of wooden letters but again, I was afraid to hang anything too heavy above my sweet baby girl. I asked Missy if she could paint her name above her crib with a few florals and a wee little blue bird. Didn’t she do an awesome job? Just as I envisioned it.

The crib and glider are the only pieces of furniture in the room I purchased new. The glider was my splurge, but honestly it is THE most comfortable chair in our entire house. I love rocking Lucy in it ever so much. I adored the earthy element of the fabric which has a burlap feel to it—plus it really tied in with the whimsical little animals I have going on in the nursery. The crib makes my heart flutter! Those beautiful spindles reminded me of antique furniture and I fell in love at first glance. I will take those little details over a modern design any day!Lucille's nursery (18)

The maternity canvas print I ordered from Shutterfly, and I just love it. I posted more maternity of my photos in this post here if you are interested. But seriously… Shutterfly has the best deals ever. If you are not already on their email list go sign up because I get coupons all the time, you guys. Also, I have ordered many canvas prints and they always produce by far the best quality. Lucille just had 6 month pictures this weekend wearing the same flower crown I wore in my maternity photos, and I will be ordering another canvas to hang next to the maternity one. So excited to add that to her room!

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The dresser was an incredibleCraigslist (think virtual garage sale that you don’t have to bid on) find, from a woman who donated all of her belongings to her church after she passed. The church was then selling them all to help a local couple pay for an adoption, a cause we were more than excited to support. Plus, isn’t that dresser just a beaut? Find of a lifetime and in mint condition! The little nightstand next to the glider was a rummage sale find that also came with a twin bed frame for when Lucy is a little older. Five dollars for the pair, score! I love everything about finding pieces from thrift stores. I love the hunt, the uniqueness of each piece, and most of all the price. This girl loves a good deal. For some people it may work best to go in with a set budget when you are decorating a room but I can’t really say that I go into a room makeover with a specific dollar amount I want to stay within. I will say though that most of the things I find come from second hand stores, so I do decorate on a budget, although I will splurge when it comes to a staple piece of furniture.


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The floral water color pillow is by Jenna Kutcher. I bought it some time ago without even having a place for it because, are you kidding me? It’s perfection. I think it was a gorgeous addition to Lucille’s room. The “I’ll love you forever” watercolor print is also from Jenna’s collection. The girl knows her way around water colors. All of the photos on the gallery wall are thrift store finds, some of them vintage, except the two pretty ones with Lucille’s name on them, those were gifts. After Missy painted the little bluebird on the wall I was inspired to add a little more whimsical animals into the nursery. The canvas bunny and fox prints were in the perfect color hues and I think they are quite adorable. Lucille's nursery (4) Lucille's nursery (10) Lucille's nursery (15) Lucille's nursery (17)Lucille's nursery (2)

I originally had pale pink curtains up and they looked pretty darn cute, but I just couldn’t do the pink. It was too much for me. I returned them and got these airy, white, ruffled ones that I like much better. We used a curved shower rod for the curtain rod for something a little different and more feminine. I am still contemplating that pink ruffle pillow I have sitting on the glider. What is my deal with pink? I think it just has to be the exact right shade or its no good. Who knows maybe I’m just a weirdo. And that beautiful Saint Lucille statue was given to Lucy by her great grandmother Marjean Estelle. Lucille’s middle name is Estelle which is after her great grandmother as well. Lucille's nursery (19)

So the room is “done” for now. I would eventually like to add a little reading nook in the area to the left of her crib. Maybe put some shelving on a toddler level, down low, and some comfy pillows for bedtime stories. I am on the hunt for a mobile for above the crib right now. I am thinking dream catcher esque, maybe with some feathers. I also like the idea of having little birdies having over the crib. We shall see. We are also going to be replacing the carpet in her room (eventually…because…so much dollas$), to something a little more neutral and soft. I also just ordered her the most adorable little stuffed fawn rocker! It will be a sweet little addition to her space. But we are so done for the time being, as we have many other projects to finish around the rest of our home. Also, our sweet little diva doesn’t even sleep in her crib yet, therefore no more time will be spent on her room until she gets it together. You hear that Lucy!!?? Hopefully that happens before she grows out of her crib…

 

 

