...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.28.15 / Liked & Linked

summer fun

breakfast tacos

balayage lob

With only two weeks until school starts (?!), we’re trying to soak up what’s left of summer. Last week we cooled off at the pool, hosted a sleepover, met up with old friends, took slow family walks, slept in, lounged on the back deck, caught fireflies and harvested two cucumbers from our garden (if you can call it that). Our breakfasts and dinners have been later than usual. Breakfast tacos are on heavy rotation because they’re so easy and no one whines. On a whim, I had six inches of hot, sweaty hair lopped off. And after a year of teasing from my dad (oh, have you been painting stuff white again?), I had my grays colored. I’ve never really had a hairstyle per say. It’s been long – too long – for years. And I’ve never done more than subtle highlights every few years. So this new lob + root color + balayage combo is quite the change but I LOVE IT. I think I’ll actually keep it around for a while…and maybe even go shorter next time.

More things to love…

*A DIY garage door before-and-after. Yowsas!

*A 5-month renovation. The white cork flooring is a unique yet practical choice.

*This amazing family home. (Final reveal by Amber Interiors coming soon.)

*American-made warm LED work surface lighting.

*Please tell me you’ve already seen this.

makehaus kitchen

makehaus kitchen 1

*I will never tire of small space renovations. (Note the top shelf extending above the sink window.)

*A hilarious account of taking your kids with you to the gynecologist. It’s been more than 4 years since I survived a very similar experience. One day I’ll share but I’m not there yet.

*The magic of not trying so hard is a very real kind of magic. (Psst…Holly is writing a new book!)

*This adorable book light is saving my marriage.

*My hair stylist recommended using this dry shampoo to stretch the time in between washings and preserve my new color. So far, so good.

I hope your week is off to a great start!

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4 & 5) Heather Jennings for Make+Haus

07.24.15 / Rainy Day Ideas

summer storm

The last few days have been gorgeous here, but that hasn’t been the case all summer. We’ve had so much rain that severe weather warnings and flood watches don’t faze us anymore. In our neighborhood alone we’ve had lightning strikes, fallen trees, flooded roads and power outages on an almost weekly basis. I love a good thunderstorm and slow, drizzly days (I usually open a door or window to hear and smell the rain) but I can only take so many lazy, rainy days in a row before I start to feel a little batty. We’ve had to get creative and move beyond the typical book reading, movie watching and puddle jumping activities to thwart boredom. Here are a few things we’ve been doing when precipitation strikes:

candlelit kitchen

We light candles all over the house. We play cards and board games by candlelight. We’ve eaten breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert by candlelight. It feels slower and special. The kids love it. It’s gotten to the point where as soon as it starts to sprinkle they ask to light candles.

glow in dark chess

We play glow-in-the-dark chess. Layne was gifted this set last year and it has gotten so much use. The kids usually set it up in the boys’ room on the bottom bunk and close the blinds and bed curtains. It’s kind of the coolest thing ever.

We make stop motion videos. We use the myCreate app. It’s ~$5 and worth every penny. The kids use Play-Doh, Legos, matchbox cars and figurines to plot out visual stories. They even add audio sometimes. It’s pretty comical to watch and it keeps the kids occupied for long periods of time.

new recipes

We try new recipes. I’ve mentioned it before…this cookbook is my current fave. Paleo or not, the recipes are easy and tasty.

Or sometimes we stick to our old favorites like chocolate no-bake cookies. Who am I kidding? We make these even when it isn’t raining! I use almond milk instead of dairy milk. So, so good.

art museum

We visit local museums. Our favorites are the Dayton Art Institute and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The latter has FREE admission!

We have a balloon party. It consists of blowing up a bunch of balloons and hitting / kicking them all over the house.

aether cone

We listen to our Cone. The kids like to request silly things like “I like pizza” and “cucumbers.” Surprisingly, Cone almost always finds a song to meet their requests. (Yep, there really is an “I Like Pizza” song.)

