Home Decor Update

I’ve been DIYing, and digging through antique stores for more items for the house. We’ve officially been here over a year, and may of the walls are still bare. This is a significantly bigger place than our last house, so what we had previously owned wasn’t enough to full furnish and decorate this house. Little by little we’ve been adding pieces.

Gallery walls are my go-to right now, as the lend themselves to being rearranged and added to. I hope the never go our of style, because I have more than 1 wall with a cluster of different items and images.

We also replaced an old florescent light that used to hum in the kitchen with these gorgeous pendants. Overall I am happy with the look of our home, and I feel like it blends a lot of different styles. We have rustic pieces, industrial, and even modern touches that reflect our interests.


Recovering From California


For those who don’t know, we had an unfortunate repeat of our trip from last year, in that we all contracted the stomach flu while visiting family in CA. Yup, we all had it last year[me, when I was 7 months pregnant with Cora,] and so I thought, Surely we won’t get it 2 years in a row…. The Lord is kind and merciful…. I won’t pack medicine because what are the odds? The odds are pretty high, apparently.


The Lord is still kind and merciful though, as no one ended us seriously suffering [the Christmas we found out my youngest brother had Type 1 Diabetes comes to mind…] and we made it home safe. The past few days have been spent in recovery: catching up on laundry, finishing Christmas shopping, adjusting back to the Eastern Time Zone, etc. In an attempt not to have this Christmas “ruined” by a series of unfortunate events, I am trying to really jumpstart our Christmas spirit with lights, cookie decorating, and religious traditions [like our advent wreath]


We have plans to do more cookie decorating with friends later in the week, and I am looking forward to doing a little more shopping and seeing The Nutcracker Ballet with Sophie for the first time. Funny enough, it will be my mother-in-law’s first time seeing it, too!


Poor Cora was hit the hardest with the illness while we were traveling, but it has been a consolation to all of us to see her slowly returning to her smiley self. The hardest part about being sick on vacation, was all the hype I prepared Sophie for. She kept asking when we were going to see Mickey Mouse and the princesses. Because every one was so sick, we never made it to Disneyland. I felt like I let her down. I know she will eventually forget, but nothing breaks a parent’s heart like letting down their kid .


We’ve also had our first real snow, so it has been wonderful to cuddle up next to the fire as we spend our first winter in this new house! I just think there is some thing so festive about a fireplace!

I hope you all can find time this week to do one of your favorite Christmas activities! And I hope you all avoid the terrible flu we got.

Christmas Tour!


Since we are taking some time to visit my family in California, we felt like we had to put up some decorations early, so as not to feel rushed later in the month. The girls have been having a blast “helping” us, and it has been so fun celebrating Cora’s first Christmas as a curious 9 month infant.


I like having creative control of our main tree, so I had this felt tree made for Sophie to decorate as she pleases. She can re-decorate it every day, and I don’t have to worry about her pulling down a tree or breaking lights. Window clings are another thing I let her go wild with though, Cora has been motivated to eat them like fruit roll-ups.


Our new house has so much more space than the old, and so many surfaces to decorate. I have really enjoyed the challenge of decorating a new, bigger home. Even the dining room can have its own set of decorations.


The holidays are much more magical now that we have children. Even J gets giddy picking out toys for them! Since our mantle now holds all of the TV related electronics, I had to find a different place to put the stockings. The DVD case has been acting as a decorated “mantle” all summer, so I decided to add the stocking here as well.


Since the first time I saw the Willow Tree nativity set, I was obsessed with it. J doesn’t like that they are faceless, but bought it for my last year regardless. We have a few other nativity scenes that are more his style, but this one is special to me.


Since I hosted this Thanksgiving and we don’t have cable, I wanted to have activities for every one to participate in. We had the typical game of apples-to-apples, but I also bought a set of 6 ginger bread houses to decorate. It was a lot of fun, and now I have pretty kitchen decoration made by family and friends.

Our main tree is always my pride and joy. I have many natural colors with pops of blue. We have a devotion to St. Francis, so our tree is adorned with woodland critters as well as religious imagery.


We have a few “fun” decorations for the kids as well. I love these Jim Shore carvings, and J has slowly been collecting some for each holiday. Now that Sophie is old enough to recognize certain characters, it has been fun to watch her light up when she spots her favorites around the house.

What’s your favorite decoration?


House Updates

I can’t believe how far we’ve come with this house! Many updates are still underway, but I am in love with every thing we have done thus far, and I just had to give you guys an update on the progress.



