February 10, 2021

Valentine's Day Decor Throughout Our Home

Valentine's Day decor in cottage style kitchen -

Valentine's Day has never been one of my more favored holidays but I think that with all the time at home this year, I added way more than usual. I have one bin with Valentine's stuff in my attic that I've collected over many years and I used most of it in my kitchen.

Valentine's Day Decor -
I think that, more than anything I was craving a pop of color and some cheer to add to this space. 

Valentine's Day decor in cottage style kitchen -
I like how so many colors play well with the blue/green of the island. The pandemic won't disrupt our usual Valentine's Day plans. I usually cook a nice dinner at home and we give the kids (and each other!) some chocolate from a small shop in the neighborhood I grew up in. 
Valentine's Day Decor -
We had a big snowstorm and are expecting more so there will likely still be snow out that window come February 14. It seems like we are getting a few winter's worth of snow in a short period of time here in NJ. We're used to lot of snow up in the mountains at the cabin, but here in NJ it turns into a big mess very quickly. 
              Valentine's Day Decor -
The banner over the sink is new this year, from Target and was a part of the Opalhouse Valentine's Day decor. And the dish towel on the sink as well as the dish towels hanging as curtains are all from TJMaxx. Everything else is old.
Valentine's Day Decor - www.goldenboysandme.comValentine's Day Decor - Valentine's Day Decor -
I switched over to a red cardinal bird sponge at the sink. Those little sponges are so fun!

                 Valentine's Day Decor -
In the living room, I added in some more color. I usually wait until Spring to do that but I was needing it this year so I brought it our earlier.
Valentine's Day Decor -
Valentine's Day Decor -
Valentine's Day Decor -
Up in in our bedroom, I simply added a banner over our bed from the Target Dollar section.
Valentine's Day Decor -

Valentine's Day Decor -
Happy Valentine's Day from our house to yours!

February 2, 2021

The (not so) Long & Winding Road of Parenthood

Hello friends! How are you? I have thought to sit down and write a more personal post so often - yet it feels daunting. I miss the days when bloggers shared more of themselves. But I also understand why they sometimes choose not to, myself included. Many of my everyday stories involve my children and so, inherently, many of my stories aren't entirely mine to tell. I try to always be mindful of that. But, we also need connection these days, now more than ever it seems. I'm still striving to find that balance.

Life this past year has been challenging and unique and ever changing. Collectively, all of us have seen such significant changes in our daily lives and how we all deal with it is so individualized. I have a son who is flourishing with virtual learning and finds it very efficient. In fact, he hopes to have the ability to work from home in the future and has chosen a career path that is suited to that. And I also have a son who struggles in school and this pandemic has proven to be so difficult in regards to his education. I hold on tight to the hope that he will be okay in spite of it all.

And I also have a son who is a soldier-in-training. When our oldest graduated from college last May, our  assumed plan was for him to begin his career and possibly begin grad school. We discussed many options at great length. But his plan, unbeknownst to us, was to join the Army National Guard. Let me back up - it wasn't a complete surprise. When he was in high school, we discussed the idea of ROTC with his guidance counselor. We even visited a military college in Vermont that he briefly considered. But he ultimately went in a different direction. Several times throughout his college years - when he became confused about his exact path and switched schools, he threw out the idea of joining the military. To which my husband and I responded, repeatedly, please finish your degree first. You will never ever regret having earned your college degree!, we said. And so he took our advice. He finished his degree. He even graduated with honors. But you already know where this is headed, right? And THEN he joined the military! 

And so, this has been weighing heavily on my heart ever since. He left for basic training a couple of weeks ago, just as all the terrible news was coming out of Washington DC. It's been a tough month. I knew it would be and, in some ways, the anticipation of him leaving was worse than his actual leaving. I guess you could say it was a very long goodbye as he trained and prepared himself both mentally and physically for months. 

Saying goodbye to Dax

I know my #1 job is to stay strong for him. That's what Army moms do and so I am taking my new role seriously. I have researched everything I can about his training and stalk Facebook daily for a glimpse of my boy (the basic training companies post pictures of the trainees there). We are still awaiting our first letter from him. As many of you know, we are a law enforcement family but the military is all new to us. Both my and Billy's fathers were drafted when they were young men but then military service skipped a generation in our family. To say I have always been proud of him would be an understatement.  He has served our community on our fire department since he was a young teen and then went on to also serve our state in forest fire service. So serving our nation is a logical next step and one I probably should have seen coming. The pride I feel to get to be his mom is immense.

I also miss him terribly. He's been away from our family at various times, for college and otherwise, but we were always able to keep in touch the whole time. He has such a strong personality and presence in all of our lives. He makes time to connect with each of us daily and not having that leaves a void we all feel. I keep thinking, how lucky am I to have a son that I miss this much? He'll be back soon enough and I can't even imagine how many stories he will have to tell us. I can't wait to hear all about it!

I was listening to a thought provoking podcast the other day - Kelly Corrigan Wonders (I am such a fan of every single thing Kelly does and I highly recommend her books and now her podcast) and she was discussing parenting and she said that our kids should come with a one page instruction manual like the ones they include at Ikea and it should only say - let this put itself together.

So, if any of you are military families with advice, this newbie is all ears. I think it will be helpful to have you all along this journey with me.

I finally set up a desk area in our bedroom. It's not really a proper desk but an old console table that is in desperate need of a coat of paint. Our house has been full of so many of us for close to a year now and I finally realized that the only spot I could go to really think and write anytime soon was our room. I've never been keen to the idea of putting a desk in the same space where we rest, but desperate times call for desperate measures and now I wonder why I didn't put a desk up here long ago!  

