September 2, 2014

Kindergarten & 1st Grade

We have officially gotten back into a school routine and hopefully I can get into a better blogging routine. School starts in mid-August in Kansas, which seems so early to me! This year brings some changes in our household, which I have bittersweet emotions about. I'm good now, but the days leading up to school starting, emotions were hitting me that were very unexpected.

Drew went from 1/2 day kindergarten last year to full day 1st grade this year. I think he has finally adjusted to the days being "so long" :). He lost a tooth right before school started, turned 7 since school started, and is excited to finally be eating lunch at school!

Kate started 1/2 day kindergarten this year with the same teacher Drew had last year. This makes for an easy and seamless transition, but sending a child off to kindergarten two years in a row is not for the faint of heart! So many perks of being 15 months apart, but so much happens all at once, in a short span of time when you're that close. I'm sure being one grade apart will have it's challenges come the teenage years!!! No doubt!

I want to remember this image of a front tooth missing, sweet, smart, and playful little person. It has been so much fun watching him grow. I was spoiled to have this guy home for most of his days for 7 years. I'm sure that's part of the bittersweetness of it all, maybe it makes it harder in a way. I knew that when he started school this year, he was officially "gone" all day long, and the reality hit that it would be this way until he graduates from high school. My husband keeps reminding me that he does come home in the afternoons and there is a thing called summer…I don't think he quite gets it :)!

I never realized how much I love this 1/2 day kindergarten option until Drew started full day this year. This one-on-one time with Kate in the afternoons is "bonus" time for us. Time is fleeting, and I don't ever want to take these moments for granted. This girl is sweet and sassy and knows what she wants and is wise beyond her years. She is 5 going on 15, which gives this mom a run for her money sometimes most of the time. :) I wouldn't have it any other way. I trust that no one will ever get in the way of this girl and her dreams and I couldn't be more proud of her eagerness to learn. Raising a daughter brings different worries, but also brings great joy. We are both loving having some girl time together...I've been told that she might be a bit of a mini-me… ;)

A magical thing happens when kids start school….you realize they no longer really "need" you in a way they once did. They are thriving and will survive all the stuff that can come with being in real school. I'm sure every mother just wants to know they have done everything they can to prepare their child for the unknown, for what lies ahead. I hope that my kids have the tools they need to succeed, to be kind and empathetic little people, to be open minded, to see the glass as 1/2 full, to be good friends, to realize they are not perfect, to have fun, be full of life, and see the good in everyone.

And just like last year, I left them after the first day and every milestone they have ever hit flashed before my eyes. I realized that it would no longer be 3 people sitting at the island for lunch, but only 2. I realized that this is a new phase, changes in the way our days look. I also realized that it's okay. I've been blessed with the gift of time with these two, and I appreciate it now more than ever. I'm also realizing that a quiet house in the mornings is not so bad after all…my coffee has never tasted so good…

 Thanks for letting me get personal and sappy…I will be thankful for these posts one day! xoxo

August 26, 2014

A Tour Through Blogland...

Hello long time readers and new friends! Today I am going to share a little bit more about me and what makes this blog tick, share a little about who asked me to be a part of this tour, and then introduce you to a blogger I think you should know about.

First, I have to say thank you to Kylie @ Absolutely Arkansas for asking me to be a part of this tour! I have become blog friends with Kylie over the past year as we participate in a Look 4 Less Challenge together. I love being able to connect with other like-minded bloggers and have become inspired by so many!

Kylie is first and foremost a GORGEOUS newlywed. Her wedding photos are stunning! Kylie is also a fellow DIYer and likes to do things on a budget…a girl after my own heart! Let's check out a few things from Absolutely Arkansas, shall we?!

Absolutely (pun intended) loving this make-up storage on her vanity table. I have been dreaming of creating a vanity for myself, but something tells me my make-up would never look this pretty!

Also peeking out in this picture is an awesome IKEA Lack Hack. See how she transformed inexpensive IKEA tables into two benches! Love the fabric!

Be sure to go check out Kylie's blog for all things DIY and beauty!

Now, on to a few Q & A about me and this blog...

1) What Am I Working On?

This is a loaded question, because the real answer is that I'm constantly working on every room in the house! Does that count? I have a hard time concentrating on one specific space and finishing it completely before moving on to new projects. All rooms in my home are a constant work in progress and that's they way I like it. I don't believe great rooms come together in a day or a weekend. I like rooms to evolve and change and reflect our true style, so I like to take my time. I have been working on getting our home office functioning and looking pretty. I also just revamped my daughter's room to make it a little more functional for her now that she is in "real school" (we have an official kindergartner on our hands). I am also getting ready to revamp the blog a little bit by making it more streamlined and functional. I have never really updated the Home Tour tab, so that is on the list too! Always so much going on and never enough time!

2) How Does My Blog Differ From Those In It's Genre?