We make origami. Earlier this summer, I purchased colorful origami paper and this beginner’s guide to modular origami. Sometimes we refer to tutorials on youtube as well. It’s a great activity for my oldest, Layne, who is 10 years old. He has created some really beautiful pieces. I think some of them might even make an appearance in the BHG feature.

vacation house

We browse airbnb and vrbo for fun. We take turns picking destinations and then pretend to search for a vacation home. “Oh, I would totally stay here!” “That would be my room!” “Forget vacation, I want to LIVE here.” Sometimes we end up booking a place, most times not. The pretending is almost as fun as the real thing.

We look through family photo books. I’m amazed by what the kids remember about certain events. We talk about happy and sad times, easy and difficult times. It’s usually a good reminder to me to order new books.

costumes

We make silly costumes out of everyday objects. I’ll hand the kids electrical tape, a paper bag and scissors and say, “Okay, make me laugh.” They always do.

nursery

nursery

We visit a local nursery. It might sound counter-intuitive but rainy days are my favorite days to visit the nursery. We usually have the place to ourselves and the fresh air is just what we need. I think the plants look so healthy, thirsty and beautiful covered in rain droplets. Our local nursery even has a children’s play table set up in the greenhouse. There are miniature animal figurines, dump trucks, shovels, buckets, gravel, sand and dirt. The kids can scoop, dump, pour and dig to their hearts’ content.

park

kid cave

umbrella man

We discover new parks. Again, it’s not an event that would normally come to mind for a rainy day activity but it’s one that we have come to really enjoy. Who knew there was a limestone waterfall just a short drive from our house? Or a real cave? (Perfect for hiding out in when the rain picks up.) Funny story: Layne was climbing on the natural rock walls which is against park policy. Steve and I quickly pointed out the “no rock climbing” sign. Layne said, “Oh, I thought that was a guy tripping on an umbrella.” Haha! That just goes to show how much rain we’ve had lately.

open house

We visit open houses nearby. This is my new personal favorite ;) I love getting a peek inside houses that I walk or drive by regularly. If I’m lucky, the homeowners have great taste and mad DIY skills.

What are some of your favorite rainy activities? Do you have any unusual rainy day traditions?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.20.15 / Liked & Linked

bye BHG

shoot leftovers

Whew! Last week was surreal and quite the whirlwind in the best way. Living behind the scenes of a magazine shoot opened my eyes to so many things. I will never look at house tours in print the same way again! I snuck a few behind-the-scenes shots and jotted down a ton of notes to share when the feature goes live. For those of you who have asked, I don’t know yet which issue our home will be featured in but, as soon as I do, I will let you know. (I’m told it will be sometime in 2016.)

The BHG crew left on Friday. They were lovely and funny and down-to-earth. Saying goodbye was more difficult than I had anticipated. The kids really enjoyed having company and action at the house. They were so disappointed to wake up to (what felt like) an empty and quiet house the day after shooting wrapped. Mabrey grew attached to Natalie, a BHG editor. She even made up “The Natalie Song” and was bummed when she learned that Saturday was Natalie’s birthday and we wouldn’t be able to have a cupcake party for her at our house. It was the sweetest and most heartbreaking thing. Whenever I walk past one of the leftover floral props, I do a double take and think, “Wait. Did that just really happen?”

Needless to say, we had a slow weekend. We hung out poolside with dear friends all day Saturday and holed up inside while it stormed on Sunday. I got a little antsy and hit up a nearby open house just for fun. With the shoot (and several tedious projects) behind us, I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the studio and enjoying a few more slow weekends before the kids start back to school.

A few links…

*Ogling this custom printed upholstery fabric.

*After months of brainstorming, we’re thinking about replacing a closet at the end of our hallway with built-in cabinets similar to this setup. Yes? No?

*Remodelista’s best of the best. Which will you vote for?

simpler_times-australian-vacation-home-sunken-living-room

*I dogeared this simple, family-friendly beach house in the latest issue of Dwell. I can’t believe it’s <700 square feet!

*I am forever adding design books to my wish list. This week it was this, this and this.

*I finally found the perfect swim trunks for the boys. They love them! They can do all the cannonballs they want without readjusting or retying their waistbands. Pool time just got waaaaaaayyy easier mamas.

Happy start to your week!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3) Sean Fennessy for Dwell magazine