The kitchen is pretty much done, with the exception of adding some shelving above my coffee station. We painted the cabinets, removed wallpaper, and painted the walls. That is what I call an easy update! [Well, removing wallpaper isn’t easy, but I mean, we didn’t have to knock down any walls.] The previous owners really took care of what they had, plus they installed some top of the line appliances to begin with, so we had a lot to work with. The cabinets were beautiful, solid wood, but I just HAD to paint them white. They were too rustic for me in their raw form. Plus, the white paint really off-set the dark granite and opened up the space. We still have to paint the island, but it also needs new wheels, so we are trying to figure out the best way to go about replacing them.



Living Room



This is another room that is 90% finished. All that is left to be done is mount the TV over the fireplace [ don’t try to talk me out of it], and add a mantle. I wouldn’t mind a new coffee table, but let’s not get too greedy… We painted the space, had the carpets cleaned, and sort of sectioned off the room into 3 separate spaces: reading nook, entertainment area, and kids’ area. Last weekend I had a fun time whitewashing our fireplace, and while I wasn’t sure I liked it upon completion, it has since grown on me.


Dining Room


The first thing that had to go was that enormous chandelier. It is beautiful, probably antique, and expensive, which are 3 reasons for a mom of toddlers not to have it in her house. Also, it’s just not really my taste. The dining area is complete, all but the dining table. We are having a table custom built for us, but in the mean time we have this old set with some mismatched chairs. I absolutely love the decor in this room. The cross wall was inspired by my mother, who designed one for her house, and the photography is actually my father’s. When I was 10, he and I took a photography excursion to Northern California. We both fell in love with Yosemite, and took lots of snowy pictures of the scenic winter landscapes. The waterfall picture is from that trip, and I have another that he took on his own. I believe my mother had them custom framed at some point, so it was such a treasure to receive them for my new home.


Powder Room

Keeping true to the “buckeye” theme, every house in the Ohio Valley has to have at least one room that is a deliberate nod to OSU. Many people pick the bathroom since scarlet and grey aren’t really the trending colors in interior design right now. Apparently they weren’t in 1954 when this house was built either, because no other room dons the iconic scarlet and grey except this bathroom. I actually like it, as its predominantly grey. I’m also a big fan of the sink mounted on a vintage sewing machine. Justin hates every thing about it s we’ll see what ends up happening, but for now it is in good shape and a fun conversation piece.



That’s it for now, as far as updates go. I’m hoping to update the guest bathroom next, as well as paint the girls’ room. Of course, everything downstairs should be finished before I even touch anything upstairs. I’m committed to finishing the downstairs first because it is the part of the house people see first and where we spend the most amount of our time in.

So far, I love every thing and Sophie has been great about not touching any tools that were forgotten to be put away, or anything else that gets left out after a project. We are so blessed, and thankful to be in this new house every day, and I look forward to sharing more updates with you!

PS Sorry some of these pictures were so dark. Full disclosure: I took them at 5 am, when Cora was having a sleeping strike and the sun hadn’t come up yet.




Kid Friendly Industrial Decor


I’m no Joanna Gaines, but I have recently been inspired by the industrial trend in interior design. Since we live in an old city that once thrived during the days of booming steel mills, I think the industrial look is actually fitting for some one who owns a home in this area. The other reason I’m drawn to this look is because many pieces appear to be kid friendly. Here’s why…


durable – metal chairs? It doesn’t get much durable than a variety of tried and true metals. Many pieces of industrial decor can survive a beating, which makes them great for a home with young children. Our wooden coffee table has only been in our home for 4 years, and only 2 of those years has it had to endure Sophie. Let’s just say, it is on the brink of collapse and I can’t help but feel a sturdy metal foundation would’ve held up better.


creative – Heavy metal is kind of industrial’s signature look, but things like chalkboard walls are often incorporated. There are so many raw, DIY elements to this style that allow you to really make it your own. You can play it up or down as much as you’d like.


versatile – Ever heard of industrial farmhouse? You can add as many or as little pieces you want to a space, to create the perfect look for you and your family. I like the sturdiness of metal pipes holding up my shelving, but I don’t like exposed light bulbs for my lighting, preferring a toned down chandelier instead. J collects comic art and I’d love to be able to incorporate some into the new house. These more modern pieces actually work with the industrial look more so than the traditional decoration we have in our current home.

I’m in luck, being in an area with access to antique industrial pieces, and needing something that can stand up to my kids. What do you think of this look?

