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

summer nights

mabrey's room progress

worn out

School’s out! I think this is the earliest my kids have been released for summer break. (We didn’t have any snow days to make up this year.) The sad part is they go back extra early. (Ask me in a few weeks though, and I’ll tell you it’s a good thing.) We’re trying not to think too far ahead. Instead, we’re jumping feet first into summer by eating most meals al fresco, hitting up the local pool (pool dunks count as baths, right?), roasting s’mores, catching fireflies, playing hide-and-seek outside and letting the kids’ bedtime slip later and later. Can you spot a tennis ball caught in the snow rail on our roof? #signsofsummer

In other news, Mabrey’s room is taking shape. As much as I loved the dark walls, the white feels fresh and airy. It’s a completely different room! I decided to hire out the wallpaper installation. It was scheduled for this week, but the installer called late last Friday to say he could squeeze us in early Saturday morning. Yes, please! (You can catch a sneak peek here.) I spent the rest of the day emptying, reconfiguring, painting and reorganizing the teeny closet. I nixed the freestanding shelving unit that I threw in there as a short-term solution when we moved in…FOUR YEARS AGO. Switching out the crib for a twin trundle bed was a priority, and it’s eaten up a lot of space. I’m trying to free up more floor space by using the closet for toy storage.

Speaking of beds…I’m waiting on new mattresses to arrive. Until then, Mabrey is sleeping on a thin IKEA trundle mattress which I brought in temporarily from the boys’ room. Although, I’m starting to wonder why I didn’t just throw down a shag rug and call it a day. She’s been passing out on the living room rug nearly every afternoon. (I can’t say the same for her bed at bedtime. So. Much. Drama.) Stay tuned for more progress along with individual posts featuring the tweaked out bed and reorganized closet.

A few links…

*A narrow kitchen featuring hand-painted gold radiators!

*Wanted: a modest version of this house on the land we found here. (Seven months later, we can’t stop thinking about that plot for sale near Asheville.)

*Love the mix of wood + tile in this bathroom.

*Such a fun idea for a kids’ summer birthday party. House envy!

cincy airbnb 1

cincy airbnb 2

cincy airbnb 3

*Headed to the midwest this summer? Check out this local architect’s airbnb in Cincinnati complete with a rooftop deck.

*A silly, interactive, FREE website that Everett’s teacher told us about to combat boredom. My kids love the awesome sauce and koo koo kanga roo channels.

*The swimsuit Mabrey picked out. It’s super cute (gold elephants!) and stays put in all the right places.

*The boys’ swim trunks. They will only wear fitted trunks that don’t have to be tied and retied.

I hope you had a glorious loooooong weekend. The kids and I are sneaking away to Michigan City, Indiana, next week for a little getaway. I get to be the fun parent for five days! Haha. Any suggestions for eating, seeing and doing?

P.S. – Easy Greek spread for all those summer potlucks.

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4-6) Airbnb



Hi! Love your blog! Can I ask where you purchased the sisal rug and that geometric printed rug? I’ve been in the market for something similar. Thank you!!


My parents live close to Michigan City in a community called Beverly Shores, Indiana. You should definitely eat at the Tree House for your kids sake! On a nice day-They will love it. Go to Three Oaks Michigan to a place called Moon something….It is a really cool barn full of cool furnishings and fun finds. Three Oaks is a super cute town. Stateline Stables is a reasonable place to go horseback riding and they are very kind. Hoity Toity in Michigan City is a fun vintage shop in Michigan City. Chesterton European Market on Saturday mornings is great too. There is a lot to do in the area! The Rolling Pizza cart is delish too at the market or in Beverly Shores…..


Okay, I harbor secret fantasies about running into you somewhere or taking some class you offer down here or something and becoming bffs (Okay, fine, maybe just fs). But officially too weird is that my parents live in Michigan City. No joke! They moved there from WV almost three years ago, and my daughter is visiting them right this minute. Anyway, I can’t begin to know everything about the area after just a handful of visits, but I can tell you a few fun things I have done and liked.

