Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Console Table

Well.  It has become crystal clear to me lately (as our summer ceases to cease) that I'm going to have to create my own Fall if I want to enjoy this beloved season.  Fall isn't happening outside in my neck of the woods so I'm going to make it happen inside.  Starting with the console table!

I had so much fun styling this table.  It is so very me and how I love to decorate.  Mixed neutrals with a pop of color.

Speaking of a pop of color, aren't the coral roses beautiful!?  Perfect addition to go with the rest of the coral in this room.  I picked them up at the grocery store for 10 bucks.  Kenny came home from work a few nights ago and I told him "you bought me roses today because you're nice like that.  Thank you!  They're beautiful and I love them."

Sometimes we just have to take matters into our own hands.  :)

And how adorable is this pitcher!?  A white pitcher with black AND gold stripes?  Perfection.  Have you seen it at Target?  Hands down my favorite thing I've bought from that store.  

And that's saying a lot.  

I used a simple white platter from the kitchen to hold a few Fall goodies.  I love natural looking Fall decor.  Although my twigs and pine cones and pears do have a bit of gold bling.  :)  I always use a lot of mini white pumpkins when I decorate for Fall too.  Can't seem to get enough of them.

The branch is from a tree in my area.  I have to tell you my story.  I get home with several branches I've cut and I find "the one" and I'm pruning it to go in my vase.  I'm having quite the Martha Stewart moment feeling so impressed with myself for "bringing the outdoors in" when all of the sudden a HUGE green spider comes crawling off of the branch and onto my arm!  I seriously screamed so loud!  Scared me to death.  The girls came running and saw the spider and they screamed too.  I grabbed a napkin and killed that sucker so fast and then looked around at the total mess I'd made with dirt and branches all over my kitchen and had to laugh.

Martha moment was sweet while it lasted.

But now that it's all behind me I have to say that I love my branch.  Worth the near heart attack?  I do believe so.

Now this table is such a happy spot when you come around the corner and into the family room.  Having a bit of real decor in the house is making me excited to add more.  This is such a fun time of year to nest.  Are you a nester?  I could stay inside my house all day long nesting.  Organizing, decorating, cleaning.  Ok..  maybe not the cleaning.  But definitely the organizing and decorating.  Too bad other things (like life) get in the way.  :)

Had to smile when I came across this picture.  
See those little feet popping up in the bottom right corner?  

What would I do without my little helper (and his animals) who are always around to assist with styling and photography?    Not to mention great conversation.  

Probably get a lot more than just a console table done. 

But the company is worth it.  

He makes me happy....

You know the rest.  


Monday, September 22, 2014

Dining nook chairs (and a rug!)

 Some of you have been asking me if I ever found chairs to go with our table in the dining nook.  I did!  And forgot to share them with you.  But I will now.  Here they are.  :)    (*side note - this nook is so BRIGHT and sunny that I have a really hard time photographing it so excuse the poor photography!)

For chairs I ended up going with the Constance Metal Dining Chairs from Ballard Designs.  I love them but I originally wanted something different because they are the same style of chair that I have in my formal dining room (just metal instead of wood).  I tried out several wooden chair options but the varying colors of wood were clashing with the wood in the X base of the table and making it look too red.  I didn't take any pictures of my attempts, but trust me when I say - they weren't looking very good.  So I decided to go with metal and for some reason, the mixed metals don't bother me like the mixed woods did.

This also wasn't the first rug I tried.  Rugs are tricky!  My designer/friend who helped me with my drapes and pillows suggested this coral rug from Home Decorators (she knows my love for this pattern) and at first I thought oh no - that is way too much coral for me.  But nothing else was working so I decided to order it and just see.  And when I first laid it down I thought - oh no - that is way too much coral for me.  

But it ties in the coral from the family room and my husband liked it so I promised him I'd live with it for a while before sending it back.  That's why we only have four chairs down instead of six and there is no pad under the rug.  This was just a sample.  :)

And you know what?  I think I like it more every day.  

