January 2016 {1SE}

My creative project for the year is going to be capturing just one second every day using the 1SE app, and compiling them into monthly snippets of my life… Remember that time I did this for about 5 months? I LOVED the result. What I loved most about it is what it meant to me – it was a sweet reminder of the little moments. Even cooking dinner at home or walking the dog became a special part of my day to day.

So to kick it off, here is my January! I plan to upload these videos to you monthly, and then I’ll compile one big 2016 at the end of the year. Cheers!

The Guest Room {Before & After}

I’m sorry to say I only took ONE before picture of the guest room. But as you can imagine from the picture below, it was a small, wood-paneled room that once housed a teenage boy.

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We painted the walls a light grey, and accented the room in as much black and white as possible. Here is a shot walking into the room – it’s hard to tell, but there is a funky black and white wallpaper on the ceiling! We are keeping it for now :)

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And for our guests, who I hope are many, we have a few little touches…guest nashGuest wifi

Come visit soon and stay in our cozy guest room!

The Den and Loft {Before & After}

It’s finally here! The FIRST before & after post on our house. LET ME REMIND YOU. Back in September we closed on a sweet little fixer upper. The first time we saw it, it was full to the brim of the previous owners’ belongings. They were the original owners when this home was built in 1949, and after they passed away, the house sent without occupants for nearly two years. Finally, it was sold…to us!

We have done A LOT of work. Some Many pieces are still in progress. The first section I want to share with you is our den and loft. This space was originally a garage, and sometime in the late 1970s or so, it was converted into a den and loft, complete with dark wood paneling. Let me show you, and then I’ll tell you…

THE DEN:

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THE LOFT:

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THE BIG PICTURE:

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What we did:

  • My husband did ALL the demo while I stilled lived in Ohio, which included tearing out wood paneling, plaster walls, Berber carpet, and itchy insulation.

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  • Leveled the den floor. Because it had been a garage, the floor was at about a 30-degree angle…and they hadn’t fixed it when they converted it.
  • Wired surround sound. New electric work. New insulation. New drywall. New paint.
  • We laid the wood floor ourselves, the day after Thanksgiving.

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  • Removed the railing (don’t worry, we will get a new one someday), popped off the steps, and made new steps. They are dark grey to contrast the light grey on the walls.

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  • Painted the loft floor, which had previously been covered in carpet. AND completely on his own, Jonathan painted all the dark brown beams in the den WHITE, which meant about three coats…but they are beautiful and I am so grateful!

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We are loving both of these cozy nooks in our new home…it’s really starting to feel pretty homey! What do you think?

 

The Great Book Purge

Somewhere along the way, I developed a love of books. It probably started in the days of Goosebumps and Choose Your Own Adventure and The Baby Sitters Club… And then it was only multiplied in high school when Doc Cass introduced me to Our Town and Solace of Open Spaces and The Grapes of Wrath. Yes, I loved them all, and then some.

But THEN I went and minored in English in college. “WHY OH WHY did I do this?” I asked myself on the regular. But by the end, I was glad I had. All of this, though, has produced quite an eclectic collection of books…and this week, I decided, it was time to purge.

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This is a portion of the outgoing pile.

Why purge? First, because my books have become more of a clutter than a nice library or refuge. Second, because I promised myself when we moved into our new house I would get rid of things I did not need or use or love. Many of these books fall into those categories.

A few rules. I didn’t get rid of any of my husband’s books – those are for him to look through. I didn’t get rid of any children’s books. I didn’t get rid of anything I LOVED or that I’ve read more than once.

A sum up of what I found on my shelf:

  • Monster Books. I took a class in college on “Monsters in Literature.” Think: Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Lord of the Rings, Frankenstein, etc… I admit, I kept a few of these that I may indeed read again.
  • Bibles. Between my hubby and I, we had FIVE BIBLES. I decided to get rid of one – why? Because a) it was mine, b) it’s a version neither of us read, and c) someone else could use it more than I do. I did keep each of our study bibles, our huge family bible I bought for our wedding, and one other that we use. Also kept my favorite devotional and faith-based books, like Screwtape Letters, My Upmost for His Highest, and Power of a Praying Wife.
  • Caribbean Lit. I also took a Caribbean Literature class in college. I loved it. I remember these books well. But I’ve never read them since, and probably won’t read them again. Let it gooooo…
  • The Reformation. Yes, I took a class about literature during the Reformation. It was miserable in SO MANY WAYS. But the books are so pretty and fat and make me feel smart. And I DID learn an awful lot about the Reformation. But seriously, I will never read all of the 1248 pages of The Faerie Queene. I didn’t even read them in college.
  • Art. I fundraised for the visual arts at one point, and managed to collect a few great art books. The problem is, I don’t have much of an appreciation for them. A few that I loved have now landed in my office.
  • Poetry. I pretended to write poetry a lot in high school, so then I took a few poetry classes during my English Minor. I was TERRIBLE. But I loved the books. These are still on the fence for me… I always tell myself I’ll read them, but I honestly haven’t. I may end up keeping them. I CAN’T DECIDE.
  • Neuroscience. Majored in Psychology and Neuroscience. Resulted in books like, Guns, Germs, & Steel and Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy and Emotional Intelligence. Loved them. Will never read them.
  • My childhood. THESE ARE THE KEEPERS! The whole Chronicles of Narnia series. Anne of Green Gables. BFG. Things I will read and my children will read, and then we will all read them again.