Finally, I've been catching up on some reading. Wintering by Katherine May was a great read for this season. Billy gave me Maggie Smith's Keep Moving for Christmas and I am trying to savor just one poem a day, along with Mary Oliver's Dream Works
Have you read anything great lately? Thanks so much for stopping by today and allowing me to share another piece of my story with you.

January 30, 2021

At Home in Winter

I so enjoy getting back into the kitchen in January after the craziness of the holidays is over and there is more time for the simple things - like cooking and spending time with my kids. It's refreshing not to have quite as much clutter around that all the holiday decor brings with it. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but I am also a bit relieved to pack it all away and begin with a blank slate. 

Farmhouse style kitchen in open floor plan home -

I'm always happy to see my pot rack return. I love the warmth the copper adds to my kitchen and how it works so well with the color of the island (Oval Room Blue by Farrow and Ball). I also miss how well it functions - I keep things like the colander and cheese grater right above where I use it. Maybe next Christmas I will leave the pot rack up for a change. It's always hard to imagine what next Christmas will bring or how I will ever find the energy to come up with new ideas and yet somehow Christmas rolls around again and I do. 

               Farmhouse style kitchen with painted kitchen island with Oval Room Blue paint -

I usually keep our microwave on the white cart that you see in the bottom left corner of the photo above, but to change things up, I put it back on the counter and am using the cart for kitchen storage. I am forever moving the microwave around! There is no good place for it, except built in somewhere and that wasn't as common of a practice when we designed this kitchen close to 13 years ago. The microwave used to be over the range, then moved to a shelf and finally onto this cart. I did see Billy measuring and pondering a way to retro-fit it into the island so stay tuned. Fingers crossed he figures out a way - he almost always does when it comes to projects like these.

 Farmhouse style kitchen with painted kitchen island with Oval Room Blue paint -

 Farmhouse sink in cottage style kitchen with DIY sink skirt -

I found these adorable bird sponges on Amazon and they made me smile even on some of those devastating news days that we all experienced this month. They remind me of Emily Dickinson's poignant words - Hope is the thing with feather, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops, at all...

Farmhouse sink in cottage style kitchen with DIY sink skirt -

Farmhouse style kitchen in split level home with open floor plan -

Farmhouse style kitchen in split level home with open floor plan -
I am happy to live with a lot less color this time of year but I am already thinking about adding some red in soon for Valentine's Day. After after all, it's just about February.
Farmhouse style kitchen in split level home with open floor plan -

Farmhouse style kitchen in split level home with open floor plan -

Farmhouse style kitchen in split level home with open floor plan -
I still have our Christmas wreath from Costco hanging on the front door. I will take it down as soon as it starts to dry out but it always seems to last much longer than the holiday season.
Entryway with Benjamin Moore Labrador Blue paint -
Finally, here's a look at the living room area that is open to our kitchen. I kept the southing blues in here for winter with a small pop of red from the winter barn picture and flowers.
Cottage style living room with quilts and Ikea hack coffee table-

Cottage style living room with quilts and Ikea hack coffee table-
Thanks so much for stopping by today!

January 23, 2021

A Few Small Updates in Our Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom with pedestal tub and Sherwin William Sea Salt paint -
It's always nice to have a few new items to put out after the Christmas decor is away. I found some new towels on a recent trip to Target that are by Opalhouse and I thought they'd tie in all the colors of our master bathroom perfectly.

Master Bathroom with pedestal tub and Sherwin William Sea Salt paint -
The towels have ribbons of soft colors and patterns sewed onto them. I enjoy the details that Opalhouse puts into their items at the typical Target price point. Many of their items remind me of things I see at Anthropologie.

I think that January is all about things functioning well rather than just looking pretty. It feels good to get back to basics without all the excess. It's a month I always enjoy cleaning and organizing. This is a real- life look at out bathroom. The tiered stand holds our often used items out in the open. The baskets underneath the vanity hold my hair stung and overflow from the vanity. I keep my makeup in a tray that you can see on the lowest shelf of the built-in.

Bathroom Organization Ideas with 3 tiered stand -

I still get asked for a source for our bathroom rug everyday and, unfortunately, I still don't have a source. I haven't even found anything similar enough to recommend. I will keep looking!

                   Master Bathroom with pedestal tub and Sherwin William Sea Salt paint -

Vanity Paint - Opal Silk by Behr
Wall Color - Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams
Mirrors - No longer carried at Lowes,  similar
Tiered Stand - HomeGoods
Chandlier- Overstock

December 16, 2020

Christmas Cabin Home Tour 2020

We've been having the best time decorating our cabin for Christmas this year. We'll be celebrating the holidays here this year. Also, I think it has served as a much needed distraction and a place to hide away from everything else going on in the world.
Cabin kitchen with farmhouse sink and Benjamin Moore Backwoods painted cabinets -

December 2, 2020

Christmas Home Tour 2020

Whimsical holiday home tour -
Hi friends and Happy Holidays! I hope that you and yours are safe and well this holiday season. Things surely will be different this year but, since we're all spending more time at home, this feels like an especially good year to bring out the holiday decor early. Or not. I have to say that there were times this year when I wasn't sure I'd find the motivation to decorate. It has been a tough year for so many on so many levels and that weighs heavily on my heart. I've been feeling especially nostalgic as of late, remembering back to a time when my boys were younger and Christmas was such a magical time. And so I am making the effort to focus on the positive and my hope is that I can bring a little bit of joy to your holiday season with these pictures. 

October 11, 2020

Fall at the Cabin

Fall foliage at cabin in the woods -\
The brightest spot of 2020 has been our rustic cabin in the woods. We spent a good part of the summer working on this little house, turning it more and more into our home away from home. Truth be told, this place feels even more like home than our home in NJ. We live with less here. There is just one small bathroom, no dishwasher or clothes washer, but the nature right outside the door makes up for all of that. And then some.