Sunday, February 5, 2017

I just needed a little love...

Is it just me or is it just so negative EVERYWHERE!? I mean I can't even deal with Facebook anymore because it's mostly rants, ads and debates. Then you turn on the TV and it's even worse. So this year, when February rolled around, all I wanted to do is embrace is love. February is the month of love after all. 

I don't go all out since we're only talking 2 weeks but little touches here and there make me feel happy. Now forgive the pictures because I snapped these quickly and don't have the best lighting in some. 

Both front doors have hearts to welcome in guests. I love how they sparkle and pop from the road. There's even a heart flag (not pictured) by the front door. 

Did you notice the hearts on the glass in the front door? They make me smile the most. When I see them it says "kids live here and we love them!" I especially love them at night. The boys had fun putting them up. 

Inside there are little touches here and there like the red hearts I found at Hobby Lobby that I placed in plants. 

On our foyer mirror there's a metal heart that coordinates with the sign hanging from our mantle. 

In the kitchen there are Valentine's napkins and a few votives and hearts placed. Again, not much but it's the small touches that remind us that love is in the air (or should be!) 

Our dining room (that's open to the living room) always gets the most because it's where we eat every night and it's also where the kids find their Valentine's Day presents when they wake up that day. 

This year I once again tied red hearts found at the Dollar Store with burlap wired ribbon on the backs of chairs. I smushed one so it's a slightly different shape but not something you readily notice and is quirky...much like those that live in this house.  

Then I placed my red felt runner along with some simple candles found at Target for $3. 

The kids have their own placemats that pull in the colors of our room. They are from Target several years ago (only $1!!) and I put their name in vinyl letters on the hearts. That's an easy trick for cheap placemats. The kids love them! 

One new love touch this year are love notes to my children. I bought simple doilies at the Target $1 bin and every day (or so) until Valentine's Day they get a love note put on their bedroom door. A different color for each child and I try to specify a positive behavior. When they first saw them, they both beamed as they were read. (I might have forgotten and put three up at one time. Better late than never!)  It really is important to fuel our children in positive ways and this one is so easy. 

That's it for my tour of love. Just a few fun changes here and there. I hope this year you'll spread a little love to someone special! Smooches...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Much More Than Lights

Meet my grandmother. I called her Gimmer because I couldn't pronounce grandmother and so when I was little, and being the first grandchild, it came out as Gimmer. Her real name was Emily Siler Rothrock (then Durban when she remarried after my grandfather passed). I loved her so much and I still miss her even though she's been gone for 13+ years. 

I snapped this picture from an old photo album not long ago because it's such a good picture of her and much of how I remember her as a little girl. She had a great sense of style. She was always dressed well with a bright lipstick on. She used to tell me at 4:45p (when I was visiting) "come on, Anna, it's time to go freshen up for supper" and we'd go comb our hair and put on our lipstick. Her home was always well decorated as well. Lots of little trinkets that meant something and all types of sentimental pieces that all seemed to work together. 

The house she lived in was one that she and my grandfather designed and built. It has such a fun layout and has a TON of storage. I would love to have the blueprints and recreate something similar one day. Every nook and cranny was thought through. 

They were once featured in a small magazine which now sits framed in my living room. In the center it has my mom and her three brothers posing in front of their "locker" when they were little. I've always said your home and art should be personal. It should reflect who you are and what you love, not just something that matches. 

So when we worked on our kitchen update I knew that the light we originally installed back in 2013 wasn't one I wanted to keep. The style was fine but the light it cast in our small kitchen was more like retina burning a radiating sun than a soft glow. You can see it at the top of the picture below. Pretty but not right for this space.

This brings me to the point of this post. Last fall I asked my mom and uncles if I could have one of the light fixtures from my grandmother's house. They still own the house and use it for extended family gatherings. She had two that were similar and the smaller one would be perfect in our kitchen. Much to my appreciation, they said yes. I literally did a happy dance when they all emailed back confirmation. 

Here's what the new lights in our kitchen look like now. 

Aren't they magnificent!? The hubs had them installed while the boys and I were still visiting my parents over Christmas and when I came in I squealed...and might have even just sat in the kitchen for awhile admiring them. They are a pretty blue, red and orange from the 1960's or 1970's (no one really knows for sure) and I just so happen to have these colors in my own home. They cast the pretties glow in the kitchen at night. 

But you see they aren't just a light. To me they represent my grandmother (yes I'm crying as I type this). They represent her style. Her spunk. Her wonderful eye for design. Her strength. And most of all, my fond memories of going to her house. Now a little part of her home hangs in my home. It will forever go with me no matter where we live. 

So to my family who said yes to me taking these lights...thank you. I know change isn't easy, especially when it's sentimental. It means more than you know and I still walk by and smile every time I see them. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Kitchen Updates

You ever work on a project and picture it one way in your head yet in reality it turned out not to be so grand? Well I'm happy to say that's not the case here...well not anymore at least.  

When we first remodeled our kitchen we tried to work with what we had to save money but also make it more updated and functional. In hindsight I would have chosen not to paint our lower cabinets white and would have selected a different granite. That darn hindsight being 20/20 and all. 

I showed you the most recent picture before we updated (again) in our 2016 House Tour but here's a little refresher. 

With the recent changes I was most excited about A) the lighting (there's nothing like trying to cook with shadows) and B) the back splash. OK really, the back splash. I have always wanted a tile back splash and never had one in my homes. Tragic first world problems. Daniel was most excited about the vented hood range. 

So our friends over at SDJ Services handled most of the work plus a little more. I'm so excited to show you the finished kitchen because they did such a good job. Say hi, Shaun and Paul...