Good Friday

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I’m going to be really transparent with you: This was an exhausting week. Not exhausting like “I’ve been really busy and got an hour less of sleep than I normally do…” No. This has been a week where the baby cried every 20 minutes, the house was chaos as we started transitioning our winter things to spring, I was running on only a few hours of sleep every day, and the toddler decided to test some boundaries (as they do…) J came home for lunch one day to find me on the floor crying because I literally didn’t know how to handle everything.

We’re human, and some times we can’t handle everything. It doesn’t matter if we should be able to, it doesn’t matter if the task seems easy or hard, some times we just can’t handle what’s on our plate and we need to call reinforcements. Luckily for me, I have awesome reinforcements. That afternoon, J took the rest of the day off to help me handle what I couldn’t do alone. He let me get in a 4 hour nap that my body was begging for, and after that, a couple of my friends dropped in just to see if I needed any help with the kids. Just when I couldn’t feel more loved, a mom from church delivered me a home cooked dinner and brownies.

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I am loved and I am lucky. When Jesus suffered, he was alone. I can’t imagine how that must have felt, as I just explained, I am easily overwhelmed and isolated just with the work of being a Stay-at-home mom. He took on unbearable pain, and he did it alone. My week has been rough, but ending it with Good Friday has certainly helped me to keep things in perspective. He did it alone because he loves us, and he was capable of doing it alone because he was the Son of God. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in that, I’m more a kin to Eve than I am to Christ. She was also alone when she decided to eat that apple. I’d like to think that suffering alone would help me be closer to Jesus than to Eve, but let’s be honest: I’m a sinner… 99% of the time, I’m going to drift closer to Eve. I’m sure suffering alone has its merits, but for me holiness comes through humility and admitting that I need help. I can’t do it alone. Holiness is being seen stripped of all my armor and perceived strength,  lying in a puddle of my own tears. So that is what I did this week. It was hard, exhausting, and embarrassing at times, but it’s what I needed, and I can’t help feeling like a new woman as I emerge out of Good Friday and head toward Easter Sunday.


Part of the reason our house is in such disarray  is because we have another BIG change we’ll be experiencing soon. Some of you may have guessed it already but,  we bought a house! OK, so the sale is still “pending” but we are so excited and I’ve been wanting to announce it here for a couple weeks. Yes, I am overwhelmed because we just had  a new baby, switched to a new church, and now we’re going to be moving into a new house. These are all fabulous changes of course, but to a person with anxiety it has been overstimulating to say the least. Anyway, I’ll be posting updates about the house when I can (be on the lookout for pictures soon!) because we have exciting updates planned for it!


Most importantly: have a happy Easter everyone! and don’t expect too many posts for the next few days, as we will be celebrating this joyful feast with family, and I want you to, too!


St. Lucy

St. Lucy [or Lucia] is known as the patron saint of the blind and of light. Her feast day was yesterday, December 13th, and I told myself that this year we would hold off putting up our lights until her feast day. So, last night we had our very own little family light-up night.

Here’s the story of St. Lucy that I’ve heard: Some time around 300 AD, it was actually dangerous to be a Christian. When most people think of Christianity, they don’t think about persecution and martyrdom. Yes, many people are quick to remember the crusades, but slow to remember that Christians, particularly in Rome, were hunted. In fact many Catholic traditions come from this time of persecution, when people had to celebrate mass in secrecy underground. Besides celebrating mass in the catacombs, Christians wanted by the Romans actually hid underground as well. St. Lucy would bring food to these people, since they were wanted and were too scared to show their faces above ground even to get some thing to eat. The story goes that St. Lucy had so much food to bring to these Christians that she couldn’t carry both the food and the candle she’d need to see in the underground tunnels. So, she placed the candles in a wreath that she wore on her head, leaving both hands free to carry enough food for everyone in hiding. There are probably many variations on this story and the historical facts that go with it… but either way, it is still a good example of charity, love, and the importance of religious freedom.

At the risk of sounding political, I have to say this story touched me in a very particular way this year, as I’ve seen many Muslims being persecuted here due to tensions our country has with those in the middle east, as well as the world-wide persecution Christians are facing. It highlighted to me how lucky I am to have religious freedom in this country and encouraged me to pray for those who do not have this gift in theirs.