To be honest, I'm not really sure I qualify for a "genre". I like to just post about real life and things that are going on in my home and with my kids/family. I am a stay at home mom, and I spend a lot of time at home cooking, DIYing, decorationg, hanging out with my kids. I blog to share, inspire, create. I hope I'm different in the fact that there is no other "me" and that my voice comes across as authentic and real. I'm not interested in trying to impress anyone or come across as something I'm not. You get what you get with me and I hope that is refreshing. In a world where blogs have become so popular and everyone seems to have one, realness is a quality I look for when reading other blogs.

3) Why Do I Write/Create What I Do?

I started this blog when my kids were toddler age as a creative outlet, something to do that was my own, something that didn't involve kids or being a SAHM. I love my at home "job", but I was looking for a way to express myself and keep my mind fresh. I love to do things in my home and wanted to share these ideas to inspire others to create and do things to their homes (on a budget). I have a real passion for all things home and I am lucky to be able to do this day in and day out. This blog is my happy place. I don't blog for a job, and I would still blog if only my mom read this. It keeps me motivated to complete projects, create new things, and I love having an online journal of our lives.

4) How Does Your Writing/Creative Process Work?

I post about current things going on in my life, and I honestly take this one day at a time. Creatively, I work on what speaks to me. If my bookshelves are annoying me, I change them. If something isn't the right color, I paint it. I'm not scared to be a little different or fresh. I live in an area where most homes, for the most part, all start looking similar on the outside. I do everything I can to go off the beaten path a little bit and make sure the inside stands out and reflects who we are as a family. I enjoy the writing process, it keeps my mind fresh. In a world of small kids, practices, homework, PB & J, scrubbing the floors, and cleaning up messes; this little space allows me to have something of my own, and I cherish that.

This isn't a job for me, and my kids and family come first every time. I blog when I can and I don't apologize for it when I can't get to something ! I used to have more time on my hands for creating and blogging when my kids napped and they felt satisfied being home and playing for hours on end. Now that my kids have gotten older, I am busy in a different way, in a way that gives me great satisfaction, but I don't have as much time to complete projects from start to finish. I will never stop creating, decorating, or blogging, but I am honest with myself that I can't do everything and be everywhere and please everyone. I will just continue to do the best I can with the time I have.

Now, I want to introduce you to a blog that I think you should know about. . .

Introducing Noelani from Lattes & Lavender! She has fabulous style, an adorable little girl, and a pretty blog where she shares style tips, deals, recipes, and day to day life happenings. I love getting to know and supporting other local bloggers! Noelani is a fellow KC blogger…go check her out!

Congratulations if you made it all the way to the end of this post!! As always, thanks for reading, commenting, pinning, and supporting this blog!

Instagram  //  Pinterest  //  Bloglovin  //  Facebook

August 18, 2014

Kid's Card Table Makeover

We gave Kate a little mini room makeover this weekend (more to come on that), and while we were cleaning things up and moving things around, I realized I never blogged about a card table makeover I did for her room last year.

I purchased a kid's card table at a thrift store for $4, and gave it a new look for about $5. As you can see here, this has been the table where Kate likes to play Legos or read books in her room.

The original table was pink, with the word princess repeated over and over, and it was banged up.

First, I removed the table top and covering, and spray painted the base brass.

I purchased some oil cloth fabric at Joann's to recover the top. I thought the polka dots looked child-like without being to juvenile. The oil cloth fabric is perfect because it is easy to clean and is sold by the yard! The table already had a layer of batting underneath, which I kept. I simply cut the fabric to size and used a staple gun to adhere it to the table top. The top is thin, so I had to use really small staples.

After two coats of spray paint, I was ready to put the table back together. I added two wooden chairs that I also found while thrifting. The turquoise chair was already painted, and I painted the pink chair the same color as her headboard. I also added some gold paint to the bottom of the chair legs - it's all about the details!

I'm convinced that most ugly thrift store finds can be transformed with a little time and effort! This table has gotten a lot of use in the last year and a half. During the mini makeover, we added a larger desk to this corner, so this table/chair set will be moving to the basement playroom.

Happy thrifting! xoxo

Linking up with:,,,, http://homecomingmn.blogspot.com,,,,,, http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com,,,,,,,,,,,,, 

August 11, 2014

Chairish Inspiration Board

I was recently contacted by Chairishan exclusive curator approved, online marketplace for vintage furniture and home decor, and asked if I would create an inspiration board around a colorful accent chair. I'm no stranger to pops of color, so it was fun to design a room around a bright color!

If you are not familiar with Chairish, you must check them out! They have everything from pillows and poufs to sofas and headboards. There is so much inspiration for an entire look, or if you are looking for just the right piece to finish off your space.

I was given a choice of several accent chairs, and I chose to create a living room space around the bold purple chair in the image. 

Chairish Inspiration Room

Purple Chair  //  Coffee Table  //  Cowhide Rug  //  Gold Pouf  //  Geode Bookends  //  Artwork  //  Lamp  //  Sofa  //  Fur Throw Pillow  //  Teal Pillows  //

I'm not normally a "purple person", but I liked the lines of this chair, and I thought it would be a fun pop of color in an otherwise neutral living space. I pulled the rest of this look together from other Chairish items. I'm dying over that cowhide rug and gold pouf - I want them both!! These pieces come in all different price points and are very unique. Chairish is definitely worth a look!

