Road Trip – Petit Jean 

We’ve just returned home from our first family vacay! Tony’s leave was able to overlap with mine for a few days, so we  visited Petit Jean (French for Little John) State Park in Arkansas. Legend has it that a French explorer was sent by the King to explore the Louisiana Territory. His fiancé asked to accompany him, but the explorer said it was too dangerous. Unwilling to be away from her love, the woman dressed as a boy and secured a job as the Cabin Boy for the voyage. The crew loved the diminutive Cabin Boy, and nicknamed him Petit Jean. They all enjoyed a lovely summer with the natives of the area, but as they were preparing for the return trip to France, Petit Jean fell ill and asked to be buried at the top of this little mountain, thus the park’s name. 

Though the locals definitely pronounced it Pet-it Jean, so I can’t get that out of my head!

We rented an adorable, little, overnight cabin for a few nights. 

It was pretty cramped in there with the pack’n’play, the kennel, and the stroller, but so worth it that the 4 of us were all there together! I think we did a decent job with the packing!

Petit Jean has some fantastic hiking trails that center around the beautiful Cedar Creek and Cedar Falls, a 90 foot waterfall. 

 The water level was pretty low, but the hike to the Falls was still beautiful. 

On a different trail, we went above the falls and along the creek that feeds it. 

We spent each morning hiking the various trails. EO did great for about 3 hour stretches. He just fell asleep on Tony’s back when he got tired. In fact, he’s asleep in almost every family photo I tried to take, but we got a few of him awake too! 

Charlie led us fearlessly on each path. He absolutely loved scampering up and down the rocks! 

Then we spent the afternoons napping and taking it easy. 

There were two spots in the park that were less trail and more natural playground. The first that we visited was Bear Cave, a collection of massive boulders that you can walk around, over, and through. 

Even EO did some climbing!  

It was a great spot for photographs. 

The other spot was Rock Cave, a natural shelter with Native American pictographs. 

Walking back from Rock Cave, you can really see why these are called Turtle Rocks! 

The boys were completely wiped out on the drive home. I was able to snap this pic of them napping together in the backseat – warms a momma’s heart!

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Wardrobe Part I

Most of my projects lately have been knock-offs of things I saw on Pinterest, but I’ve been working up a more original idea – a wardrobe in out guest bedroom. We’ve added closet space in our bedroom and EO’s bedroom, but we’ve hardly touched the guest room since adding the full bath a couple years ago. That room doesn’t have a closet of any kind, but the more traditional closet we put in EO’s room was such a mess with the mudding and sanding, etc. For the guest room, I’d decided a wardrobe was the best choice, but to maximize space and avoid carrying giant, heavy furniture up our narrow stairs, I wanted a built-in wardrobe that went from floor to ceiling with drawers and shelves and hanging space. This was my original plan: 
 I’d decided this would be my maternity leave project, and with only a few weeks of leave left, it was sure time to get started! 

So, EO and I went to the hardware store with my list of items. We picked up the little thing first – painting supplies, hinges, screws, etc. Then we went and got one of those lumber carts with the slot in the middle to hold the big sheets of plywood. I pushed EO in the stroller and pulled the big cart behind me. It was pretty humorous, and I got a few funny looks. The lady at the register told me I was amazing. Luckily, by then  Tony was off work and swung by the Depot to get the little man. 

Anyway, progress on this honking piece of furniture is predictably slow, but steady! Mom helped me prime and paint the first two coats on the MDF. Dad helped me cut the wood on his table saw. Tony cut out the baseboard for me. So it’s construction time! I can’t get a whole lot done while EO’s sleeping, as nap times have shrunk to 40 minutes or so. 

But I’ve had the babysitter come over a few afternoons, and that has allowed for a lot of progress!

Two more weeks. Let’s see if I can do it!

Posted in Bedroom, Cabinets | Tagged | 2 Comments

Shade-y Business 

Lamp Shades, that is!

I’ve had this lamp in our front hall for ages. I love its height and detail, and I initially loved the beaded shade as well, but now it doesn’t quite match the room. I’ve tried replacing the shade, but the way it connects is really funky. It has these extenders on the bulb holder, so if I try another shade, the bulb sticks out the top! I’ve actually tried several different shades, but they’re all the same. I’d resigned myself to keeping it as is, until I came across this pin last week where a lady covered an existing lampshade.

So simple. Burlap, hot glue. Done. 