In any case, it was an honor to light up the night in honor of the patroness of light herself. Now our home looks particularly festive, and ready for an even BIGGER feast day on December 25th! As you’ll notice, our manger is still missing Baby Jesus, and we’re still rocking our Advent flag near the front door. The anticipation is growing for both Christmas Day and for our trip to California. This week, I’ll be spending most of my time doing last minute shopping and packing for the big trip. Hopefully I will still have time to relax and enjoy the season. Have a great week everyone!

Tis the Season!

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Our house is looking a little different this holiday season as we go forth with a toddler running around the house. I’ve still put all our glass ornaments on the tree, though I definitely secured them with more effort than I ever have in past years, but I am determined to still have out all our special decorations in tandem with our special children running around. However, you’ll notice a few additional decorations, of the cheesy primary colored variety, that are specifically for Sugar Plum [like the advent wreath above, for example. Candle sticks aren’t exactly 18 month old friendly].

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Despite wanting to have a bigger focus on Advent this year, that hasn’t stopped me from  indulging in some Christmas spirit. I mean, the point of Advent isn’t meant to turn us into total Scrooges. And in a more Catholic spirit, we have 3 important feast days coming up: The Immaculate Conception, St. Nicholas, and St. Lucy. We have some new traditions we’ll be trying out for each of these days , and I couldn’t be more excited!

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My favorite part about the wee was having a “snowball” fight with Sophie, using a bucket of these plush little snowballs my mom got for J and I on our 1st Christmas. Uncontrollable giggling.

Watching her set up her little nativity was pretty adorable too.

Have a great weekend every one!

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Weekly Update

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What have we been up to this week? Well, I already shared with you how I’m prepping for Thanksgiving, but I also pulled out, just a few, “seasonal wintry” decorations. You see, we’re Catholic, and I am determined this year to celebrate the seasons of the church in their correct order, by not decorating for Christmas too prematurely. I won’t get into the details of that in this post, since I already have a post lined up in regards to Advent, but I didn’t see the harm in putting out a couple winter things. Since we’re going to be in California for Christmas this year, we won’t get to enjoy our decorations for as long.

Anyway, I’ve also been trying to transition my wardrobe from summer/fall to full on winter, as the temperatures around here keep dropping. In fact, I had to break down and buy a maternity jacket. After trying on my 5+ coats, I couldn’t find any that fit me. I’ve decided to donate 3 of my old coats to Goodwill in order to justify getting a new one. The great news is, this coat isn’t JUST a maternity coat. It has a panel that zips into the jacket to widen it for a prego belly, but that same panel can also be removed, and the jacket zips up normally for postpartum moms too! I considered it an investment for winters and pregnancies to come.


For whatever reason, this past week has been tough on me. I can’t tell if hormones play a role, or if I have some other underlying anxiety, but I’ve had a bit of a short fuse lately. I’m really trying to get my reactions under control, and be a little more patient with everyone in my home.

What are your goals for the week?

Contemporary and Modern

These are the looks I am LOVING right now! Even though I haven’t lived here in the Buckeye State with my husband for very long, 1 day of watching HGTV is enough to inspire anyone to want to re-style their entire home. As our family grows, we will eventually have to upgrade to a bigger house [Please God, make it one with 2 bathrooms…]

You may not know this, but Hubs and I both like to collect art. I actually like more of the photography/art print type, and he is a huge comic art collector. The only way I envision both of our style being able to be displayed, is with the modern contemporary look. Gallery walls and bold pops of colors.

So how does one do this on a tight budget? We are a young family you know… I’ll start by sharing some of my favorite pieces of inspiration:

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Look 1: The gallery wall. This can be done for surprisingly cheap! Some of the art we’ve invested in, is worth protecting with custom framing, but some of the cheaper prints, I have put in dollar store frames and mounted to our walls using command strips. This is a look you can totally accomplish even if you’re renting or living on a military base, because the command strips will not damage the walls. You can even paint the dollar store frames if black doesn’t suit you. I however, like the boldness and contrast of the black and white.

Look 2: Chalkboard paint. You may not be able to paint, depending on your housing situation, but this is such an easy and creative way to modernize and update a room in your home. It doubles as an accent wall AND a functional space. Use it to write notes on for the week, or let your kids go at it! The wonderful thing about an accent wall, is that you don’t need a lot of paint, either.

Look 3: This is my go-to, cheap way of changing up the look of my house. Accent pillows and furniture! A few bold prints and one statement piece of furniture [umm, that pink ottoman? swoon!] and your room will be transformed!

Contemporary and modern looks aren’t everyone’s taste, but if you’re willing to make a statement, there are definitely  budget friendly ways to do it!