Crib: Amazon, Crib skirt: Amazon, Teal throw pillow: TJ Maxx, Floral throw pillow: Society 6 by Jenna Kutcher, Bunny & Fox canvases: Target, Tassel Garland: HomemadexoJules, Kids rocking chair: rummage sale find (gifted), Glider: Target online in Elle Pearl, Saint Lucille statue: gifted, Mirror: thrifted, Shelves: thrifted, Ballerina framed photo: flea market find, Custom photo canvas: Shutterfly, Curtains: Target, Dresser: Craigslist find, Lamps: hand me downs

Paint colors: Ceiling: Reflection by Benjamin Moore #850 Walls: Alabaster by Benjamin Moore #876

All paining done by Melissa Norenberg of Artistic Designz

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A beautiful mess // house updates

Oh hey little, old blog of mine. Remember me? Apologies for the neglect.

Isn’t it funny how things change in life? I have always been somewhat of a planner. I like things orderly and I really like when things go according to my plan. Having children has forced me to lighten up a bit though. Now, having 4 kids, I have learned it’s a whole lot easier to laugh when things don’t go according to your plan instead of getting all worked up about it. There are still (many) times when I feel challenged to let things go, it is a nature that doesn’t just come naturally to me, I work really hard to be easy-going. Sometimes I find myself trying to calm myself down, and talk myself through a situation. God totally throws some hard balls my way and likes to remind me that His plans for my family are far better than any of my own plans.IMG_1572

{one of our updates was to paint all the oak built-ins in our living room navy and update the hardware}

The “plan” for this blog after Lucy was born was to never miss a beat, and just keep on posting somewhat regularly. I had seen so many women that I admire on the blogosphere do it before. So I prepped by finishing up posts ahead of time, and making lots of lists.  But as it turns out in life, and specifically in life with 4 little children, you can kiss any kind of “plan” goodbye. It seemed like one thing went wrong after another after we moved that prevented me from blogging. Not to mention just being at home with the 3 boys and an infant who nurses like it’s her last meal on earth every 2 hours. The days seemed to vanish away before they even started. Always so much to do, so many things to cross off our never-ending lists. For whatever reason the jump from 3 to 4 kids was SO HARD. And y’all moms that told me anything after 3 was no big deal are CRAZY. I was not prepared for this. I feel like I sort of… sometimes had it together when it was just the three boys, but now, HA, now I am the mom that forgets everything–including picking up other people’s kids from school (am I right Nicole! :/ ) 

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{my plate wall in progress in our kitchen}

Just a few things were keeping me busy in the past few months….

After Lucy was born we were showing our house, selling our house, packing up our house, moving into our new house. When we went through the house it seemed that all the paint colors were neutral, we had a few things in mind that we wanted to update but not much right away. Wrong-o! After moving in, of course that was not the case. All the walls seemed to be different shades of yellow or tan that just made everything look dirty. Every room needs at minimal, a few coats of paint.  Every light fixture replaced. Every outlet plate changed from yellow to white. All these little things really are little things, but when you have a family to take care of, they become big things that take up so much of your time. So little by little we are trying to make this home our own, without sacrificing our family time.  So far we have redone the entire kitchen, living room, 1 bathroom, dining room and Lucy’s bedroom. Luckily, we have  an incredible painter who has been helping us and she has been so flexible with our craziness at home.

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{this is the chandler of my dreams and I can’t believe it’s hanging in our kitchen. Ralph really enjoys replacing light fixtures…he will tell you he doesn’t, but he really does. }

Oh! Did I mention after we moved in we had NO internet for 4 months? Because that was a really fun time. I know it sounds a little snoody, and I do realize we are blessed to have been used to that luxury, but it was really hard.  First of all Ralph works from home and needs high speed internet. Also we don’t have cable, so Netflix is my lifeline with the kids somedays. There was no “hey kids, go watch TV for a 2 minutes so I can pee alone!” or, “How about you guys go turn on Curious George so I can brush my teeth today.” Our new house didn’t have any internet (besides Dish which was out of the question because it’s too slow to run Netflix and Ralph’s meetings), so we payed Charter to dig lines to our house. After that 4 month fiasco, I was so excited to get back to blogging. I was so ready and had so many ideas stored up that I just couldn’t wait to crack open my laptop and let the creativity flow. Plus I needed an outlet of my own. Something that didn’t involve, nursing, or diapers, or homework, or anything child related.  I opened up my laptop and started finishing up Lucy’s birth story. About 2 minutes in, I spilt my entire glass of water on my Macbook. I lost not only my new-er laptop, but everything…including Lucille’s birth story and lot’s of pictures that I hadn’t printed yet. I was heart broken and so bitter about it all. IMG_1568