Hi Shaun!

Hi Paul!

Here's what the kitchen looks like after their handy work...complete with back splash, canned lighting, and a vented kitchen hood/microwave. 

Isn't it sooo much better!? I mean it's like 110% better...if that were a real number. But here's the funny thing. After I had all of the back splash up, I realized I hated the wall color. My poor husband. More on that soon because the solution is not pictured here. So in reality this isn't a completed kitchen yet. 

I opted for basic white subway tile with 1/4" grey grout to coordinate with the cabinet color. It's a small kitchen and while I could have done more fun in the way of tile, I wanted simple and classic for this house. I change things up too much so this allows me to play around. I opted for 1/4" grout because too small and it may have been too busy and white. The darker lower cabinet color is so much better for our busy house too. No more drips, dirt

You'll notice I purposefully left out the picture of the lights. There's a reason for that coming up in the aforementioned new post. 

Until then, and because I love a good before and after picture, check out how far we've come in the 3 years we've been here. 

Oh and if you want to contact SDJ Services for help in your home here's their info: 
(803) 422-5978 or 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Tour (part 2)

Shall we head a little further in to Schrallville? Yes. Let's. 

This past weekend we hosted a party for our Sunday School class. Perhaps the biggest compliment I could have gotten, aside from that our house was very homey, was that it smelled good. I know that's weird but when you have 3 dogs, a cat and two little boys, that's a huge deal! 

I took you through the foyer and kitchen in my last post. Next is the dining room...

The mirror has greenery, the manger scene is set and in the mirror you can see a Christmas ornament ball wreath is hanging in the window. I made one a few years ago in golds, oranges and teal blues to coordinate with our colors. 

I also have an authentic wooden carousel from Germany. My parents brought it back from one of their trips and it's always fun to show the kids how the heat from the candles turns the carousel. 

My table this year is filled with mercury glass - ornaments, candles, trees. With a little pop of red thrown in for fun. 

I love the mix of sparkle and shine and it doesn't compete with the other colors in the adjoining rooms. 

I put our Christmas tree in a different spot this year. It's usually over near the couch but I thought I'd switch it up. While I like it here, I like it better tucked over near the couch. This blocks too much view in an already divided house. You can see what I mean in the pictures below. 

The living room always has a little something on the table tops...a Santa here...a reindeer there...

I love our coffee table this year. I bought a round wooden tray to add to the mix and with some fresh greenery and a few books, it looks very cozy. 

Some find it crazy that we have so many things "within touch" with kids. I've always had it that way. The boys have learned from a very young age that there are things they can play with and things they can't. Now it's not a big deal and they appreciate the decorations. 

The mantle this year is simple. With the TV and now soundbar, there's not but so much room to put decorations. But it's balanced and has a touch of sparkle without overwhelming it. 

The rest of the house has touches of Christmas. The main bathroom has a festive shower curtain...the "man room" has little pops of cheer spread around...even the boys have a little tinsel tree and some matching red garland along their windows. 

So thanks for taking our little tour. Our house is always open and we hope it always feels welcoming to all who enter. 

Merry Christmas! 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Tour 2016 (part 1)

Well I did it folks. I broke my own rule. I decorated for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving. Yep. I went there. Now for many, it's what you're supposed to do. For me, I like having a Thanksgiving table ON Thanksgiving. But this year I knew with our schedules that I needed some extra time to decorate and get organized. I didn't want to kill myself trying to fit it in the weekend after Thanksgiving especially since we planned to put up a fence that weekend (more on that later). 

So here's the first part of Schrallville at Christmas...Let's get our jingle on, shall we?  

The front door is always festive with flowers, a lit snow man and Santa. This year, the Hubs also added a projector on the larger brick wall by the steps. It says "let it snow" with snow flakes twirling around. It's sort've hard to capture so I didn't bother. You can just use your imagination. 

Speaking of outside, we also have a new fence we installed last weekend, mentioned earlier. It's adorned with lit cedar garland and red bows. Probably one of my favorite additions this year. Wonder if can keep the garland up all year? 

The front yard also includes several inflatables that include Rudolph, Santa and Olaf. No, they are not small. The Hubs is committed to adding one new inflatable every year. <insert sigh here>  If you can't beat them, join them. 

Moving on in, there's our foyer. It's small but it has a welcoming touch with tidbits of Christmas. A basket of ornaments, greenery over the pictures, our stockings and a few touches here and there. 

The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms to decorate. I don't know why but I truly love adding touches to it. Maybe because that's "my room" in the house. On the way to the kitchen you pass our advent calendar. It's a kid favorite, purchased from Pottery Barn, and is filled with dark chocolate and candy canes. I had one my aunt made growing up and I still have it. I have such fond memories of waking up in December to have a piece of candy.  

In the kitchen the theme is red and green. I have a more whimsical look in here since the kitchen is neutral and can handle it. I also have a delicious McIntosh Apple candle that fills the whole room with delicious warmth. 

I love vintage Christmas and I have a Santa on the wall. I need to find more. The 1950's Santa's were so cool.

The top of the fridge even has a touch of Christmas... 

Perhaps a favorite are the sparkly balls that hang over the kitchen sink. With a little greenery on the light fixtures, it really makes the room feel festive. These are simply held up with thumb tacks and I knew I had to use them when I found them a few years ago at Hobby Lobby. 

You may have noticed there have been some changes in the kitchen. More on that in a future post. We had some upgrades to the house recently that we are very excited about and made a huge difference. 

Well folks, that's just a brief glimpse in to our home. I'll take you on a tour of the rest of the house soon! In the meantime, I hope you take time to enjoy the season and all it means. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget to stop and enjoy it.