Okay, if you read all that, kudos. Is your bookshelf like this? Did you finally part with some of them at some point? HOW DID YOU DO IT AND NOT CRY? All advice welcome.

A Note On Christmas Trees

This Christmas marks me and Jonathan’s third married Christmas. THIRD. That’s crazy. As you probably know, we spent our first two years of married life living in Ohio, where we knew no one (at first) and had no family. It was extremely important to me that our house there felt like home for both of us. And for me, that meant some serious and intentional Christmas decorating.

Our first year, we decided to cut down our own Christmas tree, so the day after Thanksgiving, with my visiting in-laws in tow, we drove 45 minutes away to do just that. We even named it Tenny, a nod to the state we planned to end up in.

The next year, my mom visited as well, and again we made the trip to cut down our tree. Tenny 2.

These trees were special to us because they were OURS. Jonathan sawed them down himself, and then I decorated them. These trees made that house feel like home at Christmas, especially with all of the ornaments that represent so many memories from both of our lives.

This year, we have been so busy with remodeling parts of our new house in Nashville that Christmas decorations became an after thought. But last weekend, we knew we HAD to go get Tenny 3. So we went to a tree farm, and no offense to Tennessee, but it DID NOT live up to the Ohio farm we had visited the two years before. So after stopping a few places, we ended up buying a pre-cut tree (hey, we still went to a farm. we TRIED), and put it in our practically empty living room and decorated it.

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Tenny 3 is pretty much just for us. We aren’t having any parties this season, like we usually do. We haven’t invited friends over yet, because our house is still in pieces (but getting very close!). So it’s pretty much just us, enjoying it in the evenings, and watering it every day. It’s not technically as nice of a tree as Tenny and Tenny 2 were, but it’s just right for where we are in life: it’s just what we need.

So cheers to all the Christmas trees that have sat in this window since 1949, and cheers to the many trees our little family will bring in. Merry Christmas!

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Thanksgiving Recipes for All Your People.

Over the years of my adult life, I’ve really come to LOVE Thanksgiving. I wasn’t a big fan as a kid – we ate a meal and then my boy cousins made jokes I didn’t understand and fell asleep on the floor, while my girl cousins were more than five years older than me and got to sit at the adult table. But NOW. Now I love Thanksgiving. It’s all the food and family and cooking without the stress of gifts and snow and travel that Christmas time brings. Don’t get me wrong – Christmas is still the BEST – but Thanksgiving season means 1) the year is wrapping up soon, 2) more holidays and days off of work are around the corner, and 3) SNUGGLING. Plus wine. Now I can drink wine. Cheers to you, 8-year-old self.

So anyway, in the years of this blog, I’ve managed to write about lots of different recipes, from desserts to health foods to main dishes. And so today I present you with a summary entitled:

Thanksgiving Recipes for All Your People

#1 Three (or less) ingredient appetizers that even your cousin who can’t cook can make.

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Pear and Prosciutto Wraps

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Baked Brie with Green Pepper Jelly

bacon water chestnuts

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

#2 Paleo and vegetarian dishes for your health-conscious Aunt Jo,       depending on what camp she’s in this year.

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Spicy Swiss Chard and Zucchini

Turkey stuffed peppers

Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Garlic Mashed Cauliflower – IT’S SO GOOD.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chili

#3 Traditional-ish desserts for your in-laws.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Peanut Butter Pie (7)

Peanut Butter Pie

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

Katy’s Strawberry Cake

Let me know how it goes if you try any of them out! And enjoy the kickoff to this holiday season with your family and loved ones. Blessings!

 

New Baby Bashton

I haven’t taken many newborn photos – okay, only once before – but my sweet friend Karla let me practice a few lifestyle photos on her family after the recent arrival of Baby Bashton. Little Bash did not sleep while I was there…but we did the best we could! And big brother Soloh was a total rockstar…The most beautiful family! For all my favorites, pop over here.

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