Work has officially begun on our fixer upper in Kansas City which is exciting because there is a lot that needs to be done before we can move in (and, um, we really need to move in).
My dad and I flew up last weekend to demo some built ins, remove the carpet in the entire house and clean + seal the subfloors that were saturated with pet urine. It was every bit as gross as it sounds. We have crews in the house painting the walls, trim, windows, doors, as well as removing all of the popcorn ceiling and making repairs to the dry wall. Once all of that is finished, the next crew will come in and install our new floors.
The house also tested positive for radon, so we have that crew coming in in addition to having the AC fixed, electrical issues resolved, and air ducts cleaned. It’s a lot, but I know it’ll be worth it!
Aside from the kitchen remodel, we will be doing all of the other work ourselves in order to save money and make memories. We will be learning as we go, and I’ll be sharing all of our projects and tips along the way!
The first room up on our list to complete once we move in is the half bathroom off of our kitchen – mainly because the vanity in there was so gross, I insisted my dad and husband tear it out while we were working in the house last weekend, so we’re kinda all-in on that one already, ha!
I created two design boards for the space (which is what I always recommend doing before recreating a space!). The first design board is my top choice. We’ll have a lot of white in the house, so I want to add in some wood elements to warm it up. The vanity in the first photo is the one I really want and the exact look I am going for; however, it is well out of our budget. I’ve yet to find anything I like even half as much, so if you know of something similar, please link it in the comments!
I like the white vanity in the below design board I put together as well; however, our plumbing for this bathroom comes out of the ground due to it being an exterior wall. Most all vanities sold are built for plumbing that comes out from the wall, so we will have to alter whichever vanity we end up with. Given that, the below vanity won’t work for us as we will need one where we can conceal the pipes. If we were in Texas, I’d have the pipes rerouted to the walls; however we run the high risk of our pipes freezing in Missouri.
Having a great mattress really does make all the difference in your sleep. However, shopping for mattresses can be ..hmmm… annoying? Compass + Star recently sent us a new king mattress that we have really enjoyed. They make it so easy: you select the size you want on their website, checkout, and your done. It arrives shortly after with free shipping.
These mattresses would be great in a guest or kid’s room as well! You can check them out HERE. Be sure to use code SPRING at checkout to get $125 off! The below photo was taken right after we took the mattress out of the box and watched it magically “expand” into a king mattress. Clearly my kids are big fans.
CHOOSE A COLOR PALETTE
I like using all white bedding as it allows me to easily change the overall look by using different color pillows and accent blankets throughout the year for the change in seasons and holidays; however, the downside of all white is obviously keeping it clean.
For white sheets, be sure to wash them every week to prevent your body oils turning them yellow. It helps to set aside a specific day of the week for sheet washing – I wash mine every Friday. Adding baking soda and vinegar to the wash helps too!
If all white bedding isn’t for you, find a color palette that is! I recommend sticking with just a handful of colors rather than trying to incorporate too many!
SELECT YOUR SHEETS
My favorite sheets for the warmer months are THESE from Target as they are so cool to the touch and also wash really well. In the winter I use flannel sheets because I’m a wimp and don’t like to get into a cold bed. Here are some of my other favorite sheets at Target!
CHOOSE A DUVET OR COMFORTER
I’m a huge fan of duvets as it makes changing things up much easier (and cheaper) since you only have to buy a new cover. The key is investing in a really good duvet insert. THIS ONE is by far my favorite one. It’s not cheap, but we’ve had ours eight years, and it’s still like new. It is definitely worth investing in a high end duvet insert because cheaper ones will go flat and also allow the filling to move around in the duvet resulting in it being uneven.
THIS is my favorite white duvet. I have it in our guest room as well, and it holds up well. Here are some of my other favorite duvet covers and comforters/blankets.
CHOOSE A BLANKET
In the above photo, you can see how I layer the white sheets, blanket, and duvet resulting in various textures and added fluffiness. During the warmest months, I ditch the blanket and just use our duvet and sheet.
CHOOSE THROW PILLOWS
I like to use three Euro size pillows along the back and then accent that with various throw pillows. This is the fun part. You can pile on the pillows or just use one long one in front. I like to change these out throughout the year to change up the look depending on the season. Here’s some of my favorite throw pillows.
CHOOSE A COVERLET
I like to fold back my duvet over top of an accent blanket/coverlet. If you have a king bed, you can get a full/queen blanket for this – no need to splurge on a king size!
Unfortunately our exact bed is no longer available,
but here are a few similar ones I found!
