Thursday, May 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday- May 2015

Whew, it's been a busy week since I've posted last. We hosted our family from out of town, Hubby and Little Man are both sick with a virus, and Little Girlie has pneumonia. :( Praying they all get well quickly!

Guess what? It's time for another What's Up Wednesday already! That last month flew by! 
Here's what's up with us! Join the fun and let me know what's up with you!

What we're eating this week...

I'm not sure. I have a couple different GI issues going on that are not going away, even with meds. I met with a dietitian today to try to figure out food triggers, since obviously I'm missing something. For the next two weeks, I'm on a strict diet for my GI issues to establish a baseline and try to get me healed up. Some of the foods I'm not allowed will not be missed, like the fruits and veggies. Ha! But, the wheat, garlic, and onion?! Yes, that will definitely be missed! Now to figure out what to cook that doesn't include those things... My dietitian gave me some recipes to start me out, thank goodness! 

What I'm reminiscing about...

My grandma, who means the world to me, lives in a nursing home 9 hours away. I hate that I can't see her more, but it sure made my day to get to talk to her on the phone on Mother's Day! (Thanks, Mike!) 

What I'm loving...

Last year, I asked you all what your favorite concealers were and got so many great ideas from you. Check them out here! I was using Bare Minerals, but it fell out of my purse and is gone forever. Sad! I decided to try out another concealer from the list this time. I picked up some Erase Paste from Sephora and, let me tell you, it's the bomb diggity if you have dark circles like me! I'm so happy with it! It gives a lot fuller coverage than the Bare Minerals. Try it out!

What we've been up to...

This past month has been so busy! We made a trip to DC, which was crazy, but fun! We didn't do much touristy stuff this time, but did hit up Potbelly's (my favorite!!!) and Ikea. :) 

Little Man finished school for the year. The year sure flew by! I'm so proud of him and so thankful he had such a positive and wonderful first school year!

We also finally planted our garden and went strawberry picking! Our little veggies are growing! I can't wait for the fresh zucchini! 

What I'm dreading...

This is silly, but I have a row of pictures to hang and I'm just dreading it! It's so hard to get them straight, especially since the hardware is in a slightly different spot on each frame. What is your favorite picture hanging trick?

What I'm working on...

I'm in the middle of a couple different projects right now! I just finished a fun project for the playroom that I can't wait to show you. I finally went out of my comfort zone and painted something a bright color! Stay tuned!

What I'm excited about... 

We sat down with Little Man yesterday and made a list of all the fun things he wants to do this summer. Play dates with friends, going to the beach, playing in the sprinklers are just a few from his list. It's going to be so fun! We started off our list today by getting an Icee! 

What I'm watching/reading...

Jeremy and I are still on our second time through The Office. We're on the last season right now, then, we are going to start The West Wing and watch those all the way through. I've also been obsessed with Flip or Flop! I've watched all of the episodes on Netflix. If only we had cable and I could see the new season! I love their designs and I'll totally admit that I also love Christina's wardrobe. Anyone else secretly get style tips from her?!

What I'm listening to...

I've loved the song Forever Reign lately. It's one of my favorites that we sing at church!

What I'm wearing...

I've been slowly trying to add some new pieces to my wardrobe for the summer. I hit up Loft for their store wide 40% off sale last week and picked up a tank and shorts that I love! The shorts are SO comfy!

What I'm doing this weekend...

We were planning to do a fun day trip this weekend, but since 3 of the 4 of us are sick, we are going to just stay close to home and take it easy. I have some projects to finish up, so hopefully I'll get those done!

What I'm looking forward to next month...

My friend Amy and her beautiful family are coming to visit in June! I can't wait! Here's a throwback photo of us from when we graduated college almost TEN years ago. How can it be 10 years already?!

I'll be back with a new project next!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Haggled Chandelier for the Win

Hope you all had a great weekend! I'm back to share the rest of our dining room lighting saga with you! If you missed the first part, you can catch up here

As a refresher, this is what we started with--loads of crystal and dark green shades. Not my thing! But, all of my favorite lighting fixtures had significant drawbacks or were way out of my price range. 
After a lot of searching, I finally found a chandelier last month that I liked at Lowe's for $169. I was super excited to find something for a reasonable price, but it was still too much money to spend right now, so it went on the to do list for another day. 

