Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Saturday, January 31, 2015


The Frozen obsession runs deep and true around here, as I'm sure it does in just about every little girl's- and even boy's- home. To be perfectly honest, while I do find it impossible not to sing along with the soundtrack, the movie itself is not one of my favorites. I have never gotten over the whole Hans-is-a-bad-guy thing, and that just ruined everything for me. But oh was it a festive and fun birthday party for our sweet eight year old girl!

This was the cake that I'd envisioned, and I was so thrilled that it ended up looking nearly exactly as I'd pictured it! All the decorations came together easily after I finalized what the cake would look like.

I couldn't get, so pretty!
I know it isn't perfect, and there may have been one color disaster that I had to contend with - think lime green instead of pale aqua...but I fixed it! 
I love this cake!

I found nearly everything at WalMart in the party aisle- it wasn't from a specific theme or anything- just regular party colors! (I'll include a breakdown of items/costs at the end.)

On the day of the party, we woke up to more snow. #newenglandlife
Some people thought that was just about the coolest thing ever. Some people didn't. ha ha ha

Thankfully the roads got cleared, and we're all used to driving in storms anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. Though two girls didn't come because their Dads weren't around and the Moms didn't want to drive. Can't blame them for that!
This picture is from the night before - wait till you see how high the snow got in the last photo! Whoa!

It was kind of a dark morning, so the colors seem a little off in these pictures. It was gorgeous in person!
We had guests use our side entry so they could shake off the snow in the garage on the way in. This is what it looked like as they entered... I heard one little girl squeal when she came in - that totally made my day. :)

This was the cute backdrop for the cake that was also supposed to be for pictures of my birthday girl. Didn't happen. But I saved it all and hope to reenact that part and all will be well with my sad little heart- can you imagine, not even one picture of the birthday girl?!? Guests were early and then we just never recovered, ha.

The table was set the night before as soon as the supper dishes were cleared. I like to get as much done ahead of time as I can. 

One year I decorated all the chairs with tulle and flowers, which we loved. This year, I only adorned the birthday girl's seat, and I gave Isabelle a Birthday Goblet all fancied up with ribbons and lace. She was pretty pleased with that!

Nothing makes wintry days happier and prettier than a bunch of pink tulips.

The party was mid-morning so I didn't need anything too substantial, mostly snacks. And they were simple: cheese & crackers, chicken nuggets & dipping sauce, and this festive rainbow fruit plate. This is always a big hit and it's so simple!

Fancy punch  =)

Even tissue paper scraps look pretty, so they get used as well.

Valentine's Day Kisses are a perfect addition. Those are cupcakes in the background that the girls decorated as one of their activities. I used frosting in a can and provided lots of different sprinkles - easy and cheap. They loved it!

This was mid-decorating. They look so cute and innocent. ha ha ha ha  My goodness, the sheer volume in that room!

I put the girls' cupcakes in a clear plastic cup, labeled with their name, and tied a sandwich baggie around them- these were part of the favors they brought home. They also had some jumbo sparkly crayons that I wrapped a piece of ribbon around. So easy!

Okay, one more photo of her cake! :)

Everyone was so sweet to comment on it and nobody could believe it wasn't from a bakery! Well, thank you! ;)

Of course, I meant to get a photo of the inside, which was all swirly pinks and purples, but... parties get cuh-razy, and I just can't stop everything for a bunch of pictures. And I forget. I'm getting old, ha ha!
This isn't the same cake, but it's pretty close to what it looked like. Just swap out the green for purple, and there you have it!

Such a fun day!
Happy Birthday, Isabelle Kate!
 This was from when we had a Mommy-Daughter Spa Night and got mani/pedis for her birthday - I felt like I got initiated into the girl Mom club that night...and I looooved it!

Party details
I keep and reuse party things, which definitely keeps costs down, but here is the breakdown of everything for our Under Twenty Bucks Frozen Birthday Party - doesn't that sound catchy?!? ha ha

tissue paper puffs/flowers (2 bright color packages, WalMart, $1.94)
crepe paper streamers (already owned)
lace & ribbons (JoAnn's, after Christmas clearance, .80)
3-pack crepe paper medallions (WalMart, $1.97)
white tablecloths (already owned)
artificial bunches of flowers (already owned)
bunch tulips (local grocery store, $4.99)
Frozen plates (WalMart, $2.97)
2 sets bright colored napkins (WalMart, $1.94)
punch bowl/punch cups (already owned)
glitter candles (WalMart, around $2)