Check out the entire fabulous Vintage Accent Chair collection here!

August 7, 2014

Family Weekend Getaway: Branson, MO

The four of us took a last minute weekend trip to Branson, MO last weekend. School starts here next week, so we wanted to get away together for a few days. The place had to be close (3 hour drive) and it had to be family friendly. We had heard good things about Branson and thought we would check it out!

I wanted to give you a little recap of what we did, where we ate, and where we stayed. I find these kinds of posts to be helpful when searching for trip ideas, so here goes!

// FRDAY //
We left Friday morning and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Hilton Branson Convention Center, which is located directly across the street from Branson Landing (a new area with shops/restaurants), right on Lake Taneycomo. This hotel is also within walking distance of local shops/flea markets/cafes/Starbucks(!). There is also a free trolley that takes you around the town with 6 stops, and this Hilton has one of those stops. The Hilton was very nice and the location is unbeatable.

We had reservations at the Dixie Stampede at 3pm, but you can arrive early to see the horses and watch the pre-show starting at 1:45. I think the Dixie Stampede is something you just have to do if you are in Branson, especially with young kids!

The pre-show lasted about 30 minutes and was a one-man juggling/trick show. The kids loved it, and I'm pretty sure we did too! :) After the pre-show, you enter the arena where the main show takes place. You will be served a lot of food, but don't go here expecting the best meal of your life (they have to serve 1,000 people at every show if that tells you anything)! The entertainment is where this place shines. We all enjoyed the lights/music/costumes/horses/show, and my kids are still talking about it. The show lasts about 1.5 hours, so we were on the Dixie Stampede grounds for just shy of 3 hours. Hands down, this was Kate's very favorite thing we did in Branson.

After the show, we headed back to Branson Landing and window shopped. We popped into a bar for a cheap pitcher of Boulevard and enjoyed the amazing weather.

We then walked back to the main area at Branson Landing, where a fountain light show happens at the top of every hour. You can read more about the schedule hereWe also got lucky on this night because live music was happening on the stage right in front of the fountains. We found a spot, grabbed the kids a root beer float, and enjoyed being outside and listening to the band.

We ended Friday with a little night swim at the hotel. It was a fun-filled day!

We woke up Saturday morning and found a little local breakfast place right near our hotel. We had reservations to be at Top of the Rock at 9:45am. Top of the Rock is about 10 miles from the hotel and is where Big Cedar Lodge is located (a place we would like to stay when we come back)! This whole area/concept was developed by Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro, which started in Branson.

We arrived for our Lost Canyon Nature Trail and Cave tour and checked in. It's amazing how the view changes just 3 hours outside of Kansas City! This tour is self-guided by golf cart, which was so fun for the kids. You ride along a gorgeous nature trail and can stop for photos, etc. You then enter a cave with  a 4-story waterfall. We had a gorgeous, crisp morning, and we all thought this was a fantastic hour of family time. Highly recommend!

After the nature trail, we headed to the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery, which is a short drive from Top of the Rock. This is a FREE activity! We love to fish, and we thought this would be fun for Drew. Every year, Lake Taneycomo is stocked with 500,000 trout, a fish that is not native to Missouri. At the hatchery, they breed and raise 1 million trout per year. Interesting, and FREE!

We then went to Danna's BBQ & Burger and had a delicious lunch! This place gets great reviews, and rightfully so. Fun atmosphere, friendly staff, and the best pulled pork nachos!

We headed back to the hotel and hopped on the free trolley. We just wanted to ride and relax. We did some more resting at the hotel and headed back out to Branson Landing. We had reservations at Cantina Laredo, a mexican restaurant that came highly recommended to us from some friends. We sat outside overlooking the fountain show, and had a great meal and drinks. The fish tacos were amazing!

And last, but not least, Drew and Steve got to get a little trout fishing in. You can fish right off the docks at Lake Taneycomo, right off Branson Landing. They had never fished for trout, so they were both excited to catch their first, which they did! Steve brought poles from home and learned what kind of lures, etc you need to catch trout. Good thing there is a Bass Pro right at Branson Landing, so they got everything they needed. Love this little angler!

// SUNDAY //
Steve and Drew went back to the docks for early morning fishing on Sunday. Kate and I slept in and went to Starbucks for some girl time. We took breakfast to the guys and sat along the water. It was very peaceful and chilly (pack a sweatshirt even in the summer).

We checked out of the hotel and started to head back to KC. We also heard about Lambert's Cafe in Springfield, MO, and thought we would check it out for lunch on the way home. Lambert's is the "Home of the Throwed Rolls", famous for doing exactly that; throwing huge, homemade rolls at you while you are in your seat.

People were lined up outside this place an hour before it opened - crazy! Steve and I decided that this place is a novelty and it's fun, but it was definitely a one and done for us. Here are the kids waiting for a "Throwed Roll".

That sums up our time in Branson! It was a great little weekend getaway. We have already talked about going back and camping and doing outdoorsy stuff on the lake. Have you been to Branson? What are your go-to's while you are there?  xoxo
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