In the meantime, I planned to update our existing chandelier my removing the crystal and adding new lamp shades. Unfortunately, the shades would have been $45, which is a crazy amount to spend on a light I don't even like. Last week at Lowe's, after I had priced the lamp shades and decided to call off my lamp shade update, I decided to just walk past the affordable chandelier that I've had my eye on. 

Guess what?! It was on clearance for $84! I was really excited, but that excitement quickly came crashing down when they told me they had no more in stock. Ugg! The other stores in our area were out as well. The only one I could get was the floor model. 

I hated to pay the same price for a floor model as I would one new in the box, so I requested a discount. The store associate was not budging on the price at all. He kept repeating that he wasn't going to come down on the price since it was in perfect condition and was already on clearance. I did not think that he was being fair and was really torn about what to do. I let him wait a minute while I put on my best stoic face and continued to nicely explain my reasons why I thought he should come down on the price.

Ready for the exciting part?! He must have gotten tired of me, because he asked me how much I wanted to pay. I decided to go big or go home and straight up tell him what I wanted to pay and thought was fair, instead of trying to guess a "safe" price that I thought he would agree with. And it worked! I got the light I wanted for $65! Seriously people, that's $104 off! Crazy town! 

You should know, I am not usually a good haggler. I am fine with requesting a lower price, but when met with a lot of resistance, I usually will just walk away. But, I stuck it out and am SO excited to have a new chandelier to show for it! It has really motivated me to up my haggling game when necessary. ;) I, quite literally, danced in the driveway as we were unloading it. Haha! Aren't you glad you aren't my neighbor?!

Check it out!
I like that it is much simpler, but still formal enough for a dining room. It's traditional enough to go with our home, while being much more modern at the same time. 
The bronze matches perfectly with our kitchen and breakfast nook lighting and hardware.

I love the pillar candle look! The candles are glass and diffuse the light nicely, keeping the light bulbs from being too harsh.
Doesn't it look so much visually lighter in here without that heavy chandelier?!
Have you haggled for good deals lately? What is your best haggling strategy? 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Oh the Lighting Possibilities

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far! I have an unexpected dining room lighting update to share with you next week! But, before I dish out all the details of the update, I wanted to fill you in on the process first.

To jog your memory, this is the lighting fixture we are working with. It was gold in a previous life, but appears to have been spray painted bronze at some point. Personally, this chandelier is not my thing. All that crystal is way too fussy for my taste and the dark green shades weren't doing anything for me either. So, the search began for a new light...
When we first moved into this house, I was thinking of going with something like this to coordinate with our schoolhouse lights in the kitchen and breakfast nook. But, after thinking about it long and hard, it just wasn't my favorite look for a dining room and was way out of my price range.

I also seriously considered a light like this. I love the look! However, after seeing them in person, I realized it just wasn't bright enough for my light craving self. Maybe I'll find another spot for a light like this? This one is from Pottery Barn, but Lowe's and Home Depot have similar options for less.

Next, I fell hard for this chandelier I saw featured on Love Grows Wild. I about fainted when I saw the price tag, though! I started looking for similar chandeliers in a lower price point, but was unsure of how I would like the exposed bulbs. I decided to take all of the shades off of my chandelier to test how I would like the bare bulbs and hated how bright the bulbs were. That nixed a whole slew of chandeliers off of my list, as a good amount of chandeliers have exposed bulbs. 

I also really loved this style of lighting fixture. It's probably my all time favorite. But it's just a tad too rustic for my house at this point. It's gorgeous, though...and also way out of my price range. ;)

When I finally got my head out of the clouds and started shopping in my price range, I found this one that I liked. But, the candle parts are too yellow/amber for our dining room. Sigh. Why couldn't they be white? :(

Then, last month, I found a chandelier at Lowe's that I actually liked, was in my price range, and went well with our house! But, a new light was not at the top of our priority list, so took a picture and filed it away for another day. 

Knowing it'd be a while before we could spend the money on the light, I decided I'd do a quick update to our existing light by removing all of the crystal and replacing the green shades with white ones. I ran into Lowe's this week to grab new shades and was floored when I realized they were $5 per shade! I needed 9 shades, so there was no way I could justify paying $45 to update a chandelier that I didn't even like. 