It's nice to have a pop of color in the nook.  And it's nice to have the coral tie in from the family room.  And it compliments the blue decor I'm using in the kitchen.  And I know you're not supposed to start sentences with 'AND' but I'm doing it anyway.  

 And I'm keeping the rug.  


I also tried the coral rug in my office/craft room and it looks good in there too so I decided that if I get tired of coral in the nook, I can always move it to the office.

The best part?  It is an indoor/outdoor rug so these three can be as messy as they want.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fashion Friday (preparing for Fall)

Happy Friday everyone!  What a week.  Slow on the blog because my little man and I have both been under the weather.  Luckily we are turning a corner so hopefully next week will be better!  I'm also crossing my fingers for cooler weather in our area because it has been HOT lately.  Record highs on the coast and crazy humidity.  So hot that I honestly got dressed and did my hair one day this week and spent the rest of the week running around in gym clothes and a pony tail.  With ice water in hand.      

Attempted to take a selfie to show you the shirt I wore on the one day I cleaned up and then realized you probably want to be able to read what it says.  :)

Ellie to the rescue.  This is my all time favorite T shirt.  I flew here on my unicorn.  Of course I did.  Seems to explain quite a few things actually.  :)  Made me smile so I had to have it.  Found it at Nordstroms for 20 bucks and it's super comfortable.  Do you love that my definition of "cleaning up" consisted of my favorite slouchy t-shirt?  That is the way this week has rolled.  

Aside from my favorite go to T, this week was far from fashionable.  But.  I did start going through my closet to assess what I have for Fall.  I honestly have hardly bought clothes in the past two plus years.  One or two things here and there, but not much.  Any extra time/energy/money has been spent on our house.  But surprisingly (even though styles have definitely changed) I still have quite a few basics that will work for this Fall.  Which made me think about how when buying clothes it's smart to spend your money on classic, solid colored items that will stand the test of time.  It's fun to buy a crazy patterned top or dress here and there, but I never spend much on those types of items because without a doubt, they look "out" by the end of the season.  

Here are a few things I've had for years that still work today:
(pictures are a few years old.. obviously)  :)

Boots.  Most of my boots are basic, solid colored boots that still look good years later.  My little buddy's boots on the other hand are going to be a tad too small this year.  :)

Scarves.  All of my simple, solid colored scarves can be worn in new ways.  

Dark jeans.  A good pair of dark jeans is a staple for Fall!  A nice fitting pair of jeans can last for years and in my opinion is a smart place to spend a little more.  Unlike tops that look worn and outdated quickly. 

  You can read a past post of mine on jean tips here.

Solid colored sweaters and cardigans stand the test of time and can also be worn lots of different ways.  

Just like I shared a couple of weeks ago with my striped Old Navy dress.  
(Fun to hear so many of you bought it btw!)  :)

Vests are another Fall/Winter staple that look good year after year.  

 Love this vest I saw on Pinterest.  I think from J Crew.  

 This is another Fall outfit I have pinned on my Clothes/Fashion board.  Love it.  I'm always drawn to solid colors, a great pair of jeans and boots with a fun, simple top/scarf/vest.

Very much like this combo as well.  So even though I haven't bought much in the way of clothes in over two years, I still feel like I have a lot of basics to wear this season.  I can add a few fun things and combine them with my oldies but goodies for multiple looks.  If the weather decides to cooperate that is.

Since I'm flashing back a couple of years I have to share these pics I found of my little buddy helping me with my Fashion Friday photo shoots...

Hmmmm.  What can I put down mom's boot to get her attention?  

She's ignoring my boot trick so I'm just going to insist she picks me up.  

 Now I've got her right where I want her.  


 Mission Accomplished.  


Here's a picture from this week to show that three years later my little guy is up to as much mischief as ever.  He was playing hide and seek (his favorite!) with Ad and she could not find him anywhere.  I finally started helping her and we searched high and low and finally found him hiding under the dining room bench.  I was cracking up!  I didn't even know he could fit under there.  So glad I had my phone with me at the time and caught the moment she found him.  He was so proud that he'd out smarted his sister and had all of our attention.

Some things never change.  