Here is the day after the birthday storm. The sun finally started to come out!
Look at all that snow!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


So many things going on over here, but I haven't quite processed them all. Know what I mean? Mostly good, so that certainly helps, but just feels a little chaotic and busy recently. I wanted to jot down some of my very favorite moments from the past week or so so I won't ever forget. Plus, they're good reminders on those not-so-great Mommy days that we'll all be just fine. =)

I'll start with Isabelle. Oh, Isabelle. The brown-eyed love of my life, so sweet and kind and generous... except... when she isn't. I know, I know, we all have our moments, so I'm writing this with a big grin on my face. For the past six months or so, we have gotten into the habit of snuggling for an extra long time on Sunday evenings. She talks about our upcoming Sunday Snuggles bright and early Monday morning, ha ha, so clearly my girl loves her time with her Mama. This past Sunday, she started talking about being adopted. I mean, really talking about it, much more than ever before, and I have to admit that sometimes it sends me in a slight panic because I never want to say the wrong thing to her. Just to be clear here, I love Isabelle's birth mother with all my heart, and when we speak of her, we do so lovingly and respectfully. I can't tell you how many times I've had to stop people from speaking negatively about birth parents, and while not all are honorable as we have so painfully learned, many, many are. Anyhoo. That's for another day.

I don't ever want to forget the rituals of our special nights. How she steals my pillow and blanket off my bed and props them on hers, the way she wriggles and flops around because she's excited (which actually drives me kind of nuts, ha), when she grabs hold of my hand and squeezes it, and then places it on her back so I will "do words." I don't want to forget any of it.

Wednesday morning is "coffee morning" (which is today...yay!) for Ethan and me. I know that when I return home from dropping off the other boys that some delicious caffeinated aroma will greet me the moment I open the door. Sometimes I take him out, either to one of the grittier coffee shops in town or to the swanky one, and yes, even McDonald's. It doesn't really matter, it's just fun. And the fact that he doesn't act put out or embarrassed to be with his old Mom is an added bonus.

Our middle boys have faced some challenges recently, and there is just nothing worse than seeing your child in pain and feeling like there's nothing you can do about it. I feel like I always have to have an answer- which of course I do not- but lately I'm learning the importance of simply being there for them. Oh I've got words of encouragement and extra hugs, but that doesn't "fix" anything. Or does it? I also need to remember to PRAY for them. Why is it that prayer feels like the last resort, the thing to do when all else fails? This year, I want prayer to come first, and then we will face whatever issues we've got going on. It sounds so simple, so why do I have such a struggle with it?

Well, anyway, Caleb invited his two best friends from outside of our church to a fun youth group activity, and when I asked him to look inside my wallet for the money before we left, he smiled and told me he had it taken care of. That really touched me for some reason. I told him I was proud of him and then asked if he'd look for the money that we'd use for his friends. He smiled again and assured me that it was taken care of. What a sweet reminder from my little boy that we should always be cheerful givers and be generous. I may have a generous spirit, but my generosity often gets stopped when I think of bills to pay, and this and that. I really can't stand braggy parents/posts, so I hope this isn't coming off sounding that way; rather, it was just a tender moment I want to remember because lots of our moments lately aren't quite so tender.

I want to be respectful of my children's privacy, especially as they get older, but I will share that Jonah has been struggling with his place in this world, in our family, at school...just an overall confusion and anxiousness I guess you could say. I know we've all been there. Goodness, I think I land there several times a month, if not more, and I've got quite a few years of life experience on this kid. This is yet another example of things I don't have answers for, but I can be the most loving, supportive Mom I can be. I know I've failed lots of times, but there have been successes too. And in his way, he lets me know that he sees me trying- for him- and that means the world to me. I want to remember that the trials haven't broken us; they've brought us closer.

I bought him a brunch cook book from one of those Job Lots places with the hopes that we could spend some time together in the kitchen (which is really, truly, a difficult thing for a control, neat-freak like me!), just him and me, whipping up yummy things on the weekends. He has mentioned this cook book, thanked me for it, and leafed through the pages no less than a dozen times now, which shows me that it means something special to him too. And we get to eat delicious food as well. Win win.  =)

This was probably the biggest bore to anyone else reading it, but my best intentions of remembering these everyday things always fails me, and every single time, I wish I had just written them down when they were fresh in my mind. As I mentioned above, we do have a lot going on right now. We've begun making some big decisions for the future of our growing family, and if you could keep us in your prayers we'd so appreciate that. Thank you! Have a wonderful's a shot of my silly girl to make you smile!
She cracked herself up all through dinner. Oh look! They're reversible! HA HA HA (She was concentrating reaaalllly hard doing Isabelle's hair.)

Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I put up a little post on the Rose & Ruffle blog featuring some adorable new baby things for sale in my shop. Thanks! Here's a little sneak peak...

Friday, January 16, 2015


Sometimes I see a photo of myself from years ago and can't help but wonder what the heck was I thinking with a particular outfit or hairstyle. Please please tell me I am not alone here. Pretty please.

The same goes with my very first apartment as a new bride. While I've always had an interest in houses and design, options were limited to magazines, that was pretty much it. We lived in an apartment complex on the outskirts of a major city, perfect for my new husband's commute, and I marveled at all 560 square feet of because it was our very first home. I can remember each and every piece of furniture we purchased for that space, each thing brought from my childhood home as well as from my husband's. It all meant something to us. (I don't have pictures to share because I honestly don't have pictures. So sad!)

I can also remember that if I stretched out my arms while standing sideways in our kitchen, I could touch a wall with each hand.

But teensy kitchen or not, our time there was shorter than we'd planned, and we somehow found ourselves blessed beyond our wildest imagination when we moved into a brand new house just a few miles from the apartment. This was truly our first space that we were actually able to change things, however we wanted to. Even when, maybe, we shouldn't have. ;)

I recall purplish paint colors, stenciled ivy above the cabinets, blue carpets galore, and a new mishmash of furniture. With more than twice the space, and more than half of it completely empty, the temptation to fill in won out and we wasted money on lots of things for a few years. To say it got worse before it got better is probably the understatement of the decade. But...we perfected our painting and woodworking techniques there, learned the value of neutrals as well as the benefit of waiting for things and choosing them wisely. We pulled up our sleeves and stained the deck, installed a brick walkway, and learned the hard way that mulching an area does not magically keep the grass from growing back up. That's where I also perfected the art of constructing a rock wall and a plant bed and discovered the importance of light. We began our traditions and rituals there, many of which remain to this day, such as our Saturday morning brunch.

 At the time, I felt like I'd won the lottery when it came to our new spacious kitchen! Soon after, we painted the walls a purply-pink, stenciled some ivy leaves, AND added botanical tiles as a mini back splash.
 It's nearly impossible to tell in the photo, but there it is. Who cares anyway when you see that adorable little baby Ethan?!?!?
Apparently, I was all about interesting window coverings, too. I made every single curtain, valance, and other that we hung on the windows there.

Not long after I discovered my love of having a bureau in the dining room. Never mind the bright blue carpet or the Las Vegas looking glass pendant chandelier. Or the unfortunate pistachio green color I painted on the poor bureau.
I still try to have something green and alive in every room of our home.

I'm not intentionally using all these pictures with my cute baby, but back then, it wouldn't have even dawned on me to take a picture of the new brick walkway we installed...unless there was a cute baby in the photo.

During nap times I perfected the art of rock wall building. Or something like that. Fast forward fifteen years, and I'm still smitten with 'em.

Our walls remained bare for quite some time between both my fear of commitment and fear of holes in the walls. With Baby #2 on the near horizon, I got over it. I forgot about that shelf until I just saw this photo! We put another one up in the dining room and it looked gorgeous. Sometimes you just gotta take the risk!

Here we are saying goodbye to our first home, the place where I brought two of my beautiful babies into the world.

In thinking back to our humble first apartment, there really were lots of options in terms of putting our stamp on the space had we lived there longer. At the end of the day, an apartment or house doesn't become a home because of what you put on the walls or how you decorate; it becomes home because of the people who live there.

We have been really fortunate to have worked with several real estate professionals who have become our friends, and their expertise and insight in finding just the right situation for us was invaluable. But we've heard the horror stories, too. It is so important to work with someone who listens to your needs as well as your wants, and can truly help you navigate the often-bumpy real estate road. I'm sharing this story with Compass as part of their new series called Starter Stories. They can help people find just the right space in bigger metropolis areas, which can be extremely daunting, and have launched a new platform for New York City housing; you can find it here.

Everybody deserves a place to call home. Whether you want to roll up your sleeves and get to work (and gain some valuable experience!), or simply walk through the door and hang up your keys, there's the perfect place out there waiting for you to find.