As a mom of toddlers, washing my hair is on the bottom of my list of priorities in a day. In my defense, I have very very thick and long hair that’s also pretty course (which means extremely long dry time!). I was determined to find a way to go as long as possible between washes, and I’ve gotten it to where I always go six days between washes.
These products, working together, allow me to hit the six day mark with my hair still smelling fresh and looking good. I’ll be honest and say that my hair type does play somewhat of a roll in being able to go so long. Without any products, I can go 2-3 days without it getting too oily; however, these products allow me to go an additional 3-4 days! MONAT LEAVE IN CONDITIONER
First I want to say, I’m not a Monat distributor or associated with them in any way. If you know me, you know my skepticism of products produced by MLM companies. However, I did a collaboration with this brand awhile back, and, while I wanted to hate it, I didn’t. AT ALL. It’s not cheap, which is a bummer, but if you are only washing your hair once a week like me, it will last you many many months! I apply this right out of the shower, and it smooths out my hair and makes my thick coarse hair so soft and manageable! MONAT BLOW OUT CREAM
If I could only use one product on my hair, this one would be it. Another Monat product that I wanted to hate, but now it’s my favorite of all time. It smells incredible, protects your hair from heat, ANNNDDDD repels oils which allows you to go more days in between washes! This single product is a huge contributor to why my hair can last so long between washing.AQUAGE UPLIFTING FOAM
Foam/Mouse helps to repel oils in addition to holding volume in your roots. I’ve tried many brands; however, this has always been my favorite. The key is you HAVE to round brush your hair dry with a mouse – otherwise it will be crunchy in your hair. (Tip: Regardless of using mouse, round brushing your hair alone helps hair looking clean and fresh longer!) After applying the previous two products, section off your hair and apply the mouse at the roots – being careful not to use to much. Immediately start round brushing your hair, pulling up on the roots as you do so. This adds a LOT of volume and will keep your hair from going flat at the roots between washes.PERFECT HAIR DAY DRY SHAMPOO
On day three, I apply a generous amount of this dry shampoo to my roots. This is one of the most popular dry shampoos out there and for good reason. IT WORKS. It also actually cleans your hair while using it as well, unlike other brands. Here’s my tip: section off hair and apply to roots. Then use a hair dryer to round brush the roots while pulling up on them. Blast the roots with cool air to lock in that style. VOILA! Voluminous, oil free hair again!
Whether you have a family session booked with me or someone else this spring, here are some family outfit ideas I put together to give you some inspriation when choosing what to wear. All links can be found under each photo as well as some additional outfits that would go well with each look.
Preparing toddler meals can be stressful, so I’ve started this new series to show various meal ideas for your little ones! I always love seeing what other mamas feed their kids to get ideas and wanted to add some of my own! Random tip: an app I love is called Fooducate. You can type in any food (or scan a barcode while shopping!) to get an immediate rating of that food as far as it’s nutrition and any nasty/scary ingredients. Sometimes it can be tough to read the ingredients list and know what is good and what isn’t – this makes it effortless (and quick if you have babies or toddlers on the verge of a meltdowns in your cart!).
I’m starting with lunches this week! Here’s a look at the lunches I gave my little one’s this past week!
Spread some cream cheese and avocado on a tortilla, add a little salt, and you have a really great tasting alternative to a quesadilla! These are so good!
I try not to give my little ones the store bought toddler/kid yogurts very often due to the crazy amount of added sugar in them. We make our own versions with 0% plain Fage brand greek yogurt. Just puree their favorite fruit and add it in OR add in some peanut butter (and a couple drops of water to thin it out!) to make the most delicious and filling yogurt you could ever possibly eat. You can also add a drop or two of natural maple syrup to completely get rid of the tartness.
A tried and true basic: PB + J. I just spread the peanut butter on very thin to reduce the risk of choking! I also use all natural fruit preserves for the jelly to avoid the added sugar in regular jelly.Pasta salad can be made a million ways and is an easy thing to always keep in the fridge. My little ones current favorite version is just pasta and peas mixed in olive oil and topped with cheese (serve cold!). The cherry yogurt is that same Fage mixture I mentioned above. In order to add a little extra nutrition to the normal quesadilla, I like to spread a thin layer of smashed black or pinto beans one one of the tortillas before cooking. There are so many health benefits of avocados, so we eat a lot of them around our house!
These Kroger “Simple Truth” brand uncured chicken hot dogs are a great alternative to regular hotdogs and taste SO good!
One of my goals for 2018 is to read at least one book a month. I love to read, and Pre-kids I read a new book every week (because what else are you going to do with all your free time before kids?! haha!). I put it out on Instagram that I would love to start an Instagram Book Club where we all read the same book and can talk about it on my feed once a week – as a way to stay accountable and also build community and meet other mamas. I honestly didn’t know if it was a dumb idea or not, but there was an overwhelming response with so many of you wanting to join in!