I had some burlap ribbon leftover from past projects, so I cut it down the middle, peeled a few strands away to make the frayed edge, gathered it, and glued that sucker on – a one nap time project!

This other lamp shade I did over the summer. It’s in Tony’s library so there can be no frill applied, but I have this issue with things that are plain. So I added a detail I knew he wouldn’t object to – a raven! (In case you’ve been living under a rock, or if you’re new here, Tony’s got a bit of a thing for the world of Edgar Allen Poe!)

I cut the image out on my machine and just stuck it on the inside of the shade with scotch tape. I put my hand in there too, and it wasn’t hot, so I’m sure it’s safe!  : )

Charlie helped me take pictures, and he wanted me to take one of him too. Such a sweet boy!

Posted in Decor | Tagged | 1 Comment

Super Simple Wreath

Fall has certainly been in the air recently! The temps have cooled (for a few days at least) and the Fall Festivals have begun, so it was time to pull out the fall decor. I like to do a new project or two each year, and this one caught my eye on Pinterest! It looked simple enough to do during naptime. It was! And I even got a nap in myself. 


  • 1 grapevine wreath, I went with an 8 inch
  • 10-12 floral stems of your choice, I’ve always had a thing for the orange and red ones
  • Wire cutter 

Step 1: Cut your stems to about 3 inches from the bottom bloom. 

Step 2: Jam the stems into the wreath. I did two and two opposite one another first and filled in from there. 

Step 3: There will be an inch or so of wire that pokes through the back of the wreath. Twist it at an angle to hold the bloom in place. Use the wire cutter to help tuck the pokey part into the grapevine. 

Step 4: Gently bend and separate the stems to ensure they’re full and even. 

Step 5: Hang! This was the trickiest part – I still can’t quite decide where to hang it!

It’s been fun pulling out all the pumpkins and deciding where to put everything this year! Here’s a quick look:

The dining room table: It twas tough to get a photo of this with all the light from the windows, but I just love those black ribbon bats. That Pinterest has some good ideas! They’re on mini clothespins so they’re easy to put away after Halloween, but the pumpkins will stay out through Thanksgiving.

The front hall table: 

And the front porch:

Happy Fall!!

Posted in Decor, Outside | Tagged | 1 Comment

Road Trip!

I know I’ve been MIA for awhile, but THIS was happening! 


And, not to mention, all this too!

Anyway, school started, Tony went back to work, and I got to start maternity leave! On the first full day of school EO and I hopped in the car with Mimzy to see the extended family in Wisconsin. He was incredible on the 14 hour drive – calm and content. What a relief that was! He met many relatives for the first time – great aunts and uncles, second cousins, and one of his great grandmothers!

We had a great time visiting, going “up north” to the cottage, and exposing a fourth generation (my grandparents, my mom, me, and now EO) to Green Bay’s Bay Beach amusement park. However, the real reason for our trip (Seeing family was the bonus!: ) was a bedroom makeover. My aunt and uncle’s bedroom has looked much like this for the last 20 years (but with drawers), so she was looking for an update – something simple and not too expensive. This project was right up my alley! 

Aunt Beth had picked out a print years ago that would inspire her whole bedroom makeover, so we went shopping with this picture on our phones. The idea was to update the existing furniture and change the accessories to create a space as inviting and serene as this image while keeping the room functional. 

The project was a true family affair. Aunt Beth cleaned and organized, Lissy helped me paint furniture, Mom painted the mirror and the hardware, Uncle Bob moved the super heavy bed and loaned me the necessary tools. Even EO helped me install drawer pulls on the jewelry holder! 

I’ll be honest, though, they all basically just sat and watched me while I installed the new curtain rods!

There was more than one concern raised about my choice of “stepstool.”

In the end, I think we totally achieved our goal with this space!

So, what did we do? 

1. Painted just the drawers of the furniture, the mirror, the inset of the headboard, and the base of the bed (It’s a solid, wood frame to hold their sleep number mattress.) a neutral taupe. Spray painted the brushed gold hardware a beautiful hammered black.

2. Installed new curtain rods and beautiful, soft, linen-like, floor-length curtains to frame the windows. Also bought a new bedding set.

3. Rearranged the furniture, swapped out the chair for one in another bedroom, and got rid of the dated mirror over the long dresser.