If you'd like to see how we've transformed the house we're currently living in, click here and here, and be sure to check out the different rooms listed in the sidebar. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


This post could have been alternately titled: It's Cold Out and I'm Bored and Freezing So I May As Well Cook Something Else in My Nice Warm Kitchen. Catchy, right?

Getting a little stir crazy up in here, that's all. It is so, so cold, and there hasn't been much sunshine this winter, so I think it's making us me a tad grumpy. It's just for a season, it's just for a season...

Anyhoo. Thought I'd share this yummy and quick lunch with you. It's versatile, cooks up super quick, and of course is delicious! If you thought convenience involved a little packet of powder, think again. This is an absolutely perfect comfort food for little time and effort, and with real ingredients.

 Here's what you need:
1/2 box/bag of pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup milk
1/2 - 3/4 cup cheese, either Cheddar or American, or a combination of the two

Here's what you do:
First, cook pasta according to directions in a small to medium sized saucepan. Use whatever pasta you like- I prefer bow tie or elbow. Drain cooked pasta in a colander and let sit while you make the cheese sauce.

In the same saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Of course you don't actually have to use the same saucepan, but it does make for quick, no-mess meal prep. Next, stir in flour; then milk. Don't worry about little clumps- they will work themselves out as the sauce heats up. (You can easily do this in the microwave as well, but I'm on a sort of anti-nuke kick. We shall see if it lasts.)

While milk mixture heats up, cube the cheese (or simply tear the American in several pieces), then carefully drop into milk mixture. Keep heat low and stir every minute or so until the cheese melts and sauce thickens. Add a dash salt and pepper. This entire process takes five minutes or less. Be careful not to let the mixture scald or burn on the bottom, though. At this point, give it a little taste and decide if you'd like to add more cheese or if you like it just the way it is. You cannot go wrong!

Now you're ready to add the cooked pasta back to the saucepan. Gently stir the noodles into the sauce, coating everything evenly. That's it! No chemicals, no unnecessary ingredients or preservatives, no artificial powders...just good stuff. And love.  =)

I whip this up and pack it for the kiddos' lunches several times a month. Not one complaint yet, I tell you.

You can also add different types of cheeses to the sauce, but I do have to caution you to avoid bleu cheese at ALL COSTS because your meal will taste like...and let's pretend I'm whispering this in your ear so as not to offend...vomit

I kid you not.

Happy Cooking!

Friday, January 9, 2015


Now that we're a solid week in, it feels official. My biggest goal this year is to improve my prayer life, to seek out God in the big things as well as the little ones, and to actively pray over my children in very specific ways. It hasn't been a great start. I've let things distract me and pull me away from what I truly desire, and now I feel restless and unsettled. I know God meets us where we are and that His love is pure and unconditional, but I want to do better. I want Him to come first, and so I must do my part.

I was just reading one of my friend's blogs and she wrote about choosing and meditating on a specific verse for their family for the year, as well as different ones for each of their children. I love this idea! So many times I get stuck, or paralyzed maybe, because I think things have to be big and dramatic and life-changing in terms of helping my children grow spiritually, but it is God who breathes His life-changing power into all those "little" things we do. Just like in praying, it isn't about what we can do, it's about what He can do. 

I thought 2015 was a good year to have fancy crepes for breakfast. We had other stuff too, but these were really fun and yummy for the first day of a brand new year.

If you've been reading my rants for any time at all then you know my tradition of buying one or two new plants for a new year. With below-freezing (and this week, below zero!) temps on a regular basis throughout winter, I need something green and colorful and, well, something to symbolize life again. Oh how I miss my gardens and flowers and digging in the dirt in the winter months!

We brought the kids to an indoor rink because, ironically, we had had such warm weather at Christmastime that the ponds had not yet frozen over. We seem to have remedied that and some, ha!

This boy. I don't even have words. ;)

Ethan is so sweet with Isabelle. She never went skating last year so she was basically starting from scratch. She stuck to the railing for the first hour or so but then she wanted big brother to bring her out to the middle. She fell a lot but she always got right back up with a big smile on her face. She is a much better sport than her Mama. Or her Daddy. ha ha

And here she is the very next day (after cold front #1 of 39 this past week). Looking like a pro!