Here are the six books I plan on reading over the next few months; I’ve linked them all for you on Amazon. I’ll put it up to a vote soon on my Insta-Stories for us to decide which one we should all start together in February!
I’m currently reading this book as I start decluttering and preparing for our move. It is a unique method to decluttering and tidying up your home. I’m trying to get rid of excess because why do we live in such excess, and this book has been a great approach so far!
I’m currently reading this book as well and highly recommend it! It’s about speaking the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life. The big things and the small mundane things. This is a much needed read for me, especially as we raise our children.
Motherhood is hard. Like, real hard. We’re exhausted, and we’re going insane from all the whining and crying. Sometimes we just need some hope. And some wine. I’m really looking forward to this book and hearing Becky Thompson bring truth to this tired mama! I’ve heard so many great things about her writing, and the reviews are phenomenal!
This is another one I’m really looking forward to reading, especially as a followup to Gospel Fluency. Our days as mamas can feel monotonous: the same chores, the same toddler fits, the same anxieties. We can feel pulled in so many directions – being the perfect mom, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker, the list goes on. Gloria Furman encourages us to see God’s grace in our every day tasks and roles of being a mother. From changing diapers to cooking dinners, she speaks of how to use our influence for God’s glory.
I had a sweet friend gift me this book right after my twins were born, and I have been trying to make time to read it ever since! We have so many things in this world pulling our attention away from what matters most, and this book is about making a plan to be more present in our journey through motherhood.
This is another one by Gloria Furman that has great reviews. In this book she helps us “reorient our vision of motherhood around what the bible teachers” – NOT what the world teaches us, because we all know those are two very different things.
I was like every other mom when it came to finding a new car for our growing family: “I won’t drive a minivan.” PSSSHHHH!! So glad I saw the light and joined the minivan club! After researching every three row SUV out there, I was sold on the Chrysler Pacifica. I created a video showing all the features that had me sold on my van which I included at the bottom of this post, but if I had to narrow it down to just three reasons why I chose a minivan over a 3 row SUV, these would be it!
1. EXTRA SPACE
We looked at every three row SUV out there, and nothing compared to the space a minivan offers. If you have kids, you know how important that is! I can have all three rows up with kids in tow and still fit our double jogging stroller, huge Target haul (is there even such thing as a small Target haul??), a few 2x4s from our trip to Home Depot and still have extra space. There is even hidden storage under the floorboard in front of the seats!
2. AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOORS
This was the number one seller for me over an SUV. It has made getting my kids in and out of the car so much easier and less stressful. From getting infant carriers in and out to crazy wiggly toddlers, the sliding doors help tremendously! How many times have you struggled to get an infant carrier in a car after someone parked too close to you? Having sliding doors makes it easy peasy!
3. STOW ‘N GO SEATS
Being able to fold the seats into the floor with just the push of a button is a huge advantage over SUVs. The Chrysler Pacifica is unique in comparison to other minivans as it allows for both rows to fold into the floor which basically creates a truck bed in the back with the amount of storage it creates!
Want to see the other features I love?
Check out the video I created below!
As a mom of twin toddlers, a designated playroom is something I am thankful for every single day as we spend so much time in here. Since it is one of the first rooms you see when walking in the door, I wanted to coordinate it with the rest of our home. I used a soft neutral palette when creating this room since all of their toys are so bright. This room obviously doesn’t always look this clean and put together when they are playing in it (quite the opposite), but since everything has a place, they are pretty good about cleaning it back up at the end of the day which has been wonderful to this organizational control freak mama. I originally had one of the popular plastic play kitchens in here; however, my twins never played with. I’ve definitely learned that they, like most kids, prefer more realistic toys like mommy and daddy use, so I bought Ikea’s kitchen and made it over in to our own custom kitchen. This was such a fun (and easy!) project; you can see the DIY plans I created for it HERE. I originally had a teepee in this room, but they just take up so much space for what they are. I switched it out for this canopy and like it so much better! It doesn’t take up much room, and my little ones love reading and playing in it. It comes in every color you can imagine! So many people recommended a magnetic board in our playroom, and I’m so glad I took their advice because my twins love it! It’s been such a great way to work on letters, colors, shapes, and animals with all the various magnets you can buy! I knew I wanted a really large board for them to use together, so I made my own which is also a chalkboard! They love to scribble on it for now, and it’ll be a great way to practice their letters when they are older. You can see exactly how I met this board HERE. Their magnets are