4. Added some pretty stellar accessories and artwork to the walls. 

Moving left to right: White Slat Double Frame – Walmart, Weathered Shutter and Jewelry Organizer Shelf – Hobby Lobby, Tiered Jewelry Organizer – DIY, Frame for the print that inspired it all – Hobby Lobby, Just Add Water framed print – Michaels, I think??, Funky Knobs for the Jewelry Organizer Shelf – Hobby Lobby

The Tiered Jewelry Organizer was an especially cool project, because the silver candlesticks were used in Beth and Bob’s wedding. They’ve been sitting in a closet ever since, but now they’re on display every day!

As with so many home projects, it was down to the wire to get this project completed. After we left, I know Aunt Beth filled all the empty frames with favorite photos and added a beautiful cross and sign to the little shelf above the bed. I’m so happy she likes her “new” room! 

Posted in Bedroom, Decor, Furniture, Vacation | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Mom Car

EO’s two months old now!

And it’s official. I’m now the proud owner of a “Mom Car” – one that can hold the baby, the fur-baby, and still have room left for some luggage. We spent one afternoon, two evenings, and a stormy morning at various dealerships trying to find just the right new-to-me vehicle. 

And now that we’ve made the decision, it’s time to move in! The spare blanket and cold weather gear is stored in one little compartment, a couple diapers and wipes are in another compartment, and all my favorite radio stations have been preset. We are ready to take the whole fam out for a ride! Except for one thing. Right now that car is clean. Super clean. And I love that! So before we could take Charlie to the park, I had to prepare his special seat. 

I picked up a couple yards of that fabric lined vinyl that’s usually used for table cloths and cut it to fit the trunk space. 

Right now the vinyl is attached with Velcro. We’ll see if it will hold up to Charlie and can keep my new trunk dog hair free!

Posted in Outside | 2 Comments

Picture Windows

A few years ago I was driving to my parents’ house, and one of their neighbors had a bunch of old windows out at the end of their driveway. Jackpot! Mom and I hopped in her SUV and went back to junk pick them. The homeowner even came out to help us load them up! I ended up with probably 12-15 windows – WAY more than I needed. I’ve been able to give some of them to other people over time (though if you want one… or three… please let me know!!) but I’ve been trying to find a use for the rest for the last three years. You may have seen those attempts in this Potting Table Decor post or this Ugly Shed post.  

Two of the windows were painted grey and put over the dresser/changing table in EO’s room. This week I made a quick modification to the windows so they could hold all of his adorable photos! 


The key was to start from the bottom. I measured up 6 inches and made a little dot on one side of the window. Then I could use the level and a tape measure to draw a corresponding dot on the other side of the window. I didn’t even have to take them off the wall! Twine tied tight connected the two nails, and voilà! 

Even with how simple this project was, it still took me a few days to complete. That’s just how it is now with Little Man calling the shots! 

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Floating Bookshelves

I am loving my time with little EO! What a privilege it is to watch him grow and grow!  

Tony’s having a good time too. Here’s father and son reading poetry.  And we were finally able to snap our first family photo today! Even Charlie joined in, looking all regal. 

 Anyway, as much fun as we’re having with Edmond, what a blessing it was to send him overnight with Grandma Mimzy. We missed our little guy, but man did we sleep well! And I was finally able to catch up on some dishes and laundry and putting away the winter clothes (Yes, I know it’s July!). I also completed one teeny tiny project I’ve had on my To Do list – the bare wall over EO’s toy box.    It was a lovely wall over a really lovely toy box, but it was bare, and bare is just not my thing. I decided on some floating shelves to hold the books that were too tall for EO’s bookshelf. 

I’ve said for several years now that I knew some day I would value premade things over homemade ones, but that I’d go homemade while I had the time. Well, that day has come. Plus, Ikea’s floating shelves are just $6.99 apiece. No brainer!

Holes drilled, anchors placed, screws installed, and done!   Tony’s only complaint is there aren’t enough books up there!


Posted in Bedroom, Decor, Nursery | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Flag Day Wreath

Happy Flag Day! In honor of this patriotic holiday, I put together a very quick little project – a patriotic wreath. 


A burlap wreath is truly one of the easiest projects to put together. It requires just a few supplies: 


Can you believe that stars and stripes burlap was in the holiday section at Walmart? I’ve had it for awhile now, knowing that this was the kind of project I might have time for once Baby arrived. 

A burlap wreath is nearly impossible to mess up. You just weave the material between the metal slats of the wreath frame. The hardest part is gauging how much material to use. You want it to be bunched pretty tight to make the wreath full, but not so tight that you run out of burlap before it’s finished. 

For this project, the stars and stripes burlap was shorter than most rolls. I could have probably used a second roll of the stripes, but I mixed in the plain burlap instead. 