Happy Weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chore Charts - teaching kids responsibility

Remember in July when I mentioned that I was searching for a way to teach my girls more about responsibility and managing money?  Since then I have read books and searched on-line (and asked all of you!) for different ideas to give me a jump start.  There are so many different ways to approach chores and allowance systems.  I think the most important thing to think about is what will work for YOU.  What works for one family won't necessarily work for another.  I gathered different ideas from various places and ended up creating something customized that fits our needs.  I thought I'd share it with all of you in case it gives you an idea or two for your family as well!

You all know how I feel about a good list.  :)  Because I'm a list girl, a daily check list made the most sense to me.  There are three sections - Morning Routine, After School Routine, and Family Space.  If the items in each section are checked off, they earn 40 cents.  Three sections worth 40 cents each - so they have the ability to earn $1.20 each day which means up to $6 a week.  I know this isn't much.  But we've never done an allowance before so my girls think they are going to be rolling in the dough.  :)  As they get older, I'm sure I'll add to their responsibilities and increase their earnings.  I'll also make them more responsible for paying for more things on their own, where now they are just earning extra spending money.  (I am having them save 10% to give, 20% to save, and the rest is for them to spend how they choose.)

Morning Routine - This section is easy but the girls only earn their money if they don't have to be reminded to keep getting ready.  I wanted to eliminate me having to say "are you finished with breakfast?  Then what should you be doing?"  Maybe my kids are the only kids who get distracted in the mornings, but man.  We sure get distracted.  This list also reminds them of the little things - like if they are sick, did they take their medicine? etc.  

After School Routine - After school my girls are busy with this list!  They have to unload and put away their things in our mudroom, get their homework done, do their reading, typing practice, feed the turtles, clean their room and bathroom, and put away any of their clothes I've washed.  They also have to get their backpacks loaded and ready for the next day on their own.  LOVING this and I'll tell you why.  It has taken all of the pressure off of me.  I don't have to remember everything that needs to be done anymore.  When they say "can I play" I don't have to ask if the turtles are fed and their room is clean and try to remember what else needs to be done.  I can just say "is everything checked off your list?"  

Family Space - Each week I choose three areas of the house that I want them to help with.  They are responsible to help make sure those spaces are kept clean.  I left those lines blank on the checklist so I can change them to what I want, when I want.  I'll rotate through quite a few jobs so that they learn how to take care of different areas of our house.  

We've now used these for two weeks.  A few thoughts:

- The only down side I've found with this system is that I'm printing these lists everyday.  I'd like to eventually make something that is more permanent but for now, I really like that they have their list with them after school and are checking things off as they complete them.  (Thinking at some point we'll switch to white erase boards or I'll put them in a page protector or laminate them.  Something so I'm not wasting paper!)

- After they finish each section I check that they are done and write at the top of their page what they earned for the day.  Checklists go in a trey in my office and I pay them at the end of the week.  

- Because of after school activities - gymnastics, dance, church activity days, singing, swim lessons, etc. there are days they don't earn all of their money simply because there isn't enough time.  Morning and After School Routine Sections always get finished but a few times the girls haven't had time to help with their Family Space.  And that's ok.  On days we have more time at home they are able to do everything.  

- Because so much of the new chore chart is weekly/school stuff, we'll still do our simple to-do list I write on Saturdays.  No money for that.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  :)

- I love that the Family Space section forces me to teach them how to clean things I probably wouldn't have taught them otherwise.  It's always easier for me to just do it quickly myself!  But my girls want to earn their money so it is forcing me to stop and teach them how to unload and load dishes, wash counters, vacuum floors, clean bathroom sinks, keep the pantry organized, etc.  

- The other day my girls wanted to order a pretzel from a pretzel truck that visits their school.  I said - "Sure!  Use your own money!"  Then they debated whether or not it was worth it.  Nice.  

- I don't have to nag them to get things done anymore.

- I love that.  :)

New chore charts!  Helping all of us stay on track around here. 


p.s.  If you are looking for a system for little kids you can see the Star Behavior Charts I made for my girls when they were younger.  These worked well for us for years!