various colors; however, I spray painted some of them black to match the rest of the room as well. The one thing I didn’t want was magnets all over the playroom at all times, so I added this rail bucket system from Ikea, and taught my twins to keep the magnets in their “home”. It’s worked great, and we don’t have magnets all over the house now!If you’re going to have a chalkboard in your house, these steel chalk holders are a MUST! They prevent the chalk from breaking and also keep it off their hands. We also only use this dustless chalk, so we don’t have chalk dust on everything. This “Let’s Play” sign is one of my very favorite items in the room! It’s from Hunt And Gather Goods, and I can’t recommend them enough! They have lots of options and the quality and customer service is incredible! I like to shop small as much as possible and love that this house shelf came all the way from a sweet lady in Lithuania, and the little handmade raccoon who we named Archie is from one of our favorite shops, Hazel Village. I used window valances instead of full curtains, so I wouldn’t have to worry about my little ones pulling on them when they were younger. Eventually I’ll probably change them out, but for now they work great! This large white shelf is the one from Ikea; however, I wanted to have an open shelf look rather than using baskets that take up each cubby hole. I added a backing board to get the look I wanted which was very easy to do! (DIY post to come soon!) I take the “less is more” approach to toys as my little ones tend to “treasure” their toys more when they can focus on one at a time rather than being overwhelmed with piles of toys everywhere. We have a playroom closet where a lot of their toys are kept in organized bins. They can choose the toy bin they want to play with and know that we have to put it back before getting out another toy bin. We also rotate toys out every few months so that the toys feel new to them again. They toys we do keep in the playroom are organized in baskets which makes cleaning up easy and quick! My (almost) two year old twins know which toys go in which baskets, so they are able to help in the clean up process and also know exactly where to look when they are wanting a specific toy. Books are the one “toy” we don’t limit in our house. While I like to keep the toy number under control, I will never limit the amount of books in our home! I’m currently sewing a book sling to go on the wall which I will share; however, for now books are kept in a basket. My little ones are getting these Anywhere Chairs for Christmas in a few weeks which I know they are going to love! The bean bags in the photo were way bigger than I expected, so I’ll be putting them in a closet for awhile until they grow in to them! When we bought our house, the owners had just put in new carpet in order to sell it. This would have been amazing if they hadn’t chosen such ugly carpet – ha! Since this isn’t our forever home, we don’t want to put a lot of money in to it, so I found this huge shag rug to cover it up. I also have it in my boy’s room because it is so thick and soft! It would be also be great to use if you have wood floors in your playroom! This has been such a fun room to watch these two sweet and crazy kids grow up the past two years. It has definitely evolved from when they were wee little to now as I’m sure it will continue to do!
I’ve linked up some of my current favorite items that would make great Christmas gifts! You can click the photos below to go straight to the items or on any of the links in the post!
I was searching for a mini backpack I could use for a diaper bag for short trips since I no longer need a full size bag with my twins being toddlers. This has been perfect! It’s also great to just use as your every day purse! I really like that it has two side zipper pockets which fit my phone and keys perfectly!
I never saw the value of aprons until I had toddlers. Between trying to prepare meals while stepping over two little ones and having food thrown at me (accidentally and on purpose), my clothes are always stained with the previous meal. I love the look of this apron! So simple and feminine!
This is such a great everyday necklace and looks beautiful alone as well as layered with other necklaces. It also comes in rose gold and silver.
Sneakers are a must for mamas with little ones with all the chasing we do. I love the throw back vibe to these and the neutral color which allows them to match so many outfits.
SUEDE BOOTIES These are the most comfortable booties I’ve ever worn, and they come in this gray color as well as taupe and black.
This is one of my favorite brands, and this bag is such great quality! Perfect for a purse, travel bag, or diaper bag. It also comes in a beautiful blush color as well as black, wine, and gray!
POM POM HAT
I’m a sucker for winter hats, even here in Texas where the wearing season isn’t super long. This one is a super cute fit and is neutral to match any outfit.
CANON 50MM 1.8
If you like taking photos of your little ones or really anything, you need this lens! I use the pro version of this lens for every photos I take. It’s great for kids, pets, portraits, anything!
Although I have a smart watch, I only use it when I’m out at photoshoots. I’m still a traditional watch wearer and prefer not to be 100% tied to technology by wearing the temptation on my wrist (because let’s face it, I’ll lose to that temptation every time.) Fossil has always been my go-to for watches because of their aesthetic and quality!
FRENCH CADE LAVENDER CANDLE
My favorite candle of all time! It lasts forever and smells incredible. My toddler-proofed house doesn’t exactly scream “Chip and Joanna Gaines”, but I light this candle and at least it smells like I have fancy home.