I’m not usually very good at decorating for the summer holidays. School wraps up and I just sort of forget to transition my decor from Spring to Summer, but this year I’m prepared! I’ve also updated the little photo frame in the front hall… Though everything else up there is still the same!


In other news, family has begun to arrive from out of town to meet little Edmond! We’re all trying to get used to our new titles – Mom & Dad, Great Aunt Amy, Grandma (Mimzy), and Great Grandmother & Great Grandfather!


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New Windows, Baby!

We can now start describing Edmond’s age in weeks, not days. It’s hard to believe that just 2 weeks ago we brought him home! So much seems to have happened in that time.  I sure am glad he held off his arrival until after the kitchen (and the school year, for that matter) was finished. Every time I wash a bottle in the new sink I think about how much nicer it is than the old one! 

In anticipation of the questions I’ve been getting most frequently:

     1. Edmond’s eating really well. He’s up to 8 lb. 1 oz. from his birth weight of 7 lb. 7 oz.

     2. He’s sleeping pretty well too. We’ve enjoyed several nights where he’s slept 5 hours at a time!  He’s a loud sleeper, so I’m hoping we’ll be ready to move him into his room soon.

     3. Charlie is doing a great job as Big Brother. When Edmond is in the Rock’n’Play or the carseat, he’ll go up and sniff at or lick his feet. When we’re upstairs in the glider, Charlie will lay patiently on the rug for us to finish.  He does have a little trouble when people come to visit because he wants to see them and Baby Edmond, so we’re working on improving guest behavior.

 Per everyone’s instructions, I’ve been focusing on healing from labor, sleeping, and getting to know our new little man, but there are still a few things happening around this old house! The biggest thing is the culmination of our window replacement project. This was supposed to be a long-term project. You may remember we replaced about half the windows last Fall. We financed that purchase, interest free, for three years. Our intention had been to pay off the first half of the project, then have the rest of the windows installed at that point and take another three years to pay off round two. It was a good plan. In the meantime, though, we decided not to do the full scale kitchen remodel that we’d been saving for, and a few months ago we started kicking around the idea of replacing the rest of the windows with that money. Well, we finally decided to book it around the beginning of May. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?! We ended up with a little delay due to a window broken during shipment, but they were able to come out and install the rest of the windows on Thursday last week. 

I have no “before” pictures. It was either track down my memory card or feed Edmond before the workmen arrived, and I figured the latter was the more responsible choice. But this batch of windows was in similar shape to those that were replaced previously – drafty, rattly, and enclosed by ill-fitting storm windows with years and years of grime. This batch also included a broken kitchen window which was painted shut years ago and the plastic bathroom window that I’d previously covered up with  faux stained glass. You can just see the window over the window on the right side of this before photo from the downstairs half bath/laundry. In an effort to create some privacy for people using the privy,  I used a (really stinky) can of frosted glass spray paint on the bottom sash, but the top sash was actually a sheet of scratched up plexiglass! Nice.  That big window hung in front of the plexiglass and also provided some extra privacy.  

Anyway, the new windows were immediately  put to good use, and not just because we have had beautiful weather. When I got home with Edmond from hanging out at Mom’s during the window install the house was pretty stinky from all the freshly applied caulk. On Tony’s suggestion, I opened up windows all over the house, then closed Edmond and myself up in the half bath, the smallest room in the house and therefore the easiest to air out quickly. While we were in there, EO got hungry, so when Tony got home from work, we were still in there, chilling on the floor, while I nursed the little guy. 

Check out all that natural light coming in! Plus it’s actual glass, and it opens! Bonus.

The next day was even better. I was napping on the couch when there was a knock on the door. It was a fireman in full uniform, to let me know that a gas line outside our house had been hit by the Google Fiber installation crew. (Later we found out from a neighbor that they hit the line and immediately jumped in their cars to hightail it out of there!) The fireman tested all the rooms in the house and assured me that my ten day old baby and myself would both be fine, but the lady from the gas company asked that we please vacate the premises anyway, just to be safe. After an hour or so of hanging out at Dad’s, we returned to a very stinky home. Tony opened every window in the house (because he could!) and it aired out quickly. Since then we’ve had various crews out every day digging in our yard. 

Despite the excitement of the new Windows, it’s fantastic to 1) be able to see out and 2) be able to open all the windows in our house! And now I don’t have to worry about EO leaning against a window in his room when he gets a little older and having the glass shatter all over him!

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