Defeated, I started to leave empty handed, but just had to check on the chandelier that I liked first. I hate to leave you hanging, but this post is already way too long, so I'll share the rest of the story on Monday! Hint-- I literally danced in my driveway when I got home from Lowe's! ;)

Have a great rest of the weekend! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

A Place for the Shoes

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was delightful! As my Mother's Day gift, Jeremy cleaned the house while I was out drinking Starbucks and wandering around Target! He also assembled a piece of furniture and ordered pizza for dinner. Pretty much a perfect day in my book! :)

Want to see what he was assembling? A new shoe cabinet for the breakfast nook!
Our poor breakfast nook never actually sees a breakfast. I can't tell you the last time we ate in here. The breakfast nook serves as our mudroom. We pass through it a million times a day and everything gets dropped in here. It drives me batty!

The previous home owners built awesome coat hooks that we love and provide great storage for jackets and backpacks. But, while the backpacks and jackets may have a home, the shoes have overtaken the room. Our coat closet is down the hall and is the size of a bread box, so trying to store the shoes in there just hasn't worked. We do not wear shoes in the house, so the second we walk through the door, the shoes end up getting kicked off behind the door. Like so...
And this is a good day. Add a couple more pairs of shoes, a sprinkling of socks, and a bunch of tracked in leaves and dirt and you have it on a bad day. :/
A couple years ago, I found these shoe cabinets at Ikea and knew it was the solution to our shoe problem! They are only about 8 1/2" deep, so they don't take up much room. But, they pack a ton of storage! Bonus points--they're cute!
It may have taken two years to work this purchase up to the top of the budget priority list, but it's finally here and I love, love, love it!
We also purchased a runner for in here to catch the dirt on the way to the cabinet. I found it on sale for 20% off + an additional 5% off! I love the way the colors in the runner marry the cool tones from the living room/dining room and the warm tones from the kitchen/breakfast nook!
We eventually want to build a banquette in here to provide more storage and function, but in the meantime, I'm super happy with this new found function. Maybe I'll celebrate by actually eating breakfast in here? ;)

Linking up to Savvy Southern Style and many other awesome blogs!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Spring Peony Centerpiece

Happy Friday! Hope you all have had a great week! After I shared our traveling tips, we took off for a quick trip to DC to tag along with my husband on business. It was exhausting, but fun and I'm so glad we got to be with him! I had planned to come home and tackle another playroom project, but instead I'm tackling laundry and unpacking. I have a couple new projects coming your way soon, though!
While I didn't finish any projects this week, I did stop by and pick up this adorable milk bottle and holder set from World Market yesterday. I saw it on World Market's Instagram feed while we were in DC and it was love at first sight. I'm over the moon about it! I love the mix of materials between the distressed metal, wood handles, and shiny white bottles.
To top it all off, I found peonies at the grocery store!!!!!! I wanted to break out in song and dance when I spotted them! Thankfully for everyone in the store, I restrained myself. ;) I've been wanting to get my hands of peonies for years now. Chelsea at Two Twenty One blogs about her home grown peonies every year and they are always drop dead gorgeous. I've had a major case of flower envy... I really just need to plant some in my yard already!
I popped the peonies into the bottles and haven't stopped staring at them since! I can't believe how much they opened up over night! Look at the difference!
This may be my favorite centerpiece to date. Nope, scratch that, it's definitely my favorite!

Now, back to the laundry. :) Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Linking up to Savvy Southern Style and many other awesome blogs!

Monday, May 4, 2015

8 Tips for Traveling with Small Kids

As I mentioned in my last post, we are in a busy season of traveling and hosting right now. We recently took a 12 hour trip to Florida to visit our family. Yes, we must be crazy to travel so far with small kids! :) Jeremy and I calculated how many trips to Florida we've made in the last 8 1/2 years. Ready for the crazy number?! 16! Of those 16 trips, ten of them took us 13-18 hours each way and two were 12 hour trips. Yikes!

Over the past 16 trips, we've figured out a groove for long trips.  Here are a couple tips to help you get organized and survive your next road trip!