Sometimes the sass and attitude of this one surprises me. I'm still so used to boys, and there issues were completely different. I need to remember that she is watching my every move, and when I respond in anger, she will also; when I am impatient or unloving, she will be those things too. This brought tears to my eyes the other morning because it gave me such a special glimpse of what is going on inside of her precious little heart as we navigate this sinful and selfish world of ours. She heard me telling a friend about my goal for this year, and just look what she did. She wanted to have her time with the Lord in the morning, too. Just like me. Oh they see and hear everything! How I pray that what she sees and hears from me are always the very best things. Now my eyes are all filled up again. Happy sigh.

I even got to entertain princesses this week. The girls had been outside for over an hour- it was about 7 degrees, I think- and then they rushed in, and after a round of giggles, came downstairs like this... in need of a little hot cocoa with the works, of course.  =)

I've made a few little changes to our home this week. After bare cabinets for a whole year, I brought back some color. I love it!

Then I changed up our entryway a bit. This shelf has wire baskets that I've used to hold fabric, so the baskets went into the sewing closet and the shelf got prettied up. It's a great size for this space, so I really like it.

Lastly, this is a big change...but I'm not finished with it yet. I'll share photos soon. It involves the dining room, my sewing area, a future reading nook, and a couple of other things. So far everything feels like it was meant to be this way, so that's a good thing.

Okay, now it's a bit later than I realized and I've got breakfast and lunches to whip up. Have a great day and weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Hey there, friends! If you've been around for a little while then you might have seen some of the changes we've made to our in-need-of-a-little-love abode in the past two years since we moved in. If you're new here, welcome! You can read the "About me" post to the right (or the page above?...not sure that's working...) for a recap of what brought us here, so get to a comfy spot and settle I tend to get a bit wordy.  ;)

I'm always curious about cultural differences and nuances in other parts of our country, and houses certainly reflect these differences. We live in NH and this house is a traditional New England Colonial. There are no bells and whistles because, well, we New Englanders don't pride ourselves on "fluff," ha ha. Personally, I like a little fluff, but that's neither here nor there. Since this is not our forever home, I'm not sure I see fluff in the future, either, but you never know.

Hands down, the absolute biggest change we made in 2014 wasn't even inside our home but rather, outside. What we lovingly referred to as "the pet cemetery" in the front yard was really a tangled mess of overgrown shrubbery, ill-placed evergreen trees and just a general disaster zone of out of control saplings and trees. But all that changed as soon as the snow melted and the temps rose {a little}. Now we have this lovely, wide open sprawling front yard, and the beautiful giant oak tree stands out as the showpiece it really is. I wrote more in detail about the yard HERE.

I finally, fiiiinnnnaaalllllyyyyy finished up the rock wall. Hallelujah. Is it perfect? Hardly. Straight? Hmm. Functional? Why yes, yes it is. So in essence it is perfect then. You can also see the teensy crab apple tree near the large rock, and the evergreen shrub and other deciduous plant (neither of whom the names I'm able to even remember) on the other side of that. They should fill in nicely and offer just a bit of privacy from the road for that corner of the yard. There is also a Japanese cherry tree growing on the right side of the yard, my favorite.

Ok, I couldn't resist. I still remember the evening I took those pictures in our backyard (old house) almost four years ago, listening to the kids running around on a beautiful spring night just as the sun was beginning to sink down behind us. Wait, where was I? Ah yes, front steps and doors.

Then there were those awful, dreadful, icky, obnoxious orange front steps. Remember? We also changed out the storm door, which gives us the option of using the glass front or the screen, and looks much less, oh I don't know, 1987.

Oh, here's another shot of my wall, more a garden planter technically. Pardon the parched remnants of summer blooms and just imagine that there are more colorful little mums throughout.

Another view of the steps with the right foundation garden. I am super excited about this garden for this spring because I've found that three years is the magic number, so to speak, for everything to settle in, grow and then finally flourish. I'm hoping they're on the flourishing end of things now.  =)

I can't tell you how happy this change has made me. And it was so simple! It really changes the way everything else looks, from the house to the garden to the whole front yard...everything!

We hemmed and hawed for a few days about tackling the big deck, but in the end, how could we not? Again, it changes how everything else looks!

I guess this was midway through creating this little rock wall garden...I'm using it to show the severity and scope of the orange. Gray is so much better.

Even in winter it makes a huge difference...

These two hard at work figuring out something with the front door.  =)
My husband and I put up the first storm door, only it wouldn't fit. So we exchanged it, and wouldn't you know...the same problem awaited us with the new door. Turns out the frame is off. Fun fun. But we lost our confidence and called in the big guns (my Dad), who ended up installing it the same way we were planning to. I guess we should have stuck with it after all, which was a good lesson to learn.