1. Drive to St. Joseph, MI. Adorable beach with a cool jetty and playground right on it. Great little pizza place right off the beach, and just generally a cute little town.
2. The little Michigan City zoo. It’s little and quaint, and I was going to make a gorilla joke, but too soon.
3. The municipal beach by the zoo. The weird blue Lake Michigan water is so pretty, and no strong currents or salt. I never dreamed my folks would move to a cool beach in Indiana. Indiana!
4. Take the train into Chicago. It’s maybe an hour and a half ride. Even if you just get off the train at Millenium Station, go in the museum, get a snack, and go back, the ride itself is fun for the kids.
5. Michigan’s Adventure. More of a spendy outing (less if you pack lunch). I know we have KI here, but Michigan’s Asventure is worth doing. It’s small, charming, old-fashioned, and most of the rides have much lower height limits. Nice when you have more age range in your kids.
6. Shoreline Brewery. Best scotch eggs ever.
7. King Gyro. Trust me. It is so good. Get extra pita and share one plate with all three kids.
8. Hanna Andersson outlet.
9. Indiana Dunes State park.
10. http://www.49erdrivein.com
11. Industrial Revolution restaurant in Valparaiso. Tasty, near atmosphere, train runs around the ceiling.

That’s some of the things we’ve enjoyed up there in the last few years. My parents also took the kids on a candy factory tour, which they loved. Be sure to report back on any gems you run across as well, and have a great trip!


This is great Lori!


You can find all living room sources at the end of this post under the ‘see my house’ tab in the side bar…


The sisal is from Overstock. The shag is from RugsUSA. Hope that helps!


I love Michigan City! There are some beautiful neighborhoods around the lake that are fun to drive around. Very hilly and woodsy, surprisingly.

Panini Panini is a great lunch or breakfast spot and kid-friendly. The procciutto panini is my fave (“Prosciutto, avocado, tomato, cantaloupe & Parmesan on Italian bread”).


I’m originally from the NW Indiana area, though I don’t get back there often (and now live in the Dayton area). Check out the Michigan City Zoo, go to the Dunes, eat at Schoops (get a green river soda!) and take the SouthShore in to Chicago for a day if you can swing it. Deep River Waterpark is great for a day of splashing and the Albanese Candy Factory is down the road. Have fun!


Michigan City is our half way point to drop our kids off with Grandparents for a week every summer! So far all I know is the Hanna Andersson outlet mentioned above, and the dunes. So I’m super excited to read other recommendations! Also loved your traverse city post a couple months back, that’s been our travel list for a while!

Koo Koo Kanga Roo is from Winona, MN just down the road from where we live in La Crosse, WI. Would you believe they have a huge college following and were on the Warped Tour last year! The first time I saw them live it was for actual kids, but now when I go to a show, it’s full of college kids.


I ordered the Moroccan shag rug like the one in your living room because I loved it so much! We have only had it a month and I am already noticing how dirty the edges have become (not in a super high traffic area and no shoes in the room). I plan on rotating it but wondering now that you are on your second rug if you have any tips/advice for how you have kept the rug clean? Thanks!


We don’t wear shoes in the house so that helps, and we don’t allow the kids to have food/drink (other than water) in the living room. Other than that, I vacuum it 1-2 times per week. That’s really about it. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you it looks dirtier in real life than in photos, but it’s still in great shape!


No way!


We love Michigan City! And over the past 6 years my extended family (2 grandparents, 13 parents, 15 kids) has rented a home in the Beachwalk Resort neighborhood. We are leaving June 17 for this years trip. The neighborhood has it’s own pool, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts. There is a lovely lake and a few ponds for paddle boarding, kayaking, and fishing. But we mostly spend our days on the Lake Michigan Beach. During the week, a group takes the train into Chicago to see a Cubs game, and there is normally more than one visit to the Lighthouse Outlet mall;) The Indiana Dunes is close and the kids love spending a day there. One night during our vacation we drive to Redamak’s for cheeseburgers. This is a great family spot about 10 miles from Michigan City in New Buffalo. And on the way home, you need to stop at Oink’s ice cream parlor for a cone. The Washington Park Zoo is also a wonderful way to spend a few hours. It’s located right off of Lakeshore Drive, but watch out for the peacock that will surely follow you around! We have such great memories of our trips there…hope your family enjoys just as much!