Tote Bags

I love using the reusable shopping bags from the grocery store to keep us organized in the car. I usually fill one with toys and movies, one with snacks, and have even used them for cosmetics in the past. I like that they have a flat, wide bottom so you can put things in them neatly without it getting all jumbled the second you pick it up. I recently picked up a two pack of bags from BJ's and they are awesome! They are larger and sturdier than the typical reusable grocery store bag!

Snack Bags 

When taking long road trips, I'm sure you'll be packing your favorite snacks for the road. We used to just throw the entire bag or box of snacks into a tote bag. It took up a bunch of space and was hard to get to specific things without digging through the entire contents of the tote bag.

Now when we travel, I make each of us several snack sized bags filled with individual portions of our favorite snacks. Then, I throw each person's snacks into a large ziplock bag and write their name on it. It's so much easier to find what I'm looking for and pass out snacks on the go this way!

Stack Outfits in Order

For years, I packed our suitcase by stacking like clothing items together. As the trip went on, though, the suitcase would become a mess from us digging through it to find clothes to assemble outfits.

Now, I plan out what we are going to wear each day and assemble each outfit, including accessories, and stack them together. Then, I stack each person's outfits in the order we will use them, including pajamas. It's so much easier to just pull an outfit out from the top and the suitcase stays neat! I put any extra clothes in the mesh zippered compartment of the suitcase for easy access.

Pack Wipes

This is probably a given, but pack lots of hand wipes and Clorox wipes. I like to pick up a couple travel sized containers to throw in my purse. They always come in handy, especially when you are making 297,109 potty trips. Ya never know when the only bathroom around is a nasty pants gas station which will, of course, have no soap. Trust me, pack wipes. ;)

Have Small, Potty Trained Kids Wear Pants

Ok, so since I just talked about bathrooms, I guess I'll just go ahead and give you TMI. ;) Have your small, potty trained kids wear pants on the road, not shorts. Shorts tend to fall down/off and drag the bathroom ground during potty trips which has put us in some super gross situations. I'll spare you the details, but it has led to emergency clothing changes. Pants collect nicely around the shoes instead of dragging the ground, thus sparing your child's clothes from whatever nasty "liquids" are on the ground around the toilet. TMI over. Hope you weren't eating. ;)

If Your Kids Sleep in the Car, Travel Overnight 

When Little Man was a baby/toddler, he slept like a champ in the car, even around town. We took advantage of that and traveled overnight for a couple years. We would feed him his last bottle, then hit the road right at his bedtime. He would wake up when we stopped for gas, but he would go back to sleep pretty easily once we were back on the road because it was dark outside and during his normal sleep hours.

Little Girlie, on the other hand, does not sleep in the car. This last time we traveled to Florida, she only slept for 1 1/2 hours out of the 12 hours we were in the car! Because we know she's not a car sleeper, we don't travel overnight anymore. Why lose a night of sleep just to listen to a screaming baby who is up past their bedtime? Which leads me to my next tip...

Bring a DVD Player & New Movie

I'm sure the entire world has this one figured out already, but if not, bring a DVD player. It is SO worth the money! We didn't get one until Little Man was maybe 2 or 3 and it has made such a difference! We only use the DVD player on road trips, so the kids think it's the coolest treat ever to get to watch TV in the car. It really breaks up the drive nicely. We usually try to pick up a new movie before road trips to give them something fresh to watch. Target has a great selection of $5 kids movies!

Pack Fresh, Car Friendly Toys

We try to pack toys that are easy to play with in the, toys that don't have tons of pieces. We take note of which toys the kids play with that keep their attention the longest, then pack them a couple days in advance. Because the toys have been packed and haven't been played with in a little while, they are fresh and keep their attention the longest. Some of our favorite car toys are the Leap Frog laptop, Take-N-Play Thomas train sets, coloring books, and road trip Bingo games. If you are bringing coloring materials, pack a clipboard for your child to color on. Here's a couple road trip Bingo boards I've saved to bring along on trips!

I found this Cars themed Bingo board on a forum and thought it was fun!
Road Sign Bingo
Backseat Bingo via Kiwi Crate

Hope these tips help you out on your next trip! What are some of your traveling tips? I'd love to hear them and learn from you all!
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