{a little fall decorating–side note I have no idea how to decorate a mantel because I have never had one. Now I have 2 and I’m so clueless!}

I contemplated just throwing in the towel and shutting down my blog. When would I really ever have time anyways? How could I possibly just jump back in to blogging after skipping so many planned posts? Who would even want to read anything I wrote anymore because my life is such a mess? I can barley keep it together on a day to day basis with everyone’s school schedules and who needs to be here, when, where. I am no super mom. Moms aren’t going to be inspired by my mess. That night I was headed over to a girls movie night with some friends and we watched “Mom’s night out”. The movie incorporated our MOPS theme from last year in it which was, A beautiful mess. When I got home I couldn’t stop thinking about that message. I spent all night going through all my old posts, one by one. Starting from the beginning, where my pictures were terribly lit and I had no idea how to work my camera. I worked my way through recipes with typos, birthday posts, photograph improvements, and all the way to sweet Lucy’s birth announcement. My heart was so full of all the special moments I had shared and I simply couldn’t imagine never writing again. My life really is a huge mess and rarely do I have it all together. But it’s my mess. And it’s a beautiful mess. So here we go. Although I missed sharing a lot of big moments and tasty new recipes, I am jumping right back in (with a new Macbook in hand!) See ya when I see ya :)

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{this artwork hanger from IKEA is the best ever}

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Our space // bedroom

bedroomOur bedroom was the last room in the house that we decorated. Until about a year ago it was just a hodge podge of mismatched furniture and random décor. It never really bothered me too much though because I just love the coziness of our bedroom. Letting it go undecorated for a few years never really mattered to me. It is the perfect place to read a book in the afternoon when the kids nap, because of the great light, and the best space to pile in for family movies. It was time we gave the space a little loving though.  bedroom (8)bedroom (3) bedroom (7)The walls are a really subtle mint color, which I wanted to keep, and I knew I wanted to use navy for sure. The coral just kind of happened. The first thing I searched for was the perfect comforter. I found it at West Elm and it really is perfect; hand stamped, reversible, and light as a feather just the way we like our comforters. Unfortunately about a month ago, Liam painted his fingernails with red nail polish on our bed and dumped the rest of the bottle out on the comforter. If you look close you can see the spot. That was a rough day. I kept telling myself that it was only a “thing” and I shouldn’t be upset about it, plus I did leave the red nail polish laying out. But still! I searched for SO long for that darn bedding! We have tried everything and that stain isn’t coming out and of course they don’t make the bedding anymore. Anyway, a new comforter is on its way and Liam still walks the earth a free man. bedroom (2) bedroom (4) bedroom (5) bedroom (12)bedroom (17) bedroom (16) bedroom (15)bedroom (14)  add bedroom (1) add bedroom (2)

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Most other things in our bedroom are thrifted, although there are a few new items. I am sure you will notice that seems to be a theme in my decorating style: mixing old with new. One of my hobbies is searching through thrift stores and in the past few years I have been slowly trying to incorporate all my treasures into our space. However, I am also really drawn to the bold patterns of modern designs which is where the “new” comes in. I couldn’t be happier with the way our bedroom turned out and it was way fun to collect all the pieces that brought it all together. My favorite vintage item in our room is the wooden Pepsi crate that I keep all my make-up organized in on my vanity. My dad actually found this one for me, he is where I get my love for treasure hunting from, and it’s in really great condition. I love the way this crate turns the feel of my feminine vanity, a little more rustic.

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Before I forget, Ralph really wants me to mention the perfectly hung t.v. in our bedroom. He also wants you to know that I thought hanging a t.v. this size in our tiny bedroom was a horrible idea, but in time I began to love where the t.v was and even the size. As you can see it’s on a slanted wall, so when you lay down to watch a movie the angle is perfect and you don’t strain your neck at all. Once again, Ralph knows best. Seriously. bedroom (1)

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