Now let's move on inside.
You guys. I haven't shared any of pictures of this because, well, I think you now know.

Yes, I literally had to stand on this...thing... to put in a load of laundry. Not awesome. This was one of the biggest adjustments to make in moving here, but after a while it became a non-issue. I have what I need to keep our clothes clean and our home environment safe and healthy, so that's really all that matters. Changes will come, and I am happy to wait in the meantime.

One day I mentioned how it would nice to have a big platform of sorts on which to place the washer and dryer. The Kenmore beauty above has since perished and we replaced her with another front loader (loved my old Kenmore but I loathe this LG one- there is a stench like you wouldn't believe, people, and it is impossible to get rid of it. Ugh.) Anyhoo. My handy boys summoned me downstairs one afternoon to surprise me with...
...a new platform! It was exactly what I'd had in mind and I was so impressed! So.Much.Better!!!

Funny how getting your house ready to go on the market kicks your rear in gear inspires you to finish up those things that have sat waiting since, well, you moved in. I never painted to the ceiling line because the residue left over from removing the border was so rough and tacky that paint wouldn't adhere to it. I just figured we'd put up crown molding and be done with it, but then we calculated how much that would be. So yeah, the stripe just sat there- she has a big room!

I thought about trying to paint it in the same color but figured that would only draw the eye to it, since paint rarely matches perfectly when so much time has elapsed. (I wasn't ever sure that paint would work, but after a year of "drying out," the sticky parts were much easier to paint over.) It just so happened that we didn't have any of that paint anyway, so I decided to try a lighter pink up there. And I'd been wanting to experiment with stripes on the walls. Win win. I was nervous about it but I love love love how it turned out. I toyed with the idea of painting more stripes, but at the time, we really needed to list the house, so I was happy to just be done.

And lastly, the main bath upstairs finally got its day in the sun- I cannot find a pic to show you, but it was pretty bad. Green trim, green heater, palm tree border...we changed everything but the bathtub and I couldn't be happier with it. I adore the light fixture (Lowe's, and it was one of the cheaper ones!), and the mirror, which is nothing spectacular, became my favorite purchase because it cost under twenty bucks after scoring a huge discount. I'd searched forever for a mirror but they were either too fancy or too shabby or too... I eyed this one and noticed several scratches along the frame, but since I'd been thinking of distressing it anyway, I hoped that maybe they'd give us a little percent off. Well, they gave us a whole lot off! I was very happily surprised.

There really is no flattering angle in which to capture the tub side or the wall with the towel bars, but you can see in the reflection that the curtain is a pale gray with white designs (TJ Maxx). I love it!

Here is a close-up of the mirror. I was a bit worried about all of the white in there, or rather, the varying shades of white, and distressing the mirror helps to make it seem like we weren't trying to go too matchy matchy in there.

I forgot the closet. One last last thing. We installed a shelving system (Rubbermaid, I think) and while of course it doesn't magically alter the size of the closet, it does alter the functionality, and let me tell you, it is 1000% better! There were tons of ways to set the system up, but this one works best for us. The great thing is that we can change it up if we should ever want to. There are also wire shelves on the left side, hidden behind the wall, as well as on the right side. They're great for extra blankets and things.

Before we had the wooden rod and a dilapidated shelf on top. Not much functionality, personality, or ease, but now everything has its own place. My husband is kind and lets me steal into his side a bit for dresses (which I don't see the wash maybe?) and slacks. =)

That golden door knob reminds me that we replaced all of those last year as well. The upstairs has brushed nickel, and I'd planned to use the same for downstairs, because why wouldn't you, but...I fell hopelessly in love with the black hardware we'd put on a few doors earlier and just couldn't get rid of them. Is that weird? Probably. The downstairs has a much more New England vibe going on while the upstairs seems more light and modern. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. ;) The exterior doors also have black hardware.

Definitely not as long a list as the one from the year before, but hopefully that means we're getting closer to the end goal. I feel like I should add here that we didn't set out to wow people with our home, we simply want to create the right space for us, but sometimes it seems like we're living in a society where it has to be The Best or The Prettiest to have value. I think about this a lot because I love house stuff, and I have to be careful not to get sucked into that mode of thinking or else I end up spending way too much time and attention (and money) on things that, in the end, really won't matter much.

Thanks for reading! I did a similar recap of our home improvement projects and adventures in this post...and even shared a favorite recipe!

sharing with:
Imparting Grace 
Thrifty Decor Chick
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